22 October 2009

Gardner Dude (GD)

Life continues to be a bit on the wild side. I've cooked, I have photos, but it's just the matter of finding the TIME to put them up. I could do them at the shop but I will admit that I don't care to try and do cut and paste with the laptop versus the desktop. Silly, I know, but I seem to develop Gorilla Paws at times like that and end up spending more time mating various expository phrases together than actually sucessfully manuvering the computer to do what I want it to do.

At this point, I suppose I should do some kind of self-inspirational thing about how I will not be beaten by a silly little piece of technology, but it's early and I haven't had coffee yet, so...no.

Along with life, my mother has added a couple new wrinkles to the daily goings-on of the Cyber Hermit. Long story short, she and my father had used the same gardener for about 15 years. Gardner Dude came over to the US with barely anything and knocked on our door one day asking for work. My dad agreed and thus the relationship was born. Since then, GD has managed to build up a small landscaping business that employs mostly friends and family.

He's still been working for my mom since my dad's death but things seemed to be slightly off-kilter. Sprinklers would break...a lot. Mom would request things be done and they would...six weeks or so later. GD would appear only to drop off workers who spoke no English (hence Mom could not communicate with them about what she wanted done since her kids speak Spanish but she does not) and then disappear. She would make comments about how his rates seemed to be going up or he seemed to be charging a lot but she would never send the statements so we (me or my brother) could see them. We had a feeling it wasn't good but, without proof or tangible documentation, we couldn't really do anything except urge her to look finding another company to replace GD.

Then GD started getting creepy. He has asked my mother to give him $60,000. Not loan. Give. As if the audacity of asking her for $60,000 wasn't enough, he apparently just figured she would gift it to him. He's also made several comments about how my father "wanted GD to have the house". You know, maybe I've got rose-colored glasses on, but I'm reasonably sure that my father would not have said, "Hey, GD. When I die? I want you to have the house. I'm sure my wife won't mind handing it over and moving out" which is pretty much GD's line of inquiry when he brings up that comment.

This week, he hands my mother the bill for the month's worth of services. He didn't build any planters to rival the Tower of Babel. He didn't excavate, remove and replant the rows of avocado trees on the property. He didn't buy the parts and reinstall an entire sprinkler system. He or his employees spent probably an hour or two there each week either mowing, weeding, or trimming the flowers and bushes on the front walk.

For this, he wants to charge her $7000. SEVEN FRAKKING THOUSAND DOLLARS. A bill that is written out on a piece of paper with no itemization as to tasks done or time spent; no receipts for any supposed supplies bought. Just "Here's your bill. I'll stand here and wait while you write the check." You know, this is one of the times I actually regret a little bit that I live across the country. Why? Because it prevents me from KICKING HIS ASS.

I just...I cannot understand for the life of me how people apparently choose or decide it's a good thing/an okay thing (or whatever you want to call it) to take advantage of the elderly. He's had a relationship with my family for fifteen years and now that my mom is alone, GD apparently decides it's fitting to start soaking my mother for extra cash. Greed is mind-boggling.

My brother and I have stepped in at this point. We gave my mother a written statement to hand to GD, letting him know that the bill would not even be looked at for potential payment until he provided all documentation to justify what he claims is owed and faxes it all to us. When presented with this statement, GD told my mother it would take "at least two weeks for him to find all this but he'd settle for $500 right now". I then spent yesterday calling landscape maintenance companies and setting up appointments for them to go to my mom's house and give her an estimate on the work she wants done.

And because we don't know if my dad ever gave GD a key as well as the asking for large sums of money and creepy comments about how GD is supposed to have the house, we had my mom change the locks on the house yesterday.

So, way to go, GD. Way to make an elderly woman who has been nothing but nice to you feel upset and afraid, and have to call her children crying because she doesn't know what to do and is worried what will happen if she doesn't pay the bill. Hope you've got enough other properties to make up that $7,000 you were trying to get my mother to pay you. There is a silver lining in this; however, it's for me and not you. I will get to smile over the phone when I call you up and tell you that your services are no longer required and that you are never to darken my mother's doorstep again, and you'd better just deal with it. Because, in the words of the Incredible Hulk:

"Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."