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  • Writer's pictureMr. Jamoke

Homeownership Nightmares

I can only imagine the look on the lady’s face when she came back home and witnessed day five our “landscaping” project. I couldn’t cause I was busy barfing up Amstel Light behind one of her trees. Worse yet, I was technically the more productive employee: The other worker was actively ripping up her baby violets out of the ground. Our inebriated, inexperienced, early morning diagnosis erroneously identified them as weeds. There was no day 6.

Nonetheless, over the course of five days, our inept landscaping trio “Larry and Lads” had accumulated nearly two grand in cash despite results that fell somewhere in the spectrum of limited to immensely counterproductive. Led by our fearless leader Larry, we were able to land a few more gigs. Nothing amused me more than listening to Larry field calls from disgruntled clients. In addition to their grievances about the actual work product they were frequently displeased by the “smell of dope” that accompanied the workforce. That and the sudden, astronomical spike in cigarette butts appearing on their property.

Amazingly, at most of these gigs, I wasn’t the most incompetent person servicing the house. I was frequently bested in that department by plumbers, painters and cable guys who were, at least in age, actual grown-ups. I remember one day the Cox Cable guy came to the backyard where I was raking leaves to ask me what the house number was. I told him what I thought it was but also informed him that if he walked to the front of the house he could get the question answered definitively. Two hours later homeboy drives the cable van up the back alley with another cable guy in the passenger seat. Same question, same response. Two hours later, same van, same story, one more person in the van. I almost soiled myself laughing when our client came home at 6 PM and played her voicemail: “This is a call from Cox Cable. We’re sorry we missed you today.……..” Three dudes, one van, six hours, culminating in a voicemail telling you to try again another time.

This is why I still rent. At a young age I became hip to the fact that around every home there are multiple stupid, incompetent, disrespectful, cash-sucking moons in orbit. “Sam and I just bought our first home, we’re so excited to have our own place and not have to pay rent anymore!!”….. Two years after the housewarming party, I know exactly how things are gonna play out. You’ll have cut the cord cause you “barely have time to watch TV anymore.” You’ll also try and convince me (and yourself) that you genuinely enjoying having AstroTurf or some ridiculous dirt & rock arrangement out front instead of a real lawn.

I see right through you bozos. I know the score. You miss your TV channels and you miss them badly. The rock formation mocks you every time you come home; a constant reminder of your shame and defeat. You cancelled your trip to Europe because you had to pay Herb’s HVAC “specialists” their 5000% margin to fix your “broken” central AC system. Newsflash – Herb just replaced the filters. Your wife is worried that half the maintenance men are peeping toms – and she’s probably right. You are, at best, one strategically placed cigarette butt away from a full-on nervous breakdown. At worst, a massive “lawn” fire.

You’ll get your mojo back though, don’t worry. In 15-20 years you’ll recover financially and emotionally from your first effort to transform your house into a “dream-home” and take a second crack at it. The timing will be perfect too because by then the second generation of Larry & Lads will be needing work. I’ll make sure to come pick them up in a Cox Cable Van at the end of they day, cause after a day of “rebuilding your lawn”, I suspect that they’ll be too drunk to drive home.

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