Like many baby boomers, my parents are preparing for retirement in uncertain times, trying to make sure that they will have saved enough to retire before the age of 125 & that they will do so with enough of a financial cushion to take care of themselves & never burden their children or require assistance. The major thing that will determine how & when that happens FOR MY PARENTS is selling their home. For two years, my folks have been preparing to sell their home in Duncanville & downsize as they enter retirement. They put the majority of their savings into getting their house ready to sell. Since I have been here, they have had their foundation completely repaired, their plumbing fixed & brought up to date. Their last "big fix" was a new roof, as theirs was damaged during tornado season a few years ago. At the time, they just had the immediate & neccesary damage repaired because they weren't sure if they would stay in this home or sell it. But as my mother's retirement looms on the horizon, they have made the decision that, at the very lest, they will fix up the house, sell it & downsize.
After going through the foundation repair & plumbing issues, they prepared to start the new roof last fall. They were recommended to a small, local roofing company by friends who had a very positive experience & a man came out to do their estimate. It wasn't going to be cheap, but they had prepared for this & knew that it would be costly. The man who gave them the estimate worked for the company but (with the blessing of his boss) was branching out on his own, as well, and taking on a few clients who were going to have to take the process a bit slower (monetarily). My mom & Aubrey talked to the parent company & everything was up to snuff, so they hired this man & his crew to start. They paid him over 75% of the original estimate up front. As the process began, it became apparent that there were some internal issues due to the storm damage from years ago. The men would have to go up through the attic & repair some beams & other structural issues before the outer work began.
After a short period of time, the man in charge complained that it was really too hot to keep fixing the internal issues from the inside & asked to make a couple of small points of entry on the outside of the roof, which would also help with air flow. My parents eventually agreed & suddenly the man & his crew pulled roughly 25% of the roof and a large portion off the gutters off of the house. It was at this point that he began asking for more money. My parents insurance would cover some of the tornado damage, but the company would need to sign off on the finished internal repairs to issue a check. My mom asked the roof man if he could make sure that the internal issues had been fixed so the insurance company could come out & sign off on the structural integrity & they would pay him the final 25% of his estimate with the rest of that money. He asked if they could get the money anywhere else & she explained something which he already knew -- they were at the finish line of a huge overhaul to a fairly large home & they had put everything they had into it. My mom asked if he could possibly do this small part of the job with the large amount of money they had already given him. He didn't seem pleased but agreed that this was a reasonable request.
The next day the man did not show up to work on the roof. And he didn't show up the day after that. Nor the next day. Both of my parents called him repeatedly, only to find that he had blocked their numbers. I had his number because he couldn't get into the garage one day & when I found out what was happening, I tried to call & realized that he had blocked my number, as well. Unsure of what to do, my parents called the original company & it turned out that the man had been fired shortly after starting on my parents' house, though he had claimed to still be working for them as an explanation for showing up at all hours. My parents were understandably devastated & felt incredibly foolish that this man who had seemed so sincere & who, like so many of us, claimed that he just wanted the chance to strike out on his own... was apparently simply a conman.
Then the rain started. Everything in our attic, everything that my parents had kindly stored for me & my older sister from our childhood & teenage years was destroyed. Water began pouring through light fixtures, kitchen cabinets & walls. Pictures & furniture were damaged beyond repair. My stepfather fixed the tarps in the attic as fast as the water burst through them. But the rain kept coming. And what was once a 13k job is now insanely more expensive. The rotted wood & mold in the attic, the warped cabinets & drawers -- for two years my parents diligently fixed & replaced everything in this house, so that they could sell it. Now, they're just hoping to make it liveable. And to add insult to injury, for the first time, I really understand why people avoid small businesses & startups. All of my friends who work so hard to prove themselves & stand out & compete with the big dogs have to contend with a couple of bad eggs & it's not fair. My parents didn't want me to write this, but I (mostly -- sorry, guys) convinced them because more than feeling embarrassed that someone took advantage of their kindness & trust, they're worried about me & my photography business. They're worried about their friends & family members that own small shops. They're worried that this will be a reflection on small businesses in DFW, but I disagree.
Dallas is the smallest big city in the world. Every person who buys their hats from Aubrey & can always be confident that he's going to give them the very best deal in town... Every person tasked with finding free (but still immensely talented) musicians & can rest easy knowing that Aubrey hasn't turned down playing A SINGLE benefit concert in over twenty years... Everyone who has been able to have delicious, one-of-a-kind desserts at a struggling restaurant because of my mom... Any, single one of the thousands of young parents my mother has assisted in being able to raise their children in a better, safer environment... Anyone who has simply met them and knows their hearts... I think that all of those people will want to help -- whether they can give a dollar or a hundred, I think they'll do it. Because my parents are good & kind & champions of the underdog. They are the only people I've ever known who would walk over to meet their new neighbors & NOT JUST offer, but actually spend the rest of the afternoon carrying boxes in from a moving truck because they were the first & only people the other couple knew in Dallas. They are so good to the world & I have to believe that what this man did to them & their home & the security that they have worked so hard to build, will not only be met with, but will be completely overshadowed & obliterated by the outpouring of help from a community that they truly love calling their home.
And, as I said, fifty cents & fifty dollars both help -- I know this is a big goal, but I also think that all of us in DFW & especially our fellow small business owners will do whatever we can do in order to show that WE are the majority. The man who did this is an outlier to the norm. And part of the reason my parents have such good hearts is because they are part of a community that allows it. We're honest & we work hard & we don't let thieves become the headline of any of our stories. We take back the narrative & we fight for a good ending. Thank you, so much, IN ADVANCE, for representing the good in Dallas (and in the world, at large) & for helping two people who have made it their mission in life to keep that goodness at the forefront of every, single thing they do. xoxo
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