i ♥ charlie watson

6 10 2009

mkeeThat’s right boys and girls…monkee’s in love.  Who knew?  It was a cosmic encounter.

I think it was last fall when a group of volunteers from the Mrs.’ church came out to do some yard work.  The guy heading up the crew who happens to be a  general contractor, stepped inside the house for some instruction when he narrowed his eyes, looked at me and whispered, “I smell mold”.  “Ya think!” was my only response.  Throwing caution to the wind – I showed him the basement.

It was his suggestion to call the company out of Chicago that specializes in wet basements – like the one we were standing in.  So the ticking of the clock began soon after as I got the estimate and we nailed down a date – well, actually two dates – since I had to change it once for the Nashville trip.

The worst part for me – or maybe better said – the best part was that everything had to be cleared away from the walls about four feet so that they could dig a channel around the perimeter of the whole house.  So the clearing began and you know that whole story or I would have had nothing to blog about in the last many months.  I went to my new go-to-guy with another question.  I was going to need a plumber to move some things around down there to make room…washer, dryer, maybe the hot water heater, well and softener and then what to do about a 500 ton concrete double utility sink (yes, I exaggerate)?  He gave me the name of the only guy he’d trust with the job – a retired union plumber named Charlie Watson.

I didn’t want to call him till I was sure I was done with clearing everything out that I could and right before the Chicago group was coming to do the job.  But I really secretly wondered if I was going to make all the deadlines.  The  major work was scheduled last Tuesday and Wednesday…the junk haulers came the Friday before that – leaving me Monday to have the plumbing work done.  I had put off calling over the weekend.  I was playing Russian roulette with this whole carefully orchestrated timeline.

As I drove down on Monday -a week ago – it was 8:15 a.m. and I decided to call to see if I could touch base with this guy.  What on earth made me wait till the last minute to set up one of the most crucial pieces of this puzzle?  Cosmic juju.  He answered…I connected the dots on how I’d gotten his name – he understood what I needed and was just about to leave his house to do another job and would be by in the afternoon to take a look see.  I ended the call and started screaming for joy right there in my car.  That had been too close a call.  Thank you Baby Jesus.

Yikes!  What a guy!  Everyone should have a retired union plumber in their back pocket!  I hadn’t even really decided what to do about that utility tub till he said they’d (he and some other geezer friend he conned into an afternoon in the Mrs.’ basement) break it up and haul it out…bucket by bucket.  Anyway, they worked for a couple of hours and had moved and unhooked all the things I needed moved and unhooked.  While chatting, he mentioned that he’d just been doing some work for the son of a retired school teacher blah blah blah – and who’d a thunk it…it happened to be my driver’s ed teacher from summer school a long long long time ago who’s daughter and son-in-law were aslo classmates of mine in high school.  What a coinkidink.

Charlie asked about the work that was going to be done the following day and I explained it best I could and he wondered out loud if it would be done right or not.  My confidence was shaken.  But at that point there was no turning back so we forged ahead and the work was done.  The cement had to cure for 3 days before the washer etc. could be moved back so Charlie and I arranged to wait the extra days over last weekend and do his follow-up work on Monday of this week.

I got down there just an hour before he was scheduled to show so that I had time to do the Mrs.’ grocery shopping (and we are stocking the larder in such a way so that she won’t be high and dry when I’m finally called on to spend hours in a delivery room doing my special “You Go Baby” dance).  Part of that shopping meant bags of salt for the water softener.  The dreaded 40 lb. bags…

They were still in the back of my car with the hatchback still gaping open as I was in no hurry to dislocate my shoulders so early in the day by moving them to the basement.  Charlie and co. (a younger guy this time) decended into the abyss with their tools, new fiberglass utility tub, etc. and said that if I’d go back to the store and buy 6 more bags they’d haul it to the basement for me too.  WHAT?!?!?!!?  IS IT CHRISTMAS????

As soon as Charlie saw the basement he pronounced it, “One hell of a good job!”  All the stars aligned – I officially ♥’d Charlie Watson right there on the spot.  “I couldn’t have done this good of a job, ” said he.  It was all I needed to hear.  We still have to wait for the Flood to see if it works – but suddenly, I can sleep at night.

wltnkBut Charlie didn’t stop there.  He noticed three treads on the basement stairs that had recently taken a hit or two between moving out old refrigerators etc. that suddenly needed to be added to the never ending list of repairs.  So I asked about a carpenter…”We can do THAT…” like I was talkin’ some kinda crazy talk.

Then he noticed this sweet tank about to blow…it has to do with the well.  Guess what?  They make them in fiberglass now.  He asked when that had been changed last.  “Charlie…,” I said, “…from the looks of it, maybe never?!?”  Billy’s favorite adage “if it ain’t broke, why fix it?” is having to step aside for the new regime.

Charlie’s on speed dial.