A house fell on my sister….

Something strange happened in my apartment last night: it rained. I don’t mean the roof leaked; this wasn’t a grab a bucket moment. There was really nothing that could be done. I stood there watching the water tumble down from my wood ceiling onto my semi-tarp-covered-belongings and wood floor. Luckily, having long since lost confidence in my contractor, I insisted he not tear the roof off over the room I actually live in. So I stood there watching this and remembering the conversation I’d had with my contractor Saturday morning. I called him over because he’s been staying in the apartment next door for free for almost three months in return for working on the roof. I called him over because I’d told him previously that I expected the roof to be done by the end of the month, which is this Saturday. In the five days previous, he’d done nothing on the roof after having stripped off two-thirds of it down to the barge board deck. And there it sat; exposed to God and the elements. I was pretty upset and intended to ask him to move out by the first and not worry about the roof. He explained that it would be done and he only needed two days to get it done; that day and the next day. That day he got everything all set up after our talk and I left to run some errands. I came back two hours later to find nothing had been done. Later that evening he worked for a few hours and got about an eighth of one side done which put the roof about half done. Not good, but there’s still another day. Then Sunday, he came over around noon, not thinking I was there because I’d taken a cab home from the King Pin so my car wasn’t there. He didn’t realize I’d nailed the back door shut when I got home the night before. He told me he’d been working on the roof all morning and was going to take a break because it was too hot. He had no access to tools or materials and I fail to see how he could do any work without me hearing him. (he later claimed that he put felt paper up with a regular hammer). Then, that after noon they went to the river to swim – I know, that’s a little weird, but heh, I’m not here to judge. He assured me as he was leaving that he’d be back to work on the roof in the evening when it cooled down. That never happened. So Monday, when I got home from work I spoke with him again because I wanted to know what, and I quote: “what the hell”? He assured me again that it would be done by the first and that I should calm down. So I was thinking all this while God pissed on all my shit.

The thing is, he’s a great guy. He’s a very hard worker. I genuinely like him as a person. That being said, he’s been here since Jan from up north. He came down with a crew he’d been working with for a few months and those are the only people he knows. I met him because his crew is staying at a friend’s house and working on it. He’s away from his family, and friends, and I suspect he’s very, very lonely. It’s been very difficult on him in some ways. But he had a pretty good gig going here. Free rent and all he had to do was put the fucking roof on in a reasonable amount of time. A little work every few days is all I expect since he works all day.

Being lonely can allow you to make really bad decisions, believe me, I know. In his case, the bad decision was to start hanging out with crackheads and junkies. Now, I’m a pretty reasonable man, but the house is also right across the street from a school. Let me say that again: the house is across the street from a SCHOOL! So today, before I went to work I dropped off a nice, hand written note asking him to move out on or before the first. He was already at work, but the junkie that’s living there now found it and called him. So he called me and I confirmed that he should be out and that I did, indeed drop off a note to that effect this morning.

Now aside from being what I think may turn out to be a classic Post-K story that I’ve been boring the few people who’ll talk to me with for weeks, there’s something more in it. New Orleans has always been a city full of victims and thugs; if you don’t know which one you are then you’re a victim. It’s almost a prison mentality in some circle: get what you can take and take what you can get. Cliche’s aside, the thugs are back and they’re on the prowl. Actually, they’re having a picnic in my backyard, literally. I like to think I’m a patient, thoughtful person, but that only works to a point and then I can’t be that way anymore. [insert “Road House” quote here] And that’s why I am perceived as a mean person. So I’m thinking that this situation could have been handled better by me if I’d been a little more assertive a little earlier in the situation, but I kind of doubt it. Situations with Junkies, et al generally boil down to a few predictable outcomes. And I don’t think there’s much that can derail that.

Given that I have a backyard full of angry junkies, if I end up dead, at least the police will have some information to get all CSI with. I don’t think it will come to that or I wouldn’t be here at all, but I’m just sayin’.

On the bright side, I already have another tenant because I don’t try and rip people off. And on the down side, I’ll be spending my holiday weekend finishing my roof. Ah, this is quite a life I’ve constructed for myself. Feels good.

19 Comments so far

  1. Paul Murphy (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 1:41 am

    Jack, I am no expert roofer, but if you need any help this weekend let me know.

  2. jack (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 11:01 am

    So I guess I’m the only one with a contractor story. No one else has a contractor story?

    And thanks Paul, but I think I have it covered. I’ll let you know if that changes in the next few days.

  3. Jaime (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 11:53 am

    Sorry you are having such a hard time! EVERYONE has a contractor story as far as I can tell. At my house we have been waiting for siding and a fence since January (but we have a roof!) but we are lucky.

    I have a friend that spent months with the inside of his home tarped and his possessions stacked in tents in the living room (he and his brand new bride live in the bedroom tent). We all went out for drinks the day he finally had the old roof off and the new roof on and finished. The next day he came home to find the guys who were supposed to be adding a drip edge or something or other were instead removing the NEW ROOF. Most of it was already in the dumpster.

    The last I heard on his saga is the contractor called last week to say his guys were hard at work foaming insulation into the walls so they could start drywalling. The problem is the electrican is not finished and nothing has been inspected. opps!

  4. Mike Hoffman (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 12:34 pm

    Jack – business is business. He obviously never tried to live up to his end of the deal and you still defended him, saying that he’s a nice guy and works hard all day.

    You were indeed the victim with a case of battered wife syndrome. Glad you finally broke the cycle.

  5. Laurie (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 2:45 pm

    What do you guys think about the 70 ocean going ships

    to be used to close up MR. Geaux?

    How many holes does it have in it?!


  6. luckydog (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 3:54 pm

    After 10 years of terrible contractor stories I finally stopped telling people about the disasters when someone said “Gee you must have stupid stamped on your forehead”

    Not a very supportive comment, but close enough to the truth that it hurt my feelings.

    I think the only thing that I may have learned is to dangle the prize – whether it is money or free rent until the job it finished.

  7. Covingtongirl (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 4:23 pm

    o.k. jack-o, Laurie has me lost. again.

  8. Chris Martel (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 5:23 pm

    I don’t have any contractor stories because I have avoided contractors like the plague. Thank god I didn’t have any roof damage though, don’t know what I would have done then.

  9. Paul Murphy (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 6:10 pm

    Covingtongirl, I am lost right there with you.
    I know about the ships that might be used to close up the MRGO, but I don’t know what that has to do with this story. Oh well.

  10. luckydog (unregistered) on June 28th, 2006 @ 9:30 pm

    As My post is right after Laurie’s I also gave a moment of consideration. I then decided to forge ahead.

    I have not been commenting long enough to understand her/his logic, nor make a comment.

    So then what about these ships? I have heard nothing about it all so maybe Laurie has the breaking Metro Story?

  11. Laurie (unregistered) on June 30th, 2006 @ 3:47 pm

    I broke the story, where’s my Pulitzer?


  12. Covingtongirl (unregistered) on June 30th, 2006 @ 4:44 pm

    i can offer no prize but……i can buy u a drink! comeon Laurie meet me out…comeon..
    i’m meeting friends at my favorite NO watering-hole – join us. i’m leaving the sticks in 10 min.

  13. Jack Ware (unregistered) on June 30th, 2006 @ 4:50 pm

    I always invite people out and no one ever invites me – thankless bastards!

  14. Covingtongirl (unregistered) on June 30th, 2006 @ 4:57 pm

    that stung. ;/

  15. Jack Ware (unregistered) on June 30th, 2006 @ 5:03 pm

    heh heh.

  16. Covingtongirl (unregistered) on June 30th, 2006 @ 5:04 pm

    i know ur still there. don’t be mad. believe it or not, i tried to email u last night because i felt very bad for you.
    but something in ur email wouldn’t let me, it said something about too many letters – or something, check it. or let me know ur new email if that’s it.
    i’m walking out the door now. i’d love for u to meet me for a dring or two or three…
    i’ll be at POC, on espl. should take me an hour.

  17. Jack Ware (unregistered) on June 30th, 2006 @ 7:42 pm

    Pity. Great, that’s exactly my problem. Every imaginable thing went wrong today and I think its because I was all feeling sorry for myself and pulled some weird energy from somewhere. I should bitch-slap myself for being such a baby. Life’s tough – buy a helmet.

    Sometimes I just get on my own nerves. Damn.

  18. Covingtongirl (unregistered) on July 1st, 2006 @ 12:01 am

    pity? no. just genuine concern.

  19. Laurie (unregistered) on July 1st, 2006 @ 4:57 pm

    Dude. I’ll’ve been married 18 years in two more days!

    Wow! The time. The labour of keeping it together, wow!!

    I’m gonna’ forget, I always do and they say

    men can’t remember dates-I feel discriminated against!


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