Photo A Day Challenge | 2013 January | Day 9

Mood: Happy Snapper

Never in my professional life had I been so embarrassed, as I was by this bloody woman today.

The woman whose signature appears in the photo is the antagonist of this story. Let’s call her E. E lives in one of the villas in our small residential complex of 9 villas. Since she moved in years ago, E has done nothing but upset, alienate and antagonise every single resident within our otherwise peaceful and harmonious complex.

I had the displeasure of meeting E about 3 months after we moved into the complex, early in 2011. On the day, I had a screaming 2 month old baby in the car, and I had stopped by the letterboxes to check the mail. She had bolted out of her house to stop me to have a chat. The conversation went like this:

E: Oh hi, you’re the new people up at the back of the complex, aren’t you?
Me: Yes, we moved in in November last year.
E: How are you finding living here?
Me: Oh, we love it! Everyone here is so nice.
E: (in an ominous tone of voice) Oh, it’s not what it seems.
Me: Oh? How so? We have found everyone to be perfectly lovely!
E: I don’t know how you can live with that awful kitchen you have in your house.
Me: I’m sorry?
E: The kitchen in your house. I know the previous owners had a kitchen put in, and it was all dodgy and shonky work. I don’t know how you manage in that dodgy horrible kitchen.
Me: (voice shaking, so confused and rather confronted by this point) Actually, the house is gorgeous, the kitchen is gorgeous, everything is fantastic. If you must know, the kitchen was the reason we bought the house in the first place. (I turned my back on her at this point, jumped in my car, and drove off.)

Charming person, that E, ain’t she?

I wasn’t the only one E had cornered, rather unexpectedly, and then set upon with “ominous” words. E had cornered hubby J a few times too.

We learned from our lovely neighbours that E had been causing problems from the day she moved in, and she upset so many people that 2 of the previous Secretaries from our self managed strata committee resigned in disgust, having become sick and tired of dealing with E’s constant complaining, harassment and later, threats to their livelihoods.

I steered clear of E after that first conversation, as I really didn’t see the need to involve myself with another crazy, unreasonable person. I already have to deal with J’s ex-wife, who is loopy on good days.

At the AGM last year, I was elected unopposed as the Chairperson of our strata committee. I nominated myself because our lovely neighbours had all served their tours of duty for far too many years, and having previously served 4 years as the Chairperson of a strata scheme overseeing 333 lots, I didn’t think my new job would be too hard.

A couple of months ago, E slipped and fell down her front steps, grazing her knee. She called an ambulance to treat her grazed knee, and told them that the damaged pebblecrete on her front steps caused her to fall. The ambos were quick to tell E that she needed to take it up with the strata scheme’s insurance company, which she did. An assessor came out to E’s house, had a look at the damage, before heading back to the office to assess her claim. The assessor gave the Strata Treasurer a call to alert her of E’s claim, and told her that it would be best to have the steps repaired as soon as possible. And this was where I came in to the picture.

The Treasurer had suffered years of abuse and harassment from E, and was unwilling to be involved with the process of finding qualified tradespeople to come and quote for the job. I told her that I was happy to take over from here, and got 3 separate quotes for the works. We ended up engaging a contractor who was a franchisee of a reputable national company with all the necessary qualifications, certificates and insurances.

The contractor came to meet with me on Monday afternoon, and I gave him a brief warning about how difficult E has been with everyone in the complex. As we were looking at the damage and discussing the best cause of action for repair, E’s front door flew open, and she poked her head out, shouting “I hope you’re not going to a dodgy job on the repairs, because I’ve had shonky workmen come and do dodgy work at my house before.”

Not “Hi”, “Who are you?”, nor “Why are you out of the front of my house?” No pleasantries at all whatsoever. E just assumed the contractor was dodgy and shonky and shady, without asking him any questions, or even talking to him.

The poor contractor didn’t know what to do. Despite my warnings, he was not expecting that tirade of garbage from E. Kudos to him for recovering well enough to continue to be polite and civilised to E. I, on the other hand, all but shouted at E, telling her that the contractor was over-qualified for the job and he was affiliated with one of the largest, most respected companies in Australia. E backed right off for a second, and said “Oh, well, then, I’m sure you’ll do good work.”

Then she got stuck into me. Without skipping a beat, she asked me for my name. I told her, and she said “Oh, you’re G. Well, you know, I don’t have a grudge against you.” I had to take a deep breath before I pushed out “I’m glad to hear that, E, because today is the second time we have ever spoken with each other since I moved in over 2 years ago.”

I knew her words were insincere. I found out about a week ago that she didn’t think very much of me being the Chairperson, saying that I knew nothing about the complex because I had only lived here for 2 years, which made me completely unsuitable to be the Chairperson.

Still, I was terribly embarrassed for the contractor to be accused of being a dodgy, shonky workman, and we finished the quote quickly and confirmed that he would return on Thursday (tomorrow) to do the repairs.

At 2.30pm today, I got the call that made me cry, and want to die with embarrassment.

The contractor called to reject the job, on the basis that E had somehow managed to get his direct phone number, and left an abusive voicemail message telling him that she didn’t think he was qualified to do the job properly, and that he had better not do a dodgy job tomorrow. The contractor was upset that E had his number, and was quite disgusted that she called him, amongst many names, “unprofessional”. The contractor was very professional and sympathetic with me, reassuring me that he would be more than happy to take on future jobs within our complex, as long as the jobs had nothing to do with E or the property she lives in.

The contractor hoped I would understand that he had to protect his reputation, and he had a feeling that no matter how good a job he did with the repairs, E would still say it wasn’t done to a professional standard, and then badmouth him all around the neighbourhood. Since the contractor lived not far from us, he decided that for his own good, he should reject the job.

Of course, I understood. But that didn’t stop me from feeling completely humiliated and wanting to die from embarrassment.

This woman is a menace. I had hoped that she would be a little bit reasonable and cooperative, as the strata scheme was paying for the repairs, but I was obviously too naive to see that she could ever be anything but horrible. E often complained about how horrible everyone was to her, but the truth of the matter was everyone tried their best to avoid her. E often complained about how horrible the complex was to live in, so we can only hope that she moves out soon.

What a day.


One response to “Photo A Day Challenge | 2013 January | Day 9

  1. Pingback: January Photo a Day 2013: Paper « jeanne's blog…a nola girl at heart

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