Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Continuing Adventures of Cletus and Bubba - Or Rednecks Ruined My House!

This last week has been so awful and so bat-shit crazy at the same time I hardly know where to start. Let's back up to the arrival of Cletus and Bubba, the local painters with a local bend who keep saying that they will do this or that but never do.

It gradually went sideways, just like my inner voice was warning all along.

They showed up bright and early on Monday morning and hopped right to it, with Bubba painting the ceilings and Cletus smearing the uneven bits on the walls with plaster and sanding. Everything seemed to be going well, they acted normal, well as normal as they ever get.

Except they look a very long lunch break, worked another hour and packed it in at 3 pm, telling me one of them had an emergency dental appointment and the other one had to get home to mow his grass.

This after all the verklempting and complaining that they were going to have to work 16 hour days to finish on time?

The only real bit of weirdness was that every time I left the house they cranked the radio up to 11. That very first day I came home from running errands to the police at my home warning the duo that my neighbor was complaining about the volume. After years of loving classic rock before the week was over I came to hate it.

I was pleased that my asthma didn't seem to be reacting to the paint much at all because I knew I wasn't dealing with the sharpest guys and I needed to be there to make sure they did what they were supposed to do.

The next morning I got up and noticed that the ceiling bit over one of the bedrooms and adjoining bath had not been painted correctly. A year before Jim had tried to run a snake to unclog the tub drain in the master bath upstairs and broken the pipe. We had the pipe fixed immediately by our plumber friend, but never bothered to paint knowing we were leaving soon and would paint then. It left a water mark in the hall and downstairs bed and bath.

Cletus and Bubba, in all their unknown mental lack of prowess just simply painted over the stains without using Kilz or any other primer and I was looking up at a water stain coming right through the freshly painted ceilings. When the dynamic duo arrived that morning I pointed out that it needed to be sealed and repainted they reacted like we'd never pointed it out or asked for it to be painted with Kilz or sealer and said 'Oh'. All painting stopped so they could buy a can of Kilz.

We had a number of weird conversations during the week, including things like them claiming that the contract stating that they were going to paint the entire interior of the house did not mean they were to paint the insides of closets, or any built in shelving. 

Once they started with the Kilz my asthma went rogue hardcore and I found myself struggling to breath as I finished packing my suitcases and hastily decamping for my friend's home for the week. We talked about my letting them in and out of the house in the mornings and evenings.

Came back to lock up at  5pm and they had long gone. But everything looked good still. Walked around and looked at the progress they made, mostly pleased.

The next morning they had another crew member with them, a woman that looked like she'd led a hard life and she went to town scrubbing wall paper paste from the walls while the guys continued on. I pointed out some incorrectly done spots and spent most of the day outside dealing with the overgrown garden. I noticed again a two hour lunch and they knocked off around  3 pm again. While they were eating lunch on my front lawn I overheard the first of the complaints of Cletus. He was upset, claiming he'd seriously underbid the job, that my husband and I had been pressuring them to do more and more and he wasn't happy.

Remember that I'd originally asked him when he did the estimate for additional things to be done, and told him to price it out accordingly to get these small other things done, repair a few seams in our Pergo floor, take down a ceiling fan and several light fixtures. I'd passed on getting him to install the kitchen counter top and a few other things after discovering that he didn't know how to do those things, even if his truck had a long list of repair work he did and listed those things.

But at the last minute we'd decided to ask them to strip all the wall paper in our bedroom and paint it as well. Cletus went back and forth on that at least four times, saying yes, saying no and apply, rinse, repeat.

By the end of the third day I could see they were getting sloppy as hell. I went around that afternoon and wiped down a few places where the paint had been so thickly and sloppily applied it was running in rivulets down the wall. My eldest daughter had spent the day with me, both of us holing up in my bedroom doing the last of the cleaning and packing. As Cletus and friends were preparing to leave he told me that he'd changed his mind again and he was not going to take the paper off my bedroom and paint it. My daughter made me laugh because she said 'Good!' and started removing the paper in front of Cletus with abandon, leaving him open mouthed and stunned looking, like a toad that had been hit with an electric prod.

On Thursday morning the guys from the kitchen counter top company came to measure and tell me that the factory was three weeks behind on all the orders so instead of it being installed next week it was going to be first week of June.

I noticed that Cletus and Bubba were working slower than ever, getting even more sloppy, taking longer breaks and less care. When I walked into the kitchen I caught Cletus telling the measuring crew how unhappy he was that he'd under estimated the job and I was screwing him in this deal.

After an afternoon in Charlottesville picking up my new VPAP machine I stopped back around 3 pm. No Cletus, no Bubba, no rough looking female friend. Some hard work, huh?

I'm observing on my nightly walkthrus that they aren't getting much done.

I'd started leaving the key for them after Tuesday and usually wasn't there when they arrived or left. I slept in on Friday, went by to check on them around 10:30 am. They weren't there. I didn't get a chance to go back later, as I got sucked into some drama with the couple I was staying with (they are sniping at each other over money troubles while I was there) when they both turned on me and stared chewing me out over something said by Jim on Facebook over his rejecting of the only available rental house in the tiny town he's teaching English in. They kept at it all afternoon nattering at me that Jim was showing how he didn't love me by refusing to rent that house and how little I mattered to him.

I know they're both broke and pretty unhappy right now. I think their misery is the thing driving their turning to me like that. I was also having to go home to shower after Cletus and Bubba left because the house I was staying at had the pump to the well break that week and water was sporadic. Their business isn't doing too well, their basement where the water pump resides is so filled with junk that the plumber cannot get back there to fix it until the man of the house sorts it out. I'm getting the typical fundigelical misdirected passive agressiveness combined with a pile of 'Come to Jesus's thrown in. Relearning again that life outside of that fundigelical bubble that does not allow you to directly talk about being frustrated or upset is much much better! I decide to move back into my house on Saturday or Sunday as the bickering is getting to me and I don't seem to be reacting to the paint any longer.

Saturday morning I arrive and the dynamic duo is working. I'm seeing more and more things very poorly done. They painted right over the wall paper glue instead of removing it. The repair of the Pergo looks like someone simply shoved dogshit into the seams. I ask them how much longer before they finish the repairs and redos and they tell me that they will be finished by some point on Sunday afternoon and I should have my checkbook ready.

Around 10:30 am that very morning, Saturday, the two of them come up into the bedroom where I am peeling wallpaper between asking emails and present me with an itemized bill. I'd told them I would pay for their third helpers time and the extra supplies they needed, but this bill was almost double what the original contract stated. They'd bid it at 3,100 and were now asking for 5,400 dollars! Told them both there was no way on God's green earth I was paying that much, that I hadn't agreed to it. I sat down with a pen and started slashing items off their bill. I refused to pay the $300 for the Pergo repair, but did offer to pay for the repair kit. They were clearly trying to gouge me for every penny they could, listing repairs we'd talked about and that they decided not to do along with inflated prices for things like extra paint and Kilz, clearly not remembering I bought the original paint and knew what it ran. Plus I deducted because they broke my expensive floor lamp and other items, including most of my person tools walking out of the house.

Feast your eyes on what the dog shit colored Pergo repair ended up looking like. Those huge blackish blotches...

...and it all went downhill from there. I refused to pay a dime until they sanded off the paint runs, repaired where they painted over the paste and neglected to mud and sand. No repairing their fuck ups, no check.

When they both started making menacing moves towards me and one of them said something about he knew I was living here by myself and it would be ashamed if something happened to me I started to get seriously scared! They backed me into a corner and instead of continuing the confrontation I offered to just go ahead and pay them, the original contract, the additional supplies and the wages for the lady. I decided it was just safer to deescalation the situation and get them the fuck out of my house.

They left. After they did I went to the police station and filed a report about them threatening me and came home to change the locks. I've moved back in now and it makes me nervous knowing they are out there still. Now I'm hiring someone else to fix their screw ups. I am never ignoring my inner voice ever again since it kept screaming at me in the week leading up to the painting that they were a bad thing.

Tomorrow the carpet is installed, even if I have some repairing of the old paint job. I'm continuing on waiting for the counter top and cleaning up after this dumbass duo.

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