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Sunday, March 10, 2013

"This Does Not Have To Be THAT Particular!" Waste of Money and Time

A friend (NOT EXBF) uttered these words in exasperation after I mildly complained about how he was making a mess and doing this all wrong.

Then, "this house is a piece of shit anyway, so what does it matter?"

Have you ever seen someone who just skips a step or does something entirely wrong if you don't keep an eye on him? Or, her?

I went inside before he started on the window to get the glass for him then brought back a rag. One pane was missing. The rest of the panes were either gone or had a 1/4 to 1/2 inch crack between the glass and wood. The tornado sucked them loose or out. He replaced two of them several weeks ago. FEMA said I could replace or repair them myself. It was explained that anyone could do this. Well, the bottom of this kitchen window is 9 feet from the ground. The panes are caulked to the outside, so this cannot be done from the inside. If so, I would have done this two years ago. I have an 8 ft ladder and a 21 ft extension ladder. I cannot climb either safely. Actually, even if I climbed either, I could not stand on the ladder.
So, a friend was going to do this for me--replace three panes of glass and caulk. And, at least put caulk on the loose panes to hold them to the window. I bought the glass and caulk. I have two caulk guns. When the wind sucked out two panes several years before the tornado, I bought enough panes so that I would have enough and had two left for this project yesterday, plus I had the panes sucked out but not broken. Two weeks ago, he replace two panes. That left one pane missing and the rest loose for him to fix on Saturday.
I was not present when he started, but two minutes after the job was begun, I arrived outdoors with a rag he requested. He was holding his hand flat against the pane and trying to hold it in place while he caulked. Immediately, I knew he skipped a step. He did the last pane several weeks ago and did it correctly. I know because I watched.
This time, he decided to skip the caulk that holds the glass to the window. He was just going to save time. NO. FAIL! He just kept working and finally said, "This job is not that particular."  I got his attention and gave him a stink eye. Finally,  I said, "And, I suppose when I write letters that are perfect for you that I should not take the time to compose them correctly?" He looked at me and held the caulk gun toward me, "Do YOU know how to do this? Here, take this and let me see you do it. You need to do this since you know how."
"Hmmm, then I suppose you will have to spell every word I type for you. And, you can tell me where the punctuation goes." By the way, he cannot spell well enough to even attempt the word and let the computer guess what he wants to spell. He cannot spell, seriously!
He turned around and took off the pane he was working on, the really messy one in the picture. He turned it over and tried to make it stick with the caulk he had gotten on it while trying to caulk it to the window! I yelled at him, and he took off the pane and put caulk on the wood outside the window, just like he could have done 15 minutes before. In the meantime, I am left with a window I cannot reach to clean.
He used a whole tube of caulk, a tube with 10% more. AND, I still have window panes still not free of breeze, flies, and cold air.
This person makes messes for spite to show you he can do the opposite of what is supposed to be done. This would not be so bad if he were truly incompetent. He is having work done at his house. He and he guy who is a woodworker do the job together. My friend knows how to do the job, so makes sure it is perfect, just lets the other guy do the work. He demands excellence.
On the window on the right, he finished the job by putting caulk on all the wood, using the wood to scrape caulk. See how white it is. He swears it does not have caulk on the wood. He did not have paint up there with him, so why is the bare wood now white?.
We barter but not on a strict trade off. So, he can get on the ladder, use a razor and get this mess off if I ever touch a keyboard again for him. However, he correctly pointed out to me that I only said do it, not how and not how neatly.  So, it is all my fault. Really, honestly, I take all the blame for assuming he would do a job correctly, efficiently, and not half-ass do a very simple job. Oooo, I would love to repeat those words back to him when it is time for me to compose an important letter for him. Yes, I know that is nasty, not nice, and tit for tat, not a game I like to play.  
For about 8 panes, he used a whole tube of caulk. Only one pane was out. The others were just ready to fall. Now, folks, that just cannot be right--8 panes for $8 worth of caulk?! This is not the first time I have purchased caulk for a job. No, he is not taking it, just dripping it all down the ladder and on puddles on the grounds and squirting it all over the ground. So far, I have spent about $30 on caulk. I went and got the last tube and it is awaiting his return. Thankfully, the friend who helped me with the plumbing was generous and I had enough left for the window supplies.
AND, he managed to get caulk all over the gun. I realize that happens, but this must be cleaned off because the silicone will not get hard. The old stuff did dry to a hard lump. Not this! Here, 24 hours later it is still tacky. I know that getting caulk  on a caulk gun happens all the time. But...that would not be bad, but our hands were sticking to the gun. Neither of us could shift our grip once we took hold of the tacky guy. Have you ever tried to handle the grip on a caulk gun the day after silicone caulk had been smeared all over it?
Whew, I feel better. No, not really. But, this is the quality of work I have come to expect as a single woman, especially as I get older. I found a screw left from another job, just half screwed in. I asked why and was told the screw was 1/2 too long and that it would be okay like it was. WHEN?

When I have helped someone out for free, I can tutor, give educational advice, sew, or write resumes. I never have just done a half-way job even for the poorest person. I treat volunteer work like I would a job and do my very best.
Now, I do not mind a volunteer being slow, not an expert, or grumpy. However, to deliberately waste material, time, and money is mean-spirited at best. Yes, there are other angry women who relate how he destroys things before fixing. Sometime, he just throws out items for his girlfriends because he does not want to do the job, just say he did it. We girls talk. Okay, they complain to him and to me.

Update: The cardboard in the window was what was taped there and retaped for the last two years. I have gotten it down now.

Another update: A commentor reminded me of points used to hold the window in place. No one that has fixed this window has been willing or knew how to use the points I bought for this occassion! The caulk in the gun was the only thing they would consider. Don't blame me for not knowing. Just blame me for being too broke to afford proper help.
Your turn
Do you subscribe to "beggars can't be choosers" when it comes to handyman offerings? Have you ever felt that you had to watch someone to assure the job is done correctly? I know guys do this with cars? Am I being overly-critical when I see vital steps skipped and only hear, "This is good enough for you?" It is hard being poor and desperate.


  1. It's hard isn't it, having to rely on others.
    I would expect them to do the same job that they would do on their own place. In saying that husband hates me watching him do stuff because I always tell him how (I think) it should be done. He quite often tells me to do it myself then.
    That does look messy though and that would make the place look worse to people passing by but not sure how to get passed other peoples ideas of *good enough* I would think that it would be easier to clean as you go...


    1. It is very hard to rely on others. I have even paid people that did not do things up to anyone's standards. I asked a friend to put my Christmas tree in the stand one year. I kept offering advice. He grinned, looked up and me and said, "This is not the first cat I have skinned." I put on a mock smile and went into the house. He knew I was mocking myself with the fakiness.

      From the time I was an infant, when I was following Daddy around, and as a helper, I have watched Daddy work at odd jobs around the house, so I am a good helper. I bring iced tea, pick up hammers, know when another tool is needed and know to caution a guy that the other end of the board slipped as he nails it.

      Guys have been pleased to have me grab the right tool for them at the right minute. When I get too bossy, I ask the guy how he got along without me for so long. He knows I am saying what he wants to say--shut up, Linda.

      Three of us women put up a bifold door for a fourth. Two were professors, me, and friend who was the profs best friend. The profs house where we were working could not or would not lower herself to do "construction." We all got along fine even though we corrected each other without being bossy or mean.

      "Messy" is being Yes, why make things look worse? When exbf does repairs wrong, he honestly is not skilled or has ever used tools. This friend is skilled. He will be scraping it. However, to spite me he might just scrape it all off.

    2. And, I can read a level to help a guy do a two-man job without having to rig up something extra to hold things in place. I save steps. I am a great cheerleader.

  2. Oh, it just made me furious to read that someone who is supposed to be helping you couldn't be bothered to do the job right, and wasted your money,too! I'm afraid I wouldn't ever let this person "help" me again (to heck with his needs in the future). A female helper is what you should find--we generally tend to be more conscientious! It is true and sad that good help is hard to find--and that as we age we have to pay for everything. This is true for both men and women.I am a single aging woman and I'm not getting up on the roof anymore, nor am I going to teeter at the top of a ladder--no matter what. I have to pay the price when I need help because I really don't have any handy men or women friends who aren't decrepit. Many things go undone because I have a very low income. In this regard, life is often not at all fair. I hope you have better connections than I do and can find someone who wants to trade EVEN for a job well done! It is particularly annoying when you KNOW how the job should be done and it just ain't happening.

  3. Reta,
    Thanks for you kind words and understanding. For the first time in my life, I find myself rather friendless since friends live too far away or have died.

    You are so right. My friends who helped, not socialized with, are getting to be over 70, nearer 75 and do not climb on roofs or cannot do things they could. At the same time, I can do less because of the three surgeries I need. Unfortunately, I cannot afford to pay for help.

    My services will get farther and farther between for this friend. I am 'supposed to' write three responses or queries to companies for him. He has no one else who can do as good a job as I can. He insisted I write one two or three weeks ago by hand. He refuses to fix my computer when this is his field. So, it limped along and I managed to use too much of my brain and sweat and nerves to get it half working. He knows I cannot afford to take it to a shop.

    Single and aging--that's me. The reason I know how to do many jobs is that I ask in Lowe's or ask someone long distance how to do the job. That way, I have the necessary tools on hand and stuff like caulking and caulk gun. The other things I just know what needs to be done and how to do it.

    The females I know who do their own work are busy with homes, children, grandchildren and ggchildren. One woman is amazing and a friend. She knows my situation and is not lifting a finger to help. I find that women with great and extended support systems are not at all generous with their time or helpful at all. One woman called me all the time for the last 30 years, wanting my help. Yet when I ran out of things to give her, she does not want to even talk to me.

    Seriously, I do need to replace him with another helper. I did have a druggie type offer to help me, but I was afraid to have him on the place.

    I figure writing is a viable trade, an even one if you consider the cost.

    You and Barb have made me feel less like the leech he tries to make me out to be. He is looking for a woman no larger than size 2 (his words). I am not even a person to him, especially since I have gotten fatter and He talks about gross, fat, stupid women like they are scum.

    Being decrepit is the pits.

  4. Wow! I have a contractors license and I can't stand sloppy work. I also have never seen caulking and a caulking gun used for glazing windows. I have always used (and always seen others use) window glazing compound and window glazing points to hold the glass in before the glazing compound is applied. Is this way of glazing windows common for your area?

    1. Kathy,
      I have points and caulking compound. The first thing this friend said was to get some thumb tacks for the job. We had a go-round about this because I knew you did not use thumbtacks but points. He would not agree to that. At Lowe's the guy said to put the caulking on, put the glass on, and then caulk and smooth.

      When I asked about the points,they said this was an okay way. No one wants to deal with points. I do know that the window is not going to hold the glass if he just lays it against the window! You see what a mess he made with the one window.

      He is up on an extension ladder set to the side of the window, does not understand points, said he cannot hold them because they are too tiny, and can barely reach the window. He does not care. He hurries so fast he would have to be an expert to do it so fast.

      I have points; I have compound; I have the little tool to run around the window. Nope! He has his own way.

      And, today, I have to return the last tube of caulk because I need the money. He hurried me to buy it on Saturday. When I returned to the car, he said he was going home!

      He has talked about helping friends before. "I don't give a shit how it looks or holds up, but he will owe me a favor." Everything he does is self-serving.

      The wind and rain has been coming in for two years, so he thinks I should be grateful for anything....his words.

  5. Husband and the Bigs almost never do things the way I think they should. Sometimes they turn out better. Sometimes they turn out worse. Either way, I didn't have to do it myself. I can't help or watch them though- that makes me crazy, lol. Just tell me when it's done boys!

    Hope you get this sorted out soon.

    Do highschool students there have to do community service hours to graduate? Maybe you could get some trainable young men out to help with odd jobs.

    1. Wendy,
      That is your family, not a person with no interest in your well-being that has been okay with you freezing for two years. You get to deal with them.

      No, no one is coming to help for any reason. Kids here want money or schools and churches schedule them. No church person would help, just told me to go ask my own church.

  6. I can relate to poor and desperate. All I can say is that when I help someone, even if I'm not being paid, I don't do a half-assed job. I'd be too embarrassed.


  7. Janie,
    Thank you. I help someone by giving them the same quality assistance as if I were being paid. I, too, would be embarrassed to give less than the best I had. 'Half-assed' is the very term I used to his face. Besides, he was given something I had of value that he wanted. Thanks for understanding.


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