Anyone glancing down the side bar of my blog will recognize that I follow Big Don Kev Alviti’s blogs. For me, it makes very hard reading but, perhaps out of sheer masochism, I punish myself repeatedly and force myself to read his posts. His cover is that of a caring family man, skilled carpenter and smallholder, all of which he is, making his cover even more credible. We all know, however, that he is really the underboss of the Alviti Family in UK and could, were he so inclined, fell a horse with a single right hook. Since he is an animal lover as well, though, if you upset the Family you will wake up to discover a beautifully carved horse’s head in your bed rather than the bleeding real thing.
So if he is one of the nicer Mafioso, why is his blog such hard reading for me? Easy. I look at his craftsmanship and then go down to my site and I can’t help compare Don Alviti’s well publicized work to the shoddy shit I am paying for. Believe me, it is hard for me to pretend to be hard when I burst into tears seeing what my ‘craftsmen’ have done. Jesus, I have already selected the beam from which to hang myself but I bet it wouldn’t take the weight; me dropping suddenly onto it would probably bring the whole roof down and leave me not only with a very sore throat but a lot of explaining to Marcia who would quite naturally wonder why her new house was little more than a pile of rubble and I was wearing a six foot neck tie the colour of which was hardly fashionable.
I have sacked my contractor. It’s a decision about a year overdue but he was, as Marcia never failed to remind me, a friend of mine so it was a hard decision to make. Clearly I am not made of the same stuff as the ruthless CEO’s of major companies which is why, rather than nail gun his limbs to the floor and play football with his testicles, I just let him off the hook. Marcia was hopping mad, she always clung to the notion that we would get our money’s worth but as I pointed out to her, every month we are not open is losing us far more. It is rather like sitting outside someone’s house every day for a week until they finally cough up the twenty bucks they owe you and in the meantime losing thousands in income. I can understand the principle of not letting people get away with it but sometimes you have to take it on the chin and move on. With the restaurant open, we can recover the loss in only four months if we are as busy as all the signs indicate we will be. After that, it’s all clover.
Now I have no alternative but to pay for work I thought I had already paid for and directly hire the crew I need to finish the job off. We have managed to hang on to one of the Filipino carpenters, the best one who did such an excellent job with the tables and chairs, as well as a couple of laborers but we do need a bigger crew if we are to finish quickly.
So I spoke to my new foreman, Alex, and told him he was responsible for hiring the extra labour we needed. He may only be four years old but he did not let me down. So, without further ado, it gives me great pleasure to introduce to you my new crew. Child labour, you can’t beat it.
|Note that Foreman Alex has all his crew issued with Personal Protective Equipment.|
Tomorrow he will teach them the safe use of power tools.
I love it!ReplyDelete
Although I think you're far too nice about my work!
Sorry I've not been by your blog lately, in fact I've not read anyones and I've only update my own a couple of times as I've been so busy.
You've done the right thing to get rid of the useless arsehole builder. At least now you can make a clean break of it.
As for my right hook I'm not so sure. But I've worked with and for plenty of builders I'd like to hang by their scrotes while I use my orbital sander on their foreskin. The trouble with the building industry is it attracts the lowest of the low into it. all the useless ones I went to school with are now builders. Shame really as I got good grades...
Compared to the standard I have to endure, you are not a skilled craftsman, you are an artist.Delete
Looks to me like what your new crew lacks in skill they will more than make up for with enthusiasm!ReplyDelete
I've always done all my carpentry work myself but I've never had to meet a deadline or lose money waiting for my building to get done. Actually that's not entirely true. I did hire the vinyl siding put on both my home and my out building. We have some of the same trouble here in the U.S. that you have experienced. I hired a different guy to do the out building than did the house and his work was way better than the first.
Hopefully your new second guy will be like my new second guy and all will be done and done well soon.
The new 'second guy' is me. All I have done is directly hire the guys I need. Let's hope it is not na even bigger disaster.Delete
Contractors, contractors. Phah! It's the same the world over. Here in Thailand, and Bangkok especially there is a building boom, (which by the by will end in tears because of the oversupply being created, but that's another story waiting to unfold). But as a result it's very difficult to find reliable people, and they are expensive. It's a cowboy's paradise. Maybe it always has been. When we renovated our apartment 10 years ago we realised our contractor was hopeless, but we thought we'd persevere, and we should have sacked him and started with someone new. So you've done the right thing, (providing of course your new team deliver!).ReplyDelete
Well, as I have pointed out to David, I AM the new team. So I really do hope I have done the right thing!Delete
In defence of other contractors, my aircon technician, who replaced one of my condensers on Wednesday at vast expense, had to re-summoned to attend to another failing aircon, (which he only recently fixed). Anyway, he was supposed to come at 4 pm, but after that deadline passed it was 6 pm. So in between a quick 60 lengths at the pool, we returned, and thought it would never 'appen. Anyhoo, he did come at around 7.30 pm and fixed, (perhaps only temporarily) the offending machine. So I'm almost quite impressed. But I do seem to be paying him the equivalent of a small house to maintain these old machines, so perhaps he thinks it's worthwhile.Delete
I can't 60 lengths of my bathtub!Delete
We (I think) are mid building work on our newly acquired barn. Occasionally someone turns up, but mostly they don't. We recently had the septic tank installed, having waited for about two years. The bill arrived two days later.ReplyDelete
When your new team have finished, I may well employ them.
I work for whisky and cigarettes, Alex likes porridge for breakfast and I am sure he will scoff anything else you prepare at mealtimes with delight. We may have problems stopping him skipping work in favour of a dip in your lovely pool though...Delete
Sounds to me as though you just ticked the wrong box on the contract. Did you tick "Private and personal project" or did you tick "Government Terms"? £30,000 for a hammer, £50,000 for a toilet seat...ReplyDelete
In my own family we have customs not unlike the Mafia's - when someone offends us they are liable to wake up with a severed hamster's head on the pillow next to them, or sometimes a graphic polaroid of a really bad bruise or paper-cut if we can't find a really depressed hamster in time.
Perhaps I should have contracted you to take time lapse photos of the build. That would have been a two year contract with one photo taken every week.Delete
Builders... Don't get me started! When we had our extension built, my only request was they stayed on site until both the extension and studio/garage was finished. They swore on their mother's, father's, childrens, grandkids, the dog's, rabbit's and goldfishes lives that they would stay 'til the bitter end. Well you know something... Yes... spot on they bogged off halfway through.ReplyDelete
In a past life I had lots of kudos in the cooking department. I invited them round for a celebratory dinner at the end of the job. Funny thing was, the meal was the worse one I've ever cooked! The Beef Wellington was cooked to buggery and back... as tough as old boots... wellingtons even. Veggies boiled for 20 minutes with added bicarb. to soften. You get the idea? I waved them off with a smile of satisfaction... the meal was a goodun.
I treated them better than they had ever been treated before. I had told them about the old German custom that required the surmounting upon the completed roof of a fir tree obliging the job owner to throw a party for all the labourers to celebrate, which I provided. It went downhill after that. Not the fault of the workmen but the contractor. When I finally pulled the plug, some of these guys were owed six month's pay.Delete
Please don't tar us all with the same brush!Delete
I'm sorry to hear your friend turned out to be very much less than a friend. Alex looks quite capable of helping his father take on the task.ReplyDelete
I'm having a moment with a workman, too. He was supposed to call and didn't, i let it lapse, and now trying to reach him is darn near impossible. I'll keep on while i'm formulating Plan B.
He is still a friend, just he stumbled. Ok it costs me a bit, a lot, but I can still reach out and give him a hand.Delete
Will the exploitation of children in Africa never cease? I thought you were a friend of the New Africa - in your own small way committing yourself to its development but you even use your own small boy as construction worker! At four years old he should be playing in a sandpit, not wearing a hard hat and building a restaurant! And why can't you just build it yourself instead of lazing about blogging and guzzling scotch?ReplyDelete
Ah, the guzzling scotch barb.Delete
Are you taking bookings yet...? Do you need our credit card to ensure the reservation is made..... Oh.ReplyDelete
Credit card details are essential to ensure the cottage you are paying to rent is built...Delete
Never mind the Mafia, Tom. Though did follow up link and am afraid you now have a rival to your own craftsmanship in the court of my affection: The adorable Kev. My heart has many corners. No wonder the odd panic attack ambushes.ReplyDelete
Sent you one of my usual unassuming comments yesterday. Still, even I do not always register on the Richter Scale of stunners. Don't blame me, blame those not to be mentioned in internet traffic.
Awaiting your next penning with trepidation,