“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.