Part Two of Two
Quick recap from Part One: Last spring, my husband and I hired a (good looking, good smelling) landscaper to remodel our backyard. He planned to start in July.
On a late May evening, Bo left us alone in our backyard to imagine. Michael and I sat in our Adirondack chairs side by side and saw our new patio and yard in August, after Bo completed his work. We’d have a flat place to set a large rectangular table for our friends who would come by to relax and clink glasses of sangria. We’d plant blueberry bushes and native grasses. We’d put the fire pit over here, the kids baby pool over there. We’d finally have a reason to buy The Grill, the one with a smoker, burner, and racks the size of Texas, the one that would require a second mortgage but would impress a carnivore’s palate.
We did minimal gardening, since much of our yard would be torn up by bobcats and cement trucks. Instead, I planted a pot of red peppers. Each morning, I sat in my Adirondack chair, sipping my coffee, giddy with possibility.
On the way to my daughter’s soccer game, I drove by Property Awesome with its 5000 square foot home and view of the valley. A sign for Bo’s Landscaping was at the end of the driveway. I wanted to pull in, knock on the door, and ask the homeowner about Bo’s work. And then I had a passing thought: I met Bo through the Yellow Pages. I knew nothing definitive about him, except for the smell of his cologne.
Around July 12, when we were packing for our two-week vacation, I worried Bo might call with a start date when we were still out of town. But we heard nothing. I justified he was behind schedule. It had been a wet, slow start for those in the business of planting shrubs and laying pavers.
I called him after our trip. “Oh,” he said. “I thought you had found another contractor.”
“Why would you think that?”
He didn’t answer. He just said, “We’ve been booking up. So, if you want, I can still come in a few weeks.”
A few weeks? All my August plans of drinking sangria and hosting my daughter’s birthday party in the backyard pixelated. It’s okay. Patience. The patio will be there next summer and the summer after that.
I gathered courage to call K Concrete, the company Bo subcontracted to pour our patio (see Part One). Since we didn’t hire him directly, I thought this might be a breach in protocol, but I needed to know.
“Yes, I remember you,” Kevin said about meeting me to bid our job. “And I have worked with Bo’s Landscaping before, but I haven’t heard about your job until now.”
A new reality swept in. If Kevin didn’t have us on the schedule, then how did Bo ever plan to complete his job with us? It was as if my husband’s adulteress had called to introduce herself. All along I thought Bo liked us. I thought he wanted our project. Instead, this man that I let myself feel infatuated with lied to me.
Here’s what I (now) find amusing. All summer I fretted about the horror of Bo leaving us with a big dirt hole and a promise to return “soon.” I worried about the phone conversations, the arguments of not paying one more dollar until he fixes the cracked concrete. It never occurred to me that Bo wouldn’t show, and we’d end the summer with no patio at all.
I left Bo a voice mail. I sent him a text. He returned my calls with no explanation of why he had not spoken to K Concrete.
We decided to delay the project another year.
A few weeks later, I drove by Property Awesome, the one with the view and house I envy. At the end of the driveway the sign for Bo’s Landscaping had been replaced with Thomas Tree & Landscape Design. I imagined the fury of the homeowner when Bo failed. “You’re fired. Get your trucks out of here and don’t come back,” she said. Bo packed up his tools. He got in his Ford and turned up Disturb’s Down With the Sickness loud enough to block out the shame.
Inspired by the letter D in the A to Z Challenge. Scroll past the social media buttons to share your own story of hiring a contractor or to comment on this post.