Friday, November 16, 2007

Make it right

My new hero is Mike Holmes, the Canadian master builder who hosts Holmes on Homes, my current favorite HGTV production. Holmes and his crew visit homeowners who have been screwed over by contractors -- often the job has been left unfinished, it's rarely up to code, and sometimes the work that was done amounts to criminal negligence. Holmes doesn't do glamorous stuff like redecorating or relandscaping. You mostly get to see him and his crew ripping out drywall, replacing wiring, fixing faulty plumbing, regrouting, and the like. On one (truly!) thrilling episode, Mike and another guy used a backhoe to dig an enormous hole by a house's foundation to see if the basement wall would have to be replaced; fortunately, it was sound and the earth was filled back in. Mike's slogan is "Make it right," and you can see how much gratitude homeowners have for the guy who lives by such a motto. Often they have spent their life savings to make their homes comfortable and safe, only to get reamed by the people they hired to do the job (and often sued in the process because they refuse to make that final payment for the crappy work). Mike comes in and fixes everything, all the while shaking his head and saying stuff like, "Can you believe it? This is terrible. That so-called 'contractor' should lose his license," etc.

Mike Holmes himself is kind of scary to look at. With that crew cut, wife-beater and overalls, he looks like an enormous, threatening manchild. But he's smart and he hires good people to work with him. He has integrity.

Sometimes I fantasize about winning the lottery and flying Mike down from Canada to do some work on our house. We're not plagued by a terrible renovation or faulty wiring or anything like that. It's just that he inspires so much confidence that, were I in the market to upgrade the nonglamorous parts of my home (insulation, HVAC, and plumbing all come to mind), he's the guy I would want to do the job.

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