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More on my carpenter meltdown

April 30th, 2017 at 06:26 am

I think Creditcardfree was right about how some people's anger issues prevent them from being able to "let go" of things that bother him. I dated someone about 8 years ago who had major issues of that sort and acted in the same extreme, irrational way to minor irritations. It took me a while to figure out that my changing my behavior in this way or that way had no effect on his anger one way or the other.

I also think that given his history, the encounter with the police was practically a traumatic event for him.

The carpenter, "B," is a guy who has gotten the short end of the stick in life. He has a marketable skill but doesn't know how to leverage it to get ahead and he seems to make a lot of poor decisions that exacerbate his problems. Years ago he got behind on his property taxes due to a seasonal work shortage and the interest and penalties just piled up. He is still digging out.

Years earlier he was in a bad motorcycle accident. His young daughter (he's divorced) was riding behind him and he'd given her his helmet. (There is no helmet law in CT.) A driver backing out of his driveway didn't see him. B. jammed on the brakes to avoid a collision and went flying over the bike. He broke his back and had numerous other fractures. I remember seeing an account of the accident in the local paper and calling him at the hospital to see how he was doing. He mistook my concern for romantic interest which I had to quickly correct the next time I saw him, when he got out of the hospital.

This was why he had a doc appt on the second day he was doing the bookshelves. Pain management, he said. I didn't pry, as it was none of my business, but he seemed to want to talk about it. So then we get talking and I mention that painkillers can be very addictive, and he agreed. I asked him if he was in pain and he said "not really."

I got in touch with the friend who referred him to me and told her what happened. She is still using him from time to time but she lets her husband deal with him mostly. She mentioned another incident she'd heard of where some woman cut him off in her car and he chased her down. She had a baby in the back seat. If my friend had "heard of it," I imagine the woman must've called the cops when she saw he was following her and they pulled him over.

Anyway, my friend recommended another guy she said was very nice. I also have 3 guys I'd found on Angie's List earlier who I was going to try before B. agreed to do the job. I really think there's just one full day of work remaining on the project -- all the fun finish work including baseboard, trim and moldings, plus the cabinet below the window and the cubby holes above it. To think that I was going to pay him a $100 bonus just because I thought he was doing a good job.

I did try pouring Dawn dish detergent over the oil stains on the pavers, let it sit a half hour, then rinsed with very hot water I warmed up in the microwave. Disappointingly, this did absolutely nothing to the stains. The source said you may have to repeat.

Instead, after researching it further, I decided to try clay kitty litter sprinkled over each stain, which I then ground into a fine powder dust with the heel of my foot. It should sit overnight and hopefully lift up some of the stain.

If that doesn't work, I still have a few more things to try. One clever idea was to use a charcoal grill lighter fluid, the kind that's a skinny foot-long tube, to heat the oil up and out of the brick so it burns off.

I remember when I pointed out the stains to B. and said I think your truck is dripping oil, he said no, that's not oil, and he never really finished the sentence. Maybe it's transmission fluid or brake fluid. I did get down on my hands and knees and it had just a vague petroleum smell, not that strong, so I don't know exactly what it is.

If, against all odds, the stains remain (there are a dozen of them), I could have the company who laid the driveway last spring come over and just turn the pavers over. I'd want them to do it becus they level it with a soft mallet or whatever and I don't want to mess it up. Perhaps he wouldn't charge that much since I hired him twice now for big jobs.

4 Responses to “More on my carpenter meltdown”

  1. Carol Says:

    The weather may also help the stains. I spilled some spar oil on the big stone slab on the top of my steps. I forget what remedies I tried (all from the internet), but they only helped a little. So I thought I 'd have to live with it. I noticed the other day, the stain is gone-- rain, sun and snow, I guess.
    ( Just to say, have hope and wait on the paying.)

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    Kitty litter was going to be my suggestion. It may not get it in full, but it should make the stains less noticeable. And Carol may be right that the sun may burn it up over time as well. I'm glad you may have other options for your build and that you can have a little understanding for your carpenter friend. He may actually have a head injury from the accident that causes some of his rages. Frown This doesn't mean you have to employ him, but understanding can at least help you to move on and not take it personally, because it really wasn't about you at all.

  3. PatientSaver Says:

    Thanks for your suggestions. After the dish detergent, scrub and rinse method didn't work, I tried kitty litter which I ground up with the heel of my foot into a fine powder. I let it sit for 24 hours and this morning I'll sweep it up and see if it did anything. If not, there seem to be scores of degreaser products out there, as well as many YouTube videos that advocate using a propane blow torch to burn the oil out.

    As for the carpenter, I've just decided to move on, and what he did can rest on his conscience if he hasn't already found a way to justify his actions.

    This a.m. I'll be calling several other carpenters to see if they can finish the job. It be difficult to find someone right away because if I do end up starting the contract job this Friday, then I won't be able to take a day off to have a new carpenter over unless then can do it on a Saturday.

  4. PatientSaver Says:

    The possibility of a head injury hadn't occurred to me, although it is plausible.

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