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I am being blackmailed by my kitchen cabinetmaker.

This may take a moment to digest, so let me explain….

He isn’t blackmailing me with the threat of exposing Kardashian inspired nude photos or a shady business deal.

This is entirely different. He is blackmailing me to send him more money to finish a job that I have already paid for.

Let me digress. Four months ago, a cabinetmaker named Dan (not really his name) came to measure my kitchen. He said that he could custom make cabinets in 4-6 weeks. Pretty standard stuff followed. He wrote the invoice noting the door style, paint, and requested I cough up a 50% deposit and agree to pay the other half upon completion. I signed, paid, and the deal was done. I thought.

Now, maybe I should have been reluctant to toss thousands of dollars into the palms of a man, who bore a striking resemblance to a Duck Dynasty cast member and drove a truck with a dragging exhaust system.

I buried my sinicism with the knowledge  that, I had called 3 of his references, who all gave him glowing testimonials. Plus, his name was proudly given to me from a real estate investor group.

So what went wrong? He blew past the 4-6 week deadline and avoided my calls and texts; it was like a we were having a bad kitchen break up.

There have been a literally a dozen different days that he committed to come install the cabinets and just didn’t show up. That’s 12 days of reorganizing schedules and waiting at home … for nothing.

He had endless reasons for not showing up …the paint was wet, the hinges were wrong, it was raining, he needed more wood, his stomach hurt, his leg hurt, his son couldn’t help him, it was too hot and his truck broke down. Got to admit that last one seemed believable.

All I know, for sure, is that we were without a kitchen for so long that we memorized the local menus.

Truthfully, the broken promises and endless delays made me squirrelly and a little paranoid. There were nights that I couldn’t sleep and imagined Dan smugly sipping Mojito’s on Lido Beach and paying for it with crisp cabinet cash.

Daily I questioned Hank, my boyfriend if he thought that Dan would actually ever come to install the cabinet, or worse, if they even existed. After weeks of tossing and turning, Hank drove to Dan’s workshop to see if the phantom cabinets were really there or if we were part of a massive cabinet con. Thankfully, rows of doors and familiar boxes were in process. Hank begged him to finish the job. Dan promised to come the next day. He didn’t. Nor did he arrive countless more times.

Finally, 3 months later, the clouds parted and Dan and his son arrived, in a rented U-haul filled with our coveted cabinets.

We fed them pizza and compliments.

Several hours later, it was evident that 2 cabinets didn’t fit and several doors were missing. Dan asked for me for another sizable hit of cash and promised to promptly finish what work was left.

It has been a month since I wrote that check and we are still missing six doors.

Here is where the blackmail comes in… now Dan wants more money to “speed things up.” Sweet Mother …It’s already been 4 months.  Doesn’t this  feels like something a gangster would say if he was narrating a HGTV movie?  “If you want your cabinets …. it’s gonna cost ya.”

What an awkward position, if I don’t toss more cash his way, then he may not finish the job. And if I do, well … he still may not finish the job.

OK ..so what’s the lesson here?

It’s time to put my big girl panties on and figure this out. I am working on several possible next steps. Or plan B’s.

No matter how or when I get the kitchen completed, Dan has certainly robbed me of time and cash.

Also, he has helped me be extra grateful for the truly amazing craftsmen that have helped me transform my home without any angst and plenty of awe’s. Myron Miller and Juan Camacho are my personal super heroes.

Good people deserve to have their phones ring. You may want to check out Nextdoor.com, it’s a free private social network just for neighborhoods. It is  a great place to post what’s happening and exchange names of who you can trust to show up and who should be “Danned” … Oops I meant to say banned.

The barefooted designer,

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