Striking the Rock. Crazy making attempts to motivate the unmotivated.

3 01 2011

Motivating (non-motivated) people is a difficult task

In an attempt to live on my houseboat this winter, I decided to do necessary (and simple) remodeling to my houseboat.  I turned to Craigslist for a potential handyman.  The first (and therefore deemed most responsive) one showed up eager and apparently knowledgable. The job was estimated to take 1-2 days and cost several hundred dollars.

Things seemed to go well for the first day, the deconstruction day, wherein my bathroom, floor and walls were dismantled and stacks of debris were piled all over the houseboat.  Trouble began the second day when my contractor arrived late, said materials were more expensive than he estimated (thus wanted more money) and left early to attend to some other emergency.

As the weeks passed the simple several hundred dollar job has expanded to almost $2,000.  I have been virtually evicted from my boat for almost two months.  I estimate that he has promised me 17 times that “all the work would be wrapped up by ____” (usually the next day or two).

Suffice to say I feel nuts.  I’ve tried both the carrot and the stick.  My part in the situation is: 1. I hired a non-referred workman from Craigslist.  2. I gave him 90% of the money up front.  3. I have no firm contract.  4.  I am naive about these things.

The worst thing is that the reason I suspended my normally suspicious nature -wherein I would have employed more scrutiny and  vigilance – was because of his sob story about his chronically sick (and dying) wife.  I felt sorry for him.  So I got dumb.  Reached into my wallet, pulled out cash.  Not just once, twice, but a handful of times.

I have experienced  many emotions about this issue over the last two months from outrage, to compassion, to self-pity to depression.  I’m not sure how the situation will be ultimately resolved.  I do feel – writing this blog – that it was not so much an error in judgement that I guilty of as a over abundance of mercy.  In the long run, maybe losing a thousand dollars and being inconvenienced for a month or two is worth that awareness.  I’d rather be merciful and occasionally taken advantage of… than be an anal tyrant who never gets taken.  Then again, there may be a gray zone somewhere in-between.

I don’t get why God got so upset at Moses for striking the rock… instead of just speaking to it.   Rocks usually don’t respond that well whether you yell at them or hit them.  I guess people don’t either.  Maybe the point is: don’t go to a rock expecting water.  There is a saying in Alanon that “you don’t go to a hardware store looking for a loaf of bread”.  I guess I have learned that you should never go to Craigslist looking for a good workman… or true love.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: