Honesty–Too Much To Expect?

In the shaded part of the backyard, I discovered several rotted fence posts after a late-winter storm. To my disappointment, a section of privacy fence leaned askew.

There were a total of six posts, that needed replaced. I replaced one of them yesterday. Chopping roots, extracting stripped and rusted screw heads proved all I could handle.

Then, there was the remainder of the rotted post encased in solid concrete. It was all I could do, applying leverage with a fulcrum, to extract it.

My wife took pity on me. She called several local home repair websites. One contractor came out this morning–his price was reasonable. He, then left to do another job, in a nearby city.

In his defense, he’d made a previous commitment. He promised to return this coming Saturday morning to complete the job. I hope he keeps his promise. Because, I want the job completed, and there have been two more contractors, wanting the job.



How was it possible–two days later, everything was exactly the same as before?  Due to termite damage discovered in March, the front wall between the door and window had to be rebuilt.

The paint color and wall texture were matched perfectly.  All the mess was cleaned up and hauled away.  The clock was back on the wall.  Furniture returned to original resting places.

It’s rare (for me, anyway) to have contractors that are competent, efficient, reliable, and true to their word.  When they promised possible completion in one day, I said–“Yeah right,”  “I’d believe it when I saw it.”  Matching difficult paint colors added an additional day.

Complaints about paying annual termite inspection fees, suddenly, didn’t seem so bad.  Everything was covered by contract.  I was happy.  My two dogs were happy to be in favorite chairs by the front window.  Looking out the window is their entertainment.

With one project completed, there’s still one more to go in the master bathroom.  At last, some breathing room. And it’s the nicest day we’ve had in a couple of weeks.

An update:  The elusive bathroom tile, already paid for, supposedly in stock, is somewhere on a stranded truck.   According to the tile store owner, the driver quit on the return trip, and just walked away.  The store owner promised to go himself, and retrieve my tile last night.  Was he just covering his rear?  Will I have to get a refund and get tile somewhere else?  My contractor will be here at nine this morning.  Will there be, or will there not be tile?  That is the question.


“You have till the end of this week to finish and receive final payment.  Otherwise I’m calling in someone else.  I want the roof, siding, windows, and doors installed.  Whatever’s left, above and beyond that, I’ll finish, myself.  I’m tired of messing around–another year’s started.  I thought, at the very least, this would be completed before Christmas.”

In retrospect, I knew better, than to be taken in by empty promises. Emotions and friendships had no place when it came to doing business.  Business, was business–period.

I wanted a backyard barn/storage building with a loft–a place to putter around after my retirement.  It wasn’t a secret at the hardware/building supply store where I was employed.

Then, along came Ken, (not his real name ), an affable contractor with all the answers.   A frequent store customer, we often engaged in enjoyable conversations about anything and everything.  My building project was one such topic.

Sure, he could build to my satisfaction.  I would furnish all the materials, he’d provide labor and know-how.  The first sunny weekend in September, we broke ground.  Ken and I staked out the foundation.  Geometry came into play–to my chagrin.

This turned into a “don’t let this happen to you” nightmare.  For weeks on end the contractor was a no-show.  When the contractor and crew were there, they rarely worked.  My wife called everyday with updates.

“They were here for an hour, didn’t do any work–then left.   They took two-hour lunches, worked for a half-hour, then left.  I called Ken and he didn’t call me back.”

The contractor stopped answering our telephone calls.  My wife, one day tricked him, by calling from our cell phone, instead of the land line.  Ironically, he answered.

It was a miracle that the foundation and framework ever got built.  By, that time, it was late autumn.  The fall rains came and continuously drenched the new framing lumber.  It was an unending source of arguments.

“Honey, he’s your friend.  You need to get tougher with him,” My wife pleaded.  “If, I get somebody else it’s going to take longer and cost more,” I answered.  “It’s already taking too long, costing too much,” She answered.  I hated to admit defeat.

That’s the way it turned out.  The building cost way more, than I’d planned.  It was way behind schedule.  I finished the trim work myself–with the help of a reliable handyman.  Additional expense that paid off in peace-of-mind.

In March, the building was finally completed.  The inspector’s seal of approval closed that chapter of my life.  But, it’s still a point of contention between my wife and I.  I’m certain to hear about this for years to come.