Decorating Diaries: The Problem With Contractors

After years (and years, and years...) of up-close and personal observation, I've come to a conclusion about why I get nervous inviting contractors into my home.  It's not because they don't do good work...we've been delighted with the quality of work we've received over the years. It's not because they're not pleasant...most contractors I've met are extremely polite and well-mannered.  No, the glaring problem that stands out across the board with all contractors is this: They Always Find Something More That's Wrong.

To wit, my heated flooring people are here today.  As I passed the pleasant man in the hallway he gave me a look that I can only describe as a mixture of disbelief and humor, mixed with a strong dash of sympathy.  "That ductwork you got under your house," he said, shaking his head slowly.  He paused for dramatic effect.  "You got yourself a mess under there."

"What do you mean?" I asked fearfully.  (I knew what was coming.  Contractors are always finding things wrong with our home).

"Shoot.  That ductwork is laying all over the ground and is tore up in lots of spots."

"Well, that would explain the lack of heat," I said, trying to laugh.

He didn't smile back.  "Shoot.  That explains a lot."

I can't even claim that he's just trying to make a buck off me.  He doesn't do ductwork and had no one to recommend for it.  I'm just left home to ponder that what I have under there is a mess.

Remember a few weeks ago when the contractor was here to touch up paint on the outside of the house?  That's how we discovered yellow jackets in the walls, gutters in disrepair, and rotting boards out back.  Frankly, I think I'm happier not knowing.  Just let me live in ignorant bliss and peace until the day comes when the whole house just falls down around my head and I'll deal with it then.

And for the record, here's the other thing I don't like about contractors.  They're always asking me questions for which I have no answers, making me feel stupid.  Today alone I was unable to answer:

  • Are you doing a ceramic or rubber liner for your shower? (Don't know...)
  • What size trim are you putting back up? (Don't know...)
  • Are you planning on evening out that ledge before the liner goes in? (Don't know...)
  • When are they laying the tile? (Wish I knew, but don't know...)
  • What do you think of putting a bullnose in over this? (What the hell's a bullnose and how dare you speak to me using language like that in my own home.  And, by the way, don't know...)

Coincidentally, it is for the same reason that I flat out refuse to ever call our Road Runner High Speed Carrier when we're having problems or our e-mail goes down.  Instead, I call Blair.

"Internet's not working," I say.

"Call RoadRunner, " he says, shuffling papers in the background.

"I want you to do it," I say.

"I'm swamped here.  Can't you do it?"

"No, obviously I cannot and that's why I'm calling you."

Here's why I refuse. When I call they start asking questions like, "What operating system do you use?" and "Would that be with the TG-500 model series upgrade or are you using a broadbank thing-a-widgeee 2000?"  I just want to scream at them "I don't know!  I don't care!  Just fix the stupid Internet and leave me alone!"

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to peruse some bullnose trim online.