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Friday 15 July 2011

Down Memory Lane - My Painting and Decorating Days

Hi folks!!

A typical balancing act on a ladder!!

I ran my own Painting & Decorating business for 15 years and met quite a number of weird customers and consequently I have some funny stories. I keep saying I will chronicle some Ambulance stories from my later experiences . . . . and I will! . . . . but these will follow later.  Talking about following, I welcome all my new followers from various Blog Hops . . . and of course I also welcome my existing friends.  Talking of friends I stumbled on a very funny door mat when I was delivering my son's papers the other day - he sometimes is not able to do it!! . . . or won't LOL.  The doormat said, well it didn't actually say it, but it read,

Friends always welcome. Relations by appointment only

Well, it has a ring of truth in it, doesn't it?  But Eddie, you might be thinking, stop digressing and get on with the story!!!!

OK.  I worked with my friend Chris for the 15 years, on most jobs and on this particular occasion we started working for a Regional Bank Manager (Did I hear some "Boooos"?).  This job was a recommendation by a humble Branch Manager, one of his subordinates, who was highly pleased with the work we did for him and his wife.  Mr X, as I shall call him, was something else. (Funny all Mr X's seem a bit weird in my experience.) Anyway, the job was to decorate his landing, hall and stairwell, plus his front room.  He took us to one side right at the start and said he expected perfection and rarely got it, and would we guarantee that he would be 100% satisfied.. A bit of a tall order we thought but we suggested he would be pleased because we worked to a high standard. He said, "Come and look at this!", and highlighted a new wooden conservatory which he had recent had installed.  He said he was very dissatisfied with the installation and pointed at a roof beam, remarking that the joints were not very good and that he could see two pieces of wood instead of one.  I looked at Chris and he raised his eyebrows in unison with mine.  I could not help replying that there were actually two pieces of wood in that joint and it looked perfect to me.  Chris nodded in agreement. Disgruntled he said, "Well, it's not good enough!".

Anyway we proceeded to decorate the landing and he seemed satisfied with the standard of our preparation of the woodwork, the undercoating and gloss work, which took us a couple of days.

Next day we started papering and completed the first two quite complicated drops, involving ladders and scaffolding planks. Guess who worked aloft? You've got it!  We heard him cough behind us and he said, "Oh! dear, oh! dear, that will not do at all!".

We asked why.

He replied that he could see the join in the paper. Now we are pretty good wallpaper hangers and it looked OK to us but we obliged by adjusting it slightly.  Fortunately we were able to slide one drop a little to the left - ever so slightly and carefully.  

"I suppose that had better do!", he said, and seemed reluctantly satisfied with the remainder of our wall papering.

When we got to the lounge we had a lot of problems with him criticising our papering.  Honestly, it was a good job but this "psycho" seemed to belong on a different planet.  The fireplace wall was large, 30 feet by 8 feet high.  He said, "There are joins in the paper and I expected not to see any!  I wanted to see the pattern uninterrupted across the entire wall!".

I said the wall is very large and unfortunately we were unable to find ONE piece of paper large enough to do the entire wall . . . . and had we been able to, how did he suggest we might paste it and hang it!".

"Well, I want perfection!  I have a new house and what do I find?  No-one can do their job properly!  The plasterers made a real mess of things because some cracks appeared in the wall when it dried out.  Those idiots installing the conservatory were totally incompetent and . . . . . now you seem incapable of hanging paper to my satisfaction.  I expect perfection!"

I said, "Now look Mr X, I am afraid you will not get perfection this side of the grave  . . . . . but please rest assured the standard of our work is exceptional and that is why we obtain so many recommendations from satisfied customers."

This seemed to rock him a bit and he made a beeline for Chris and said, "You are not upset are you? I hope not . . . . . look into my eyes . . . . . look into my eyes . . . . . oh! I can see you are upset! . . . look into my eyes!"

The "weirdo", we thought in unison and tried hard to stop laughing.  We imagined him making people redundant at the bank and saying, "You are not upset are you? . . . . . look into my eyes! . . . look into my eyes"".  In fact if he wore a glass eye we might be tempted to look into that because, as the old bank manager jokes say, there may be a modicum of humanity in that one, unlike his natural one.

Anyway, eventually he seemed fairly pleased with it.  His wife was delighted and said to us when he was out, "Take no notice of him, he is a silly old fart!  He just loves to pick fault. It makes him happy!"

He paid us on the dot but we were very relieved to have him out of our hair.  We have never forgotten this experience and still have a laugh about it . . . . . often we say, "Look into my eyes! . . . you are not upset are you?".


  1. I like the picture of you on the ladder and being safety conscious. Hubby has been on a ladder a few times lately and I was thinking I wish he would wear his bike helmet.

  2. Hi Eddie! New GFC follower from Stalk Hop Friday! Please stop by to say hi!

  3. You showed an incredible amount of patience and restraint!

  4. You are good Eddie, I'm afraid I'd have slipped and called him a "weirdo" to his face ;-)
    happy weekend, jj

  5. Definitely one for the books Eddie!!
    Too funny!

  6. You displayed amazing patience in the face of such weirdness and stupidity! What a nutter, I feel sorry for his wife... I can't you just imagine mealitimes if his food isn't quite perfect!

  7. Great pic of you on the ladder! Hilarious! LOL And I agree about Mr. X being a total weirdo! LOL Loved the story, too and look forward to more of your decorating tales!

  8. Hi! Following you from a blog hop!:0)
    Hope you visit me and return the follow!

    Btw if you like please join the Treasure Trove Tribune! I think you will enjoy it!:0)

  9. be careful eddie! that is quite a balancing act.

  10. This series will make interesting reading. I haven't heard this tale before.
    I think you both showed great patience. Many people would have told him to go hang it himself!
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  11. Love your stories gorgeous :)

  12. Oh, I do love your funny stories, Eddie! There certainly are a few weirdos in the world, aren't they? I've done my share of hanging wallpapers. It is a difficult job. I'm not sure perfection is actually possible!

  13. Hi following you now from Say Hi Sunday. If you can stop by

  14. Following you back! Hope you had a great weekend!

  15. Doing work for others is difficult at best, but when you have to deal with a self-proclaimed perfectionist... well, I think I'd have told him to do it himself.

  16. Good one!!!

    I'm afraid "weirdo" is too tame a word to describe him, tho...

    xoxoxo, cd

  17. Thanks so much Eddie, this post did make me laugh. I imagine there will be quite a few instances in the future where I will be able to use that immortal line 'look into my eyes, you're not upset are you?!' Looking forward to the next post in the series already. :-)

  18. Good grief, what a horror! I like what you told him...he wasn't going to find perfection this side of the grave...maybe he should look into his OWN eyes. I hope HE learned something from YOU.

    At least you got a great story from your experience!

  19. Eddie, I'm so glad to be back here, reading you, and I apologize for being absent so long.

    How could you possibly deal with a customer of that sort? You're a better man than I, Gunga Din! I do like the line about no perfection this side of the grave! :-)

    Looking forward to reading the next installment.

    Why, look, there it is! Off to read it now!

  20. Oh Eddie, this is a great new (she says hopefully) series.
    Your preparation for the woodwork painting reminds me of 2 painters I wanted to do a bedroom here, they gave me a quote of €2700 to paint the bedroom! Their excuse was that there was a lot of woodwork preparation!
    I did it myself in the end, took 3 days! Not bad, €900 a day I earned!
    Thank God that Celtic Tiger era is over!

  21. Thanks for sharing such funny stories with your clients. It really is quiet funny.


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