Thursday, May 19, 2011


I mentioned in an earlier post that when I worked as a meter reader, I saw a lot of private moments that were not meant for the public eye.

Unless your power company uses electronic readers or you read your own meter,  someone once a month will be standing outside your house, staring at that device on your wall. Trust me, you are vulnerable to unwelcome discovery.

Often the meter will be located near a window.  Normally the reader could care less what is going on in a house unless they hear sounds that could be interpreted as being someone in pain.  Then they will look, purely out of concern mind you.

I'm just saying, I have been exposed to some strange and private stuff as a meter reader.  However, I have never been on the other end as the observee rather than the observer.

I have a guest house on my property that is about 50 feet from the main house. I use it for an extra place to sleep if  I have company but also for a place to put my treadmill and sewing machine. It is my play house.

This is looking out the door of the guest house while on the treadmill. It is not nearly as far as it looks and the meter is to the left of the red chair.
One thing I do while on the treadmill is listen to my MP3 player with ear buds firmly planted. I have previously mentioned that God saw fit NOT to give me a singing voice for some reason. Maybe it was just an over sight but regardless, I am a horrid singer.

That should deter me from singing but it doesn't, though I do try to limit it to private moments. Tootling down the road in my car with windows rolled up tight, I sing loud, proud and awful. I do love making a joyful noise.  So while I walk on the treadmill, I often sing along with the MP3 songs. It really makes the 30 minutes fly by.

When it was cold, I kept the doors shut and the heat on while using the machine.  That protected the innocents from my singing. Now that the weather is nice, I have taken to working out with the door open and enjoying the fresh air. The open doors funnel the sound towards my house and should protect my neighbor behind me.

This particular day  Shania Twain's song “Man, I feel like a woman”  was cued up.  That is a song that makes me pick up my step smartly. I don't sing all the way through cause I still have to breathe, but I do love the chorus especially the “Oh, oh, oh” part and the last verse.

"Oh, oh, oh, get in the action-feel the attraction
Color my hair-do what I dare
Oh, oh, oh, I wanna be free-yeah, to feel the way I feel
Man! I feel like a woman!"
Using my outside voice I was really bringing it.  I had just launched into the two sylable "wo-man"  when I saw something in my peripheral vision.

There was the meter reader, standing on my porch, looking directly at me with a cross between astonishment, amusement and maybe a touch of fear. He was struggling with his fight or flight reflexes  not sure I whether I should be rescued, run from or was a hoot.  

 I gave him a weak parade float wave to indicate I was all right and let out an embarrassed "heh heh" to prove I was a good sport. Hoot won the competition. He nodded a greeting, grinned really big and  quickly turned his back to me studying the meter.

 I had been caught by the very person I once was. The shoes had shifted.  Naked couldn't have embarassed me more. 

He really worked at being polite but he was losing it. His shoulders  were shaking spastically and I could hear the snuffles of suppressed laughter. He then almost ran as he left my porch and disappeared with the snuffles getting louder as he hurried to the safety of his truck. 

After he left I got the giggles. Poor fellow, he could have hurt himself trying so hard not to laugh. I let that image replace the one of me bellowing.  

Now that I look at the picture of the view from my guest house, I realize my new exercise bench is right by the meter. Goodness, I would hate for him to come around the corner some morning with my legs  in the air while  I am grunting. I'm not sure how much this poor fellow can take. 

Think I will  call the company to find out when he is due to again read my meter. Prevention is the key here to keep what is left of my ego in tact.

Have you ever been caught (figuratively or maybe literally) with your pants down by a stranger?


  1. Oh, yeah! Naked in the laundry room after tossing in my gardening required a walk through the family room to go to the bedrooms in the back. THE PASTOR OF OUR CHURCH stopped by, and four year old daughter let him in the family room door. I was trapped (fortunately there was a door on the laundry room). A bit awkward when daughter told him, "Mommy can't come out...she doesn't want you to see her hiney." I have no idea where she got that...but it wasn't from me!! That's a little number I've not lived down in 30 years.

  2. What a funny scene as I can imagine it. He probably wasn't laughing at your voice but just the fact that someone can get so caught up with being a wannabe star. I usually laugh, too, at people singing, with earphones who are oblivious to the world. But not at their ability. Oh Patti, I want to see you caught on your exercise table. Now that will really be a hoot.

  3. A couple o' things....

    Would you consider taping about 30 seconds of the chorus and posting it so your many followers can reap the full joy of your workout? I promise not to repost. snicker.

    You might consider posting a warning sign in the yard while you are exercising. Something like "CAUTION!!!---WOMAN EXERCISING WHILE SINGING OFF-KEY!!!"

    What fun!

  4. Fortunately I had swallowed my mouthful of coffee before I read this post. Envisioning that poor fellow with shaking shoulders as he tried so hard not to laugh in front of you? Priceless. And the thought of him coming around the corner while you were on your new exercise bench? Oh my!

    Great story!

  5. What a great story! Our meter reader has to get up on our garbage can, which is behind our back fence, and use binoculars to see our meter. (That's pretty much how he does the whole neighborhood.) Our computer desk used to be by the back window several few feet from the meter, and even though I wasn't making any noise, a few times I suddenly looked up from the computer and saw the meter reader leaning on the fence with a pair of binoculars aimed right at ME. And I was in my pajamas. He always practically fell off the garbage can when I looked at him.

  6. Oh Patti, I needed the laugh this morning and you have come through as usual!
    What a hoot and I think posting a sign might be a good idea :)
    Now about that question you asked! YES, I have been caught with my pants down-quite literally! Unbeknownst to me, I was dating someone who was already ummm, attached! didn't know it, I swear! and we were in the bedroom doing 'it' on the first floor of my apt. and well, the wife was looking in my window, face peered over the curtains! I don't know which of us was shocked the most!

  7. If something similar has happened to me, it's lost in the sands of time. Thank goodness. But the story you tell doesn't hurt anybody and only exposes your voice. Even the meter reader couldn't be too offended at that! Good story!!

  8. Patti, I am laughing out loud, this is so funny and I love the view from your guest house and was thinking I wish I had a guest house for my own private pottery studio, yep I'd check to see what day of the month he comes to read, oh I do love to sing to music when I am alone too.

    can't think of an embarrassing moment at this time, but I am sure there has been one, but I am chipper as a lark laughing along with you this morning. Have a good one.

  9. More times than I wish to tell.

    I was going to suggest a solar shade on the window nearest the meter. but it has a caveat,too.

    We recently installed the expensive shades for every window in our house except small ones in two exterior doors.

    These shades were to block 80% of radiant heat that our house now absorbs since the loss of all our shade trees in the great ice storms.

    I had noticed during daylight hours you cannot see inside the house. However, inside you can see out but the landscape colors are altered by the color of the shade, kinda like filters on a camera.

    Assuming the same feature was applicable at night, I decided to take an evening bath. NEVER ASSUME

    Some hours later, my husband who smokes outside the house, came into inform you can see inside quite well. I professed incredibility so he persuaded me to come outside and look.

    I was horrified.

    The traffic on Honeysuckle Ave viewable for our bathroom window, surely got an eyeful of a fat ole woman showering, undressing, and all the rituals of my bathing procedures, some of which better left unsaid. I wondered if they counted my rolls of flab.

    We immediately put vertical shades over the solar shades.

    I read my Kindle while treadmilling at the local gym. It fits nicely on a ledge where all the treadmill controls are. Since I just plain ole treadmill, it does not interfere with any programming. What am I reading now? Pride and Prejudice. With apologies to my British readers, I never could have married for any reason, except love.

    I realize most of the world works entirely differently, with marriages encouraged to gain certain types of status not only for the bride but her family.

  10. I'm so glad your post was the first one I read this morning. You've made my day with another wonderfully told story!

  11. P.S. Entergy meter reader is contracted out and reads outside our fence somehow, I think with something electronic. He only works daylight hours.

    Since I don't sing much anymore and the Luckie is a good at alerting me to persons near our property, I hope I am safe. However, Luckie is a sucker for a doggie treat, which makes you friends for life, much to my chagrin.

  12. Thanks for the laugh, Patti! I'm can't think of anytime I might have entertained the meter reader (but who knows?), but I gave the insurance man a chuckle when I came wheeling in the driveway with my radio going full blast. I forgot to turn it down and I guess it amused him to hear music thumping from a car of a middle-aged woman because he had a huge grin on his face. And I know he wasn't just glad to see me! :D

  13. Oh usual you have told a fantasticly funny story and started my day off with a huge gaffaw. I love it.
    Not my pants but a meter readers. We had called in a request that they read the meter from outside the yard because of our 2 St. Bernards. Poor fella was off in his read by a house and just walked in the two gates with latches and was attempting to enter the third gate before I heard OH S@*T and the dogs chased him to the fence. He jumped, they had his pants pockets and afterwards I had a pair of pants that had been ripped off as the meter read sailed over the fence. The dogs were so proud, the guy was so mad.....I got a bill for $2556.00 and then a reread. The worst part was he had to walk in his tighty whities all the way back round to get his reader from me. Oops.

  14. Hilarious! I loved this story. :) I live on a lake and while our house is a good little ways from the water it still is disconcerting to look up when I'm getting dressed in the bedroom to see a couple of men fishing out by our dock. Oh I doubt they can see in when it's sun shining out there and I'm careful to close the blinds at night but still...I figure they deserve what they get if they're fishing by my dock. :) blessings, marlene

  15. This is a great story! Yes, you'd better see when he will be back. I don't think you want him to find you on the table with your legs in the air.

  16. Never saw him/her in all my years as a homeowner, only in winter the footprints in the snow. In the suburbs the meters are placed on house wall as close to the road/driveway as possible and usually that's a garage so there's little to see. My guess is that the reader looks into the main front window just to keep boredom at bay. Maybe he/she also uses an MP# player? I just loved this story and the comments are just as amusing, shades that don't hide anything, binoculars, oh my!!!

  17. Patti, you tell a great story. Thanks for the morning chuckle!

  18. That is so funny. You have a great sense of humor and a definite way with words.
    My singing makes dogs howl and babies cry so I am usually reminded to stop before it goes too far.

  19. Funny, funny story!
    Our place is in a subdivision along a river with vacant lots and woods all around. When we moved in, it was a bit disconcerting to have no curtains or shades on the windows. We've gotten used to it now, and actually enjoy seeing the clear view of the trees/sun/moon.
    If there is anyone out there who is interested, I guess they have had a show.....a horror show.

  20. Oh how funny, Patti.... Loved reading this one.... Like you said though, meter readers have seen and heard it all.. SO--what he heard was probably no different from other things he has heard.... Keep on making a 'joyful' noise!!!!! Good for you!

    A couple of years ago, George was in the yard and I was sitting at my computer with only a long shirt on (nothing else). All of a sudden, some cousins were not only at the door, but were IN the house.. They saw me in my 'not-so-fine' moment... I told them to 'have a seat' and I'd be back in a minute. Had to get some clothes on.. I was SO embarrassed.

  21. Love this story, Patti! It's a great way to start the day!

  22. Very funny!

    Okay! I knew I had several but was drawing a blank.

    In college for journalism class, I had to go to the state capital and write an article on the activities from one of the rooms. I could pick anything. I found them all very boring. I left one room, crossed the hall, stood around and decided to return to the prior room. I was then informed by a classmate my skirt was tucked in my pantyhose.

  23. Hoisted on your own petard or something like that. So what if he heard you singing. He should not be surprised given the job he has. If we can't sing in our own yard or the shower, where can we sing? I for one can't sing at all any more and don't even try (it scares my parrots)

    You sure do exercise a lot. Perhaps you shoud try something else. Dianne

  24. Oh wow! A guest house!!! That is too too wonderful! You should run a Bed and Breakfast.

    I think it's fantastic that you sing and work out. Good for you! That's very healthy.

    I'm sure I've been caught with my pants down. Perhaps it's a good thing that my memory is so pitiful because I can't remember the exact incidence. This is good.

    OHHHHH...... wait.......

    I remembered! I'd gone into the bathroom in Jordan. I sat down and suddenly heard male voices. I'd made a mistake and gone into the Men's Bathroom. I had pictures in my brain of being beheaded or worse.

    OK... never mind. I'm going to try to forget about this one. Nobody was laughing when I ran out. Maybe I'll do a post on this some day.

  25. Hilarious story, Patti! Fortunately I was never caught in such a situation, but of course I did enough stupid things in my life, which I cannot tell because it's a bit difficult to translate into English, for I am a foreigner, I mean not a native speaker, you see...Lol

  26. Deb,
    I knew I was going to love the comments for this blog. That is hilarious. Think I might have changed churches.

    I guess that is why karaoke is popular though I could never do that either.
    I really will try to spare him the exercise table.

    Sure big fellow, you won't repost...
    If they won't give me his schedule, I may resort to a sign.

    Bless his heart. He tried so hard, he might have gotten a hernia. Glad we caught you dry mouthed. Thanks.

    That is funny and it is true. We were always just as surprised to be seen as to see.

    Yikes, now that is getting caught. The good thing is that you didn't have to go home with the rascal.

    Perhaps it is a case of selective memory. Anyway, glad you past is clear.

    Linda Starr,
    Mine wasn't too expensive. I bought one of those prefab barns and had it finished on the inside. I love it.

    Ha ha. I used to do the inspections for the window film that the power company paid part of the cost. You are not the only one to have been fooled by that. Glad you got blinds.
    Mighty was in the house so he was no help though I couldn't have heard him anyway.

    Aw, thanks lady. So glad you enjoyed.

    So that was you at the stop light when my car was vibrating from the bass on the car behind me:))
    Hay, enjoy. Bet he blogged about that.

    Linda in NM
    Ha ha. I have been in that meter readers pants, though mine weren't tighty whities. I am pretty sure my meter reader missread my meter also. Can't wait for the bill.

    So glad you liked it and that you feel free to entertain the local fishermen. Lets face it, fishing can get boring without a little extra.

    Retired English Teacher,
    Now all I have to be sure of is that I don't run into him on the week end in town. Maybe he won't know me??

    When I read meters, we prided ourselves on our stealth. Aren't the comments priceless?

    Thanks,so glad I could curl your lips upward today.

    Ha, my dog has selective hearing so he doesn't notice and I try to spare younguns.Thank you.

    That type of setting does give one the feeling of the cloak of invisibility. Where I lived in Florida was surrounded by woods. I never covered a window either.

    Oh my that is funny but at least they were family. Well maybe that is worse for I will probably never my fellow again where you probably see your cousins often.

    Dr. Kathy McCoy,
    Thanks, I do try to have fun with events.

    I knew today's comments would be fun. That is hilarious. Better thee than me:))

    I read meters for a long time and I never experienced what I forced that poor soul to hear. Just hope he doesn't blog:))

    Gosh, you are right. They behead for the darnest reasons in the middle east. Glad you made it out with all parts connected. That would make a great post.
    Thank you.

    Reader Wil,
    Gosh I wish the stories translated. I keep forgetting that English is not your first language. You are so good.

  27. Patti, as usual you made me laugh out loud.

  28. NO, thank God, and I surely could have been!!!

    You are too funny.

  29. LOL< LOL....No, not that I can recall. Though I have crertainly had some embarassing moments with strangers---but nothing to do with pants down figuratively or!
    I love that he wasn't quite sure whar to do till you kind of gave him permission...! Very Funny!

  30. Ha ha, this cracked me up!

    I've certainly been in some embarrassing situations, but I think yours tops any story I could tell!

  31. Not only is your story funny, but so many of the other comments are superb! Sue

  32. marciamayo,
    Ah thanks so much. My work is done.

    Thanks Judy and I bet you have some you aren't telling.

    I guess it is kind of like when someone falls comically but we stuff it till we find out they are all right. Maybe you will post about yours???

    Wow, so glad I wasn't in your "bored your pants off" group. Would love to hear your stories.

    Thanks and aren't they just the best? Great blog posts hiding in most of them.

  33. I'm pretty sure you're wrong about that. Naked WOULD have been more embarrassing. Wait... maybe not. Were you in spandex?

  34. I wish you could record your voice, so we could all hear you singing. I would love to hear what that meter reader heard! You tell the funniest stories, patti.

  35. Patti,

    You are so funny! What a great story. I love Shania Twain, and I can't sing either, but still do karaoke on occasion ... I figure that nobody is paying to listen (maybe they will pay me not to sing?).

  36. One day I got to work very very early to work on a project.

    My boss thought he was alone in the office and made some pretty interesting sounds..burping, tooting...etc. until he realized I was in my office.

    He came in and apologized and we both had a good laugh....

  37. You really out did yourself on this one. You had me laughing so hard my lap top was dancing on my lap. Hmmmm....My favoite line, “I sing loud, proud and awful.” You did real good. Very fun. Of course its alway more fun when it is at the expense of someone other than myself.

  38. Nope, can't say I've ever been caught doing something I wouldn't want anyone else to see me doing. But then I always looked at my bills and made note of their next scheduled reading. LOL Since we lock both gates one each side of the house, it would be rather hard for someone just to walk in. We use to have a neighbor lady that did that, before we had a fence installed. She walked into the family room, kitchen is right off the family room, which we have now made it all open, utility room with a stool and sink is off the kitchen, she comes waltzing through and Abe was sitting on the toilet in the utility room with the door open, she walke right through, said hi Abe, and kept on coming out into the kitchen. I told him, that's what he got for leaving the door standing open. I had been trying to get him to stop that, since we had four small kids in and out all the time. Finally what we would do, if we were still sitting at the table, finishing up supper, and he went in to pee, even with the door shut, we could hear it all, because he never ran water or flushed as he was going, so the kids and I would all applaud, after a couple of time doing that, he was more careful. LOL All of our meters now are the electronic type, so I don't have to make note of their next reading. I think i would put my exercise table in the room with the treadmill. Beautiful day here, yesterday was also, blue skies, fluffy clouds and temp is about 75. AC hasn't kicked on, so apparently the house is still cool enough. For some reason this brick house seems to build up heat, and by late afternoon between 4 and 7 it gets really warm. In winter that is the time it seems to really chill. We've added more insulation, but it didn't seem to do much. Have a great week-end.

  39. marylee,
    It might be a toss up:)) No spandex, I like to breathe.

    Thanks but you should rethink that request. I could really hurt your ears.

    Oregon Gifts,
    We should do a duet. That would shake things up.

    Rocky Mountain Woman,
    Ha ha, He might have been embarrassed but I am sure he felt better.

    That makes me feel good if I can get you chuckling.

    Ha ha---You should write a book gal on how to train a husband. Good job.

  40. Oh this is too funny! You do know how to spin a tale though, with or without an accompanying tune.

  41. When I feel down all I have to do is click on your site and a smile instantly appears on my face. Actually most times a laugh out loud like tonight. lol
    I have no voice for singing either so I can really relate to this story. Love the song you were singing too.
    At least you made this guys day....
    and mine
    Love ya

  42. Oh, Patti, you have me in stitches. I'm sure I've had plenty of embarrassing moments but one that stands out was when I was practicing a speech in a stairwell and someone opened the door and told me everyone in the library adjacent could hear me.

  43. I loved this! Thanks for the giant laugh this morning! You have me absolutely cracking up here! I can visualize this happening! I'm glad you felt like a woooo-man!

  44. You're a fine storyteller!

    What if you'd been singing "You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman"?

  45. rosaria,
    Thank you so much. No musicals here I fear.

    Thank you Maggie. Isn't that a fun song? Pretty sure I made his day and also his co-workers. I can only hope he doesn't blog.

    Now I am laughing at you. How embarrassing. Hope they at least critiqued your speech.

    Thank you lady. So glad you enjoyed. I did feel like one till I started feeling more like a fool:))

    Linda Myers,
    Thank you and yes, Aretha is on my song list.

  46. Patti you are for sure at the top of the list for ones with talent for writing and humor. Your blogs are just the greatest. You make me laugh so hard and I usually need a good one when I come by here.

    I could just see this all happening as I read. So funny!

  47. Mumsy,
    Thank you so much for the great compliment. So glad you think so.

  48. We have drive-by meter readers now, I think.... I know for certain the water meter is electronic.

    I also have a series of annunciators set up around the house that alert us to the presence of someone or something in the driveway, walkways and other areas. Still, it is not 100% guarantee that the UPS guy won't be at the door while you're crossing the hallway to the bathroom at shower time..... Has it happened to me yet? I don't think so. Paranoia has it's advantages. ;) Great story. Sing loud and proud. Whatever keeps you on the treadmill.

  49. Barry,
    Oh, now I like the idea of annunciators. Think I will check into that. Thanks.