HAVE TO SCREAM
It wasnít as though I didnít have a warning. When I
called and left a message for him to give me an estimate to replace our
crumbling deck, he promptly called me back---a week later.
"Sorry I didnít get back to you sooner," he said.
"Itís been real crazy around here."
"No problem," I replied, figuring he must be good
if heís that popular. "Can you come by and take a look at our job?
Please. Pretty please?"
Miraculously, he was there that afternoon. He went back to
his truck and submitted his bid for $59,750 immediately. It was scribbled
on a contract that was ready for me to sign.
"How did you do that?" I asked. "Donít you
want a little more time?"
"Nah, Iíve been in the business a long time. I know
what things cost. We can have this done for you in about four weeks. We
can start next week, if you want."
"Uh, what about plans and permits?" I asked, a tad
"Iíll take care of all that," he replied, scribbling an
additional line on the contract to cover plans and permits. "No
Believe it or not, the price was far less than earlier estimates,
and this contractor was actually a very large firm that has done some very
big jobs in our area. He surely knew what he was getting into.
I added an addendum to the contract that actually spelled out
some specifics of the job, and then we both signed. The toilet was
delivered the next morning.
The big, yellow, obnoxious, banged-up, smelly port-a-potty.
The contractorís truck dropped it off and put it right in our driveway,
smack under the basketball hoop. I was impressed. These guys were gung-ho,
ready to roll.
That was in early October, 2007. The toilet was removed
yesterday, 4 Ĺ months later, or 3 Ĺ months after it should have been.
I liked our contractor. He was my kind of guy. As evidenced
by his nonchalant attitude about contracts, he was extremely relaxed about
things. And by the end of the job, I was ready to kill him.
"Weíre starting on Monday," he promised when I
asked him why the toilet was still sitting there, unused, after being
delivered a week before.
Monday came and went and still no one around to use the
"Weíre starting on Thursday, for sure," he
replied when I asked what happened to starting on Monday.
Eventually, they did start, but it was nowhere close to that
Thursday. And then two weeks into the job, they disappeared.
"Weíll be back tomorrow," he explained. "I just
had to pull them off for a couple of days to finish this other job. But
theyíll be back tomorrow."
Tomorrow came and went and the toilet sat idle. Weeks went by, with
more phone calls and false promises, and then the rains came. Iím sure
the contractor was delighted. No need to lie anymore. They couldnít work
in the rain. It was the perfect excuse.
When the sun came out, they came back. And then they
inexplicably disappeared. I called the contractor, but his voice mailbox
was full. Not a good sign.
They finished in early February, only 3 months behind
schedule. The work was fine, and there were no cost overruns. Finally, the
only thing left to do was remove the toilet.
"Iíll pick it up tomorrow, for sure," he replied
when I informed him that we were thinking of letting our bank know we had
added an extra Ĺ bathroom.
I donít know why, but I kept believing him. And then
finally, when the third promise of tomorrow provided no escape from the
ever-present toilet, I finally exploded.
Iím not a screamer, but like almost anyone, I have my
moments. And this was one of them.
Boy, did it feel good. After four months of consistent
bullcrap from this otherwise likable fellow, I had just about enough. I
got him on the phone (heís a big guy---why take chances?) and let loose
with a torrent of beautiful obscenities. I had finally snapped, and he
I had the feeling he was wondering what took me so long. I
could picture him smiling on the other end of the phone as I ranted and
raved. The game was over.
The infamous toilet was picked up that very afternoon. The
contractor called to ask for the final check.
I said Iíd have it for him tomorrow. Game back on.