Monday, July 9, 2007

Mending Fences

I’m not really as big a whiner as I appear to be. I really just have one fundamental wish for the world: that everyone would do what it is they’re supposed to do. Lately, though, that just hasn’t been my lot in life. And I’ve been a less-nice person because of it.

See, we’re doing a small facelift Chez O’Pine. New fence. New color for the house. New landscaping. Now, don’t get me wrong—this isn’t my first time at the contractor rodeo. (I once had a guy remodeling a bathroom install crown molding, even though we’d never discussed this and I hadn’t been consulted on picking out the molding.) You’d think I’d be used to the lies and excuses. Because those are two things that contractors do better than anything. I think they must earn merit badges from their union, or something.

Add to that the fact that there is nothing—NOTHING—in this world that pisses me off faster than somebody who tries to play me for stupid. Which is how I came to have a bit of a tough conversation with my fence guy. See, while we were away for 5 days, he managed to finish exactly two sections of fence. Two six foot sections. Maybe three hours worth of work. In 5 days. And he put the boards on the wrong side. Don’t know why. He had already successfully completed 50 or 60 feet of fence with only minor glitches. But when he turned the corner, he decided to switch the fence orientation.

So I guess I was glad he got so little work done?!?!? (great choice of logic, eh?)

Now, my housesitter told me that it rained non-stop while we were gone, so that explained the lack of progress on the fence. But then I get the weekly bill. For three more days than he could have possibly worked. I pushed. He caved. I paid him what he was legitimately owed. The end.

Or so I thought. After a couple of days of wondering what happened to the fence guy, he shows up wanting to revisit the invoice. He says he’s sure he worked those days. I was a little less polite. “Considering how little work got done, I don’t know that I’d be bragging about taking three days to do it, “ I said. He wasn’t sure how to respond to this one.

The good part of all this is that the fence is fabulous. He’s done a really nice job.

The bad part is that it’s now almost a week later. We’ve had a little bit of rain, but mostly the weather has been passable. And my fence is still sitting undone. He came by Friday and said he’d been sick. Said they’d be here on Saturday. Now it’s Monday and I’m going to have to call him and harangue him in order to get my fence done.

And I can’t help thinking how much easier this process would be if he would only have done what he agreed to do. Nothing more. Nothing less.

But apparently that is WAY too much to ask in today’s world.

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