And all on my own too!

I’ve been getting people telling me lately that I NEED to have a man in my life. That it’s not healthy for me to be alone like this. That it would make my life easier. Better. More complete somehow. Pfft!!!!

AND *eye roll*

I’m just fine on my own. I can even do things for myself, like the outdoor shower project. I can’t do the plumbing, but I can hire the right person for the job, and pay for it myself.

Space outside my bedroom door.  Near the pool.  Before.

Space outside my bedroom door. Near the pool. Before.

Project parts.  I had Lowe's cut the wood for me, but I hauled it all home by myself.

Project parts. I had Lowe’s cut the wood for me, but I hauled it all home by myself.

We have a box! :)  With these really cool screws that you ratchet.

We have a box! 🙂 With these really cool screws that you ratchet.

Frame is made.  Time to haul it out to the space.

Frame is made. Time to haul it out to the space.

Had to take a bit of time to clear up the space first.  So grateful that the clouds came out right then, to keep me cool.

Had to take a bit of time to clear up the space first. So grateful that the clouds came out right then, to keep me cool.

Ready to assemble!

Ready to assemble!

Have I mentioned how much I love my drill?

Have I mentioned how much I love my drill?

All done!  Just waiting on the plumber to come and hook me up.

All done! Just waiting on the plumber to come and hook me up.

Even managed to keep my manicure in tact.  Bronwyn would be so proud of me, especially since we just got them done yesterday.  :)

Even managed to keep my manicure in tact. Bronwyn would be so proud of me, especially since we just got them done yesterday. 🙂

Last night I took Carlos up on his offer to get out of the house, and do some socializing with adults. The City of Leesburg, was having its monthly “Food Truck and Film” night, in the local downtown park area. We could walk around, sample foods, listen to some live music, and if the film was any good, throw down a blanket on the lawn. This sounded like a great night out, and so I said: Yes.

Well, then the weather happened. As is typical here in central Florida, we have daily thunderstorms. This time neither of us was up for walking around in the rain. So he offered to hang out at his house, or we could go to a BBQ that some of his close friends’ were throwing. While hanging out at his house has been fun in the past, the idea of meeting new people appealed to me more. So I picked the latter.

I met up at his house, with a bottle of wine. He said that there was nothing I needed to bring, but I was taught to never go empty handed to a dinner party. It’s my old-fashioned upbringing. He laughed, and said that he too had picked out a bottle of wine to bring, since it was Danny’s birthday they were celebrating.

We took just his truck, since there didn’t seem to be any reason to both drive north of where his place. And since I’ve already trusted him with my life, on the back of his bike, I wasn’t risking anything new. He is just as careful of a driver of his truck, as he is of his bike. He even let me pick the radio station, and we had fun, trying to get a very annoyed fly to leave, by rolling down all of the windows; which just got us both wet from the road splash.

On the drive over, he tried to “prepare me” by telling me that Danny was married to Steve. They are a gay couple, that he and I would probably be the only straight people there. I assured him that homosexuality was not a new concept to me, nor was it something that gave me the heebee-jeebees. I reminded him of my past experience with surrogacy, and how I was so comfortable with the nature of human sexuality, that I had purposefully gotten pregnant with a child for a gay couple.

Steve it turns out is Carlos’ brother – by another mother. They are a lot like Christopher and Andrew. They grew up together. Shared everything. Are very close. And even have the same red hair, and beards. Although they are both sporting heads more silver than red, these days. Steve even joked with Carlos over it. 🙂

Danny and Steve couldn’t have made me feel more welcome in their, haven from the world. A yard full of lush plants, and quiet niches. A home with overstuffed seating that just begs you to sit back and relax. The table had plenty of food to feed the 9 of us, and 9 more. Manny’s husband, likes to bake, so he brought a tiramisu, to go along with the raspberry delight cake. Both were delightful, as were they. They are warm and full of humor. My kind of humor. The Monte Python sort of humor, mixed with Steve Martin slapstick comedy.

Their friends were just as wonderful. Besides, our hosts for the evening, I met Manny and his husband, from Miami area. They were “retiring” after 30+ years in the interior design business. They picked Eustis of all places, because it was so different, and besides as Manny put it, “If we hate it, its all of a 5 hour drive back to civilization.” There was Matt, and Brenda, who have about 10 part-time jobs between them, and she is even a member of the biker website that I met Carlos on. She’s promised to come and find me, so I will have at least 1 female friend. He was clearly gay, and she struck me as being bi, but I could be mistaken, and she’s just a lesbian. LoL The last man, rounding out our party, was Byron, who owns and runs the Mason Jar.

It was nice to have the restaurant business start relating to some of them. Brenda had even worked for Vic, at Dead River for a time. They all had the same opinion that I’ve heard before, about Vic. There was talk of my being so at easy with all of them, and my personal story of my own god-parents’ homosexuality. Which Danny thought was just the most interesting, and wonderful thing about me. He was such a warm and open guy, taking time to even explain to me how he was able to construct their outdoor shower, by running the water lines from the laundry room. I may have to actually do this myself.

The time passed quickly, much too quickly for me, with everyone telling stories, and sharing bits of their life experiences. Each one contributing, and no one trying to “out do the other” with lots of male superiority. It was such a welcome relief to sit and just laugh and smile, and share an evening with great people.

They have all promised that I must come back. There is even an open invitation to Manny’s apartment in Eustis, to “come have a look through”. Manny’s husband says, warn him, I’m coming, and he’ll make another tiramisu. 🙂

An Update on the contractor and his theft from us: I think this letter says it all. I’m mailing it this morning to HRC.

17 February 2012

Home Repair Contractors
32133 Wolf Branch Road
Sorrento, FL 32776

RE: Insurance claim funding check.


Enclosed you will find two checks from CitiMortgage, that arrived on our doorstep yesterday, the 16th of February, dispersing the funds of our insurance claim, along with copies of the letters representing the same.

There is one check made out to us, and one made out to you singularly.

Feel free to do as you wish with the larger check, #111766507, made out to you.

Please endorse the back of the smaller check, #111766581, made out to us, and mail it back to us posthaste. A self addressed, and stamped envelope is also enclosed, for your convenience and promptness.

We look forward to settling this matter between us without further delays on your part.


Barry and Marcella Stinchcomb
2359 Florence Road
Mount Dora, FL 32757

Cc: File

PostScript: The wood flooring located at the entrances between the dining room and the porch, and the front door, have yet to be completed. There are gaps along the edges that need their final bits put in. They are getting filled with all sorts of dirt and debris, the longer that they sit without being completed. We are happy to have you come at your convenience to finish this work. Please just let us know when to expect your workmen.

The way I figure it I could hold onto the check that has both of our names on it, waiting for him to come to me. But holding onto the check doesn’t do me any good. I can’t cash it without his endorsement. So I’m doing what I am learning to do – I’m trusting the Universe.

I am sending both checks to him – and having faith that he is endorsing MY check and sending it back to me in the next week.

Oh and that he will show up to finish the work on the house.

So I’ve decided to file a complaint with Consumer Services, with the State of Revenue, here in Florida… Yes, against the crooked home repair people.

The letter sent to them on October 11th, 2011 gives you a brief understanding of our distress – and fraudulant processes of this company.

Dear HRC:
We would like to settle the matter of our insurance claim funds.

We have told you that the funding check in your possession needs to be sent to our mortgage company, CitiMortgage. They hold the lien on our property and therefore have stipulated that all insurance funding must be put into an escrow account to be dispersed from. They tell us that as of yesterday, they have not received the check from you. They cannot release the funds to you, and pay you until they have the funds from you first.

We would like to see a full billing of your repair work. The billing should include copies of all the materials that you purchased to perform the repair work. The paint. The flooring. The carpeting. Etc.

We have requested this before. Both by phone and note left for you in our home, that you did receive because the work we also requested at the time was discussed and completed. We don’t understand why it has become such a problem to get from you. Unless you have something to hide from us.

We have incurred out of pocket expenses totaling $2,326.41 for items you needed to do the repair work. Repair work that was actually allocated in the funding check. We are not asking for the extra things such as the kitchen sink, or faucet. Those were not included, we are not asking for them. We need a check for that amount of the insurance claim dispersement, as it would have been had we been able to use the funding at our own discretion.

If you want to settle for what was simply not purchased, we can go that route: The amounts as we have added them up total: $2,057.10. These are supplies that you did not have to purchase for the repairs since we paid for alternative things.

Either of the above amounts will satisfy us. We would hope that you would be honorable and refund us the portion that we would have gotten to use had you not stolen our insurance funding check.

There is also funding totaling $1,131.88 for repair work that was allocated in the bathroom and the porch area – that you did not do. We would like this amount included in the check to us.

Other items we feel you need to return to us include funding that you received twice from our insurance company. We are aware of the check dated 9/15/11 for $6,458.86 that you have already received from our insurance company. There are duplications which you were well aware of and should have returned to the insurance company, but have not to date.
Dumping truck to the landfill $195.88
Removing and resetting refrigerator $30.30
Removing and resetting stove $36.06
Removing and resetting washer $25.24
Removing and resetting dryer $22.73
Moving contents in our rooms: $455.92
(which our children did more of than your crew)
Total: $766.13

We have discussed it and are fine to let you keep the margin of profit and overages that was also included in the check. We feel that these should more than compensate for the time differences in installing the tile in the kitchen rather than the laminate flooring. Also we are aware that you made additional profit off of having bought things for less money than we were awarded. All of which as given you more than your fair share.

Please feel free to bring us a check for these amounts, totaling, $3,973.11, or mail it to our address.

Oh, and on a side note: the wood flooring located at the entrances between the dining room and the porch, and the front door, have yet to be completed. There are gaps along the edges that need their final bits put in. They are getting filled with all sorts of dirt and debris, the longer that they sit without being completed. We are happy to have you come at your convenience to finish this work. Please just let us know when to expect your workmen.

As of this morning – 2/9/2012:
CitiMortgage has the funding check – they are issuing a check to HRC for $15,000 – and the $2,000 to us. However, they are putting both our names and HRC’s name on the check for $2,000.
HRC will not give us the money due back to us – nor will they complete their work – and continue to hound us with threatening letters by their attornies.

If you need – I can supply all of the corespondance to and from, us and them; as well as all of my notes, and conversations with HRC, CitiMortgage, and the insurance company; via fax or mail, just provide the number or address.

Also, it should be noted: that in addition to not completing the work – we are finding places where repair work that was done – is now falling apart. Another example of why this company should be shut down.

The next part of the complain asks me what would satisfy my complaint… hmmm…. What do I want?

We feel it is necessary for the greater public good to see them shut down. There is no telling how many other homeowners are swindled out of their insurance claim funds and given such shoddy work in exchange, but are embarrased of speaking up.

For them to reimburse us the amounts that we paid out in advance of the repair work.

How about a Completetion of that work.

A bill would be nice. We still have yet to see a bill that shows what work was done – or what was purchased for our home.

None of the ‘extras’ he claims to have done are any more extravagant or better than what was in our home to begin with… no upgrades / no better quality. And there are no reciepts to prove what he put into our home.

We would like to see him reimburse our insurance company for the double-billing that he willfully and purposefully did.

We would like to see him reimburse the funds for the work that WE did – and not him, or his contractors.

We would like to be paid for the damage to our personal belongings while his contractors were in our home. He has yet to address this matter and we have brought it up several times by phone.

We would like to see his practice of swindling people out of their money stopped. No one should have to sign a contract – without every part of that contract being fully explained. And nobody I know can fully understand what that is while standing in ankle-deep water, in their home while all of their family memories are being destroyed.

No need to send them this complaint -as they already know about it.

Well see … maybe we will be surprised and HRC will do the right thing in endorsing the check for our $2,000 to us – and part ways… maybe they will do the right thing and also finish fixing our house.

*sigh* I love the Universe…..

Whatever your problem or challenge may be, Marcella, laugh at it. Laugh long and hard.

Because you are forever and it is temporary.

Love you,
The Universe
PS – Ain’t no pain or vice, Marcella, that you won’t prevail over and be more for. And knowing this will hasten its retreat and blessings

From its words to God’s ear. I am hoping that this ordeal with H.R.C. and the money situation regarding our home repairs are settled soon. And with satisfaction of a check that is in MY name for our use. It would be one less thing that I have to worry about… and trust me that would be a blessing, considering how many balls are in the air that I am juggling.

And my next move on the chestboard has been completed.

Barry and I met the Home Inspector this morning. He was nice and laughed a lot. He took photos and complimented the work that we had, had done. He seemed to be satisfied with everything. He took lots of photos and will be faxing me the inspection sheet.

We are at 98% complete. There are 3 things left that I feel Bernie should have to do.
1~ the backsplash on the kitchen countertops. He and I had a couple of talks yesterday about it. He said that they would not lay the tile we purchased. It was not something that was there before. That since we didn’t want the laminate wood there- we got nothing.

I told him that I only refused it because it was too short.
I reminded him that it was HIM who told me that the backsplash needed to go all of the way up to the marble window sill, over the kitchen sink. That the 35 years of water being splashed up there, had made the small sliver of drywall rot away, allowing the water to collect down the back of the cabinet and lead to the black mold that they found.

HE then paused.

He called me back and agreed that I was right. He had said that. To not only me the morning of the flood – but also to the cabinet maker. So he would get the cabinet maker to remake the piece to come up the extra .75″ to meet the window.
I then had him thanking ME – yes he was thanking me – because I told him that I didn’t think the opposite wall needed to be remade also. That the only person who would really be able to tell that one side was shorter than the other was me. And I didn’t mind the small discrepency between the two.

We also talked about the money. I told him point-blank. I am not trying to get out of paying you. I have every intention of paying you. I am no longer in control of the money. That it was his responsibility. It was him who had the lawyer calling the Insurance company forcing his name on the check. I had only wanted it to have the CitiMortgage company. That the check was coming to him. It was now up to him to get it endorsed and up to my mortgage company.

He refuted that saying that he couldn’t do much because I wouldn’t sign over a right for him to talk to the CitiMortgage company. I didn’t even answer him. I just told him that Yes he did have rights to the Insurance company, who were the people who were cutting the check.

He seemed a bit irritated. Mainly because I was right, maybe? Hmmmm. Any how I told him that if it would make his life easier I would call the Insurance company, Kevin, and confirm when the check would be cut.

I did. They are sending it today. They are sending it directly to Bernie. AT his home. I told him that information. Something that he could have done allll by himself. But didn’t want to.

In our last conversation that day: He was again thanking me.

I wonder if he tried to get information from CitiMortgage and was denied. I wonder if he thinks that he can no longer access my Insurance either. He should be smarter than this. He claims that he’s done this before. Either way: Make him think that he has to go through me to get the money. In the end he has too, if he does the right thing.

He thinks that I’m being played by him. I know that I’m not. I didn’t give him any more information than he already has. I’m not giving up more than I have too. I will make this work for my family.

I feel confident that I have some great people on my side, like my CitiMortgage company. They won’t give Bernie any of the money. They will only let me have it. They are doing their best to make sure that I’m not getting screwed.

Barry happened to be sitting in the room with me – I had Bernie on speakerphone. AND Barry did a great job at keeping his mouth shut. He didn’t say a word. He let me handle it.
In the end as he was leaving I asked him if he had any problems with anything that I had done? He didn’t. He thought I did a great job with it all.
I let him know that he is to just say 1 thing in the future to Bernie – 3 little words. “Call My Wife”
Oh and he is not to sign a single piece of paper. NONE.
He has promised me to do just those 2 things.

Right now the next move is Bernie’s. Does he forward the check to CitiMortgage? Or does he just try to cash it?

We’ll see.

Have you ever seen anything more beautiful?
Barry sent me this photo just now.

Home inspection tomorrow. And hopefully an actual backsplash, even though it will be the laminate and not the tile. So the tile goes back for now – who knows – maybe we get it done later.

But also checked with the Insurance guy, Kevin, who is mailing the check to the Contractor tomorrow. And what he does with it is anyone’s guess.
Ball’s in his court on that one.

My next chess move is to see what happens tomorrow at the inspection – and plan from there.