One motivation for blogging is to record events/feelings to track how I or the world around me changes with time. I also like to jot down “life lessons” that I’ve learned along the way both as a reminder to myself and for our kid(s) when they’re old enough to read this. With all that said, I learned several valuable “life lessons” from recently having security lights installed.
After waking to Tary’s car on cinder blocks (and how did they carry them there?), it became obvious that the lights on the telephone pole at the end of our driveway were not a big enough deterrent for thieves. We decided to have motion-activated security lights installed on the front and rear of the house. I posted a request on ServiceMagic.com and had two electricians come out to scope the job and provide a free estimate.
The first electrician seemed knowledgeable and offered suggestions for high-quality security lights and where he would install them along the house. He provided multiple quotes with combinations for how many security lights to install with several models to give us options to fit our budget.
The second electrician showed up with another guy who was supposedly a security camera expert. They only toured the perimeter of the house and spoke in general terms which did not boost my confidence in them. The security camera expert started to talk about wireless networks (right down my wheelhouse) which agreed with my initial impressions. This electrician never made me an offer.
So I called the first electrician and left a message that we accept his proposal and asked when he could come and install the security lights.
A few days went by and no response…
While jogging with some friends, I ran into my neighbor and told him about hiring the electrician. My neighbor strongly urged me to call his buddy instead. I futilely tried to explain that I already agreed to another electrician but my neighbor insisted that I didn’t pay the electrician yet so it was okay to switch. (Note to self: Never listen to my neighbor again…)
His buddy Ron called me that night to discuss the job. After talking down the price a bit, I agreed. Unlike the first electrician, I had to pick up the lights so I placed an order for the security lights at a local electrical supply store. I figured the discounted labor costs would save us some money.
The next morning, I had the unenviable task of calling the first electrician to tell him that I was reneging on hiring him and that I decided to go with another electrician because he had failed to call me back in a timely fashion. I got his voicemail and left a message.
At the same time I received a pair of voicemails. I briefly listened to the first message and he stated that I bought the wrong lights. Uh oh. How did he know I bought lights?
I called him back and repeated that we decided on another electrician. To say he was upset would be an understatement. He angrily informed me that he already paid for and picked up the lights. He reminded me that the lights I bought were not good enough and that he bought a higher model. Doh!
Okay…that went well…
After confirming that there was indeed a higher model, I called the electrical supply store back and updated my order. I also had to order the PAR-38 lamps. After a quick mental calculation, I was disappointed that everything now costs more than the first electrician’s quote. [Expletive!]
Fast forward a few days and Ron finally came by to install the lights. We were already frustrated because we originally planned on test driving cars and going shopping but were stuck waiting for him instead.
Anyways, Ron made quick work of the lights on the rear of the house. When he started on the front lights, he told me that I needed to run out and buy a mounting block. I quickly drove out to Home Depot and picked up the required hardware and returned. Sigh…another cost.
The afternoon was quickly fading. My neighbor felt bad that we couldn’t go on our test drive so he volunteered to watch our house after Ron finished the install while we were away.
After returning home from the dealership, the security lights were installed. I went upstairs and found a Slim Jim wrapper on the floor next to Daniel’s room. I thought it was strange but I assumed that Tary’s cousin who slept over the night before had eaten one, threw the wrapper away, and one of the cats pulled it from the trash to play with it.
I was reading the instruction manual for the security lights and it mentioned an included piece of plastic used to adjust the settings. I went looking for the boxes the security lights came in and found them in the trash cans along the back of the house. As I searched for the tool, I found another Slim Jim wrapper. [Expletive!]
Okay, now I was really angry. My neighbor bullied me into hiring his buddy. Then I had to be a huge jerk and cancel the first electrician. Then I had to go and order the parts which ended up costing me more money. Then we got stuck waiting around for the guy. Now he takes it upon himself to take snacks from a box sitting on my desk while we’re away!
I was fuming so I called my neighbor to complain. I don’t care about the 50 cents or whatever the Slim Jims cost. I was more disappointed that he did not have the common decency to at least call and ask first. I don’t know you dude. I am not your buddy. Seriously, who does that?
Ron called me back a few hours later to apologize. He explained that he thought it was like a candy jar thing. I never heard of anyone else putting a Slim Jim as a community candy jar in their bedroom/personal home office. What else could I do but accept it for what it was.
So what did I learn from all of this? Let’s recap:
- You can’t find good help these days. Everyone claims they know someone “good” but they really don’t. Ignore them next time.
- Trust yourself. I like to think that God has given me a pretty level head. I need to trust my own decisions more.
- Don’t schedule two contractors for the same time. It’s awkward. Trust me.