Thursday, May 07, 2009

A Little Small Business Love

Um, this is a long post. Grab some snacks.

While Scout was gone, we had a slab leak. I can't remember if I blogged about it.

As I woke up one Friday morning, I placed my naked feet on the floor and realized it was wet. Really wet. I put my naked (very wet) feet into my flip flops, sloshed through the living room (with long pajama bottoms on that were now also wet), called in sick, and phoned a random plumber from the phone book.

It was extremely more dramatic than I'm making it. I believe I actually sobbed into the phone at my principal, who said, "Yes, Erin. Sloshing through water INSIDE your house and waiting for a plumber to show before the weekend arrives is good enough reason not to come to work."

But drama is not the reason for this post, so I'll spare you.

Thanks to my Lucky Stars, I picked the right plumber: Willie Ellis. I actually picked him because his last name is the same as my favorite town in Kansas. The most RETARDED reason. Ever. to hire someone. But it worked.

He looked at me like a grandpa would as I started tearing up standing in my front yard, watching him back out of my driveway, knowing that I would have to go the weekend without water because he couldn't come back until Monday. I believe he said, "Don't cry, dear. It will be ok."

He was there on Monday. On time (that's HUGE). I had to work, but he let himself in; he put holes in my walls, rerouted pipes, and had the drywall fixed by the time I got home. He even called to tell me the progress and asked if I would like to save some money in exchange for having less pressure at our backyard water spigot. I declined but appreciated him considering my wallet (especially because he could have done the cheaper job and charged me full price - and I wouldn't have known the difference).

Fast forward to about two months ago. Very long story short, we hired a contractor to fix some things that just weren't reasonable for us to get to before our move to Colorado. What he said would take two or three days ended up taking three mother-effing weeks. Another slab leak sprung up and since he was STILL there, we had him fix it. When we expressed our concern about the damp concrete 24 hours later, he said he would pour some more on it. And not to worry, even if it still leaked, it would go under the house - we would never notice it. We said, "whatever", and ushered him out the door.

(Some people may be saying, "WTF? Why didn't you have him fix it?" Well, my friends, Scout discovered something about our chatty little contractor that made us both want him out of our house. We almost welcomed the "finished" shotty plumbing fix if it meant he would be gone from our lives. Scout had gotten curious the day before and googled details that the contractor had blabbed about, "I was a San Quentin Guard, blah blah blah, retired in 2000, blah blah blah...", and his full name. According to Scout's research, this guy was busted for smuggling heroine and cocaine into San Quentin with the intent to sell it to inmates. Maybe I should have gone with my Favorite Towns in Kansas Strategy when I chose our contractor).

Anyway, this post isn't about Crackhead Contractor either, so again, I'll spare you.

Fast forward to yesterday morning. I heard the noise that only plumbers and people that have had multiple slab leaks recognize. The television was off, Scout was at work, the dogs were (surprisingly) quiet, and Tucker was asleep. That annoyingly unique sound was coming from under the sink. I rolled my eyes and got ready for work.

When we both got home, both the front and back lawns were saturated (it had not rained for days). There was water under the house. We surveyed the damage and called the guy I knew would shoot me straight and charge me a fair price: Willie Ellis.

He came out this afternoon, figured out the problem (Crackhead Contractor didn't fix the second leak - and we DID end up noticing it), and charged us $72. It's done. And you know what? I know we won't need it re-repaired in three weeks.

So I'm hoping someone will someday google "good plumber in Killeen, Texas" and come here. Willie Ellis is wonderful, fair, honest, and great. Love him. And I'm betting you will too, if you hire him.

That's just a little of my small business love.

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