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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

How to Play the Handyman Game

handyman2The saga continues. As I said, I will chase you down because I need workers and I need them now. It’s really not okay if you eventually show up… three weeks from now. But does anyone want a handyman… who doesn’t want to work?

Or, more accurately, who is balancing 20 other jobs?

So, our preliminary interview went something like this:

Moi: “I have this small job and that small job and that small job.” (I always emphasize Small Job when it is, so that we don’t end up with Big Price. The point is, I could tile a floor if I had to, it’s the waste of time.)

Handyman: “I can do it all. Just let me know when you’re ready to start.”

Moi: “I’m ready.” (Mind you, I had placed in my ad not to call if you were not immediately available and not to call if you were going to thsay you would show up… but never did.)

Handyman: “As I said, whenever you’re ready, we can schedule something….”

Moi: “I’m ready. This is crunch week. Without these jobs done, we can’t move forward with the other tradesmen….”

Now, in his defense, he did mention that he was juggling a number of things. But he also said he could come the next afternoon at 4:00 pm and squeeze me in.

You know from my last blog entry: never happened. The appointed time came and went with him promising he’d be there in a few, etc. The afternoon and night dragged on, me on high alert, unable to do anything else because he would be there any minute. Right. Which brings us up to date: he promised high noon on the next day after I nagged him enough. My family was getting back into town and I was updating them on the project, saying that his portion would be underway when they arrived. Other workmen were scheduled for the next day, since the handyman would need a three-step process for the tile and other materials to set.

thBy 11:30 am, I texted him. Oh yes, I did. This was for our high noon appointed time.

Moi: “Is 12:00 still looking good?”

Handyman: “Running just a few minutes after that.”

Moi: “Fine, I’ll arrive at 12:10.”

Handyman: “Let me message you so you’re not waiting on us.”

Moi: “OK.”

Ever the reasonable woman, this concerned me because I was dealing with unreasonable men. One o’clock came and went, by 1:30 pm, I had Benedetto call him because I was fuming.

Handyman: “Be there in a few minutes.”

Two o’clock passed. I gave up and moved on to other projects. At three o’clock I got a text from him: “I promise I’m still coming.”

I waited about 10 minutes before responding.

Moi: “Great. The problem is that this is a time-sensitive project and my word is starting to look as though it’s not good, either.”handyman3

Handyman: “I’m on my way.”

I text Benedetto: “He’s coming.”

Him: “Yeah, right. I’m trying to take unused drywall back to the hardware store and a sheet just lifted off the SUV and broke up. Not now.”

Meanwhile, the workman, who truly is at the job site, is calling me while NOBODY IS THERE. I text my husband again.

Moi: “Are you heading over now? He’s actually THERE.”

No response.

I text handyman: “Benedetto just left. He is returning. Knock on door. Other workers there.”

You see, I’ve made the quality decision not to jump any more. Of course I want this worker on site. But he cried wolf one too many times. His “I’ll-be-there-in-just-a-few-minutes” has turned into hours and days of my life spent running back and forth and looking outside where no trucks are parked. So it’s after 3:00 pm and the 12 noon appointment has decided to show. Yesterday, he was a no-show, so who’s to know when he will turn up?

Home improvement - handyman cut wood with jigsawFinally, he starts to work. Which could be good or not. If he starts half of the job and then leaves, I’m not sure that this helps us…. Got to stay positive in spite of it all….

Surprisingly, he does a good and quick job.

The next morning, he checks in with Benedetto and shows up to do more work. He completes that. I hear the angels sing. He says he will be back to do additional items gratis. The heavens are parting.

It comes time to pay. In the beginning, he would not quote a price. I said I needed a ballpark estimate in a part of the country where a handshake was generally enough. This concerned me when his attention to time was not very sharp. He said he “could” sit down and figure it out, but it would be “minimal”.


Sometimes you have to go with your gut. My gut told me to kick him to the curb and get someone else. The problem was, there was no handyman-servicessomebody else. My gut told me to be nice and keep him, even though I felt my confidence draining away like a leaky gutter on the side of the building.

He had eventually shown up, juggling well over a dozen jobs and making all of us semi-happy. The handyman had finally completed his portion of the project and now it was time to pay him.

One-sixth of the price others would charge. About 85% off. This was apparently why people used him, in addition to his very polite manner. He simply didn’t estimate time very well….

Which only goes to show that even wayward handymen can redeem themselves. People, there’s hope out there.

Have a good and project-free weekend!


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