Everything is broken...
I'm the last person to point fingers at handymen. After all, I'm so inept around the house, that in my eyes, replacing a blown lightbulb with a new one, and having it actually work when the switch is flipped, warrants a jubilant victory lap around the garden. Having said that, I have to wonder if the standard of hired professional help is gradually declining. It could be the luck of the draw, of course, but several incidents of late, involving supposed tradesmen, has left me wondering.
A plumber (I call him a plumber because that's what it said on the side of his van) called to my humble abode to give me a quote on fixing two leaky faucets, seemed so disinterested in doing the work that I almost felt guilty asking him for a price. One of the faulty faucets was on the bathroom pedestal sink, and he appeared to be troubled by the fact that the sink was very close to the wall. (If I'd known that in advance, I suppose I could have had it installed in the middle of the room to spare him the hurt, but never mind.)
Add to this, his consternation at the fact that the shut-off valves appeared to be original to this 1941 house, and it began to appear that he wished he'd never been consulted. His response to the sight of the dripping shower faucet was a sullen aside along the lines of - "Yeah, they do that sometimes...how long as it been like that?".
The implication seemed to be that I needed to give it time to stop dripping, but even after I told him that it'd been that way for about two months, he seemed disinclined to tackle the project, and he was sighing so heavily that I actually felt sorry for him, and set him free to go and disappoint other potential customers.
The next "professional" to let me down was a bit of an all-rounder. He informed me in advance that he could tackle any and all home improvement jobs, and this was good news because my mother-in-law apartment out back had some rotten wood siding panels in need of replacement, and a shower stall that required serious attention.
The siding repair job went quite well, but when it came time to survey the shower stall, his mood turned rather more sombre. The raised step into the shower was tiled, but the tiles had seen better days; several were cracked and loose, and old, crumbling grout had obviously contributed to some water damage of the step and the shower stall both. Obviously, I was concerned that repairs would be costly, and prepared myself for a pricy estimate.
After the requisite stroking of the chin and the raised eyebrow, the alleged handyman stunned me with his off-hand comment - "I don't know if I'd mess with that." Unbelievable. He obviously wanted nothing to do with the job at hand; confirming it with a little shake of the head, and then the clincher - " I don't know if I'd open that can of worms...you just don't know what you're gonna find under there." Well, obviously, I didn't know what I'd find under there! That's why I called a "professional" in: to have someone open cans of worms for me.
Apparently, his concern appeared to be that the more repairs he tried to do, the greater the possibility of finding more damage would be. His answer seemed to be to simply leave well alone and tread lightly in the shower.
Brilliant. I went from being concerned that I'd have a huge repair bill, to wondering what kind of evil worm creatures might be residing under my shower stall, and how long it would be before the building collapsed, forcing me to replace the entire structure. The upshot of this is that I still have a dysfunctional shower, and since I'm not currently on first name terms with any plumbers in the mood to actually do any work, I suppose I'll have to live with it.
Anyway, I have other things in need of repair that take precedence. My trusty old Takamine acoustic/electric guitar has dodgy electrics and is in need of some serious fret work. Since I am supposed to be working on a new album, this is a bit of a hindrance. The thing is, I think I'm scared of asking local luthiers for assistance, in the event that they steer me clear of fixing old problems for fear of exposing new ones.
Ideally, I'd like to avoid the whole thing and simply ask my wife if I could just buy a new guitar instead, but I don't think I want to open that can of worms.