Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Of Contracts and Covenants

This morning did not go smoothly. Here's what happened.

Last night I got a call inviting me to join other moms of senior girls to a "round table" sort of discussion about wisdom in the transition to college, with an emphasis on training to be homemakers. Laurie, Abby, and Daryl were leading it and I knew it was something important I wanted to attend with Sarah. Time slated? 9:30-11;30 today. I agreed I could probably be there, but needed Paul to give me instructions on when it was okay to leave home. Why?

Because the siding guys were to start tearing off our old siding today. (These are guys who are affiliated with our terrific roofing contractor and known by Brian Y at church to do good work.) Paul asked me to please be here when they showed up, to go over the contract and sign it, and to ask for a certificate of insurance. (He is in the insurance business, and this matter is of top concern to him. That and money!)

The schedule was to be:
Tuesday - Byron remove old siding, put up Tyvek and wrap
Weds- Brian do windows
Thurs- Byron put up new siding

(Keeping "Brian" and "Byron" straight in the same sentence was the easy part.)

Well, Byron and crew show up at 9:10, the exact time I need to walk out the door to be on time to church. The boss doesn't have a contract. He says Jose faxed it over a long time ago. I explain it was a proposal but didn't have color detail or info about small changes we've made since our first talk. I'm stuck. Paul is training a new guy at work and I know he's got limited phone access all day.

Despite trying him on 3 different phones, I couldn't get him. I return to Byron, who is standing on the porch while his crew stands by at the curb. I explain that I'm in a quandary. No contract. No certificate of insurance. I've watched too many Judge Judy shows. IF it's not in writing, it's contractor's word against homeowner's. Then I feel awful for presenting myself as not trusting him, because I surely do, or we wouldn't have hired him to start with. Yet there's no substitute for getting it in writing. I am following my husband's instructions, the man with whom I have a covenant relationship, not a contractual one! Problem is, neither of us anticipated that the boss would show up without a contract. I needed to talk to someone who kenw the business.

My blood pressure rose as I dialed Brian's number. He said if Paul wants the paperwork, then just hold off a day. Besides, the rain is supposed to come tomorrow and it would be bad to have the house exposed.

Thank you, Lord, for direction. Brian was okay moving his window job a day or two.

I told Byron I was sorry, but without being able to know Paul's wishes, he would have to come back. I felt bad, knowing his guys were "on the clock," but I was doing the best I knew to do. They hung around a few minutes longer, then left. Paul then phoned me and said "go ahead and let them start if they can get it weathertight before it rains." But by then the truck was gone. Jose called and said he'd coordinate it, that it's actually not good to start with rain in the forecast. I said it's fine to come Thursday and by then have all documents in hand and cooler temperatures.

I was an hour late for the mom/daughter meeting, and sheepish about disturbing the flow, but appreciated what was said anyhow. Paul is fine with my decision. He said he probably would've let them start, but since I didn't know that, I did the right thing. No biggie to put off for 2 days what we've been planning for 7 years.

Anyone else have a recent story about needing wisdom on the spot and questioning whether you're doing the right thing--and how it resolved?

1 comment:

Bethany said...

Can't think of anything recent. But it sounds like you did the right thing.