Stewing in One’s Own Juices

I’m in the process of either learning the virtue of patience or enabling my lack of same to overwhelm my sense of serenity.

Yesterday, I expected the deck guy to arrive between 9 and 10; because that’s when he told me to expect him. I sent a text about 12:15 to inquire as to his plan to show up. An apology came back, along with the explanation that he and his wife were on their way; they had been waiting for their helper to arrive but he was a no-show. They arrived about 12:40 and went to work. When they left at 5:30, the guy apologized again for their tardiness and told me they would be here much earlier today. He may have said “by 10.” It’s now almost 1 p.m.. There’s just no way he can be “much earlier” today.

My choices with regard to this situation are many.

I could simply adopt the attitude that “what will be will be.” That would mean I wouldn’t feel compelled to stay home, awaiting their arrival so I can let them in (this house is badly flawed, in the sense that the only ways to get to the deck are through the house or on a ladder perched precariously on steeply pitched ground covered with gravel). I would simply make sure the volumes are set to loud on my cell phone ringer and text alert. If they show up and I’m not home, they could call and await my return.

Or, I could lay down the law when next I communicate, telling them they either show up as promised or get replaced. That would almost certainly result in replacement. Eventually. With no assurance that a replacement, if I could find one, would show up on time. Or ever.

Or, I could simply cut my losses right now. I would need only to get my paint from them (I have everything else) and pay them a fraction of the agreed total job price. And I would then either do the job myself or find a replacement for the fired contractor. Eventually. With no assurance that a replacement, if I could find one, would show up on time. Or ever.

At the moment, I’m leaning toward the first option. These guys have good references. Except one guy mentioned, “like all contractors around here, you can’t depend on them to show up when they say they will…they have a daughter who’s in school and they have to take her and pick her up and go to teacher conferences…” That should have been a strong signal to me. Either get used to the idea that “tomorrow” may mean “next week” or don’t hire them.

Based on my experience in Hot Springs Village with several contractors of various stripes, two things are clear to me. Contractors are either: a) not any good; b) not reliable; c) both; or d) obscenely expensive. By obscenely expensive, I mean day laborers tend to expect $25 per hour and people with even the most rudimentary skills like to believe they should be paid on par with the best cardiac surgeons.

If I were thirty years younger, I believe I could create a highly successful landscaping/ handyman business in Hot Springs Village. Just by being dependable, I could develop a rabid following. And I could undercut the prices of my competition and still make a six-figure income.

Oh, I almost forgot another option. I could sit and rant and vent about my deck dilemma and stew about what to do about it while doing absolutely nothing. Yeah, that’s an option.


About John Swinburn

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