Paying in end for trying to save a buck

Published 9:40 am Friday, September 6, 2013

“This afternoon was the colour of water falling through sunlight; 

The trees glittered with the tumbling of leaves; 

The sidewalks shone like alleys of dropped maple leaves, 

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

And the houses ran along them laughing out of square, open windows.” 

– Amy Lowell,

excerpt from September, 1918

Some folks learn things the hard way, and I tend to be one of those.

So, dear readers, take advantage of my hard-knocks lesson. The summer monsoon season took a toll on my old house: the back porch gutter failed, sheets of water pouring on the back steps, an overhang showing signs of rot. Scraping up pennies, I figured I’d better do something or damages would get worse. Not wanting to hassle my across-the-road neighbor about it, I hunted on craigslist for someone willing to barter or work for a reasonable cost. The guy impressed me: showing up at the appointed time, returning calls and seemed like he knew what he was talking about. Let’s just call him “Todd’s Remuddling.”

Mr. Todd Remuddler suggested he could put a gutter up on the second story, solving the whole problem. Of course, I was nodding, just wanting the problem fixed – now. Desperation drove me to a bad choice, folks. Gullible? Maybe. Long story short, I came home one day and discovered three men at my back steps, up on the roof: a plastic gutter installed on the second story. I was horrified; plastic gutters? I didn’t know there was such at thing. Serves me right; I just assumed he’d install a matching metal gutter, appropriate for a vintage house. Wrong! Oh, plastic is much better than metal, Mr. Remuddler suavely assured me.

Oh, I didn’t replace that wood at the eave: that’d cost you $500 in material. “But I wanted that done,” I moaned, that’s one of the reasons I called you in the first place.” Later, I saw that he’d snitched soggy porch railings out of the basement to use, along with other items I had here and charged me for the best of material. Can you believe it? I couldn’t.

T’is true: I assumed my problems would be cured; wrong. Let’s just say I got the raw end of the bargain: over-paying for shoddy work, under-pleased. I felt sick. When I called Mr. Todd Remuddler’s cell phone to report problems with downspout leakage, I got the message, “Verizon customer is unavailable.” Serves me right for not getting other estimates, checking several references and having materials and prices spelled out to a T.

This was my own fault, and I hope to save you, dear reader, my pain and contrition for being a sucker. The truth is I was so desperate, trying to save a dollar: it backfired. To rub more salt in my wounds, Mr. Remuddler didn’t install the gutter covers I’d left on hand — ignoring them; and left trash out on the back walkway. Insult to injury, indeed.