My Handyman Barry

I hired a new handyman last spring to take care of the yard and other chores around the house. I knew I was taking a chance with Barry because he really had no experience as a handyman. However, he is an extremely good talker.

Barry promised he would cut the crabgrass in my yard in half by the end of the summer. Instead the crabgrass doubled. He said he would take care of the leak in my roof, but it leaks more now than when I hired him. He was able to save the elm tree in the backyard. However, if we had done what another prospective handyman suggested, the elm still would have been saved, would be stronger today, and I would have saved a lot of money.

I used to have a mole problem in my yard, and my former handyman, Jorge, managed to kill or capture most of the moles. However, the peskiest of the moles eluded him. Before he retired, Jorge gathered information to find that mole, so I relayed that information to Barry. Barry strongly criticized how the information was gathered, but eventually found the mole using the information. Unfortunately, he killed it in the neighbors’ yard without getting the neighbors’ permission. That has caused a little tension between me and my neighbors, Pat and Stan.

Barry then spent two months boasting to everyone he met, “I killed the mole and saved the elm.” While he was doing that he missed the fact that wasps had built a nest in a small hole on the side of my house. I warned him about this new threat several times, but he pooh-poohed it. I came home from work one day only to find that a woodpecker had pecked about a dozen holes in the siding looking for those wasps. Two neighbors tried to shoo away the woodpecker, but ended up getting pecked by the bird and stung by the wasps. Barry stood by while they were being attacked and then, inexplicably, left for a casino in Kansas City.

When Barry showed up for work the next day, I asked him why he didn’t do anything about the wasps and woodpecker. He then made up some ridiculous story about how the woodpecker was angry about an offensive Woody Woodpecker cartoon. Instead of blaming the wasps, he said I should have the police arrest the guys in California who made the cartoon.

Occasionally, Barry brings along his Uncle Joe to “help” with odd jobs. Uncle Joe always has a creepy grin on his face, laughs at inappropriate times, and is constantly exaggerating about things he has done. Over Labor Day weekend, Barry and Uncle Joe got it in their minds that they would try to catch the thieves who were stealing fishing equipment in the neighborhood. Without telling me, they used by favorite fishing rods as “bait” in an attempt to reel in the culprits. The thieves ended up stealing my rods. Needless to say, Operation Cast and Curious was a complete failure.

So now I have to make a decision. Do I rehire Barry for next summer or hire a new handyman? I have another one in mind. Rodney has extensive experience as a handyman. In fact, he ran his own business for many years and has a great record of fixing things around the house and revitalizing lawns. One of my neighbors, a reporter for the daily newspaper, says I have no choice but to rehire Barry. In fact, the reporter goes out of his way to tell everyone else in the neighborhood that Barry may just be the greatest handyman he has ever seen.

Last week I asked Barry why I should rehire him. He couldn’t tell me what he would do to fix the problems he promised to fix (but failed to do) this past summer. Instead, he blamed everything on my previous handyman and claimed that Rodney only cares about rich homeowners. Barry even distributed a flyer door to door throughout the neighborhood that claimed the fertilizer Rodney uses caused a woman to get cancer. The flyer also claimed that Rodney hates dogs.

Yesterday I decided to rehire Barry. I’ll let him know as soon as he returns from the golf course.