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Ask Anyone

hot water

I just had a furnace guy come and look at the heat pump on the boiler in my basement, because it was making some pretty scary noises. He told we the whole assembly would have to be replaced, and it’ll cost about $800. I was shocked, because the pumps seems to be sending hot water to the radiators, but after he explained the problems to me I swallowed hard and agreed to schedule the maintenance.

Then I decided I should get a second opinion. The next guy I called told me that there were problems with the pump, but the whole issue could be resolved for $250. I’m not made of money, so I’ll probably go with the second guy.

The first guy will be calling in the next day or two to schedule the work that I initially agreed to. Do I owe him for his 45-minute visit? It’s not like he fixed anything.

—Cheap and Dirty

The Gay Perspective: You do not owe guy one an explanation and if there was to be a fee, he should made it clear. A word to the wise: When you eventually replace the pump, if the old one has not completely died, save it. That way, if something happens with the new pump, you will have a temporary back-up. Boiler pumps only die when it matters most—in winter.

The Sales Guy says: You did everything correctly concerning the repair. You have all the right in the world to get a second opinion, especially if the first estimate seems radically overpriced.

As for any debt owed to the first contractor, if he had to take apart your furnace in order to give an estimate and he doesn’t advertise free estimates, he probably deserves the service call charge. The standard is around $75.

4 Out of 5 says: Based on the movies I typically watch, its pretty much assumed that when a utility man visits your house, you will have sex with him.

Consider that payment enough.

private lives

I don’t usually care what elected officials do in their private lives—who they sleep with, how they have fun, what god the worship (or don’t worship). But I have a friend who’s an elected official, and more and more the way this person behaves in private life bothers me. This person is irresponsible and disappoints friends.

All the while, this person remains a model public servant: responsive, thoughtful, bright, dedicated, good politics.

So here’s my dilemma: If this were a stranger, I would say as a matter of principle that the private life doesn’t matter—only the public service is important. But because it’s a friend, and I’m intimately familiar with (and offended by) this person’s private life, I’m tempted to pull my support and my vote.

Am I a hypocrite? Or is my principle—that the private lives of elected officials are secondary to their public service—intellectually dishonest?

—A House Divided

The Gay Perspective: You are not marrying this guy, you are voting for a public servant. You know what to do.

The Sales Guy says: It sounds like a degree thing to me. Its obvious from your description that he’s a better than average public servant, which is a very good thing. As for his private shortcomings—how bad are they? Does he abuse his family ? Drink and drive to excess? Gambling problem? A thief?

Without specifics, it’s tough to make the call. If his behavior has changed your opinion of his character to the point that you feel ideologically obligated to cast your vote for another, then do so. It sounds like you no longer trust him. It is your vote to cast, and you have to live with it.

The Hipster says: Private lives are private lives. If the guy is a good politician, turns a deficit into a surplus, creates six million new jobs, cuts down bureaucracy, but sleeps with an intern, does that make him a bad guy? Don’t vote to impeach.

Groundless says: As a karate expert, I will not talk to any of you about this. Personal life? He can marry a shoe for all I care. The rent…is too damn high!

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