It all started last week when I walked around the house to check on Marco and his friend's (who's name I can not remember, so he will now be known as Polo) progress, I discovered some problems. As they painted, their craftsmanship, or lack thereof, began to really show up. There are spots on the walls that have been patched so poorly, it looks as though a 1st grader did the work, they dripped the wall paint on to the baseboards and light switch covers that, apparently, they had no plans of wiping up, they had cut a big hole in the wall behind the bathroom cabinet and had no plans to patch it, the paint job looked like garbage, the trim paint was drippy, they got paint all over the hardwoods, the list goes on and on. I felt the proud parent of a honor roll student, using this blog as my bumper sticker to brag to everyone about him, who just realized he is secretly the neighborhood drug dealer. The disappointment and foolishness I felt for believing in Marco and Polo was immeasurable. I told Marco that these issues needed to be fixed and that I would put pieces of blue painters tape on the specific items as I explained to him how they needed to be repaired. He walked around the house with me as I explained everything as clearly as I could and he told me it would be fixed.
I went by the next day to see what had been done. A few of the things had been fixed, but a few of them hadn't and all of the tape I marked with had been removed. I once again found myself wondering if he didn't understand what I had said, or simply didn't care and was being defiant. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and replaced the pieces of tape telling him those things still needed to be fixed. As I left Wednesday night, I gave them some specific instructions regarding drilling holes in the kitchen cabinets for some wiring (I won't bore you with all of the details).
Jump ahead to Thursday morning when we had not only Marco and Polo working, but Dale and his co-worker also came by to take care of some items that Marco and Polo couldn't complete themselves. I walked around to check on what had been worked on. The instructions I had given them about the cabinets and the wiring had been completely ignored and I was now the proud owner of kitchen cabinets with 2, very sloppy, holes in the shelves. They had also completely half-assed all of the other items I had requested be fixed and yet again removed the tape. I took Marco aside again and explained to him how ANGRY I was about the holes in the cabinet and that these "repairs" were not good enough and needed to be redone. At this point I asked him if he understood me when I talked to him and he said he did. I told him if he didn't, he really needed to speak up because he is beginning to cost me money with these mistakes (he also trimmed the brand new counter tops too short and so a new one will most likely need to be bought....thanks alot buddy).
I walked around AGAIN putting pieces of blue tape (at $7 a roll, mind you) on the problem areas. I let him know we were headed out of town for the weekend and would not be back until Monday but that Dale was coming by with his trash trailer so they could load up all of the drywall pieces they had pulled down from the carport ceiling. I told him they needed to be there to load the trailer, he said OK. He also informed me that they were going to work Friday and Saturday and would be done. We made plans to meet Monday morning to do a final walk-thru and if everything looked good, I would pay him the remainder of his fee.
Jump to Saturday morning. Steve and I begin getting calls from Dale who is at the house with his trailer and there is no sign or Marco or Polo. I try to call Marco and he doesn't answer. My first thought is that he has taken the money we have already paid him and run. I'm not convinced of this idea though because we still owed him half and that would be a lot to skip out on. I decide to try to call him one more time and right as I'm about to panic, he answers and proceeds to inform me that he is at home and wasn't going to work again until Monday. If you know my personality, you know that I am getting very pissed at this point. I let him know that he needs to load the trailer as soon as he gets to the house on Monday and that I am really upset.
Skip ahead to Monday morning. Steve and I arrive at the house around 8:15 to see what progress they have made. I am not exaggerating at all when I say they had not done a SINGLE thing more than they had done when I left on Thursday. Apparently, they enjoyed a nice little 3 day weekend. What happened to being done on Saturday!?!?!?!? Marco is waiting for us in his car and is alone. Bad sign. He is dressed in normal clothes, not work clothes. Bad sign. He goes inside to install the other bathroom cabinet and I begin to look around more closely. The "patch" they made under the other bathroom cabinet looks like paper mache gone wrong, and on all of the drywall problems, they just applied more paint. I am so mad at this point that I can not see straight. Steve begins to walk around with the blue tape and mark some more spots and I tell him that maybe he should explain what needs to be done because he clearly does not listen to me. He says he will fix everything, again.
Steve went outside and I started to remind Marco that he needed to fill the trash trailer that day. He takes this opportunity to ask me for more money because he hung some light fixtures and did other extra stuff. This is all it took and I LOST it. I started yelling at him that he didn't do anything extra that we had not paid him for and that I could have hung the light fixtures myself. I could not believe he had the guts to ask for more money as we are showing him his sloppy craftsmanship!!!! I truly believe he thought he was showing up that morning to install that cabinet and to collect his money. Did he not see the mess that we saw????
As Steve and I are talking on the way home (well, he is talking, I am FUMING), I tell him that I wouldn't be surprised if he decides there is too much to fix and just leaves, and I really wouldn't be heartbroken. I went back out there in the afternoon and all he had accomplished was applying some more paint to the areas we told him to fix and he installed the bathroom cabinet. Steve agreed to meet me out there in the evening to speak with him again. When Steve got there he, once again, marked all of the problem areas (and we weren't even being too picky) in the entire house. Then the discussion took place. Steve explained to him, AGAIN, how everything needed to be repaired. He had an excuse for a couple things and even had the nerve to blame me for the fact that he cut the counter top wrong (at this point, if he had been closer to me, I think I would have hit). While we were talking, I even got him to admit that he had cut corners and lied to me about it. During this conversation, I decided that he understands what we are saying very well, he is just being lazy and defiant, which I have ZERO tolerance for. Steve told him to quit for the day and to go home to decide if he wanted to come back. Steve made it very clear that we would not pay him another dime until it was done properly. My hero!
This morning I had an appointment with an A/C guy at the house and on my way there, I got a phone call from Marco. He was at the house working, so this must mean he is going to do it correctly, right? He tells me that he needs me to go buy paint. Once again, I lose it. I tell him there is no way in HELL he is ready for paint and that he needs to load the trash trailer (oh yeah, that STILL hadn't been done) and we will talk when I get there. I do a lap around the house to see what he has "fixed" only to discover that most of it looks worse than last night! As if I am working in a pre-school, I walk Marco around the house asking him if this looks like finished work to him....to which he replies no. OK, now I'm really confused. I told him I wouldn't buy an ounce of paint for him until everything was repaired. He actually tried to tell me that it was repaired! I am now wondering if I am on crack or if he is.... I show him some spots and tell him, "That looks like Shit! I can not find someone to move in here if it looks like shit. I can't pay you for work that leaves this place unrentable." At this point, Marco decides he should just take his tools and leave. He also informs me that he would have fixed this stuff but now I will have to pay someone so I must be dumb. I said it would be worth the money because it would actually be done right. I also informed him that apparently he underestimated me and took my friendliness as naivete, but he was VERY wrong. Also, for good measure, I threw in once more that he does SHITTY work.
While I met with the A/C guy, Marco collected his tools and left. I not only felt like I found out that my honor roll student was a drug dealer, but he also robbed houses, raped women and children, and was living under a false identity. I spent the next 3 hours cleaning all of their messes from the inside of the house and sweeping everything out.
So, we are now looking for new workers (although I have decided some of the stuff I can do myself....I'm very handy) to fix the work that Marco and Polo did. What a pain! The good news is, in the rematch of the Mexican-American War, America DOMINATED! We'll just have to clean up the battlefield a little.
There are a few lessons that were learned here, but I am too tired to write them.....
(Just thought I'd throw John Wayne in there for good measure, and my dad's benefit.)