Case II: Chapter 2: Oh, Mrs. Torres
Later that afternoon, Dudley went to the utility room and retrieved the Maintenance Man’s toolbox to attend to the minor in repairs that Isabella Duncan had requested. At La Vida Aureo, some of the independent living facilities consisted of cottages or casitas and his first task was to fix a “small plumbing problem” in the casita occupied by Mrs. Torres.
He knocked on the door and introduced himself when Mrs. Torres answered. “Mrs. Torres, my name is Matthew Dudley and I’ve been asked to look at your plumbing; I understand you have a leaky faucet.”
“Come right in. I must say that you are certainly much easier on the eyes than the previous Maintenance Man. The leaking faucet is in the kitchen sink.”
Dudley sat down the toolbox, got out his flashlight and reached into the cabinet area under the kitchen sink to shut off the water. Once the water was shut off, it was a simple matter to replace the worn faucet washer. He decided to replace the washer for both the hot and cold sides; it might save him a second trip. He got on his knees and reached under the sink to turn the water back on so that he could test the new washers. It had only taken a few moments for this relatively simple repair job and Dudley felt a sense of accomplishment.
“That should do it, Mrs. Torres. You should not have any more problems with a dripping faucet.”
When he turned around, he was taken aback by what he saw. Mrs. Torres was standing in the middle of the kitchen with a cocktail in her hand. She was wearing what appeared to Dudley as a silk robe, like a Japanese kimono, but it was completely open.
“Well, Mr. Handyman, can you stay a while? I’m sure I can find some other projects for you to work on.”
Dudley suddenly felt trapped and highly embarrassed by Mrs. Torres’ inappropriate behavior. “Ah-er, ah-er, I really must be going. I have to check on an ah-er electrical problem in Mrs. Wilson’s apartment.”
He knew he had to get past Mrs. Torres and out of the casita as quickly as possible. Fortunately, she took a sip of her cocktail and stepped aside so he was able to exit without incident.
“Do hurry back and please bring all of your tools next time. I like a man with good tools, you know.”
He didn’t want to offend anyone, or cause trouble, particularly on his first day as Handyman, but he knew he had to mention this to Isabella as soon as possible. “To say that I was shocked Isabella, is an understatement. I’m just not used to that kind of behavior.”
“I have been aware that there are certain people here who act out inappropriately. Many of the women here have lost husbands at a young age which has affected them. Many are simply lonely and seeking companionship, some are just harmless flirts but some are truly horny and desperate. In some cases, the early stages of dementia results in a loss of control and the onset of inappropriate behaviors. And some women are definitely on the prowl and things can sometimes get out of hand. We must remain vigilant at all times. We have to recognize that these people are adults but we cannot let the situation jeopardize any individual resident. My advice to you as you’re working around the complex as a handyman is “to keep your tools in your toolbox.””