Vulnerability and Trust

I’m just not sure what to do…should I reside my house or paint it?”


“If you were my mom, here’s what I would tell you to do…


Sure I could use the work, but you are not even sure how much longer you are going to live here, and since as you said, money is an issue, then spending  $750 vs. $5000 would get you by for another few years…and if at that point, you want to side, we can talk again.”

Conversation between myself and 85 yr old widow named Helen.



Last week I met with another elderly widow I’ll call Delores.    She’d asked me to bid on some storm damage last Fall.  My estimate to do everything came to $2,500.  When I talked to her last week about starting the job, she had a concerned look on her face.   Some other repairs that I had nothing to do with ran over by several thousand dollars, and she had to come up with the difference out of her pocket.   She is on a fixed income, has major health issues and the last thing I wanted to do was give her additional financial stress.

After looking @ what really needed fixing vs. what was cosmetic, I was able to do my portion of the job for $750.  She was fully ready to pay me the whole $2500 but I can’t for the life of me fathom how someone would take advantage of a vulnerable person like that.


Vocationally, I followed in my father’s footsteps.  He was a building contractor during all of my formative years…He just retired a few years ago, at age 78.

Quick story about my dad…

Back in the late 1970’s a local bank approached  dad about general contracting  a new bank building.  In today’s dollars it would easily be a several million dollar job.

The job was done on a handshake. (My dad and the bank president.)


In addition to being a  general contractor/builder,  I also dabble in making custom-built kitchen tables out of reclaimed wood.

I met with Carol on Tuesday to discuss building her a kitchen table and two benches… She’d seen one of my earlier projects on my Facebook business page and wanted the exact same thing….

harvest table for sale

48 by 80 table and bench I built last Fall

Carol called before heading my way and asked about a deposit.  I told her,  I normally don’t take a deposit.’s a trust thing.

“Good for you,” she said.

Side note-  Last Spring I was asked to build 15 tables including a 12 ft  table for a new business.  In their case, I did ask for a deposit because of the amount of money I had tied up in materials but that was the exception.

I live in a pocket of humanity where trust is still alive and well.

We had a visitor last month who is from a larger metropolitan area.  He simply could not wrap his mind around the simple fact I trusted my auto mechanic to stand behind some work he’d done for me without a written warranty.

Anyway, I started this post with the intention of letting  my regular readers know that if ever you have a construction question and would like a neutral 3rd party, I would love to be a sounding board if I can help.  If I don’t know the answer, I will tell you.  It won’t cost you a cent.  That’s how we roll in Middle earth.  DM


Got any  stories about trust?

Want to order a new kitchen table ? 😉

(I build to  specs, finished, unfinished, etc.)

Here are a few other finished projects:



barn board head board December 2014




small tool box