Thursday, January 19, 2012

Needs Work.

Ben is a General Contractor.

I know what you're thinking:  Well, that sure does explain his shitty attitude and unreliability.  But actually, he really is one of the only honest contractors I have ever met. In fact, he has a problem because he is too nice and generous and has a habit of doing extra work for no charge and because of that we are always broke.

But I don't want to talk about his (lack of) business sense.  I want to tell you about my house.

Whenever Ben finishes a big job like a kitchen remodel or building a new porch, he likes to take pictures so that he can use them in a portfolio to show potential clients.  These projects are always flawless, and clean and beautiful. 

Like this.  Although this is not actually one of his..
This is a random internet pic.
We bought an abandoned house last year really cheap.  Because Ben is a contractor, he did all the work on it to make it livable.  In fact, since our lease was running out and our landlord REFUSED to give us another month, he did all the work on the house in about 5 weeks.  He worked morning until night, 7 days a week and when we moved in, the house was ALMOST done.  There were just a bunch of little things that needed to be finished up.  Things like moulding along the floor, touch-up paint, doors needing door knobs - things like that.  And because he had essentially BUILT a house from rubble, I ignored it and figured it would get done.

The thing is, none of that shit is done, 15 months later.  Do you know why?  Because for some infuriating reason, whenever Ben does work around OUR house, he leaves it half done. 

OK.  At least I DO have countertops...But still.
Three months ago, he put a transition piece along the border between the bathroom tile floor and the slightly lower hardwood floor of the hallway.  It took him about 20 minutes to measure, cut and position the piece.  He set it there....and left it.  Now every time I walk out of the bathroom, I kick the thing and it goes flying out into the hallway.  He never bothered to nail it down.  I asked him how much time it takes to nail a piece of wood in place and he told me, "About 30 seconds...a minute if you do it right".  I told him I was getting the hammer and he assured me that he would take care of it because "you don't want the nail to stick up at all."  THIS WAS THREE MONTHS AGO!!!!!

We have a couple of spots on the drywall that were damaged somehow and are going to need touch-up paint.  Last JULY I asked him to get the paint out (because his work area is a labirynth of crap that only he has the magic map to) and I would paint it.  He told me he would take care of it.  Later that day, he applied that plaster crap to it to patch it.  He let it dry and sanded it down.  I had a pile of white dust on the floor for 4 days before I finally gave in and swept it up.  The white patch is still there.  He told me it still needs another layer...WHAT THE FUCK!!!!

I have attempted to explain to him that it offends me that when he does jobs at other people's houses he actually finishes up, then cleans and leaves the place looking like something from an HGTV room makeover show, but our house looks like someone randomly pieced it together and then forgot about it.

Another (visual) example:

We have plans to get siding in the spring.  The house is an ugly green and looks as if it hasn't been painted in at least 20 years.  Also, we kind of have to because the house is drafty and cold even with new windows and weatherproofing.  There are gaps in the old wood slats and that makes the walls super cold and covering it will make it better (or at least I am told).  While I was out the other day, Ben decided that he was going to fill in some of the worst gaps with "a little caulk".  This is what the side of our house looks like now:

Yes,I ran outside in the cold to take this picture just now.
  And we live on a corner.  This side faces the street.


"Would you EVER do that to someone else's house?"  He shrugged.

"Then WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU DO IT TO OUR HOUSE?  Don't you care AT ALL what this house looks like?" 

"Not really."  He admitted.  "It's going to get sided and then it will look really nice.  EVENTUALLY it will look good." 

Did I mention that the house was SUPPOSED to be sided and have a new roof put on over the past summer but (and I am quoting here) Ben "just didn't get around to it."  Now, maybe it's just me but I would think that a job as large as siding a house is something you PLAN, in advance.  And maybe schedule.  With some help.  (Now that I am typing this, I am concerned that my house will he half sided for the next 10 years.)

That's awesome.  Because I love having a hillbilly shack to be proud of.  Don't even get me started about the shit he keeps in our yard.

We're just one boat and a missing roof tile away from this...
And it isn't that I don't try to help or do the work myself.  He won't let me.  He says I don't know what I am doing.  Because CLEARLY, it takes a professional to stick a door knob on.

Am I over-reacting?  What do you think?


  1. Just do it. Fuck what he says. Tell him he has a choice, either he does it right now, or he steps aside so you can. I enjoy home improvement projects and can do just anything as long as I have the physical strength to do it. So can you!!

  2. My husband is a General Contractor also. Same thing!! Sometimes he can go the other direction. Be a total perfectionist because it is OUR house, but sometimes.... Whooo!! Lets just say, we have a cracked window in our kitchen, repaired with DUCT TAPE. I swear the thing is gonna just pop out and shatter one day. It took 7 years, SEVEN years for him to install a toilet paper roll holder in our bathroom. Before that, our rolls of toilet paper just sat on the floor. And don't get me started on our silverware drawer that doesn't quite shut all the way. I also am a fully capable woman too. I grew up with 3 older brothers, so there is a Tomboy side to me. But if he sees me walk in the garage and come out with as much as a hammer to hang a picture, he gets all Contractoryish on me.I have a big family, and my house is the Family Party House. Someone always makes a joke like "you would think with a Contractor in the house......" Good Luck, and Happy Home Improvements!

  3. I agree- FUCK THAT.

    Just do it yourself. And go ahead and do it badly if you want. And then when he says "I told you so," you can tell him that if he had done it when he promised he would, over a year ago, this would be a moot point to begin with so just man the fuck up and do it.

    I might even try playing a similar card with food. It's what I do when M starts "forgetting" his household shit. I just "forget" to make dinner. And considering that without me he would starve, he gets the message pretty quick.

  4. OMG I feel you pain. My husband is a mason who can also do pretty much any construction job. His work is beautiful and he always get rave reviews. My house is a shithole. It took him 8 years to put a new chimney on, and we had the bricks sitting on out yard waiting to go up the whole 8 years!!!! I finally got him to do some stuff in the house this year but it too is half finished. I usually just go ahead and finish things up then when I screw them up he will fix them.

  5. WOW!! As much as I'm happy for my friends that are married, I"m also happy that I don't have to deal with asking my man to fix anything around the house. I am a single mom and have been for 3 years now. I was with my ex-husband for a ten years (we were married for 5 of those 10 years). I learned pretty quickly after we got together that I would have to be the "Mr. Fix-it" around the house. If I asked him to hang a picture for me, he could hang it, alright. It took literally 30 minutes, 3 levels, a stud finder, a certain hammer and certain hanging brackets. And that was the extent to his "fixing" anything around the house. He was not a handy person, per say.
    Now that I'm on my own, it's no different than it was when I was married when it comes to fixing things. I do have a boyfriend that is very capable of making/fixing things and he does a wonderful job at it when I ask for his help. And sometimes he gets frustrated with me when I go ahead and do something before he even has a chance to. It's just my nature. I like to say "I did that" and I feel a sense of accomplishment when it's done and I know it's done to my high standards.
    I say, just finish the projects yourself. If he hasn't gotten to them yet, chances are, it will take another 15 months...or longer for him to complete them. And that would absolutely drive me battie!!

    1. I feel your pain, Selena. My husband is a carpenter (retired and now a computer nerd) but our house is never finished. And his tools? Leaves them all over the place just like everything else and can never find what he needs. We have lived in this house for over 10 years and the bathroom still isn't finished. If I want something done, I start doing it myself and then he insists on taking over... and it doesn't get finished.

      Lately he has just hired people to do the stuff for him, and sometimes they even show up and do the work!


  6. i would lose my fucking mind. tell him to get his shit together, i understand getting tired of doing this kind of stuff because he does it all day, but he needs to have some sort of pride in his own house. good luck...and yeah, if he dosnt man up, i would say start doing this stuff yourself, but then you kind of let him off the hook, and hes not doing anything around the house....maybe find something else to threaten him with? you do stuff around the house, that means HE has to too....

  7. You are not overreacting at all! My husband is not a contractor, he's and engineer, but he is very handy and can do many, many things around the house. But things take forever to get finished and tools never seem to be where he left them.... is this a genetic condition?

  8. If men would just finish their shit, women would never learn to nag.

    They bring it on themselves.

  9. It was like reading about my husband. We've been in our house 2 years. He started building new cabinets so that we could put up our new microwave. Well, the microwave is up but I have no extra cabinets still. He will help anyone out at any given time of day or night but doesn't help himself out. Plus, I always get yelled at for "hiding" his tools. Because that's what I do during the day.

  10. Amy Jo: That made me laugh. You know, because "hiding" means "moving them from the middle of the floor in front of whatever project still isn't finished."

  11. You are hilarious. I love your honesty. Great blog, I'm addicted.


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