Where Have All the Contractors Gone?

We started our rather extreme home renovation project a mere 15 months ago. The contractor predicted it would take eight months. Admittedly we did have three hurricane scares along the way which required we demobilize, setting back the schedule. Even so, it's been a long time.

The interior of our home is now 95% finished, and what's done is on the whole very nice. But random things remain to be done here and there in every room, most cosmetic, a few rather more functional. The exterior is less far along, as the stucco guy left two walls looking tumorous, and other one quite poorly patched. So that needs sorting before painting. And the front of the house is still a gravel pit. I have some faith that our contractor, a man with pride of craft, will make it good in the end. Eventually.

The problem is that as we get closer to completion, the work gets done asymptotically slower. Yesterday, the foreman announced that he would be on our job every day until it finished. Today, no one turned up.

Which is perhaps why I took little joy in this otherwise amusing story, Fort Pierce homeowner gets free roof after contractor mixes up addresses. I can just imagine our work crew somewhere else…

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3 Responses to Where Have All the Contractors Gone?

  1. Barry Freed says:

    Speaking from some very hard won and painful experience, I have to ask you: How much of the agreed upon amount of the contract did you pay him?

    I’ll bet you’re a really nice guy (you certainly appear to be in your blog/professorial persona) and when the contractor started whining and crying about how he’s gotta pay this and pay that and….and they always do. You probably paid up most of the money right then, no?

    I’ll tell you where he is, right now. He’s at that homeowners house, yeah, you know, that one. The tightwad. The ball-breaker. The one you hear him always complaining about. Probably even complains about him to your face. And that just makes you even more inclined to pay more of the balance. Sucker.

    I’ve been shafted by these guys from both ends (metaphorically speaking, natch) I worked in construction for many years after an initial Bluto Blutarsky college experience before I went back for my BA and then grad school at an Ivy PhD program. I used to hear my Boss whine and cry all the time. One favorite line we overheard that he screeched to his sons who were our supervisors admonishing them about being too friendly with “those fucking monkeys” was “your only friend is the dollar!”

    Then before I finished my BA and my 2nd (and soon to be x) wife was in grad school we bought a house. (A word of advice: Never, ever, Ever, EVER gut a house and remodel it while you’re living there. Don’t even think about it.) I did a lot of the work but there was a lot that I didn’t feel comfortable doing myself. So we hired a contractor. Unfortunately I let my feelings of fellow construction worker solidarity get the better of me so I was always forthcoming with his money. And then we wouldn’t see him for weeks or even months at a time. And we were living there-gypsum dust all over everything, exposed fibeglass insulation, etc. Fool was I.

    You’ve got to be a bastard. It sucks but it’s true. You can’t give in. He’ll only be there if he has a reason to be there and the only reason is money. Don’t be nice.

    Sorry for the errors but this was really written in haste.

  2. Kenneth Fair says:

    Ah. I see your problem. You hired the Zeno Construction Company to do the work on your house.

  3. I have an explanation for this universally noted behavior of contractors and it is remarkably simple.

    You see, contractors actually live in a parallel universe that is not completely time congruent with ours. When a contractor tells you that he will be back in two days, in his universe it is two days. It is unimportant to the contractor that in our universe three weeks have passed.

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