Did you ever…?
Did you ever do your best to help someone who was totally unappreciative of your efforts? Last month, my neighbour Bing decided to put a room addition on his house and I offered to help. He was very apprehensive about it, but finally agreed when I promised not to use any power tools or offer any advice.
Whilst we were waiting for the lumberyard to deliver the materials, we started to measure and stakeout the area for the addition. Was he satisfied? No! He said he had to re-measure because he did not want a room shaped like an obtuse triangle. Some people just cannot be pleased. After he finished measuring, I began hammering the stakes into the ground when suddenly I shouted; “Bing! You’re rich! I struck oil!” He told me I had broken the water main. He went into the house to call the department of water and sewers whilst I watched his garden become a swamp and his garage tilt slightly to the East. The stakes I had driven into the ground disappeared, and we never did find his hammer or tape measure. I told him he could have mine, but he still wasn’t happy.
When the lumberyard delivered the lumber, our neighbour Buster came over to help us unload the truck but he didn’t stay long. I accidentally dropped a two by four on his head. He didn’t get angry; as a matter of fact, he claimed to be rather amused by being knocked senseless. When Buster left, Bing asked me if I had noticed that Buster’s eyes were rolling in opposite directions and that he was smiling a lot.
Two weeks later, the ground was dry enough to begin work again. Even though I thought everything went exceptionally well, Bing did nothing but complain. First, he said I nailed his shoe to the floorboards on purpose. Then he said I put the upright boards too close together. I disagreed, and when he tried to crawl between the boards to prove it to me, he got stuck halfway through. He yelled at me to help him get unstuck, and when I asked him which end he wanted me to save first, he told me to go home. I came back later with coffee and doughnuts as a peace offering. By that time, he had finished pulling out all the splinters and he was ready to work again. As I was handing his coffee to him, I accidentally spilled it into his shoe. This gave him something else to complain about. I still don’t believe that he sustained second degree burns on his foot and that they had to cut the shoe off his foot, but he said he couldn’t work anymore that day.
The next day, when I saw Bing limping out of the house to begin work on the room addition, I went over to help. Whilst he was on the roof nailing the boards in place, I notice that two of the uprights didn’t look quite straight. I tried to straighten them with the sledgehammer but they broke in half, which made part of the roof fall in. Unfortunately, it was the part where Bing was working, so he came down with the roof. Whilst he was in the hospital emergency room, I cleaned up the mess as best I could and waited to hear news about his condition. It was hours before he came back home because he also had to stop at the dentist to have two teeth capped.
When he finally came home, I went over to see how he was doing. He said he had to stay in bed for a few days and that he had called a construction company to finish the room addition. I asked him if that wasn’t going to be very expensive. He said yes, but if he tried to finish the project himself with me helping him, he was afraid that he would be doing “hard time” in a maximum-security prison for murder.
The room addition is finished and it looks great. I was telling all this to my sister. She said her husband was going to put an addition on their house too. I told her I would be glad to help him with it, but she hung up on me.
Some people just don’t appreciate anything you try to do.
“Did you ever…?” is a weekly newspaper column by Melech
©copyright 2009 by Melech. All rights reserved.
The next column will be posted on September 25 2009