Monday, January 18, 2010

The Handyman

Is there an unwritten code among handymen? The reason I ask is because anytime I have hired one to do some work for me around my place, they never stick to their word as far as to when they will show up. It never fails. They never come when they say they will. They are ALWAYS an hour or two or three late! Sometimes they never show up! And when they do show, the job that they were contracted to do, is never the same when they are finished.

I hired someone to do some outside repairs this weekend. I had put it off too long. He solicited the work. The neighbors had told him I had work to be done, and because they recommended him, I decide what the heck. He needed the work; give him the job; 30 years old, wife (who sat in the truck all three days while he was here), and a 10 year old daughter. He had few teeth, smelled of smoke, and had cigarette burns in his sweatshirt. He said he had left school at 16 because he was making good money working on homes; not something you tell someone in Education as I told him. But he did get his GED. Grew up in Georgia, slow talker, as it took him 20 minutes to tell me something that would take most people 5 minutes.

Now everything was fine; explained what I wanted done, price decided upon; until I wrote him a check. At that time, he told me he only accepted cash. Ok, void the check. I don't keep cash on me, so I did not have the down payment he wanted; had to give him some cash and write another check to make up the difference. We decided on a time for him to start the following day, 10:00 AM.

Well, I am up, dressed, and ready by 10:00; which is unusual for me as I am NEVER ready before 12:00 if I can help it. I like to take my time in the morning on my days off. 10:00 came and went, as did 11:00 and 12:00. I am ready to go run some errands when I get the call; wife’s phone not charged, running late, on his way. Now it was about 12:30, figured he would be here within the next 30 minutes. NOT! Another hour!

He got here, and I went to run my errands. He called me to explain something wasn’t going to work; he had to do something different, and to remind me to get cash; I had gotten that the day before after he left, having had to write two different checks for him. He worked another couple of hours, asked for more money for supplies (found something else that needed to be fixed), and off he went, saying he would be back the next day.

The next morning, same thing, I am up and ready by 10:00 AM (I do pretty well after I have my shot of caffeine) and again a no show until the call at 11:30 telling me he is on his way. At least the call was earlier today, but it still took him over 30 minutes to get here. Again, I told him I had errands to run. I would not be here when he got here, would be back in about an hour. I got a call from him about 2 hours later saying he was done and to have cash.

The additional jobs required additional money. I get that, but he said he did the math wrong and didn't charge me enough. Well, guess what? I only had cash for the amount he had told me the night before. So, cash and a check again. He drove off and called. The guy who usually cashed checks for him wasn't working. If I could get some cash for him, he would take less than the amount of the check. Yikes, have to go scrambling around looking for cash. Came up with the right amount of bills and change. What a pain in the neck.

I was surprised he was so disorganized. The neighbors recommended him highly, so I did not expect it. Another neighbor called and asked what I thought of his work. Come to find out, she had hired him before, and he kept finding things that needed to be fixed. I don’t mind being told things need to be fixed when I know they do, but figure the price correctly.

Time will tell if he did a good job. He still needs to come back and finish some painting. He did clean everything up well, so that is a plus.

It is soooo hard to find a handyman. Would I use him again? I don’t know. I did tell him if I did ever use him again, we would have to sit down and have the math worked out even before the job was ever started. I am all set for now. My next big job is replacing my bathroom counters and that will not be done by someone I hire off the street!

Why Do People Do Art Shows?

This is an old draft I finally made the time to sit down and finish. I sometimes have more than one going on at a time, posting none of them. This goes back to November.

I was at dinner the other night when two friends mentioned that I had not put anything new on my blog in awhile. Too true. I have saved stuff to write about but have not gotten around to writing anything. Time! That’s the key; time to do so. I decided today I would try to get something written. (And didn't do so until now, 2 months later!)

In the past two months I have been to a number of Arts Festivals with my friend Nancy. Nancy is a retired elementary school principal. Since retiring, she has been busy with a number of different projects; arts and crafts, stamping, scrapbooking; a regular Martha Stewart! She always has something in the works. Nancy is now into photography. She has taken a number of photography classes. She takes great photos, as she puts it, of things that do not move. She does buildings and objects, not people or animals. She has done shows in the Atlanta area and in South Carolina. I have helped her out a few times. Needless to say, most I have helped her with have either been rainy or cold days. The last one I did I thought I would never warm up, and it was only October. Most of Nancy’s shows are outdoors; one lately was indoors.

Preparation for the shows is a lot of work; which photos to take, framed or just matted, what sizes. I told Nancy one time (she had been out of town, and I had collected her mail for her) I would never know if anyone had broken into her house and disturbed anything because she spreads her stuff out ALL OVER the place!

Setting up for the shows is also a lot of work. Nancy has a tent she puts up and display walls on which to hang her photos. It takes a couple of hours to get everything set up. Nancy plans out how and where everything will be hung. She has a system in place; what photos get hung on the walls, which go in baskets. She has props and displays. She sets her tent up to “draw” in the customers.

That’s another story in itself. Some days there will be a number of visitors to the show and Nancy’s tent, other days few. I don’t know how Nancy does it. I think I would go nuts; being there all day waiting for people not only to come into my tent, but to also buy something. To me it would be very discouraging to have people look through my photography, tell me how good it was, then walk away without buying a thing. Not Nancy. At Chastain, one guy came back at least three times; even brought his cousin back with him; to look at a scene from Sullivan’s Island, and he still did not buy the photo. Nancy just kept smiling and having conversations with him. Nancy does not get discouraged. She will be ready for the next show, around the next corner.

It is also interesting to see which photos attract people at the different shows; at one show it was scenes from the Atlanta area, at another show photos taken in Europe, at a third show beach photos. Every show attracts a number of different types of people. Interesting!

Nancy makes friends at all her shows. She befriends the people set up beside her. At the Chastain show the photographer beside her gave her a lot of advice; price the photos higher, no posters, make the mats herself. He was very friendly; as was his girlfriend; and he wanted Nancy to be successful. He had no trouble sharing his advice with her; good advice at that.

Nancy is always planning; the next shot, the next project, the next show. She is off for awhile now, so she will have lots of ideas by the time the next show rolls around!