For the past two weeks, the household I share with my parents has been in a bit of disarray due to renovations on the upstairs bathroom.
The man charged with the task is someone highly recommended by my godfather. He’s already done work for my godfather’s kids on their respective bathrooms, and apparently has done an excellent job.
So, my mom – happy to finally find someone to do the job – agreed.
From what I’ve seen, he seems like a nice enough man. And the work so far has been decent. He essentially stripped the old bathroom down to the studs, fixed the plumbing as best he can, installed the new bathtub and has been working (with the assistance of his colleague) on tiling both the floor and the bath/shower area.
But it seems that, along with the workmanship, we’re also paying for some of his, er, idiosyncrasies.
For example, his open relationship with time.
On the first couple of days of the reno, he only spent a few hours before leaving for the afternoon.
One Sunday, he said he was going to come over to take my mother to some places to pick out a couple of necessities for the new bathroom … only to have his car break down. I’m not going to fault him for that. Things happen.
However, he insisted he was going to show up, but needed a ride from his friend (who’s helping him with the reno).
In the end, he never arrived. He didn’t even call, just to say he couldn’t get a ride in time. That probably would have helped.
Other days, he said he would arrive at a certain time, only to turn up between two and four hours later than originally stated. I understand if he’s got other clients to attend to. But at least call if you’re going to be late.
And then, there was this morning at 7:50 a.m., when the sound of the doorbell had me to stumble blurry-eyed down the stairs, through the hall, to answer the door.
Guess who was there, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed …ish?
Keep in mind: at no time did he tell anyone in our household he was planning to be here at 8 a.m..
Then, there are his personal habits.
That contractor is one chatty Chester.
Out of an average workday, how much of his time is comprised of chatting his clients’ ears off? Seriously. I get it if you have a short little convo when you arrive or during the day, or on your lunch break – you’re human, too.
But at the end of a long day, why on earth are you shootin’ the shit (with people who are so hungry, they’re ready to eat their own hands and feet)? Don’t you just want to … go home? You must be EXHAUSTED.
He’s also managed to make himself right at home in our fridge.
According to my folks, when he needs a glass of water, he trudges down the stairs into the kitchen, swings the fridge open, takes a bottle of water, and retreats from whence he came.
At the time that I heard this antedote, I hadn’t seen it for myself, so who am I not to believe my parents? What they told me sounded kind of odd.
But then late Saturday night/early Sunday morning arrived. I’d just gotten home and went straight to the kitchen to prep my lunch for the next day.
I opened the fridge door …
And sitting in the compartment alongside the juice and ketchup, were three bottles of Rickard’s Red.
I don’t drink Rickard’s. My mom’s basically a teetotaler. And my dad, while an occasional drinker, is – I can safely assume – not a Rickard’s connoisseur.
My suspicions were confirmed a couple days later, when (at the end of his workday) he was chatting with my mom and I, and proceeded to open the fridge and pull out a cold one.
Now, I’ve never been a homeowner (ergo, I’ve never had anything renovated), so I’m stating the obvious when I say I’m no expert.
But unless the person renovating part of your house is an actual friend of yours … isn’t helping yourself to drinks – and storing them – in your clients’ fridge … an unorthodox business practice?
Needless to say, this – along the unexpected stops and starts one SHOULD expect in a reno – has been driving my parents bonkers. One’s pacing around the house, grumbling or complaining at a whisper to themselves when they’re not out-and-out irritated; the other is venting at me about the lack of communication from either the other parent or the contractor as to what else is needed.
I’m trying to be supportive. I’ve even been going out with my mom to try to help her in some way. But it’s draining. Work – as much as I loathe it – is now my refuge from the chaos at home.
My parents wanted this whole project wrapped up and done, like, yesterday. And with each passing day, as their moods seem to be getting worsening, I want this thing done, too. I’m tired of coming home to a dark cloud hovering over my house.
But for better or for worse, until he’s finished, he – and his beer – will be here for the forseeable future.
Oh, and in case you were wondering: the contractor’s beer of choice this week? A six-pack of Heineken.