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8:26 a.m. - 2002-08-09

STICKIN' IT TO THE MAN ... UNCLE BOB-STYLE

Wellllll ... I made my fair share of enemies yesterday.

I decided I was going to do a little snooping into my shower situation. For those of you who didn't read yesterday's thrilling, bone-chilling installment of my super exciting life, you may want to go back and do that first.

But I was going to get to the bottom of the extra shower control scandal. Even if the mysteries I uncovered threatened to ... KILL ME!!!

(Sorry...I'm trying to make this sound a whole lot more exciting than it actually was. It's called "creative license")

I first called the lady at the design center. This is the woman who originally sold me on the whole fancy schmancy shower idea.

"Hi Lynn," I said. "I was just wondering...when I ordered two shower heads for my shower, does that mean I get two controls too?"

"No," she said. "It just means you get two shower heads."

"That's funny," I said. "Because my friend, the often-imitated, never-duplicated Mattie Gee is building the house directly behind me. He ordered two shower heads and got two controls."

Lynn got silent for a second.

"I don't know anything about that," she stammered. "You'll have to talk to Tad about that."

BOOOOO-YAHHHHH!!!

Tad is the "builder" of the homes. Tad doesn't actually build squat. He drives around all day in an air-conditioned SUV and checks on the minimum wage alcoholics who do the actual physical building of the homes to make sure they're doing what they're supposed to do and not smoking crack and holding impromptu circle jerks.

So I leave a message for Tad to call me.

Tad has learned in the last few months ... he doesn't like to return my calls. I never call to praise him and say "You're doing a bang-up job driving around in that black SUV all day, Taddy!"

Nope. I always call when something's wrong.

So Tad calls me.

Tad explains that Mattie Gee asked for the dual shower heads and the dual controls before he even agreed to buy the house. Mattie Gee asked for them before he even thought about buying a house. Mattie Gee had been babbling non-stop about dual shower heads since he was in high school. This all happened waaaaaayyy before he ever stepped into the design center.

Uh-huh. So what the hell does that mean??

The cost of Mattie Gee's shower heads were figured in with the cost of the house and not an extra added feature.

.....Annnnnnd......so this is why he got two shower controls? Because he sat down at the bargain table and wouldn't shut up about having two shower heads so that he and his new hot young wife could have shower orgies?!?!?

This made no sense to me.

"Tad," I said. "It seems logical to me that if you have two shower heads, you'd want two shower controls. I was offered two shower heads and I bought them. I wasn't offered two shower controls. Had Lynn offered those to me, I would have bought those too. I naturally thought that the two shower controls were part of the deal. Why would I want two shower heads working off one control? What if I didn't want both shower heads on at the same time? What if I only wanted one shower head working?"

Basically, without coming right out and saying it ... the two shower heads will only be used when there's more than one person taking a shower at the same time.

Basically, I enjoy showering with my wife at times.

Basically, I'm a perv that way.

Basically, I was hoping Tad was picking up on my sexual fetishes without me having to spell it out for the building buffoon.

"Oh no sir," Tad said in a tone of voice that sounded like "Oh no, you stupid f'n moron". "You have to specify that you wanted two controls."

"Well, I'm telling you now, I want two controls. I expected two controls. And I don't have two controls," I said.

"Let me see what I can do," he said and hung up.

Okay. The walls are already up there.

The plumbing has been finished.

In order to make me happy, Tad is going to have to tear up a wall and tear up the plumbing. Possibly tear up the foundation. I dunno. I'm not a builder, I'm a writer. I can write all about what he does but I can't physically do it. You dig?

So five minutes later, my realtor Kelly calls.

Why on earth she's calling is a mystery to me.

"Uncle Bawwwwwb," she says in her heavy Southern drawl. "I hear we have some confusion going on."

"Kelly," I said. "I just wanted to know why my buddy said he wanted two shower heads and got two controls and I wanted two shower heads and got one control. That's all."

You see ... I already know the answer to this. It's because they screwed up on my shower from the get-go. They only did the plumbing for one shower head. It was already a hassle to give me two shower heads, but to give me two controls meant a HELLUVA lot more work for the plumber to do. So to cut corners, hoping that I would never ask for this ... they didn't give me a second control.

They had no idea that I was chums with the guy whose house is a few weeks ahead of mine directly behind me and I've been monitoring his home's progress as well as mine.

Kelly gave me the same runaround as Tad did. Mattie Gee came into her office babbling that he wanted two shower heads before he had even decided on a house and that's why he got it.

None of this made sense to me. Mattie Gee was asking for two shower heads and not asking for two controls. Yet he got two controls, something I expected as well.

Never mind that the lucky bastard got a free upgrade on his shower to a marble shower ... something I'm paying over $2,000 for. I'm just chalking that up to his good fortunes...I'm not even contesting that.

Kelly and I talk for five minutes and her main goal was to make sure I wasn't mad at her. I assured her I wasn't mad at anyone ... I just wanted what I wanted or wanted to be compensated for not getting what I wanted.

So ten minutes later, Tad calls me back.

"If you want that second shower control, I need to know right now," he says.

"Yes, I want that second shower control," I said.

"Okay," he says. "It will cost you an extra $250 to put it in."

Wait a second.

Mattie Gee paid $150 for two shower heads and two controls.

So did I.

Now I'm having to cough up $250 for the second controller?

That $250 is going in some plumber's pocket for his labor in putting this second controller in. I'm no idiot. I know what's going on here. I'm having to pay $250 extra for something they screwed up on.

....So I okay it. I tell him to get on it and I'll pay $250 extra for it.

In my mind I'm thinking that I will figure something out here to get away without paying for it. I've still got time to look over Mattie Gee's contract, make copies and present it to the builders, showing that he only paid $150 for his, why am I paying $400 for the exact same thing? And force them to admit I'm paying for their screw-up.

I have time to do this. But I didn't have time to do it yesterday so I okayed it.

Some of you that have built homes in the past are slapping yourselves in the forehead and screaming at your monitor, "UNCLE BOB, YOU IDIOT!!!"

Hang on. The story's not over yet.

I told Tad that there has been some serious communication breakdown between he and Lynn, the Design Center lady. I asked him if he and I needed to get together so I could go over all the upgrades with him so that we don't have any more screw-ups.

He assured me that he was aware of everything that was being upgraded and the things that weren't. There would be no more screw-ups.

So last night, I'm telling Susie all this and I said "I want to go out to the house and check and see what they've done on the shower."

So we drive out to the house.

They haven't done jack to the shower.

They've installed counter tops, which was really cool.

Oh.

And they started bricking the outside of the house. It looks really nice.

Because they're using colored mortar to cement the bricks together.

Something that I did not approve.

Something that I declined to upgrade to. I told them that I wanted the normal mortar because I didn't want to pay $500 extra for the colored mortar.

It's on the contract....NO COLORED MORTAR.

But on the house....colored mortar.

Sooooo...guess who's getting a $500 colored mortar upgrade for free because I signed a contract saying "No colored mortar"???

Hmmmmm???

Whoooooo???

Me?!?!?

Really???

You think lil' ol' me is getting a free $500 upgrade for their screw-up??

You're damned tootin' I am.

Because I OFFERED to get together with Tad and go over all the upgrades and he declined thinking that he was all Mr. Smarty Pants and didn't need my coffee table book writing ass telling him what I want and don't want, he's EATING this upgrade, baby.

Soooo...I'm currently $250 up on this whole deal.

And once I get proof that dual shower heads AND dual shower controls are only $150 and not $400 and that they're charging me because they were lazy and screwed up, I should be even more ahead.

Oh.

And I told Tad that in MY shower, I wanted a bench in it.

Just like in the design center. Because the marble shower in the design center has a bench. Mattie Gee's shower doesn't have a bench.

He tried to debate me on that. He said he didn't think there was a bench in the design center shower.

Until I told him that the bench was a selling point for us in buying the shower. That Lynn had sat and talked with my wife about how nice that bench is because it makes it easier for women to shave their legs in the shower.

I could hear him shuffling nervously in his SUV. He said that they were cutting out the marble for the shower as we spoke and were going to install it today.

I told him that he might want to make sure there's a bench in there. If not, we're going to have to take it out and get one with a bench. And that's just a whole lot more work that these people are going to have to do after yet one more screwup.

Call me an asshole.

I just want what's rightfully mine.

As I told Susie last night, "We could live in this house for 30 years and I can almost guarantee you that I will never plop my wet naked ass down on that bench and shower."

But as she pointed out...it's what we want.

And in this case...the Rolling Stones were wrong.

I CAN always get what I want.

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