Wednesday, January 23, 2013

When "Utmost" and "Utterly" Seem Appropriate

Last month I went to leadership training for work.  We had to set goals for ourselves in a very kumbaya way, and one of mine was to be more level-headed in responding to issues that frustrated or angered me.  I worked it out that if I ever had an email that felt really good to write, I should look at it and contemplate whether that email would do me any good to send.  Some people suggested that, once the email was written, I should delete it and start again; my second email would surely have a much more appropriate tone.  Although I have not necessarily deleted and started again, I have begun to read and re-read my emails more thoroughly before sending.  And I did the same this morning as I sent the following email to my contractor, in response to our frustrations from last night, and ahead of our meeting this afternoon at the house.  Neighbors, you may not want to come near the community room at NPS around 2pm today, because you're not going to see happy people there.

Mark: among the items you should discuss with Patty this morning is a valid timeline. Obviously, you will no longer be able to complete all work by January 31, as you have failed to purchase the special-order flooring that takes two weeks to deliver. If there is anything else you have also failed to purchase for whatever reason, she will also need to know that.

Yesterday, we discussed that we could purchase materials for you if you were in a situation where you were unable to front the money due to a lack of incoming 203k cash. Today, we are going to insist on it. We are extremely unhappy with the pace of work and feel we have been as accommodating as possible these past five months. However, while we have the wherewithal to pay for the necessary expenses now, should Patty follow through with her threat to close the loan, we will be devoid of cash. That would leave not only you without reimbursement, but us with a half-finished house, two mortgages, and living in a basement. This in completely, utterly unacceptable to us.
As I started off, please come to a realistic conclusion with Patty this morning so that we may have a 100% clear idea of what will happen every step of the way from here on out after we meet this afternoon. Tell her you were under the impression that until she opened the loan, you shouldn't order the floors or anything else and that has put off the end date.  And please know, and I reiterate, that the closure of this loan, which if it happens we view as pretty much entirely the fault of Servicez Unlimited, will present a massive difficulty to my family for the foreseeable future.
I look forward to meeting with you at 2pm today, and to completing this project with the utmost haste and care.

And yes, I used the phrase "utmost haste" and the words "devoid" and "utterly."  Because when we're dealing with this house lately, we feel alone-- utterly alone.  (Thanks, Winona Ryder.) Now to Blind-Copy this to Patty with the explanation that, if her company doesn't reopen our loan, we may have to live in a basement forever.

Patty: I sent the following email to Mark Evans this morning.  He does not know I am sending you a copy, but I wanted to let you know where we currently stand with him.  We are due to meet with him this morning, and are extremely disappointed to have found out he did not order some of the special-order materials needed for the job.  He told us it was because the loan was not opened, and he was unsure whether he would be reimbursed.
 We are currently living in a basement, paying more than $4000 a month for our mortgages, and hemorrhaging at least $2500 each month that we did not plan for by having this construction project persist.  I understand that you are under pressure from your superiors to get this loan closed, but I implore you to open it as soon as possible, if only to reimburse us for the more than $30,000 we have spent from our own savings on materials such as cabinetry and countertops, and for the probably $10,000 more we will spend this afternoon buying the flooring and other items Mark has avoided buying.  If this project doesn't finish within a month, it won't be because we are not putting all available resources towards it; however, if the loan does not open, we will be the ones pretty much out on the streets, with two mortgages and no home to speak of.
 Mark is going to call you this morning.  Please consider this email, where it is coming from, and what we have to do to finish this project.  There are not very many pieces left, but they are costly and important.  Without the loan being reopened, this whole project pretty much turns to dust.  And Montgomery County has pretty much assured us there is no way they will schedule an inspection without the work already having been completed.  It's just not how things are done here.
Yes, this is the equivalent of starting to cry to get what you want.  But we should have done this a long time ago.  If I were a cartoon right now, I'd have a conversation blob above my head with dark scribbles in it.

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