So I am in the process of selling one of my homes. Unfortunately, the one I am selling is 500 miles away from me, so it is somewhat difficult managing that from so far away. I spend most of my time driving between classes on the phone coordinating who should being doing what. Good times. Good times.
But wouldn't you know it; I get involved with some Fa-REAK gardener who starts stalking me. Seriously, stalking.
About two weeks ago, I start a search for some landscapers/gardeners to do some work in the front and back "yards" of my house. I quote "yards" because one should have at least one square yard to deem something a yard, but that is neither here nor there. Anyway, I call up three different companies to get bids. This is generally how I do shit when getting estimates. I get three prices and choose the person I like the best at the best price. The other people do not get responses to their proposals and this means "No thank you." This is just how shit works. If I don't contact someone, or say "Yes, please start the project" that means YOU ARE THE WEAKEST LINK, GOOD BYE (can I still use this as a pop-culture reference? I don't care...I'm doing it).
So I have the landscaper of my choice start yesterday. His name is Mario and he rocks. He is ALL into landscaping and has "a vision for [my] yard that will make it look so very beautiful. [He] checked magazine after magazine for my house...and [he] is going to put a fountain and some really nice fake rocks...." Seriously, this guy just goes on and on about what he is going to do. Our conversations always last over 15 minutes...which include him telling me his newest vision for my "yard" and me inputting some "uh-huhs" every few seconds. Seriously, I love this guy....he is the Picasso of shitty landscaping projects.
Enter, stage left, Bob. I talked to Bob a few weeks ago about giving me a proposal for my landscaping project. Again, I unfortunately am not meeting these people in person, and I am trying to make a decision about their work ethic using websites and telephone conversations. I also, thankfully, have Laura, my tenant, screening these people. She is fucking awesome and is a great judge of character. Obviously, since we dated for a couple of months...she knows a good thing when she sees it. HA!
But...I digress. What about Bob?
Bob, from what I could tell over the phone, has probably been smoking since he was 12...and he is now anywhere from 50 to 60 years old. His phone manners were what I would call marginally psychotic...and I was fearful when giving the guy my address to check the project out:
HACK "Yeah, I'll go by..." HACK "...and check out your place" COUGH COUGH HACK.
Bob goes by, checks out the place, and emails me a proposal that clearly states that I need to fax it back to him before he will start the project. In between talking to The Marlboro Man and getting his e-mailed proposal, I talked and fell in love with Mario and decided that any man who works with plants should not be smoking two packs a day. I did not fax Bob back, did not email him, did not call him. Our relationship is over. Right?
Mario starts my landscaping project yesterday morning. Laura says what he does is remarkable...and I feel justified in going with my lover over the other guys. I think all is well and good in the world.
But at about 4:00 PM yesterday, I get a call from a 415 area code that I don't recognize. I think maybe it is a painter I am trying to hire, so I answer.
Me: Yellllll-ow? (my clever way of answering the phone)
Mystery Man: HACK Yeah...Mark?
Me: Um...Yeah? This is he.
Mystery Man: This is Bob from ------
Me: (Thinking...Bob...Bob....OH YEAH....I remember this guy) Hi. How are you? (Why is this guy calling?)
Bob: HACK...I'm here at your house...and I have my staff, and we are ready to go. But I am having some trouble getting into the back yard. HACK COUGH COUGH
Me: Um...You're where?
Bob: I'm at your house. It looks likes someone has cleaned up the front a bit, too.
Me: Bob...I went with someone else. What are you doing at my house?
Bob: You what? Why? SPIT SPIT COUGH
Me: Well...I got different proposals for the project, and I went in a different direction. Sorry.
Bob: Well, in the future...I wish YOU would be more communicative so YOU don't waste people's time. I rearranged my schedule to come out here today.
Me: I see.
Bob: Can I ask why you went with someone else? Is it because I wanted you to sign a contract?
Me: No. I just decided on using a different person.
Bob: God. I really wish you didn't waste my time like this. HAAAAAAAAAAAACK
Me: Bob. Thanks for the advice. I really appreciate that.
Bob: NO problem.
Me: ("No problem" he says?) Bob, mind if I ask you a question.
Bob: HACK. Shoot.
Me: I apologize for not being "communicative." I will definitely do that in the future. But do you usually just show up at people's houses without a signed contract? And without talking to them for two weeks? I mean, do you think we had some sort of agreement? Did I ever tell you to start on "Saturday" for example.
Bob: HACK. HACK. CLEARS THROAT OF PHLEGM. HACK Um, well. I came all the way from San Francisco. So.........
Me: Right. And I apologize. But did we have an agreement for you to start working? If you had to come all the way from SF, I would think you might, oh, I don't know, CALL FIRST.
Bob: OK...well HACK...I gotta HACK HACK go.
Un fucking believable. And just another in a long line of reasons NOT to smoke.