How One Little Water Heater Can Drain The Life Out Of You!

Wow, it's been a few days since I posted. I am for certain delinquent. Well, not in a legal sense. Although...after my experience with our hot water heater bursting, I've had a few urges to go legal or wacky one.

Why? What we thought and were promised was going to take about a week for clean-up, ended up going into almost two months without completion to this date.

What Did Get Accomplished?
Let's see, everything was painted including my lawn, shrubbery, well, washer and dryer, floors, dresser, love-seat, rock fireplace, rugs, shower curtains, wallpaper, and table cloth, just to mention a few. No wonder it was taking the painters/trim guys till eternity!

The contractor eventually admitted that he was pulling the painters off of our job and sending them to other jobs. Lovely. That's the kind of contractor you want. But he kept insisting his desire was to run a top notch professional company. Uh huh.

By the way, he is one of the contractor's that State Farm uses in this area. So we felt we were safe if we took them up on the offer. After all, their service provides a long time guarantee with 15% off. Hmmm, on the front end, that sounded pretty good. Then as time rolled along with our nerves, we questioned our decision. And guarantee? We couldn't even get a guarantee on the entrance, and we were supposed to trust it on the exit?

We were silently accepting of things until long about the third week. We were growing weary of the few hours here and there, never a day of work completed. Along with the re-entrance of paint fumes keeping our windows and doors open with 100+ degree temps. You don't want to know our electric bill. Too, we were breaking our necks stumbling over our torn up house. And Little Mama was hanging in but struggling as well with toxic breathing and carving out jagged paths with her little walker.

The Final Coat
The painters decided to wait and complete the project until after our flooring was put in. OK, NOT. We adamantly opposed. So they came out and partially finished the last room. Once again, we conveyed our sentiments. The painter showed up, and said he'd be right back, to which he called later saying he was going to another job, and he'd be back in a few days. I was completely coming undone at this point. We both were. So I called the contractor and gave him an ultimatum.

The contractor agreed with us and sent the painter right over. I told him I didn't want an angry painter in my house. "Oh, no worries, ma'am." Sure. What did we get? An angry painter? Nope! We got three VERY angry painters. A whole family of them: The painter, his wife, and his brother.

The results: They left without notice and slopped paint and hammers everywhere. The evidence spoke loudly. We now had an even bigger mess.

The Day The Music Died
Then came the contractor's much older brother, who is the owner. He stands about 6'6 and about 350 pounds. Never met the man before, but he showed up unannounced on our doorstep with his office person. Later we found he brought her for a witness. And oh, by the way, we had been alerted that they had been recording us during our "working" out the fiasco. Lovely. Again, the kind of contractor you want.

Anyway, I was out of the conversation as I was attending to my mom. Later I joined in and began to share how I "felt." After all, I was the customer who was a key player in the drama. God forbid a woman share her feelings. To my utter shock, within a few minutes Big Foot turned on me with his towering body and blew his dragon fire breathing breath down my throat. I was in shock. But not enough to his liking. I'm sure he's used to putting little women in their place.
I regained my composure and assertively said, "Do NOT yell at me!" He continued with fire coming out of his nostrils. Once again, I clearly said, "Do NOT yell at me!" My husband then said, "Don't talk to my wife that way!"

Big Foot then turned to my husband and said, "Fine, I'll talk to you then." Wow. Everything within me wanted to tell him to get out and never step foot back in my house. My husband told me he was feeling the same way. But what had us both was that we were feeling somewhat helpless as they were holding the cards.

Looking back, we realize we should have fired them that day and got a new deck.

Later Big Foot came into the room where I was and started in again. This time with, "By the way, I was NOT yelling at you!" I couldn't believe he had now followed me and was going off on me again, arrogantly defending his illness.

I said clearly, "Yes, you were." He contended. I began to realize I was arguing with a fool, and I realized it was time for me to shush. Interesting that his poor little office lady turned back to me at one point when he was nowhere in sight and mouthed, "I am so sorry."

They continued to vacillate with us on what needed to be fixed and how we would be compensated. We both made a list. Theirs was to be signed. They refused to go over it until they came to do the work, which by the way, was put off to another week.

Our State Farm agent, who by the way, has been wonderfully supportive and helpful, told us we needed to evaluate and decide where our threshold of tolerance and pain ended.

So on 09/14/09 we fired the contractor with or without the support of State Farm. Thankfully, State Farm elected to redeem us, and now we are preparing for hurricane clean-up.

I've had an immeasurable amount of work during this chronic saga. Pilates to the rescue! Truly, I believe it's been a salvation to my endurance and sanity.

NOTE: This does NOT include all of the numerous mistakes the contractor and his subcontractors made. We don't have that much time.  BTW, no offense to Big Foot and the use of his name. 

I'll keep you posted.

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