Since our laundry room airy partition and sun lit roof were done in one day (instead of three), I started hunting for tiles. The door was no issue. I have a carpenter shop just a few hundred meters down the hill. They are not great, and a little bit overpriced, but my finances is not great either, so I will just go with available option instead of buying $200 set of mahogany door and a pair of window in the cattery (which withstand scratching and shredding by hundreds of cats even after 4 years). They deliver within two days.
I have mortar left over by the previous builders, and the floor is already contoured for water to flow down the drain. So I thought I just check this online apps for builders to help me install pumps, lay tiles, and fix doors.
Reviews really didn’t speak for actual quality. The one I ended up hiring has five stars and have best reviews of all (and acceptable price) but he took the whole 8 work hours to install just a single booster pump and by the end of the day it’s still leaking.
Booster pump push water, and it use electricity to run though; so I told him there is no need to come back the next day despite his assurances that it will be okay. He gave me reasons of why he failed even in the easiest job, and pleaded for his income. I told him I will wait for two days, click ‘job done, release pay’ but I will not leave a review, or even leave a bad review if he will not return my money in cash. He understood my grace saving decision and asked for my bank account.
And I ended up sitting on the roof fixing pipes at 8 pm under drizzling rain, when the young owner of the pet shop who sent me Happy Cat’s sponsored spay send me text. We talked about an opportunity for me to dropship from his store and he was wondering because it’s not like me who leave unfinished business for a long time.
I told him what happened with the online builders and asked him if he knows someone who can finish the job by Saturday. My guest will land from Australia on Monday.
He told me to sit back, and wait for his men to come by my door the next morning.
He sent three men, who walked into my house and spent only two seconds before start commenting about how smelly my house is, how stinky the cats are, and how dirty they are, once they learned that all of my cats were ex-street roamer. I hold myself together despite my itching throat to spat back that they should not complain about smelly litter boxes (which I was in the middle of cleaning) while I have to bare with the sickening smell of their cigarette and sweat.
They brought no tools, they use mine. So one guy (supervisor) said he will go and fetch their tools while the other two work on the door and the prep the tiles.
He came back about half hour later and when he exasperatingly open my front door (and some cats slipped to the road) he told me how surprised he was because my house is now clean and fragrant.
I still hold myself together despite my itching throat wanting to spat that their smell hasn’t changed.
But there was no tools still. However, since the door was fixed and the tiles and floor were prepped, I did, once again, hold myself together despite their continuous insults toward the cats.
Maybe one of these cats eat their dicks, so they have vengeance against all of them.
They come the next day with tools, and same amount of insults and they keep forgetting to close the door behind him so instead of posting and working I ended up chasing various cats and kittens and shouting to passing cars to hold off before someone got squashed.
And they casually say with a smile that it is my fault because I didn’t “stash them away”
Yes, I hold myself together.
Then they said they want to smoke because despite the house is clean and spotless (and smells like citronella, pine and lavender) they still can’t bare the smell and sight of village cats staring at them from behind their enclosure.
I still hold myself together but I say no. So they use it as an excuse to stop working every half an hour to go out and smoke.
They are acting like I torture them and they look at me as if I am good for nothing woman who spend money and whatever riches they think I have and wasting my life cleaning litter boxes.
I still hold myself together.
Then start the tricks,
They confirmed that I was alone, so they send me out to buy things and when I come back, one part is fixed so take it or leave it (woman).
I did it better. I put a deposit to the building materials store across the street (who adopted Nekomi) and tell them what the builders are doing. The wife of the owner came from my hometown as well. Whenever they said they want this or that, I just told them “Go get it yourself. The guys knows what you are doing and we have each other’s back”
On Saturday I went downhill to buy waterproof paint that the building materials not have. The owner of the shop is a distributor of a tile manufacturer where I once worked for before going to Bandung, and he told me the differences between one line and the other, and point out all the misleading parts the builders have told me.
I bought $98 pail of good quality of non VOC, pet safe Dulux Aquashield and the shop owner actually have one of his employees to drive me home.
When I got home all of my cats scattered all over the street and the two guys were sitting on the front porch of that big mouth lady across the street chatting and smoking, waving their hands and smile their victory smile.
I hold myself together, smile back, called all my cats home, chased the rest, and accidentally dropped their prized their (faux) leather jacket into cement mix. Males here all want to look like Lorenzo Lamas in Renegade, or Mika Hakkinen, or Batman Forever, or Marlboro Man, but real leather is too expensive for them, so they use faux leather that is still pricey.
Then they walked in and said they need wall putty.
“Waterproof paint does not need wall putty” I said, You only need to scrape all these orange, chalky, cheap paint, sand them off, wash them, have the wall dry and paint fresh layer”
They were not happy a poop scooping woman told them what to do.
I called their supervisor and as soon as he looked at my supposedly finished laundry room, and asked why there is three inches gap between the door and the last tile full of cement. Why is the tile did not reach the mesh, why…
Cocky builders 5, Poop scooping woman 2.
They scrambled to finish their work and I told the supervisor that they connected the piping for the sink the wrong way and I want those fixed before they are out again for lunch because they already spend too much time chatting and smoking with and like an old hag across the street.
Supervisor stare at them, they scrambled down to work.
Cocky builders 5, Poop scooping idiot 3.
Then they asked me for wall putty again, for the newly laid mortar on top of the fixed plumbing.
Fine, this one they have the point, so I went down.
When I come back with wall putty, they already painted the whole laundry room and spent a quarter of that huge $98 paint.
I can see how satisfied their face are when I realized I was tricked again and they win.
Dickhead builders 6, poop scooping idiot 3.
“What did you put the coat for?”
“For trial, we will see which part is not good and then we will scrape it off and re-prep the wall and lay another layer”
I looked at the supervisor “That is $98 paint they are playing with like kindergarten watercolor, but that’s fine. I haven’t pay you so I can always count that in” Their pay is $170.
Everyone went pale.
Jackass builders 6, smelly poop girl 4.
Bring it on.
As they mix the wall putty, I spotted bubbles under one side of the wall, took a scraper, and peel the wall off.
I can hear a gasp from behind me.
Supervisor said (with embarrassed voice) “That’s ok, that was not prepped properly, it’s our fault”
In the next two hours, I scraped 90 percent of the two a holes paint job off. Developers of this house used cheap, chalky paint, and our notorious rain and humidity ruined it spectacularly. It has to be scraped off completely or the new, high quality paint will not stick.
They think I will feel too much of a pity to scrape that expensive paint off, or maybe I am just too dumb to know they don’t do their job properly.
The trickster went mad. I can see it in his face, though he hold himself together or risk not being paid. His tone completely changed, and his face showed murder intent. All his hard work painting, reaching all the high places, and I scrape it off with one hand.
How many point should I tally to my side of the game?
They have to re-paint it, and this time they better do it right.
The end of the day the room looks magnificent, and they all rushed out the house as I gave the supervisor their money.
“If anything, we will not be coming on Sunday” he said, “We have life to catch up to, but we will be happy to come for minor fixing if you find something wrong”
I went inside my citronella, pine and lavender smelling house, now marred with the smell of their sweat and cigarette, and detailed every single mistake.
I was particularly keen on the water drain because the trickster builders seems to have that winning face left when he drove off and found out that the strainer was placed in the middle of the drain pipe and the house’s foundation.
There was this gap between the canopy’s leg and the door. The tile grout was falling apart, the door was painted only halfway and another drain for the washer was filled with cement.
I sent photos to supervisor’s whatsapp and I noticed that he blocked me.
Never mind. I have been holding myself together, and I can hold myself together one more time.
I forwarded all my messages and photos to the friend who sent them.
“Josie!, that was horrible” he said when he called me seconds after he read my message. “Why didn’t you told me, why did you stay silent?”
“Out of respect for you, Sam”, I replied, “You sent me people within one hour and they did finish by Saturday. I think I can finish everything on Sunday because I don’t think I can handle yet another slur or insult toward my womanhood, toward me caring for street cats, toward the number of cats in my house, et cetera, but never mind, really. My house is an animal shelter after all, so it is natural that they think very lowly about it because people here don’t understand what animal shelter is”
“They said what? A Holes!, they will hear from me! If they don’t fix it, I will tell my dad to fire them! You are, first and foremost, friend of my dad! That’s how I know you!”
His dad is (human) surgeon and dog lover. He adopted several dogs from me (while I was helping dog rescues in Jakarta) and every single one of them were treated the same way his purebred dogs.
He hung up the phone, I took a deep breath, and start cleaning. It’s going to be a long Sunday.
In Sunday afternoon the supervisor magically called me, apologized, and said that he will fix everything on Monday afternoon.
I told him to forget it because I am picking my friend at the airport.
He showed up anyway very early on Monday with one of the guy and start fixing things when his men hit the wrong place on the wall and crack the pipe. Water sprayed all over the place I spent the whole night cleaning upon.
I hold myself together and told them I am not spending anything for things I do not break. I want them to finish everything by half an hour because I am leaving and I am not letting them stay in my house despite their pleas.
I told them I had enough of being sent away to go home to a seemingly completed job that hide shit.
I told them to be grateful that I don’t demand my money back, even though I can do so and they will still lose their job because they are being a prick to a wrong woman.
Supervisor tried to argue, but I reminded him that he told me straightforwardly that he didn’t want me to bargain his $170 offer in front of his smug looking lackeyes, and I didn’t, so he shouldn’t try to bargain me after all the barrage of insults, demeaning, and all other harassment I have to endure on top of his crappy job because a lawsuit will cost him more than ten times $170.
By the time I left for the airport minor part of the room has not yet finished, and I refuse him to come back on Tuesday and that if he heard more from Sam, he should just be a man and eat his own shit.
I sent them off, and wait for my own ride.
Two hundred meters down I heard one of his smug lackeye complained about the smell of his shoes.
It’s a little parting souvenir from me and Kaka. Just small sausages, but our gift is sincere.
Just to remind him that what goes around, comes around.