Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sometimes coffee isn't just coffee, it's an HELL

Over the past 2 years, I have had the chore of finding, evaluating and hiring contractors to fix up the seemingly endless lits of things going wrong with the house. First of all, I have had very little experience doing this. Peter was a Mr. Fix it sort of guy and did most projects himself. The only project we ever hired out was when we changed the location of the water meter cemented into the foundation floor. Some things you just don't mess with. Secondly, I always worry that the contractor is going to try to take advantage and overcharge me, or tell me I need things I don't really need. So the process involves getting a few estimates from the contractors who even bother to show up, ( you would think in this economy that they would be glad for the work?) decide to trust the ones that are all in the same ball park and then just going for it and praying they show up to do the job promised.

When I got the bathroom redone last year, I decided to use a friend of a friend whom I had heard terrific things about. I got his verbal estimate, told him that it sounded great and waited, and waited, and waited for the written contract. I called and left a dozen messages over a weeks time. He called me back once to tell me it would be mailed out shortly. I never got the contract nor heard from him ever again. Unbelievable! After that fiasco I try to use friends and friends' family members when possible. At least that way, they won't be able to fall off the face of the earth and presumably have a vested interest in completing the job in an appropriate fashion.

So the roof has been the latest project completed. The mason is showing up today...(it never ends...sigh) The roofer was the brother of one of my neighbors. He called me up at 7:30 pm to see if he could come over and go through the estimate. It seemed harmless enough. He wanted to bring me a coffee which I declined. He insisted and showed up with coffee in hand. We went over the estimate in about 15 min. 2 1/2 hours later, he has inappropriately shared WAY too much personal information, not least was, that he planned on leaving his very sick and emotionally damaged girlfriend of 6 years. The message clearly was that he wanted me to know that he was available, for more than the roof job. I realize this was NOT going in a good direction. But he just wouldn't stop talking, his run ins with the law, evictions by his landlords, a stabbing, it just wouldn't stop and frankly, I was stunned into inaction by all that he was disclosing. I hired him to do my roof...! Finally at the end, even he admitted the inappropriateness of the situation with his comment that "you needed a roof and I guess I needed someone to talk to." As I close and lock the door behind him, breathing a sigh of relief, I think OK, surely everything will be back to business as usual. He must have just had a bad day. But the next day he showed up with more coffee and a big smile, and said he was looking forward to spending more time with me, as he touched my arm.

Now I am NOT interested in this man, especially after what happened the evening before. But apparently he has interpreted my tolerance of last nights interaction as interest? And then he does the worst thing a man can do when trying to date a woman with kids. He tried to get on my good side by trying to get the kids to like him. He brought them doughnuts. Who does this guy think he is, showing up to my house buying my kids junk food without my OK? You just don't do that. You don't get to a woman through her children, you get the honer of meeting a woman's children after you have already won her over. I don't even know this is the third time I have ever met him. So I found myself in the strange situation of needing to break up with my roofer. I kept on wondering if I was reading the signs wrong, but really that was just wishful thinking. It just goes to serve as a reminder that even indifference can be construed as interest. Like the song says you do have to be cruel to be the right measure though in this case it does not mean that I love you.

All this drama when all I wanted was freaking roof! (which in his defense, was done beautifully.)