Learning To Trust Again

When Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf many contractors fled the sunshine state to help those in need northwest of the Central Florida area.  Ms. Lipofsky’s contractor claimed to be one of those very people after he disappeared in October of 2005.  At first she was quite patient, but after months of him missing in action she reported him to the Better Business Bureau and they moved forward with forcing him to return to her project.

Unfinished roof

Photo Credit: RebuildingTogether.org

It was in August of 2006, ten months after he soullessly abandoned her unfinished project, that Ms. Lipofsky’s contractor called her ever so nicely asking what was going on.  He let her know that he did receive her emails but had been busy helping others in the aftermath of Katrina.  Within days of speaking with her he sent someone over to the house to start work on the bathrooms, despite none of the other rooms that were started previously having been finished.

Out of the blue she started receiving emails from her contractor questioning why should they be present to finish work since she never paid them.  Ms. Lipofsky was confused, as she had never once refused payment along the way in her project.  She learned later it was because her contractor had confused her with another woman who they were working for.  The other woman had only given them one down payment, while Ms. Lipofsky had given them two, and now she was refusing to pay them any more money.

A home in need

A home in need

After they sent someone to start work on her bathrooms she noticed the showers were being done improperly and before she could bring it to their attention they disappeared again.  Unable to once again coax them into returning to her project she was forced to hire other tradesmen to come into her home and help.  At this point Ms. Lipofsky had been living without central air and heat since the Hurricanes caused the damage almost two years prior.

Since the contractor never completed either of the bathrooms, Ms. Lipofsky hired a plumber to come in and install temporary water lines so that she could sponge bath from a sink in the guest bathroom.  In her contractors absence, she went on to purchase her own bathtub, shower surround, bathroom sink and fixtures for the guest bathroom so she would be able to get ready for work each day.  It was gut wrenching to hear her stories of heating up bath water in two hot pots before pouring them into the tub so she could bathe.  I just could never foresee walking away from someone who so badly needed assistance because it was more important to use her money for other things.

Meet Ms. Lipofsky

Photo Credit: RebuildingTogether.org

She attempted to pay for all of her own electrical work was well.  Ms. Lipofsky admitted that it was painstakingly difficult to learn to trust others working on her home.  Understanding that she had been through enough already, her electrical company agreed to do the work and have her pay for it on a day-by-day basis.  She wasn’t forced to sign any contracts, the work was done and she got what she paid for.  This was a big step on the path to trusting others once again.

While working on her house, the electrician that she hired found nails in the original electrical wiring that had been replaced by her first contractor.  She began to suspect that her original contractor was hoping that her home would suffer from an “accidental” house fire.  Coupled with everything else he put her through, it’s no secret why she felt that she couldn’t trust others.

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