August 21st, 2009

Oh *hell* no!

More plumbing uff da

I have a rather subtle point to make, so I hope you can follow it if you read veeeeery carefully.

When I want to call up and talk to a friend, I ask questions like the following: "How are you? How is your partner/spouse/love interest/parent/child/other family member/other friend/co-worker/other person of mutual acquaintance? How is your writing/knitting/gardening/baking/painting/other creative endeavor? Have you seen any good plays/movies/concerts/interpretive dances/performances of other interest recently?" And so on.

When I want to talk to a plumber about putting a bathroom in my basement*, I ask questions like the following: "Do you do this type of work? How many similar projects have you done? What materials do you use? How much will it cost? In what time frame could you accomplish this? For how long have you worked with your contractors? Do you see any problems with this project of which I should be aware?" And like that.

Do you see the fine line I am drawing, the delicate distinction I attempt to make?

So why, then, would the people I called to send out someone to do an estimate on this job, instead send someone who wanted to talk to me about her children and their lives and who could not do an estimate on this job? Why, in fact, did this woman come stand in my basement and take up my time and explain to me their fee structure (95% before work begins sounds like a mighty good deal to me--a mighty good deal for them, that is) and reassure me about things that did not previously worry me (and, in fact, do not worry me now) and lie to me about what GFI stands for--and then confess that if we wanted an estimate, she could send someone out in a few days, probably sometime next week?

Why would I want this at all? My friends are more interesting. My contractors are more useful. You, lady, are neither. Shoo! Shoo. Honestly. Honestly.

We want a bathroom. In the basement. Currently there is a patch of concrete sheltered from storms by the rest of our home, and we would like for it to become a room--in fact a room of the bath variety--complete with walls, storage spaces, and an assortment of fully functional plumbing items. We do not want an endless stream of design discussions. We do not want reassurance that your multinational conglomerate gives your franchise buying power. None of the other contractors seem to find this idea difficult. Lucky thing.

*I am unable to say this right the first time around, either aloud or in writing. I always speak of putting a basement in my bathroom, which is, it turns out, not at all what we want.