Courtesy Flickr/Alexander Lemke

In my early days of being self-employed, I took on a bathroom remodeling project for a customer that had a big, psychopathic bulldog with a bad attitude. Apparently he hated carpenters.

Each day I came over, I had to make sure he was confined to the backyard. The gate had to be shut, as I had to walk within a few feet of the gate and him to go in the door. I’m guessing he could smell and almost taste me based on how much he was slobbering when I slipped by him. Each time I went out of the door to the truck, Cujo got all worked up and banged into the gate trying to get at me. He made it plenty clear that he wanted a piece of me.

But I didn’t think much of it and was looking forward to my first real bathroom tear-out and replacement. It involved tearing out a plaster ceiling, tiled walls, and built-in shower. The entire floor structure had to be demolished due to rot and all the bathroom fixtures had to removed. It was quite the demolition project, tearing out plaster, lathing, and tile, but at the end of the second day I had everything removed and cleaned up.

The next morning I arrived ready to start framing the floor joist and subfloor. When I pulled up, sure enough my new best friend got all worked up and was in attack mode. I went inside, got out my tools, and opened the door to the bathroom. The floor was gone, so I hopped down into the crawlspace, which was only about 3 feet high, and prepared to start work.

Through somewhat of a miracle, I happened to hear an ever-so-slight noise that caused me to listen more closely. I caught the sound of something running and huffing and realized that Cujo had gotten under the house and was hauling in my direction.

As I was jumping out of the crawlspace and through the door into the hallway, I heard him crash into some pipes and grunt. A cloud of dust appeared in the opening I’d just vacated. His stout, mean self slid into view a half second later right where I’d been standing. If I had been making any noise when I first jumped down, I wouldn't have heard him coming. I’m sure he was disappointed as he stood there growling and slobbering all over his ugly self.

The thought of what almost happened still sends chills down my spine. It would have been the mother of all bushwhacks and what he could have done to important parts of my lower body doesn’t require a description.

To make matters worse, it was another job I underpriced. I did gain experience. I learned that sometimes when you remove an old toilet fixture, even when you’re very careful, they crack overnight for no good reason and you get credit for it and get to buy a new toilet. I also learned that cutting the wire to the light over the sink with snips is not a good idea unless you’re absolutely sure the power is off. It’s amazing how loud the sound of cutting a wire can be.

In the end, I bought the customer a new toilet, myself a new pair of snips due to the burnt slot in my previously new ones, felt lucky to have avoided an electrocution, and survived with my manhood in place.