The grandpas I hired asked shyly if I could pay them in cash because the bank is closing and they won’t have time to cash the check until Monday.

“We live hand to mouth,” they said.

I remember the horrible feeling of hoping to get paid on Friday and the client saying, “Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot. I’ll bring you the money on Monday.” And that was the money I was counting on to get something to eat. The client was a spoiled mistress of a rich foreigner. It was humiliating. But I was 20. I’m guessing it feels much worse to be in that situation at 65.

One of the grandpas is a disabled veteran. Shame on all of us for not arranging things in a way that doesn’t force retiree veterans to do yard work in 100 degree heat.

The grandpas said it’s hard to find work going door to door because people are suspicious and won’t open the door. They were really stunned by my friendliness, they said. I tell you, folks, I’m like the queen of sociability around here.

Of course, I paid the grandpas in cash and hired them for more projects next week. I actually got a quote on this job yesterday from a large company, and it was so ridiculously overpriced that I tabled the whole thing.

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