Thursday, September 19, 2013

Handyman Wars

As I approach the 5th anniversary of my move to Brown Mountain, I've begun to address things on my trailer that have become worn down since I moved in. Most of it I've managed to figure out myself through experimentation/ghetto rigging. But when the time came to re-seal my ailing, moss-encrusted roof, I decided to pay someone with the know-how to do it correctly. When the Brown Mountain Gazette is delivered each month, there is a classified section where people around the park advertise a bunch lame "services" nobody cares about like basket weaving and lamps made out of deer antlers. There has always been a handyman advertisement in there as well by a guy named Kenny.

Kenny the Handyman, who lives pretty close to me, offers to do all those odd jobs around your house that you don't want to do, including roofing. I decided to give Kenny a call to see if he would re-seal my roof before that brutal bitch called Winter hit. Kenny didn't answer, so I left him a message and eagerly awaited him to call back. Except he never did.

I consulted the Brown Mountain Gazette again and found an ad for Joe's Handyman Service. He claimed to be a certified roofer with 30 years of experience PLUS his work was insured. I called up Joe the Handyman and he answered! He was already better than Kenny. I explained what I needed and he said he would come over and take a look. He was living nearby in the 3rd section of Brown Mountain, which I guess you could call the more "upscale" sector.

Within minutes, Joe's girlfriend drove him over with his ladder and he took a look at the roof. He explained what he would need to do and how he'd do a few extra things like replace some siding on my shed and clean the gutters for free. "I do all kinds of work for people and I do it fast," he told me. "I ripped apart my friend's bathroom in half a day. All I need is enough Mountain Dew, Monster Energy, and Godsmack and I'll have your roof done in no time!" I assumed he meant the band Godsmack and not the method of shooting heroin into both of his arms, but around here, you never know.

Once I confirmed Joe could do the work that week, I knew he was the man for the job. Then, without me ever mentioning that I called Kenny before, he says "You're right to have me do this and not that guy Kenny that lives around here. He doesn't know what he's doing and he'll overcharge you. I've been doing this for 30 years!" So, apparently Joe the Handyman and Kenny the Handyman are bitter rivals. My imagination created a scene where Joe was on my roof doing the job Kenny could have had, when Kenny walks by and sees him. Kenny then scampers up on the roof and engages in a battle with Joe where the winner throws the other handyman off the roof. Sadly, this never came to fruition.

A couple days passed while Joe and I worked out the logistics of the job and the time came for him to take half of the payment from me and run off to Menard's to shop for materials. "I've been excited to do this!" he exclaimed. "I've been getting antsy sitting around for three days waiting to get up on the roof. I get up at 5:30 every day and if I don't have a job to do, I start to go nuts." So apparently Joe the Handyman REALLY likes roofing. I explained to him that I definitely did NOT get up at 5:30 every day so coming over any time after 9 AM would be acceptable.

Joe went off on his merry way to buy supplies and returned at 9:30 the next morning. I let him plug an extension cord in so he could listen to his radio. Who doesn't like listening to music while they work? Except instead of listening to Godsmack, he blared the local country station loud enough for the whole park to hear. Between that and his heavy walking on my roof, I thought the honky-tonk music would become the soundtrack of him crashing through the roof into my kitchen.

After a couple hours, he came down for a cigarette break. I went outside to see how things were progressing. The job was going nicely. But he was more interested in more unprovoked badmouthing of Kenny. "That guy Kenny is such a hack. He did some work at 'my girl's' place before I moved in with her. He charged her $1400 and did everything half-assed. I ended up having to redo most of the work he did. I told her I could have done that for half the price in half the time. Once I start getting more happy customers around here, Kenny will lose business. You should refer people to me if you know anyone who needs work done."

I had to leave to go to a wedding, so I locked up the house and let Joe do his thing. We resolved to finalize payment after the weekend was over. He later called me and left a message letting me know everything was done. Things worked out great for both of us... until the next day.

While I was sleeping off my wedding hangover into the late morning, Joe was frantically trying to get a hold of me. I woke up to three voice mails and two text messages from him. There was a huge problem, and it wasn't with my roof. Apparently Joe and his girl were headed for Splitsville. His two text messages said this:

"Need to talk to you ASAP about $ cause my girl now told me she wants me out. I got insurance info for you."

Then an hour and nine minutes later...

PLEASE got ahold of me soon!! She is being a real BITC*!!! Need to get out of here!

I then listened to his voice mails and got further info on this breaking story. Apparently his girlfriend and their neighbor had been getting drunk from 1 in the afternoon until 4:30 in the morning. When she was done getting hammered and killing a whole bottle of Bacardi and Captain Morgan, she came inside and started freaking out on Joe and told him he had to move out immediately. He wanted to oblige and go back to a place he has in Sheboygan, except there was one problem - He still needed the rest of his payment from me before he skipped town. This is what touched off his frantically trying to get a hold of me.

I began raucously laughing out loud as I heard the messages and the urgency in his voice. I knew I had one of the best Trailer Park Charlie stories I've had in quite some time. I called Joe back and he continued to fill me in on details. He kept using the phrase "World War III" to describe the situation. I mercifully invited him over to collect payment so he could escape from his bitchy woman.

The odd/hilarious thing was, his now ex-girlfriend is the one who drove him over again so he could throw his ladder in her pickup truck. Joe, always the talkative one, stood there and complained about her even more WHILE SHE SAT THERE IN THE TRUCK STARING ANGRILY AT US. It was then that I found out the root cause that started World War III. Joe said after he went home from working on my roof, he tracked roofing sealant into his girlfriend's trailer and onto the new carpeting. Since she was busy drinking with the neighbor, she didn't discover it until 4:30 AM whilst being completely shitfaced, which caused her to flip out on poor Joe the Handyman.

So the best part of this tale is that Trailer Park Charlie actually had a hand in Joe getting evicted from Brown Mountain. If I'd never contacted him to work on my roof on the particular day that his girlfriend was being a lush, he never would have gotten the roofing sealant I paid for on her carpet. But if Walter has taught me anything, it's that these trailer park live-in relationships are extremely volatile and can end at any time. So, it probably would have happened eventually.

Joe did do a great job on my roof and I would have referred him to other people but now he is gone. In the end, Kenny the Handyman may have made his greatest business move by not returning my call. Doing so led me to Joe the Handyman, who is now vanquished forever because of me. Well played, Kenny.

1 comment:

  1. LMAO!!! Great writing!! Brown Mountain has lost another great one!! Keep writing. Very entertaining stuff!