Saturday, January 11, 2014


I had to ignore my own advice.  And as a result, I ended up with a resentful repair man on my hands.

In the words of the Dowager Countess Lady Grantham from "Downton Abbey," I had to send him packing. (I may have watched way too much of that show over the holidays.)

I wouldn't mind a Granny like her, particularly during weeks like last week.

It is amazing to me that, you can hire a man to do work on your home, take him through your house and show him exactly what the problem is, explain precisely how and why you want it fixed, and he will nevertheless think you are such a ... nitwit... that when he spends 3 days doing a slap-dash, crappy job, deliberating bungling things along the way in an effort to create more work that you will then (supposedly) have to pay him to do, you won't notice.  Or mind.

When you do and when you mention it to him, he will say, "What are you talking about?  Where?" And when you show and explain it to him, very clearly and very plainly, he'll try to tell you why it's fine the way he did it or insist he "doesn't see" what's "bothering" you. At such moments, this is the only appropriate response:

And yet, he will attempt to justify himself.  At length.  And it will only get worse with each sentence he utters.

When I subsequently described to my best friend what the work looked like and what he had done, this was her reaction:

I had no answer to give her.

Inevitably, the subject of the bill came up.

Not surprisingly, the conversation deteriorated from that point on. A particularly low point occurred when he actually uttered the sentence, "Well, I don't know what to tell you, honey."

To which I replied, "I'm sure you don't."

But in the end, I stood my ground: I refused to let him return for yet another stressful day of his so-called "repairs" and I refused to pay him what he asked. I agreed to pay what I thought was (more or less) fair, on the understanding that:

After all, as Granny wisely observes,

From that point on, the only question was how to recover from it all. Once again, Granny had good advice.

But then again, it was a Friday night, so I contemplated heading out for a night on the town. Because Granny did have an additional, useful suggestion to consider:

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."