Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Painted into a Corner

Wick's World

 


We are ready to sell our home in the City and our contractor has us painted into a corner. Putting an Eagan home on the market is not new to us. We did it exactly six years ago and all went fine. At that time, I had pretty much recovered from a rollover accident and a heart attack and I still could patch and paint.

Some history is needed here. It was at the time we had yet to sell our house. We felt the one remaining eyesore to prospective buyers was our backyard deck. It not only looked old but it was painted an ugly shade of orange/pink. Somehow this painter came into our lives and to the rescue.

“For nine hundred bucks, I can bring my crew over and have this painted tomorrow by noon. It will look great.”

He did exactly that. It was done by noon and it looked great. He had even picked out the color! Over the years, we kept using this guy not only for painting but other minor jobs that I was either unable or unwilling to do.

For a while everything went fine between us and the painter. But we noticed as time went on and the jobs kept coming, work was never quite completed to our satisfaction and punctuality was nonexistent. Last fall I had to spend four cold, wet hours finishing a power-wash job I had paid him for. My wife spent her four hours on hands and knees cleaning the bathroom tile grout to our satisfaction. That had been paid for also.

But the biggest problem of all was the one that caused the most trouble. I was starring in the role as my wife’s go-between. It was left up to me to see that his work matched her desires. I often felt like I was in the proverbial “stuck between a rock and a hard place.” Simply put, I could never get the guy to be quiet and listen to me. His pre-conceived notions would often over-ride our plans.

Our list said for him to paint the trim around window. Because he wouldn’t listen to me, what should have taken a quart of paint and an hour-long job, at most, has morphed into a full paint job at fifty dollars a gallon and lord knows how much I am to be socked for painting the room. Next on the list was to paint a bedroom. He had two gallons of paint purchased before we even had a sample put on the wall, and you can’t take that stuff back!

Sampling the color before purchase should have been a no-brainer because the contractor is fully aware that my wife can change colors on a wall faster than our President changes reality. That makes two more gallons of paint wasted… at fifty dollars a crack. The patched ceiling that he didn’t properly complete from the last job is beginning to look quite irrelevant, although it isn’t. It is actually characteristic of every project which he tends to approach with “a bull in a china shop” mentality. Rather, I would like him to think of his company as “Tesla of electric cars.”

I could go on and on but I think I have made my point

You might think this has an easy solution… simply fire him. Unfortunately, this is the point at which the larger problem surfaces. We both have grown to love the painter, even as a son you might say. And for all his bluster, this young man has a very tender heart.

My mission, should I wish to accept it, (and if he happens to show up) is this: How do I stop the bleeding (money) and how do we gracefully bow out of this without damaging the relationship? The last part is more important to us than the first. I will begin by showing him this week’s column.

 

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