I’ve Reached My Limit for Chaos

I’m not getting rid of anything today. Sorry. I kind of got rid of a giant pain in my ass, but I fear that the pain has just started.

We have (had) a crazy housepainter.

Zeb works at a church that distributes clothing to the poor and he met this guy. He is 100% crazy, but he is also a human being and a truly desperate soul. On a good day, he’s someone who almost makes sense. That’s a good day.

Back before he hit the skids he used to be a decent housepainter, or so he said. He expressed the desire to get paid for honest work and our house needed painting and our last painter was a real piece of work so …

I married a softie and I genuinely love that about Zeb, but this painter was trouble from the start. Let me count the ways.

1) For every hour of work he does at least two hours of damage (spilt paint, etc) that needed cleaning up. He was very sloppy.

2) He never started working without at least a couple hours of playing his guitar and screaming obscenities on his mobile phone … while standing on our roof and scaring our clients and neighbors.

3) He fed Blue a pound of carnitas which led him to shit Testy’s bed one night and the dog STILL hates him. I’m positive Blue never made the pork/poop connection. Really? A dog that hates you even after you’ve fed him a pound of pork? He could smell the crazy.

4) Every time we tried to cut him loose, he’d start crying and begging for another chance. Zeb wanted the poor guy to have a feeling of accomplishment so he’d give him two more days, which always turned into months. I knew we’d never be able to get rid of him without drama.

5) He’d get drunk and start acting, well, erratic.

6) He’d say inappropriate things to my kids. I try to keep them away from him but he’s been hanging around since, what, September, and every time they go outside he says stuff like, “Never grow up kids, because when you are an adult you are screwed.” I couldn’t keep them inside all the time and they’d slip out, which led me to feel like a terrible parent. Thank goodness nothing bad happened, I often feel like no thanks to us. I was constantly conflicted. I didn’t want to turn the volume up loud enough for Zeb to hear, because it’s brutal when I do that and I don’t relish that type of communication, but I should have put my foot down before it ever got started.

The poor thing is a miserable creature, plagued by a cascading series of poor decisions and bad luck that has led him to where he is right now. I have begged Zeb to let him go and I knew that when he did, the shit would hit the fan. There was simply no other way this was going to play out. He had no where else to go, I think he wanted to keep coming back forever. So I pleaded for the dozenth time and last night he finally did it.

Zeb’s call with firm but not unkind. He isn’t an unkind person. He is patient and generous, almost to a fault. As usual, our painter said he wanted to finish the job and only had a few days left (which he’s been saying since September) but Zeb stood his ground.

I knew that it wouldn’t go well. I don’t usually say this, but I hate being right.

Today our painter came by to get his stuff right around the time our friends showed up for dinner.

Emily said, “Hey, your painter is throwing stuff off the roof.” I went outside and sho nuff, he was. I can’t tell you how happy I was to have extra men around right then.


These are his drop cloths and rags, thrown off the second floor onto our side yard.


Here’s our sidewalk.


Some got on Julia’s lovely bird mural.


We put the kids to work cleaning up the sidewalk.


Yes, we called the cops. He was screaming obscenities at Zeb, who was amazingly calm. Jason called 911 and the cops took their sweet time showing up. Lots of screaming and five cops later, he left.

I’m furious. I knew this would happen and I told Zeb from the beginning that it would. I felt like Cassandra, no one would listen to me. The crazy painter said that if we didn’t give him more money he’d destroy all his work (we read you buddy, loud and clear), so now I have a threat hanging over me.

Through all this Zeb maintains that I shouldn’t write about it because the guy is crazy and this is exploitive because I’m using him for, what, laughs? Seriously, I don’t think anyone is laughing. And do you know what’s not fair? That I have been living with the stress of a an insane person on my property for six months. That this person talked to my kids and I couldn’t do anything about it short of confronting him myself and he scares me. That my neighbors are scared of him and question my judgement. Heck, right now I question my judgement.

I’m not using his name or picture and I doubt he will ever see this or that it will ever effect him. His problems are way bigger than my blog post that only a few people read. A crazy stranger’s rights will not take precedence over mine. This is my life and it happened and I’m furious. And tired.

Right now I want to live in a normal house, with my family and not this insane revolving door, a regular job and no piles of crap anywhere. Seriously, I’ve had it.

I am so glad I have a giant dog right now. He’ll be sleeping in the bed. With me. Tonight.

10 thoughts on “I’ve Reached My Limit for Chaos

  1. Fuck yeah! I agree with everything you said! That old saying, “No good deed goes unpunished” is, unfortunately, the truth! It is depressing to realize that all day long we are confronted with these kind of people (in the hospital) that we go out of our way to help – yet they suck our soul and then tell us to fuck off and that they are going to sue us on their way out the door. I have faith in humanity… just not the current people in America. It has to get better! Sorry you had to go through this. You’re right, Zeb is a great guy – but “No good deed goes unpunished.”

    • I can only imagine how disenchanted you are given your line of work. I had a friend who did relief work in Africa. He came back so disillusioned. He felt like they didn’t deserve help because they were unwilling to help themselves. It was an eye opener.

  2. Yeah, you’re right also that no one’s laughing. Maybe you’re a little too sympathetic by nature. Was the guy actually STAYING there at the house at some point?

  3. Sorry you experienced this. Very difficult situation but I’m glad you don’t have the stress weighing you down anymore. Sounds like hugs are in order–and a stiff drink. Love ya!

    • I’m glad you weren’t here to experience that chaos, it was nutty. Although I liked having lots of men around. Joe would have been a nice addition.

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