Friday, February 16, 2007

Tile Man

I used to hear Mrs F complain all the time about how hard it was to find good contractors and now I have first hand experience. As you may remember, I needed to have a tile guy come and fix the leak in our master bath. I had a couple references and invited two to come in and see the problem. Neither showed on the appointed day. One called and said he was going to be late but then never came. The other just never showed and never called. Jilted by two tile guys.

We found a third guy and he came on a Saturday. We'll call him Joe, since that was his name, Joe. Joe is a character - South Philly Joe. Joe Bagadoughnuts. Hey how yous doin - Joe.

Joe said it was an easy job, remove some old grout, replace a little drywall, $150 bucks. Only one problem, we had to let the shower stall completely dry out and that would take a few days. We decide that he'll come Friday and that is nearly a week away.

Now we have 4 people and one full bathroom. No problem, we'll share and work out schedules so that we all are not trying to take a shower at 6:30 AM.

Mrs F and I discover how bad the other bathroom is. We hardly ever go in there so we don't really know.
  • The water is cold. The two bathrooms have two different hot water supplies. We have a 50 gallon tank and they use the boiler. Betsy the old boiler ain't what she used to be.
  • To get hot water all the time you have to turn the pressure to almost nothing.
  • There is a noisy fan that evacuates what ever steam the not-so-hot water has made.
The boys bathroom needs work but the boys never complained. We shoved one of those radiator space heaters in there, disconnected the fan and then were able to keep warm despite the low water pressure. Mrs F is walking around looking like Jerry in the "Low Pressure Shower Head" episode of Seinfeld. She is not happy.

The boys however, are happy. Someone fixed their shower.

Friday comes and Mrs F gets ill. She calls out from work and is in bed.

Joe Bagadougnuts the Tile Guy shows up. Now we just had an ice storm two days ago and my Cul-de-sac looks, quite literally, like a skating rink. Thursday night you could have laced up and had a hockey game out there.

I safely put the barking Schnauzers in oldest son's room and let Joe in. Joe has all his tile guy gear and is coming behind me and I say "Mrs F is sick in bed" and Joe freezes in tracks.

I have no idea Joe is stuck and I am headed up the hall. I turn around and no Joe. Joe is still in foyer at the bottom of the steps. I am trying to tell him the bathroom is up here (you remember, don't you Joe?) but he doesn't budge.

"She has the Flu?" Asks Joe.

"I don't know what she has" I say. This is true. She is nauseous but sleeping it off.

Joe says "I can't come up there".

It's gonna be hard to work on the bathroom from down there, Joe. Maybe he is like the bubble boy or something - He can't go near germs. I'm thinking Joe has chosen poorly at a profession then. Joe spends a lot of time in other people's bathrooms and kitchens. Where the heck else do you have tile? Where are all the germs? Right! They are in the kitchen and bathroom.

Joe says he can't afford to get sick and he can't come up there. Now he is like a little kid that is afraid of heights halfway up a climbing wall at summer camp. He can't go to the top and he can't come down either. Joe just stands there in my foyer and I stand there in the hall by the master bedroom door.

We kind of stand around for a minute awkwardly and then I show him the door. Goodbye Joe.

I go upstairs and kick the trashcan in anger. I imagine another week in the Seinfeld shower as I let the barking dogs out of the room. I clean up the trashcan. Ten minutes later, I come downstairs and hear Joe's tires spinning like mad on the ice, now wet from melting a bit in the sun. vrrrrrrrrrr. Vrrrrrrrrr. goes Joe's tires. Joe hasn't left yet. He's trying to, but can't get away.

As I watch through the window, my only hope of having a fixed shower is cartoonishly spinning his tires trying to escape the germs as fast as he can.

So now we are back to interviewing tile guys. It's like dating all over again.

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