Thursday, August 27, 2009

A brush with... a con man!

Dear readers - this last Sunday unfolded in a most unexpected way! Let me start out by telling you that Tamala and I went to church and had an intense worship experience! God moved in a "mighty" way and many lives were forever changed! We left completely re-charged, renewed and refreshed in our spirits, hearts and minds.

We needed to hurry home because we had made an appointment with a flooring contractor the day before to come to our house at 1pm and lay carpeting in the two downstairs bedrooms and the two stair cases. We had agreed on a price on Saturday and the amount of work that he would perform the next day. I told him that I wanted it in writing. He assured me that he would go home and work on it that evening and email it to me that very night. I checked my email just before going to bed. No written agreement.

I checked email just before leaving for church - no written agreement.

I sent him a text message just before church services started saying that "I don't do business without a writtent agreement". He sent a text that he would have it by the time he arrived to work.

So, we rush home. He was already there parked in our driveway. No problem. The very first thing I ask him when I get out of the truck is "Do you have the agreement?" He said that the Library doesn't open until 1pm and he didn't have it. He was standing there with a spiral notebook in his hand. I told him that he needed to write it down before he starts. Do you see where this is going?........

I turned and went into the house to change out of my church clothes. I'm down in the bedroom changing when I hear the very distinct sounds of work being done. I found this guy and said "Show me the written agreement". The spiral notebook was blank. I told him "Stop, right now. You have to write down the work that is going to be performed, the labor costs, and what products I will be responsible for buying. He finally wrote it down. I told him to sign it and then I signed it and made him a copy. He said something about an advance so he could go rent the tools to lay the carpet and buy the padding. "What! You didn't bring the tools to do the job? I told you yesterday to bring the padding to the job with you." I then told him that "I don't pre-pay anyone for a job". I also told him that if I was going to have to pay for renting the tools and buy the carpet padding that it was coming out of the agreed to price and that I would be going to Lowes with him to buy it.

We had drug a lot of our bedroom furniture out into the yard and moved the bed down into the basement so they could begin ripping up carpet and doing the job.

Well, about an hour and a half into the job he came into the living room where I was relaxing in a chair. Actually, I was napping. He told me that he and his helper was going to go get something to eat and some drinks. I told him "That's fine".

About 3:15 Tamala comes in and tells me that he's been gone quite a while and she got to checking around and they had loaded up their tool boxes. So I get up from my nap and started looking around and sure enough they had loaded their things.

I told her about 3:45 that they weren't coming back! Yep, that's right, this guy had ABANDONED the job! Take a look at what we were left with:

our things out in the yard!

how he left the downstairs-

But here's the real "kicker" -
While I was sleeping his helper had been peeling up all the "peel and stick" tiles down in our entry hall and in the kitchen. You CANNOT imagine the "stickiness" of the adhesive that was left down on the was GROSS!

Here we were, a house left in a mess, personal belongings out in the yard and Plan A had just abandon the job. Tamala was showing signs of being really, REALLY upset and I told her that we need to recognize what was TRULY going on here. We are under "attack" from the enemy and he was just trying to steal our JOY! I told her, "I'm just not going to let that happen, he's not stealing our JOY!" So I picked up the phone and started calling friends. Fortunately a neighbor came over and helped me load our belongings out in the yard back into the house. I called a contractor we'd used in the past and told him what had just happened. He said "I'll be there tomorrow night and we'll get this fixed". He was our CAVALRY!

He came out Monday night, Wednesday night and just left tonight. He's got the two bedrooms fully carpeted and all he has to do is finish the stairs. Tamala and I just have to decide what to do with the entry hall and kitchen floor at this point.

But, that's okay 'cause........Sunday's COMIN'! There is an old 'spiritual' that says that "late in the midnight hour, God is gonna turn it around!"

I told Tamala that we can give God praise because "this guy walked away without one red cent of our money. This is a test, and we're gonnna pass this test!"

"In all things, give THANKS to God!" I also know that He is the God of doing "exceedingly, abundantly, above all that you can even ask or think".

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Family Reunions and a "sense of family"

This past weekend Tamala & I attended not one, but two family reunions. In my previous post I mentioned that "life is whizzing by with the speed of a bullet train". Just a few short weeks ago we traveled down to Branson, MO (or Redneck Vegas as my brother puts it)to a family reunion.

Anyway this past weekend we attended the Graham Family Reunion in Ponca City, OK. How does one convey what attending this particular reunion really means. I guess I would have to try and start by saying means....ROOTS. Roots that run long and very deep within what used to be known as the Indian Territory and later became the state of Oklahoma. Roots that tell us our fore fathers bought the fastest horses they could find to run in the Great Land Rush on that fateful day! BOOMER........SOONER......runs in the veins of our roots! We know what those famous words really mean. We can see in our mind how it may have played out that day just before they fired the shot...then .... the race was ON!

This particular family had a visionary, entreprenuer and many other aspects of greatness; he was my great grandfather, Fulton Graham. He bought 2200 acres from the Indians for $.25 per acre! I just found that fact out from my Aunt Shirley after the reunion was over. Grandpa Fulton and his wife, Ethel, had nine children! Those nine children have been quite prolific and borne some 32 grandchildren for my great grandparents. It is these nine children that grew up on the 2200 acre Graham Ranch and lived a life that legends are made of.

To me, my great-uncles and aunts represent an era that is slowly fading into history. Last year, the only girl, Gladys, born to my great grandparents, wasn't able to make it to the reunion. Well, she lived in a really small town - Burden, Kansas. It was just a few miles outside of Winfield, KS where Tamala and I stay, with her father, while we attend the Graham Reunion. After the reunion was over, Tamala and made a side trip on the way back to Kansas City to see my great-Aunt Gladys. She was having a good day, that day. Her eyes were bright, and her snow white hair glistened like snow on a clear day. We visited with her briefly, not to tire her too much. I am SO thankful we stopped by to see her, because little did I know that would be last time I would be able to hug her, and gaze at her beautiful face. She went home to live with the Lord Jesus several months after last years reunion. We were blessed to have her with us over 90 years!

Three.....we have three still with us. Uncle "Curly", Uncle Johnny and Uncle Billy and their beautiful wives. All three of these guys can tell you stories that will have you mesmerized and fixed to your seats. They represent the "living and breathing" heritage of the very roots of my family. They ARE me; and I love them. When I think of them, I think of a ranch as big as a county, cattle drives, baling hay, a huge barn, prairie fires, thunderstorms racing across the plains, twisters, breakin' horses, "truck houses", dirt roads, rodeos, ranch-hands, priceless wood carvings and ...... family.

It is quite impossible for me to convey to you what family really means to me here in this short little blogspot.

"Home is where the heart is" is an expession I've heard for many years. For me, Family is what warms the heart, any day you need a sense of comfort.

"Listen......can you hear it?" Listen hard! Listen with me.....get real quiet! Shhhhh......

"Listen intently and you can hear....yes, YES, there it is....the wind blowing softly over the country road, over the alfalfa field, down past the barn yard, through the open sashes of the old bunk house and into the main house where you can hear the sounds of Grandma cookin' dinner". Listen hard, and you can always hear the sounds

Adoption update

Please forgive the delay in posting in a timely manner. LIFE is whizzing by with the speed of a bullet train!

We are being considered with one other family for two little brothers. The elder is 13 and the little brother will turn 8 tomorrow! Our adoption worker told us earlier this week that the boy's Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) wants to meet Tamala and I personally. You see, these little boys have already experienced one failed adoption just two short years ago. The GAL is the boy's legal representative and is responsible for looking after their legal "well-being".

We just completed yet another questionaire for our Adoption worker. At first blush, you would think that the "State" and all of their associates must think that Tamala and I have a crystal ball. For instance they want to know if we are prepared to handle all the strengths and challenges these boys will bring to our family. I want to tell them, "Well I'm really don't have any text book answers to give you here and if I did, I would expect you to bring us text book children." It's as if they want to play the .... "what if" game and want us to answer all their "what if" questions. I mean, they think there are parents out there that have ALL the answers?

Anyway, I'll step down off of my soap box now ...I was just about to work up a light sweat!

We'll let you know about the next steps as they present themselves....