Do a favour for the stroke victim…

I hate to admit it, but that was one tactic I used with the builder (‘Steve’. The last one was called Steve too). Like that worked…

He’s done me a fab disabled bathroom. He said (on Feb 19) that he’d be finished on Feb 23. I gave him another week, just to be on the safe side. Then it snowed. All my arrangements re moving collapsed on Sunday Mar 4. Very very very depressing. 19 steps forward, 18 back.

On Mar 6, ‘Steve’ threw his bombshell. (Really, you’ve got to hand it to him. He played a blinder! Even if I was on the receiving end.) Without any warning, he emailed my soon-to-be-ex wife to say that he’d have to remove the cooker, microwave etc etc because his credit had been exhausted. She emailed me, in Suffolk, where I was staying while the work was done. I rang ‘Steve’ up.

Look, ‘Steve’, I said. £3.5k isn’t a problem. It only is if you say you need it right now. Be reasonable (yes, I said that, to a builder!!). I’ll borrow the money from my parents and pay it to you tomorrow. (Don’t even get me started on my problems getting my savings money out of Aviva…) I did that. He was paid 100%. And now I thought I just had to move in…

I finally did so on Mar 9. A week ago. To find that he hadn’t actually finished. Not remotely. He’d just got bored, demanded full payment, got it, and f***ed off. To make matters worse, he’s since then worked less than 100 metres away! Hardly even bothers to respond now…

What shall I do? It’s been 3 weeks since he volunteered that he’d finish. I’ve tried being good cop; I’ve tried being bad cop. Apart from diddling the disabled guy (me) out of £3.5K (the rest being insurance), he’s left the unfinished work, the mess, the ‘invoice’ (a work of complete fantasy, if you ask me. I’ve asked him to go through it. Why hasn’t he replied?)…

The thing is, I actually thought he was nice, to begin with. He has a disabled daughter (one of six kids) who has a one-sided weakness (don’t know if that’s a technical term…). He really thought about the bathroom, which hand I could use, and the kitchen. And he’s good. There are other jobs I’d like to get him in for. I can totally see why he’s so busy.

So why did he do it? Is there another disabled guy in the village who needs him more? I think he’d have said so. The answer, I think, lies in The Scorpion And The Frog, from Mr Arkadin (aka Confidential Report). Why does the scorpion do it? Because it’s in his nature to do so.

He’s a builder

Next time I might give ‘Steve’ a surname…