Dammit…Now, Hitting the Road

I spent a large part of the day yesterday deconstructing and then reconstructing the sixteen-foot-long step that leads from the upper level of the back deck to the lower level. I did this because the contractor didn’t pay attention to how the original step was built and, as evidence of his incompetence, built the new step with a four-inch gap between the step and the side railing. Just enough space to be a trip and fall hazard. Plus, it looked bad. He insisted he had to build it that way. By the time I noticed his screw-up, I was too tired of correcting him to fight it. So I let him leave, thinking I would rebuild the step myself. So I did. I’ll have to replace a 2 x 6 x 16 that’s not quite right because of the way it was originally cut to accommodate a drain for the roof gutter, but I can do that anytime. For now, though, the step is as it should be. Before I noticed the latest screw-up, I caught a more serious one in time to rectify it before he had gotten too far. He was building the step two inches too high. He “thought” it had been built with a 2 x 8 x 16. I stopped him and explained to him that what he was doing was wrong. It took a while, but he finally figured it out. A light bulb, quite dim but with barely enough illumination, came on in his dark little brain and he “saw the light.”

I’m afraid the guy and his helper are handymen by virtue of the fact that they own hammers, not because they have any handyman skills. But, they have replaced a number of rotting or split deck boards, so progress has been made. And they’ve power washed the deck (though too aggressively—fuzzy wood fibers are visible on many, many boards) and scraped a bit. There were to have been back yesterday to paint, but they “got behind on another job.” So, according to a text the contractor sent to me, they will return Friday to paint. That’s the same day he committed to doing some other work for a neighbor. I asked the neighbor if her job had been pushed back, too. She responded via email that she had called him and reminded him that he had promised to do her work on Friday. He was confused, she said, but finally agreed that he would do her work on Friday and would tell me. He hasn’t told me anything yet. We’ll see.

My experience with “handymen” and their ilk has been disappointing, to say the least. The few people who do good work in the Village and who are dependable are backed up for months. And they are expensive. I’m reaching the point that I am willing to engage people who are expensive. And if I can wait, I will. It’s maddening to hire people who don’t show up or who show up only with hammers when the job calls for saws. And who do not know how to use a tape measure. Arrgghhh!

Once the deck is painted, I have committed to seeking out truly skilled, competent contractors to give us quotes on several other projects. Once we select the one we like, I’ll be satisfied to be put on the project list, even if it’s months hence. I just don’t want to babysit people who know less about what they are being paid to do than I.

Enough griping and moaning. We’re going to go for a drive today, destination as yet undetermined. I think, though, it will involve pie-seeking. Janine found something about what is said to be among Arkansas’ best locations for pie. This appears to be calling her. I am happy to accommodate. Where are these pies? We shall see.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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