July 12, 2009

Interviewing new Contractors

Filed under: home improvement — origamifreak @ 7:48 am
Tags: ,

“Bob” has been increasingly flaky about working over the past few months – his personal life spiraled out of control to the point that he is unable to finish the job.

And there have been other problems, too.  The stair nose that we went to so much trouble to match was accidentally taken to the dump at some point by his incompetent stepson that he hired.  This is the same kid who let my cats out of the house, is generally lazy and cannot follow instructions – and whom he said he wouldn’t hire again.  But he did, and the result is no stair nose.  His wife (with whom he has been separated on and off throughout the process) went through his cell phone and collected the numbers and was calling me and hanging up at 2am, and finally actually spoke to me and rudely demanded to know who I was without identifying herself. (She’s also been calling the friend that referred him to me and followed another client until she left the store who made the mistake of having said hello to him.)

He was almost done.  There is one room left to glue the floor down in.  The siding outside the additional windows needs to be patched up.  Touch-up painting needs to be done.  And the stairs need to be finished.  Hardware needs to be put on the new closet doors (for the closets that have them).  Hardware needs to be put on the pocket door.  Etc etc.  And so I am interviewing new contractors to find someone to finish.

It is awkward, because he still needs to come get his tools – he says he can’t come himself because his insurance has lapsed on his truck again (for the nth time in 3 years – and in NY that means they’ll suspend his registration for as long as the insurance was lapsed, and if it goes for 90+ days, he will also have his driver’s license suspended)  so we have to arrange to do it when he can have a friend bring him down here to get them.  Now that I have the yak rack I’m tempted to strap the ladders to my car and stick the tools in and deliver them to him just so I won’t have to wait around wondering if/when he’s showing up.

And it’s awkward showing new contractors the site because I can see in their eyes they’re concerned I’m a wacko for firing someone so close to finishing, who clearly did careful, good work.  I am thus in the doubly awkward position of explaining that I let him linger for more than 7 months on a job that should have taken three months and that he’s unable to finish due to personal reasons.

And it’s painful seeing someone I’d come to know fairly well and trust and who in the past had a stunning work ethic go into a bad personal and professional decline.  I tried every motivational tactic I could come up with and nothing managed to get him to stick to the job.  He actually admitted a couple months ago that he was reluctant to finish.  For the past few weeks he worked only 2-3 days per week, and some of those days less than 4 hours.  The number of hours I’ve been billed lately seemed kind of high for the amount of work that appeared to be done when I’d get home from work.  He has said he’s coming and not done so, he has said he’d call to meet and go over the books to and get a check for supplies and not followed through – over and over in different ways saying something and then not doing it.  And the explanations were flimsy.

I was paying him hourly so that he wouldn’t run out of money at the end of the job.  That wasn’t the problem.  In our conversation(s) on Friday he cried on the phone and told me that he really really really wants to kill his wife, he hates her so much.  That he can’t cope with the pressures and demands of his wife’s extended family and his complicated personal life and the multiple jobs he has been trying to secretly juggle.   He was actually relieved that I fired him, although he was sad because he has put a lot of himself into my house.  Twice he actually said he “needed” me to fire him.

And when I met him to retrieve my missing speaker wire, extension cord, curtain rods, railing and house key, he told me he can’t get off the drugs (?!) – which explains a lot about his strange decline over the past few months.  So it’s a very sad, sad, story.  And I’m sorry to have witnessed it.  I hope and pray that he gets his life back together before the authorities catch up with him.  I really do not want to read about him in the newspaper.

In the meantime, I suppose I’m grateful that the economy is so bad, because other contractors are at least returning my calls and coming out and looking at the site.  None of them sound thrilled about the prospect of the job and I don’t blame them.  But it needs to be done and hopefully I can find someone who will do it.



  1. Sorry to hear he was unable to pull his life together.

    Comment by jpm14 — July 12, 2009 @ 3:50 pm | Reply

  2. Hey, Gurl… Hang in there, okay? The end is nigh…
    xx Lisa

    Comment by Cooking Fool — July 12, 2009 @ 6:32 pm | Reply

  3. Thanks, guys.

    He came and picked up his tools this morning and I got a receipt from him for the $360 on Friday and saying he got all his tools back and nothing else needs to exchange hands.

    Phew. Now I just have to find someone else.

    Comment by origamifreak — July 13, 2009 @ 9:56 am | Reply

  4. Epilogue: I DID read about him in the newspaper, today. Apparently he was arrested for assaulting someone over the weekend. 😦 It looks like his life has continued to spin out of control and it was probably the right move to fire him.

    Comment by origamifreak — July 21, 2009 @ 9:40 pm | Reply

  5. The ex-contractor’s wife just called again this afternoon.

    It was bad enough that she was calling at 2am on both my home and cell numbers while he was working for me, but this is ridiculous. I fired him 7/10 and haven’t had any contact since he came to get his tools on 7/13. I told her before she had no business calling me. I told her today very clearly that this call constituted harassment and that she will next be hearing from me through the DA’s office and that she is not to ever call me again. She whined that she wasn’t harassing me. I hung up on her.

    I went to the police and made a report. They tried to go and tell her not to call me again but can’t find her. All of the employment and residence information is outdated by a year or so. GRR

    (She’s obviously around, though. A friend told me she saw her with her litter of children this past weekend in Geneva. I’m not exaggerating about the litter part. This woman is only 36 and has SEVEN children by 4 different husbands. “Bob’s” contribution to the litter was born in March after they’d had FOUR miscarriages. These people are not only odious, but they are obviously intent on BREEDING. Wishful thinking that she was calling to ask for a donation toward a tubal ligation.)

    Comment by origamifreak — August 1, 2009 @ 4:28 am | Reply

  6. Oh, and did I mention that he not only threw away the stair nose, but he wasted and threw away so much flooring that I had to order an additional 5 boxes of planks so that the new guy will be able to finish the last room? About $600 worth of materials.

    He never did submit the paperwork to the county for the additional two windows he installed, although I gave him the $$ for the fee.

    Comment by origamifreak — August 1, 2009 @ 4:36 am | Reply

  7. […] about the answer, because if I’d known about it, I could have used it on Friday to trace the most recent call.  So now I’m […]

    Pingback by Call Trace (*57) to get legal record of phone harassment « Manifolds — August 3, 2009 @ 1:20 pm | Reply

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