They’re Being The Bigger Headache

, , , , | Right | June 5, 2019

(I’m an apprentice with a construction company. During the final stages of a five-story building being put up, when the scaffolding is coming down — a rather treacherous process, as despite the best efforts of people involved, heavy boards, support framing, and tools WILL be dropped — I’m tasked with keeping onlookers from getting too close to the building site, in addition to my other, more construction-focused duties. Mind you, there are fences, barriers, caution tape, and warning signs ALL OVER THE PLACE in a 50- to 100-foot radius around the building, and somehow people still think it’s okay to just walk right up to the building; we get at LEAST one a day. This couple takes the cake for idiocy, though.)

Couple: *steps over the caution tape and walks up to the south side of the building*

Me: “Hey, folks, you can’t be here. This is an active construction site. I’m going to need you to get over to the other side of the tape there.” *gestures at the caution tape cordoning off the construction site*

Man: “Oh, okay. Sorry.” *they walk off*

(I get back to work, thinking that’s the end of it. Twenty minutes later, I happen to glance up and there’s that same couple on the EAST side of the building.)

Me: “Hey, sorry if I wasn’t clear before, but I really need you to stay behind the tape over there.“ *gestures AGAIN at the caution tape cordoning off the construction site* “You could get hurt.”

Man: “Sorry, sorry.” *they walk off again*

Me: *to myself* “Geez, must be a language barrier or something…”

(I go back to work. Not ten minutes later, I hear one of the guys on the scaffolding removal crew yell out, “HEADACHE!” For those not familiar, that means, “I dropped something heavy; look out below!” I look up to see a scaffolding board crash to earth mere FEET away from THE SAME D*** COUPLE who are BACK ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE BUILDING.)

Me: *racing over, now screaming at the top of my lungs* “CLEAR OUT! CLEAR THE F*** OUT! DO YOU HAVE A F****** DEATH WISH?!”

(They both went white as sheets, turned on their heels, and Usain Bolted right the h*** away from the building. It only occurred to me after the adrenaline wore off that I hadn’t bothered to put down my hammer when I was chasing them off, so it very likely looked like I was ready to bash their skulls in with it, especially if there WAS a language barrier. Sorry, random couple, but for the love o’ whoever or whatever you pray to, DON’T CROSS THE D*** CAUTION TAPE!)

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It’s Going To Be A Long And Bumpy Road Fighting This One

, , , , , , | Legal | May 23, 2019

(One Friday, I come home in the late afternoon to find a flyer in my mailbox and several posted on the windshields of the parked cars. The flyer reads to the effect of:)

Flyer: “On Wednesday, [date five days from today], road work will be done on [My Street] between the hours of 7:00 am and 3:00 pm. Any cars parked curbside on [My Street] during this time will be ticketed and towed.”

(I shrug and think nothing of it. I work from home, my wife’s hours and commute means she’ll never encounter the workers, and we have our own parking spaces on our property, anyway. The worst this entails for us is that I’ll need to do the shopping on Tuesday or let her deal with it on the way home Wednesday. At roughly two o’clock Monday morning, our dog decides she needs to go out. I take her out in the front yard and sit on the porch like I always do. As I’m doing this, a car comes barreling down the road, stops in front of my house, and two people come running out of the car. One of them starts securing signs to the existing parking signs — the ones that outline the street sweeping schedule — while the other hastily pin flyers to the windshields of every parked car. No matter how many times I try to question them, they ignore me. Once they’re back in their car and have sped off down the road again, I go out and read what they broke the speed limit for.)

Signs and Flyers: “Starting Monday, [today’s date], road work will be done on [My Street] from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm and will continue during these hours until Friday, [Friday’s date]. Any cars parked curbside on [My Street] during this time will be ticketed and towed.”

(Already seeing this is going to be a nightmare, I go back inside, grab my wife’s keys, and move our cars down to the intersection and onto the next road. And I most definitely did the right thing. A few hours later, the road is completely blocked off. No cars are getting in or out, and not just because of their decision to tie off the street from sidewalk to sidewalk. No, as if that wasn’t enough, the work they are doing also factors in. What is the work? Digging a gigantic hole in the exact middle of the street just shy of the intersecting roads. Yes, roads. They have decided to assign two crews, start at both ends of the street, and meet in the middle. Within the first hour, both holes are large enough to bury an elephant. I, of course, call City Hall. Once the complaints about our inability to drive are voiced, the conversation goes as follows:)

Secretary: “Well, the crew was supposed to post signs saying the road was going to be closed until the work was done.”

Me: “They posted signs saying we weren’t allowed to park on the road. They said nothing about driving. I have copies of both flyers if you’re interested.”

Secretary: “‘Both flyers’? What do you mean, ‘both flyers’?”

Me: “Well, there’s the one they posted Friday afternoon that only says they’re working on Wednesday, and the one they posted this morning around two that says they’re working the whole week. Both of them only talk about parking.”

Secretary: “‘This morning around two’?!”

Me: “That’s right.”

Secretary: “I… don’t know how to respond to that.”

Me: “Well, then, maybe you can answer this: if any of us on [My Street] need emergency services, how are the fire trucks and ambulances supposed to get to us?”

Secretary: “Well, I’m sure the cop there will help with that.”

Me: “What police officer would that be?”

Secretary: “Isn’t there a cop out there with them?”

Me: “The only people out here are the road workers.”

(Thankfully, she gets the message and sends an officer immediately. He arrives in five minutes, and I ask him the same thing.)

Police Officer: *shrugs* “I don’t know what City Hall wants me to do at this point. The hole’s too big to get around now. And they shouldn’t have started today in the first place. The forecast is saying nothing but rain all week. All their work will be undone with the first rainfall. Your whole street’s f***ed already. But these contractors don’t give a s*** as long as they get paid.”

(At present, I’m trying to band together what little of the neighborhood I can to prove we can, in fact, fight City Hall. Wish me luck.)

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Giving Yourself Other People’s Daddy Issues

, , , , | Working | February 14, 2019

(I work for my dad’s construction company. We have a new office manager at our warehouse who, so far, has shown herself to be very incompetent. She barely gets anything done around the office and is prone to screaming like a banshee over minor mistakes. She has taken a particular disliking towards me, leading up to this incident one day when I get a call from my dad about an important upcoming job.)

Manager:What are you doing?!”

Me: “I’m in the middle of an important phone call.”

Manager: “Put that cell phone down this instant! You are not allowed to use them in the office!”

(She is referring to our work cell phones, which we ARE allowed to use, even in the office or the warehouse, as long as they are used only for work-related purposes and nothing else.)

Me: “That is not true, ma’am. Besides, I’m getting important details about a job, and I cannot hear them with you yelling at me.”


(One of my coworkers appears and intervenes.)

Coworker: “With all due respect, [Manager], he’s right. This is a very big job, and he needs to be able to hear the details about it so we can order the materials.”

Manager: *to my coworker* “YOU SHUT UP!” *to me* “I’VE HAD IT UP TO HERE WITH YOUR BULLS***, YOU F****** BRAT!”

(She storms off. I continue my conversation on the phone with my dad, and tell him what happened. He is understandably disgusted, and after he finishes relaying the job information to me, he tells me to stay on the line. Just then, the manager comes back, a formal write-up in hand, and slams it on my desk.)

Manager: “SIGN IT! NOW!”

Me: “No.” *puts the phone on speaker* “I’m not signing it.”


Me: “No, you won’t. My dad wants a word with you, by the way.”


(I hold up my work phone to the manager’s face.)

Dad: *via speaker* “Because A: I’m your boss, and B: this is the third time this month I’ve had to talk to you about your behavior around my son. I’ll be arriving back at the warehouse in about ten minutes. I expect to see you in my office when I arrive, so we can discuss this in more detail.”

(My dad returned in time to give the manager a thorough scolding and demand an apology from her. She refused to admit any wrongdoing and tried to place the blame on me, which instead got her suspended two weeks without pay, and put on final notice. Apparently, she did not take her punishment to heart; the moment she came back from suspension, the first thing she did was try to fire me on the spot for framing her. Needless to say, my dad was not amused and fired her instead for retaliation. Incredibly, she had the gall to try and sue us afterward for wrongful termination, but her case quickly fell apart when we showed the judge her history of write-ups, security footage of her yelling at me and other employees, and the nail in the coffin: the recordings of the phone conversation between me and my dad, in which the now ex-manager could be clearly heard screaming at me in the background.)

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Won’t Sit Idly By

, , , , , , , | Working | October 3, 2018

(Boston is recovering from an intense storm around April. Now that snow from the blizzard is finally gone, the city starts working on the roads. Among the work is sewer assessment, which means fixing anything that’s damaged and giving what’s not a cleaning. The city distributes flyers through the mail to notify us of times when work will be done in our area over the next month or so, asking that we minimize water, and that any strange smell emanating from our faucets and toilets is normal and not hazardous. On the day my neighborhood is scheduled for this work, I’m up at six am, making myself breakfast as usual when I hear the sound of an idle truck and workers yelling. Since local legislation states work can’t begin until nine am, this is already unusual. What follows doubles down on that.)

Worker #1: “We’re all set up? When’s [Person] getting here?”

Worker #2: “Should be here around seven.”

Worker #1: “What’ll we do until then?”

(Rather than a verbal answer, the sound of the idle engine is now mixed with the sound of chain links rattling. I look out the window and confirm my suspicions: these workers, two black men that are easily twice as jolly as Santa, are pulling on my fence to help them as they limber up for the job ahead. I step outside.)

Me: “Get off the fence!”

Worker #1: “Relax! It’s a fence!”

Me: “Fences aren’t meant to hold your weight! Now, get off it and turn your truck off!”

Worker #2: “Fine! Jeez!”

(They both step back and release the fence, and then, they proceed to stand there waiting.)

Me: “The truck?”

Worker #1: “It’s fine!”

Me: “You’re burning gas right now. Turn it off!”

Worker #2: “It’s no problem. It’s got one of those engines that doesn’t use much fuel.”

Me: “It’s not about fuel. It’s about air quality and the law. To help reduce pollution, Massachusetts passed an Anti-Idling Law which prohibits vehicles from sitting idle for more than five minutes without just cause.”

(Both of their hands launch above their heads while grinning.)


Me: “What the f*** are you talking about?”

Worker #2: “You’re a white guy talking like a cop! We don’t want to get shot!”

(I have no response. I do, however, report the idle engine — which miraculously turns off just before the police drive up — and file a complaint with the city about the workers showing up incredibly early, attacking my fence, leaving their engines idle, and harassing me when I try to protect my property. I’m also sure to mention, “If my fence had broken and they’d gotten hurt, they’d have sued me for their medical bills.” The following week, the crew is back, but they park next to my neighbor’s house, instead. My neighbor is not only a friend but also very old and very gossipy. When I come back from work at around 3:30, he emerges from his backyard, where his wife is also sitting, and I hear a distinct chirping.)

Me: “Is your alarm going off?”

Neighbor: *nodding* “They parked their truck next to my vent. The exhaust fumes are leaking into my house and setting off the monoxide alarm, and they won’t move the truck.”

(I once again go out front and talk to these workers, and I find a different crew member with a monitor connected to a large pipe leading down into the sewer.)

Me: “So, why is your truck idle?”

Worker #3: “We’ve got a camera down in the sewer taking magnified pictures to see if there’s anything we can’t see. We need the truck to power it.”

Me: “Oh. So, where’s the cord connecting it to the truck?”

Worker #3: “What?”

Me: “The cord. If it’s getting power from the truck, they have to be connected.”

Worker #3: “…”

Me: “Turn the truck off and apologize before I get inside, or I’m calling the police again to report an idle engine and reckless endangerment.”

Worker #3: “‘Reckless endangerment’?”

Me: “You filled the home of two senior citizens with carbon monoxide — endangering their lives — and you refused to turn off your engine or move your truck when he confronted you about it. And even with your equipment running, the alarm is still audible from here.”

(Thankfully, that works. Even so, I invite my neighbor over to help file another complaint with the company. The following week, the team is back on the job. At this point, I am just curious to know when the work will be over.)

Me: “So, what’s the…”

Worker #4: “Shut up!”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Worker #4: “Our union rep told us you’re a troublemaker and we’re not supposed to talk to you! So shut up!”

This story is part of our Chilly Weather Roundup!

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Not So Street(sign) Smart

, , , , , , , | Legal | June 28, 2018

(My husband works for a volunteer organization that builds homes for people in need. They have a lot of problems with a neighbor who doesn’t want any of their trucks parked — legally — on the public street in front of his house. Despite the fact that he has a long driveway and a garage, he has somehow found a way to put up “No Parking” signs on his side of the street AND the opposite side of the street.)

Volunteer: “Wow, that was a long walk! I had to park all the way down the block and walk here.”

Husband: “Yeah… The neighbor across the street put up these ‘No Parking’ signs, so we are trying to work around it, even though we have to lug all of this construction equipment down the street.”

Volunteer: “Seriously?”

(She inspects a sign and makes a quick phone call.)

Volunteer: “These are not regulation signs.”

Husband: “What?”

Volunteer: “I work for the county office. The city has to put those up, and there is no record of a ‘No Parking’ sign on this street.”

(She then proceeds to call the non-emergency police phone number, and by lunch, an officer comes by to write the neighbor a ticket and to take the signs down.)

Neighbor: “I don’t want to look at those f****** trucks all day! You can’t make me take my signs down!”

Officer: “Sir, you can either take the signs down, or I can take them down and take you to the station.”

(Eventually, the neighbor took the signs down, glaring at the volunteers the whole time. I feel sorry for the family that will eventually have to put up with this guy!)

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