I’ve done countless renovations during my life as a contractor. Most have gone off without a hitch. There was this one though…
If you’re familiar with Greenwich, Conn., you know it’s prime real estate. That’s where I did business, many moons ago. I worked my way up from painter to handyman to partner in a small remodeling company. Work came in dribs and drabs as we earned a reputation. Then came the first “big” job.
We installed hardwood flooring and crown molding throughout the house, and finished the basement. This place was pretty much a small mansion, and really nice. Everything was going right on schedule as we did some final caulking of the crown molding, in the 20-foot-high foyer, atop the freshly finished floors. You know where this is going.
As I set up my ladder in the foyer, the owner asked if I wouldn’t mind placing a piece of carpet under my ladder, so I wouldn’t hurt the floor. Well, the customer’s always right, right?
I first noticed something amiss as I reached up to caulk another section of crown molding. I could have sworn I was closer to the ceiling. In super-slow fast motion, I felt the ladder slide out from under me. My partner and the owner witnessed in horror from the kitchen. I instinctively grabbed for a ledge above the leaded glass, where beautiful red mahogany ran floor-to ceiling, which gave me a second or two to let the ladder hit the floor.
Then I dropped.
Somehow I managed to straddle the ladder when I hit, and other than seeing my life flash, I was fine. Buts as the ladder fell, the protective mitts popped off and made a gouging trail through the mahogany.
We made it right with the help of an amazing wood restorer, and even managed a small profit. People who’ve met me have various reasons to remember me, not always for the better. I bet those people never forgot.