Posted by: Kate | July 31, 2008

An Auspicious Start to the Day

I hate this house.

It has its good points; namely, that it was within our price range and general planned location, and the neighborhood is quiet and safe.

But the house itself? I have spent a lot of time hating it.

The plumbing is loud and cannot be subdued for any amount of money short of actually tearing down the house and digging a new foundation. (Yes, really.) The carpeting has been replaced with laminate flooring that is not saturated with dog urine and the spills of generations of children, but I’m left with the knowledge that I lived with that carpeting – I let my children play on it – for two years until we could afford to exorcise it. The wiring was clearly installed by vandals, who still, to this day, snicker themselves to sleep at night thinking of the backwards outlets, the complete lack of overhead lighting, the randomness of the breaker box.

And every single time we have someone, ostensibly a professional although apparently New Hampshire is frighteningly lax on things like, you know, training and accreditation, come here to fix one of the jillions of just-plain-wrong things about the house, it goes badly. The work they do creates new problems, or in the process of working they discover several previously unknown issues, or they just never actually start the work in the first place because they’re unprofessional and Willem’s too nice a guy to fire them at the first sign of idiocy.

Thus it was that this morning, after a full month of hounding, harassing, and begging a contractor to come here to do some odds and ends having to do with gutters and siding and I know not what, we ended up firing them and sending them away from the premises before they had finished unwinding their first electrical cord. First of all, when we said that we needed the work done by the end of July, we meant July 2008, and Willem shouldn’t have had to call on the night of the 30th to say, “So, when are you coming to do the work?” Secondly, agreeing upon a start time typically assumes that you’re referring to the same time zone as the one we actually live in, particularly because the nearest time zone line is an eight-hour drive from here. And thirdly, if you don’t accept credit cards, a few simple words on your contract might help prevent the kind of problem we ran into this morning. I’m thinking something to the effect of, “WE DON’T ACCEPT CREDIT CARDS,” but perhaps that’s too vague.

So, yeah. The work remains undone, the blood pressures are elevated for miles around, and our down payment will only partially be refunded because Butch – his real name, and if you’re bored and looking to fill an afternoon with crank calls let me know and I’ll give you his real number, too – says that the gutter he already purchased with that money is not returnable. Fine, we need it installed anyway. We’ll just go directly to the nearest group of scuzzy Emo-wannabes on the corner and ask them to do it; at least that way my expectations can’t start any lower and I therefore can’t be disappointed when they screw it up.


  1. Move here. We have a great cost of living. A beautiful state and everyone knows everyone. One of my best buddies does contract work. If he doesn’t do what we need, he’ll refer us to someone reputable and even put the call into that person himself. Sometimes, he’ll even come by to check out the work of others while they’re here! For free!

  2. Aw, man.

  3. I too have always been astonished by the fact that contractors seem to live, nay even thrive, under a completely different set of rules than other business enterprises, as exhibited by your Butch & Co and his many predecessors. After 16 yrs of home ownership I now have in my rolodex the name of a good, reliable, fairly priced electrician. Still searching for same in plumbing, carpentry, window installer, roofer, general fixit, appliance repair, et al… it’s pathetic. Good luck with the Emo gang.

  4. Might I suggest Angie’s List? It’s sort of a combination of Craigslist and eBay feedback. Sooo, when people use a contractor they post feedback on Angie’s list – good and bad – so you know who to stay away from via vicarious experience.

  5. Arrrrhh know what you mean. I had a new pump put in my washing mashine and it doesn’t work properly. There’s a warranty but what do I do, make the same contracter fix his mistake or go to someone who will do it properly . .nah . .I just spin twice!

  6. would you try to looking information about living in indonesia? in my place; bogor, east java, indonesia with $ 100,000 you can have a great home for living, with perfect view… mountain view.

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