Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Faux Paws

While you may not be able to say this post was inspired per se, the idea came from the tales of home-improvement woe over at Blitz's joint. Many years ago, I was the proprietor of a remodeling outfit. We specialized in kitchens, bathrooms, windows and siding - and insurance repair. A nearby city had public dollars available for homeowners who needed repair work done, and this family hired me to provide a new kitchen and bathroom, including vinyl flooring. It was a 50 mile drive each way from my little hicktown to the heart of the 'hood. They were nice folks and were thrilled to have their house spruced up. The homeowner would start drinking beer from a mayonnaise jar around 9AM and wouldn't stop until long after we left, which was usually by 7PM (we regularly put in ridiculously long days). His hobby, while we were there, was to make observations. He'd lean against a wall and watch us wrestle sheets of subflooring into place over freshly reinforced joists and say, "That wall looks to be about 9 degrees off. I used to be in tool & die, so I know my degrees." We smiled and nodded, because the customer is always right, even if it is only 1/2" over 4' (6 tenths of a degree, if you're following along at home). Every day he reminded us he used to be in tool & die. Kids were running around continuously, often barefoot, and it was a very good thing they had an alternate door to use. We got the plumbing and electrical done, cabinets installed, and high gloss blue marble laminate on the countertops. We were ready for flooring, so I called Steve, my trusty vinyl man. He was a great big dude with long and wild black hair, an outstanding craftsman as long as you left him alone. Nice enough guy, but he did NOT deal well with customers. Steve was working on the floors while I loaded my trailer. The littlest kid came running in and hovered over Steve's shoulder, asking 40 times-per-minute "Whatcha doing?" Steve was uncharacteristically gracious, and kept the kid entertained while he measured and cut. The homeowners (Grandma and Grandpa to the kid) came and stood in the doorway to watch as well. I came in just as Steve looked up and commented, "Yaknow, your kid here looks just like the mailman!" Grandma and Grandpa exchanged horrified glances. I've never seen someone stammer and backpedal so furiously. Rather than implying a secret liaison between the mother and the postman, he was trying to say he looked like Karl Malone (nickname: The Mailman), and it was meant as a compliment. Steve quickly finished his work, muttering to himself the whole time. Anything like this ever happen to you?

1 comment:

kenju said...

No, and I am very thankful for that!! Mr. kenju has "hoof in mouth disease", though.....LOL