The Case of the Missing Contractor (Part I)
Back in late summer (2011) the husband and I decided that maybe it was not the best time to sell our
teeny, tiny cozy and rather quaint townhouse. Honestly, the house had been on the market for almost 2 years and we had maybe 10 people total come look at it and offer NADA. Besides, J was settled into an “out-of-district” school and I didn’t want to risk up-rooting him when he was just getting acclimated with being in a full-time, autism, pre-k class.
I had a brainstorm, if we had to stay in the house, why not fix it up a little. Nothing drastic, maybe a new coat of paint, a new carpet for the living room and new counters for the kitchen. The husband was thrilled (especially since I wanted to hire a someone to do the work) and off we went to gather names of contractors from neighbors and friends. This will be SO fun i thought to myself.
We met with 3 contractors to discuss our little renovation and they were all pretty much the same. They would walk in, look around, make a face and then address all questions to the husband. Apparently, I was there for show, the “little lady” of the house.
After much thought we went with contractor #3 (” Nick”). He
was the cheapest offered the best price and, more importantly, he talked directly to me. Excited, I ran off to Target and TJ Maxx to find accessories for my “new” kitchen. I scoured the internet for just the right curtains to spruce up the kitchen and started to plan a “Come Look at my Kitchen” get together for family.
That was September, almost 8 months ago, and let me tell you about the little renovation project or lack thereof. It seems Nick is a very popular guy because no matter when you call him there is no answer. Seriously, it can be 8am or 8pm and off you go into voicemail. Nick also has trouble returning phone calls. It can be weeks before you get a call back and when he does finally call, it is always when you’re not near the phone.
The husband is a very nice person, he likes to make friends and doesn’t like to piss people off. He would leave Nick friendly messages asking him to “please” call back at his convenience. After a month, I took over. I toyed with screaming in Nick’s voicemail but decided to try the “woe as me” approach. I called and used my most pathetic voice telling Nick how desperate I was to have the kitchen started. Please Nick, I NEEEED room for the kids, PLEASE call me back. (it was not my proudest moment).
Pathetic worked and Nick called back the next day. Great, we were back on track. NOT.
Nick would show up out of the blue to drop off a counter sample, or take a measurement and then go missing again for months. Finally, the first Monday in February Nick showed up (unannounced) ready to start the kitchen. The husband and I were stunned. He worked for 3 days straight, cutting a wall and doing some other stuff. Then as quickly as Nick showed up, he was gone again with empty promises of returning the following week.
More unanswered phone calls were made and the family and I settled into our little construction zone. Luckily, Nick left behind a piece of sheet rock for us to use as a work space. A month or so later, Nick appeared at noon on a Friday. He had our counter tops and an assistant. I was a little unprepared but welcomed him with open arms. Not necessary, Nick had just stopped by to drop the counters off (in my living room) and said he would “probably” be back over the weekend.
The weekend came and no Nick. He didnt show up in the weeks that followed either. The counters sat in my living room and the kids used them to play with their race cars. The husband and I tried a new approach, we would threaten him. It works great on the kids, why not try it out on Nick.
It sort of worked. Nick showed up on a Friday around noon, did some work, told us there were problems and promised to be back the following day. It’s been 10 days and still no Nick. Luckily the husband and I have been able to laugh about it and make jokes when possible. If we didn’t we probably would have killed each other. There was a rumor Nick was stopping over this weekend, but it was just a rumor. The mouldings sit in a corner on my dining room floor gathering dust and we have canceled any plans for having company over on Easter.
The thrill of the mini kitchen renovation is gone. I am tired of using a kitchen with partial counters and half spackled walls. The novelty of the new counter tops (in the living room) is also over, in fact, I am not even sure it ever happened. I am hopeful Nick will show up again and that someday the kitchen will be done. I just don’t know when.
ps – if the kitchen is ever finished I promise to post a picture but don’t hold your breathe.