I hate handy men – especially BLACK handy men.
It is NOT because they are A) Black or B) Any more inept or inefficient as any other race of handy men.
I hate them because they A) Try to HOLLA while they are supposed to be handling work and B) It seems like they extend their work at my house so they can boost their chances at getting their mack on. Dude! I would be much more inclined to think favorably of you if you didn’t take 3 weeks to do this 2-day job!!!
Let’s go through some history, shall we? And you can tell me if you’ve run into the same ish, or is it just ME?!?!
January 2004: I had just bought my house in Orlando and wanted to gut out the kitchen for an upgrade. One of my frat brothers had a friend who he said could do the work. Now, the frat brother was pretty reliable, so I figured “birds of a feather…” I was SOOO wrong. This dude – with ass crack for days, a scraggy beard, and apparently only the clothes on his back – comes to my house. I open the door to the scent of a pack of Cools, smoked in a sewer 10 minutes ago.
He immediately gives me ‘the look’. Ladies, you know that look! That lascivious “Yeah, I’d like to hit that” grin where they look you up and down. I call it eye rape. So I am standing there getting eye raped in the door of my own house, and finally this guy introduces himself. Ten minutes later, we hammer out a deal. If I bought all the supplies, he would remove all the old cabinets and appliances from the kitchen and install all my new stuff. He said it would take about 5 days, and he would charge me $500 for labor. Deal. (As a reference, Lowes said they would do it for $1500.)
At first, I am impressed because all the old stuff is out of the kitchen and disposed of in 24 hours. Cool! But then, the shullbit starts. The next day he is randomly cutting wood and telling me about the 11 kids he’s got by 8 different women because women find him irresistible. (Yeah, I’mma tell Diddy to try “ass crack, scraggy beard, cigarettes in the sewer” as the base for his next cologne…) He claims that if I had a man like him, I wouldn’t ever have to worry about anything. I asked if he had ever married any of his babies’ mommas. “No.” He said it like I asked if he had ever jumped to the moon.
On Day 3 of “5,” he hasn’t done anything with the wood, the cabinets, the sink… But tells me he is doing my job in the evenings while he works on “rich White People’s homes” during the day. He is also charging me a whole lot less than he charges them. THAT IS NOT MY PROBLEM! I didn’t ask for a discount! I asked you to do the work!
On Day 4 of “5,” he is in the garage “working”, and I leave to go to a meeting. I come back 45 minutes later, and one of his girlfriends (NOT a baby momma) is sitting there with him. They are smoking Cools and eating fried chicken. What. The. F—???!?!? He said he was on break – that lasted an hour! I was so beyond words that I just went in the house, got a glass of wine and watched TV.
Sooo… Let’s fast forward to FEBRUARY 2004. I have been on house arrest with this dude, with NO stove and NO cabinets, for 26 DAYS after the so-called “5 days” he originally said. Finally, he gave up on the pipe dream to get at me and finished the work. Five years later, I can say that I haven’t had any problems, but dayum dude! You stretched a “5 day job” into a month!
(Insert positive experience here): I asked this small carpet company around the corner to come install carpet in all the bedrooms and put down wood floors in the living room. They came, they worked, they cleaned up, and they were gone in TWO days. They were also 30% cheaper than Home Depot. Check out Carpet Country Brokers on All-American Blvd in Orlando. Good folks!
Spring 2006: The 2005 hurricanes damaged my roof so I needed work done. My lawn guy suggested I go to Home Depot and find one of the general contractor type folks that hang out there. He said he even knew some. Now, I would have gone with a Yellow Pages company, but everyone was booked up because everybody needed a roof. So, I got a guy my lawn guy knew to come give me an estimate. This guy said he would rebuild my wood-rotted deck too. We agreed on a price. Then, he asked me where my husband was. A pretty girl like me just couldn’t be all alone in this big ol’ house. Sigh… Let’s just do this man.
He starts on the deck and then “volunteers” to cut corners to save me money. No sir, don’t do me that favor. Do it right. He says, “I’m just trying to help a pretty single lady…” (Cue ‘the look’). Check this out bruh… You can help me by not jacking up my deck. Do it right. And no, I will not go out with you to Red Lobster. He ended up doing a decent job, but it took him a week and a half to put on a new roof. I can’t help being jealous that the lady next door had a gang of ‘guest workers’ rip off her roof and put on a new one in ONE DAY. Sigh….
(Insert semi-positive experience here): I have been through 6 lawn guys in the 6 years I’ve owned my house. All of them A) Tried to get with me, B) Tried to give me a discount thinking I would ‘give them something’ in return and C) Stopped coming around when I turned them down. NOW, I use A to Z Landscape (run by this really cool White couple), and their ‘guest workers’ make it perfect every week WITHOUT giving me ‘the look.’
Spring 2008: I meet this guy while I was on an appointment for my job. He was the maintenance manager for one of my customers, so we had talked in the past. He flat out told me that he thought I was cute, but he was happily married so there was no threat of ‘the look’. One day, I was complaining about not being able to find anyone to put in a new bathtub with jets for me. He looked offended and asked why I didn’t consider him. Ummmm, I didn’t know you could do it. But, let’s agree on a deal. He was professional on his day job so I figured I wouldn’t have to fire him if they hadn’t.
He comes to my house with his tool belt and a pad of estimate forms. We walk the job, and he puts it all together. Afterwards, he emails me a formal estimate. Wow! Great! So professional! We sign off on it, and to prevent scope creep (extra costs) he says he will absorb anything over the estimate. Awesome. Let’s do this. So we find a tub, new bathroom tile, and new sinks. Everything is going great – until he can’t get the new tub into the bathroom. So, he took my door off the hinges – and that door won’t stay closed to this day.
Then, he can’t run the drain because the plumbing on the house is not in the right position for the drain on the new tub. He wants to pull the new tub back out and go find another tub that has the same dimensions as the old one. The engineer in me said “Why don’t you just use a flexible adapter to connect it?” He had a ‘deer in headlights’ look for a full 10 seconds. Then he hugged me and said I was a genius. The hug lasted about 3 seconds too long. I wanted to yell out “Bad touch! I need an adult!” I don’t know what he got out of that hug, but something in him snapped.
(Have you ever seen that cartoon where the cat is convinced that he can stop eating birds? Then, he kisses Tweety Bird on the head, gets a whiff of ‘fresh meat’, and loses his mind. I think that’s what happened at this point.)
The next day he comes over to work on the bathtub that he was supposed to finish in a week, but we are now into week 2. I am in the living room working out on my elliptical runner in sweatpants and tank top. Not sexy at all. He keeps coming out of the bathroom to get stuff, and he stops one time to watch me do sit-ups then remarks “Wow”. I stop, stand up, and tell him to focus on the job. I am already irritated and the last thing I need is the eye rape look from him…
Dammit!! He still gave me ‘the look. Things are going downhill fast.
The next time he goes through the house, I tell him that I know he is attracted to me, but I don’t want any type of confusion or complication on the fact that I am not interested in him. He replies “Yeah, but I think if you are honest with yourself you will admit that you want me too.” OMFG. Are you serious?!? I should drop you where you stand. He claims I wouldn’t be hanging around looking all sweaty and sexy if I didn’t want him to notice. IT’S MY FREAKING HOUSE! I’m not going to leave you alone in my house so you can rifle through my underwear drawer! The reason I am exercising in the house is because I can’t go to the gym since YOU ARE NOT DONE WITH THE WORK! I let him know in no uncertain terms – with words like ‘old,’ ‘not my type’ and ‘MARRIED’ that he didn’t have the chance of a snowball in the deepest level of hell. It was one of those “Not even if Jesus told me to” disses. I guess he got the picture. He says he is done for the day and walks out.
He shows up TWO days later WITH HIS WIFE to help him. I am glad she’s there because then he can’t act up. But if I was getting eye rape from him, I got eye MURDER from her. She looked at me like I was the girl who kicked her ass in middle school. But she did have him working faster, and they finished in just two more days! The sinks worked, the tub worked and the jets worked too! So what if there was caulk in the carpet in my room, and I had to cut it out of the fibers? And grinding dust everywhere because they didn’t cover up anything when they started grinding the tiles to fit? Whatever. I washed and cleaned everything because I was just glad to be rid of them.
But something looked weird with the tile… Hmmm… Where were all the white lines… You know – the grout? WTF? There is NO GROUT!
I called someone else to fix it. He took one look and was like “Who DID this to you?” I told him; he laughed and did the job quickly and efficiently. I paid and thanked him. Then, he said he was glad I was happy and “Can I see that pretty smile one more time?” I compromised with a gas face.
No. More. Contract. Workers!!!!
(Insert genuine positive experience for fair and balanced ranting): A few weeks ago, I started having clogging problems at my house. I tried to ignore it. Then I tried to use Drano. Nothing worked. I didn’t want to deal with it because it meant another contractor in my house. I hoped it would go away on its own (yeah, right). The toilet in my bathroom stopped going down, so I started using the guest bathroom. One day I flushed it… And water just exploded from UNDERNEATH the toilet – blowing out the wax ring!! I grabbed about 10 bath towels from the hall closet. After soaking up the water, I left them in the tub and just sat on the couch with a shot of Ketel One so I could go to my imaginary happy place. My girl Teri told me I should call our soror Arnetta’s husband because he was a plumber. It was 9:30 at night, and I was going out of town at 9 AM the next morning. I figured it could wait, but I called anyway and left a message. Arnetta called me right back, and her husband William was at my house in full uniform by 7:01 AM! OMG, that had never happened before!!
He 1) Diagnosed the problem 2) Pulled out his heavy machinery 3) Cleared the clog 4) Explained what he was doing 5) Told me how to avoid it in the future 6) Cleaned up the mess he’d made as well as the towels I’d left in the tub and 7) Took the trash to the curb!!!
He also was done by 8:30 so I could still leave the house on time!!! Orlando folks – if you ever need a plumber, I fully recommend William Kinsey!!! Check him out at www.adv-plumbing.com. He is my hero!
Rant Volume 23 done, and I’m out.