Just when you think things probably weren't going to get any worse, I was woken from a fever-addled sleep yesterday afternoon to a loud banging on the front door. It was the contractor we'd hired for the exterior work coming to collect his ladders, which was fine. What was not so fine was the fact he stole one of our ladders despite my explanation that it wasn't his. From the moment of his entry onto the property he went ballistic at me over payment of his final invoice, submitted approximately three days beforehand and substantially incorrect. He threatened and insulted me and wouldn't leave the property when I asked him to. I cried like a baby, sick, in a dressing gown and nearly six months pregnant. I called the police about the theft in front of him and he drove off, with my ladder.
What was even worse was waking to an email this morning (sent after 11pm last night) giving us a deadline of 5pm tonight to pay him, or he'd throw paint stripper over the entire house, take a chainsaw to the weatherboards and damage our car. It included veiled personal threats to our persons and included some of the ugliest personal insults I've ever been subjected to.
I could detail the history of the correspondence with him but I can't face it, frankly. You're probably wondering what you're missing; what we did to trigger such a tirade of threats and abuse. So are we. I lay awake last night wondering exactly how I could have handled the entire situation better to avoid this, but the conclusion I keep drawing is that I've made every progress payment he's requested, we've paid more than three quarters of the total amount due by way of deposit or progress payment, the work was only completed last week (in his view at least, we are concerned about bubbling paint on the front door but we'll cut our losses I think) and I've been ill over the weekend and we were still discussing the outstanding invoice - not unreasonable not to have paid, I would have thought? Besides which, even if we were totally in the wrong and were owing a large amount that was overdue, I just can't see how it would possibly have justified a reaction even remotely on the scale of what we received.
So, I spent this morning on the phone to the police making another complaint about the threats, because that shit is not legal and is scary. I blubbed some more in the office (where I was when I read the email), which is just wonderful. I issued a trespass notice and served it by email, and need to spend my lunch hour also issuing it by registered post (because I'll be damned if I'm giving him verbal notice or effecting personal service, I never want to see or speak to him again). I can't spend this evening in my own home because P's is going to be out and he won't let me be alone there right now. We need to find somewhere else to park our car for a week or so until the dust settles, in case he does follow through on his threat. We think we ought to warn the neighbours, which is a really fun conversation to have. I have a bunch of follow up calls or visits to go with the police, probably.
The whole thing is a giant clusterfuck.