I’ve hired two Mexicans to paint the Florida room in my house. It’s a hard job, lots of windows and trim work, sanding, old leaks that stained the sheetrock, damage from the raccoons who lived for a time in the area above the ceiling.
I’ve gotten to know these men. Both are married. They have children. The one who barely speaks English has four. “Three women and a man,” he told me. The word polygamy flashed through my mind. But no, he meant he had three girls and a boy. The other has one child, a boy. They work very hard to earn money to send back to their families. They take pride in their work. I’m pleased with the job they’ve done. In a week they’ll come back and do the backsplash in my kitchen.
I would not hire again the pushy man who did my living room. Nor would I hire the surly man who did the kitchen. The jobs they did were adequate. Yet I was not entirely comfortable with either of them.
I asked the living room man to remove the nails from the stairway. He didn’t. I asked him to get rid of the old electric heat control, and he promised he would. But he forgot. When I reminded him, he did it, but he left a gaping hole in my wall.
The kitchen man resented it when I asked him to remove the toe kick. It was clear he wanted more money for a job that took about ten minutes. When he was finished, and before he left, he showed me a crack between the window frame and the wall. “Get someone to fill that in,” he told me.
Then I saw the job the Mexicans did in my Florida room. The ceiling is primed and painted, cracks filled in, peeling paint sanded away.
There’s a word for the job they did. Magnifico. (That’s spanish for magnificent.)