Honesty in a post-modern world

Last year, at about this time of year, we moved to a new house. Since that time, we have been saving money in hopes of replacing the bathroom tile since the existing tile was lose, cracked, and dirty. This time has finally come, and we have begun a wild ride....

You may be asking, "Rick, why don't you just install the tile yourself?" And if you asked that question, I would tell you, "Been there, done that, NO THANKS!" This response is probably due to the fact that the last time I installed tile, we had one bathroom, and I cracked the toilet. I'll leave it at that.

So, today was the first day the contractor was onsite, but the work began several days ago. About a week ago, we signed a "contract" agreeing to have tile removed and installed for a certain amount of money. The contract left room for unexpected expenses, which verbally would not exceed $200-$300. Three days ago, I found that the floor would cost and extra $200 to remove (and of course that was a $150 discount). Being the frugal and understanding guy that I claim to be, I did the extra work myself (no questions asked).

Today, I am told the shower will be an extra $200, which went up to $400 because the guy didn't realize we wanted the tile to go to the ceiling (an obvious lie for too many reasons to include here). So, at this point, I look to the "contract" only to find a handwritten statement allowing for extra costs on the shower with no cap on that cost. Yes, the obvious mistake hit me right between the eyes! Make sure all agreements go in writing, even (or especially) if the contractor claims to have "no hidden costs like the other guys" or if they claim to be honest because they "don't do business that way."

Ok, so here we are with a bathroom torn to shreds, and a contractor trying to get another $400 out of me (which again is a discount off the true cost). So, what do I do? Give him the money or he'll do shoddy work? Refuse to pay a penny more and threaten to sue? As a Christian, scripture calls us to deal honestly in all things, and trust God for all things. Today's world seems to push us away from living this way because often we cannot get anything done with ranting and raving, threatening, and downright being mean.

Well, I call the guy to offer an extra $200 which in turn is actually $260 because he also overcharged us on the posted price of the tile (imagine that!). Why did I do this? For various reasons:

  1. At this point, I really do not want to take my business elsewhere because I am tired of dealing with this (His advantage).
  2. I feel this exceeds my verbal and written "contractual" agreements (We verbally agreed to keep the extra expense below $200).
  3. I have no desire to receive work for which I do not pay. I feel this is an honest win/win agreement.
  4. I do not want to give the contractor any reason to do shoddy work.

So, what is honesty in a post-modern world?

Apparently, telling the truth consists of vague statements with promises of being honest. In today's world I can apparently continue to consider myself honest if I simply do not agree to anything. Our "contracts" leave open ends at every corner, and this is purposeful so we can remain honest and still do business in a tough environment. In this tile scenario, it feels like the guy gave us an "honest" estimate based on as limited information as he could possibly gather (by ignoring certain things we clearly articulated and not writing them down so there is no evidence they were spoken). The low estimate brought our business to him, and then he remains honest and increases profit by using the open ends of the written contract well beyond the closed pieces of the verbal contract. And I really feel like he has stepped outside the bounds of the written contract as well, but that's beside the point at this time (confused yet?).

How is a Christian man to respond in this situation?

With truth, love, peace, gentleness, faithfulness, et al. I stepped outside those bounds a little, but God was gracious and calmed me down. We have come to hopefully our final verbal agreement of an extra $260.

During times like these, I am overjoyed by the Gospel. We are not of this world. We will be raised with Christ. The Kingdom of God is at hand. And all these pesky little troubles will be meaningless as we enter the final Glory. Thank God for the promise of a new body full of perfection. He is indeed Gracious.

As a final note...As I was writing this, I was reminded by Peggy that we cannot take a shower tonight! How is this information helping me? :) HA! Come Lord Jesus, Come!


It's Over!

You may recall that Rick had a challenge at work to give something up for 60 days. We gave up desserts...this was truly a challenge for me. We still do not know what prize he won for this feat but I'll let you know. This is what I ate last night in celebration...(I'm kind of embarrassed!) Oh...and I did lose 1 lb. Hmmm...big deal.


Kate 2 years, 3 months - 3/22/07

Dear Kate,

You are now sleeping in a toddler bed! You are doing great! The first 2 nights you fell out of your bed 3 times each night. On the third night, we prayed to the Lord with you that He would keep you safe in your bed and that you wouldn't fall out anymore. Guess what! You didn't fall out that night and you haven't since! What a blessing it was the next morning to thank God with you for keeping you safe in your bed. Yes...the Lord hears our prayers. A few nights later, you prayed with Daddy that a little boy scout lost in the woods would be found. He had been missing for several days. Guess what! The little boy scout was found safe. Again we got to thank the Lord with you for answering our prayers. What a testimony to God's faithfulness even at such an early age. What an opportunity to be able to teach you to thank God when we do see an answer to our prayers. Pray sweet Kate and pray your whole life. We have a God who hears us and tells us to pray. What a blessing and a privilege.

I love you now and forever. I pray and thank God for you.


Claire - 11 months - 3/19/07

My dear Claire,

Today you are 11 months old! I can't believe next month you will be 1! This year has gone by so fast and you've changed so much from that little helpless baby we brought home from the hospital last year. You are walking along the furniture and holding onto my hands. It won't be long until you are walking around everywhere! You are a great eater and we always laugh that you eat more than Kate! You are down to 2 bottles a day (before your afternoon nap and before bedtime) and I'll take you off those in the next few weeks. You basically eat everything we do. You have dark brown hair and it is pretty thick! Your eyes have a blue ring on the outsite, then a green one, then a light brown one. I'm not sure if they'll stay that way or not but they are so pretty. You are talking a lot and saying "bye bye," "bunny," "pup pup," "dada," mama," and a few other words. It's so cute.
The other day we were out and someone asked Kate what your name was and she said "bunchy britches." It was so funny. She calls you either "sissy boo boo" or "bunchy britches." One day you were crying at Boo's house and Boo called you "fussy britches" and Kate thought it was hilarious and I guess she thought that's what Boo had said so from then on, you've been "bunchy britches" (or just "bunchy".)
You still take 2 naps a day from about 8:30-10 or 10:30 and then again from 1-3:30 or 4. You go to bed at 7 and sleep until then as well.

You are a sweet baby and I love you very much.

Love always,



He's so nice...

We were on our way to our nephew's birthday party today and were reviewing with Kate the catechism questions she knows. Rick was asking her about who God is and was mentioning some of His attributes. When he was finished talking, Kate said, "He's so nice."


Revised Nerd Test Results

Well, apparently our friend Garret was a little ashamed of his title as our nerdiest friend. He sent the nerd test to a friend that he imagined would be a little nerdier(personally, I'd be offended :))....and he was right!

So our new nerdiest friend is Ron Trolard. His score was a whopping 96!!! I think that record will stand for awhile.
Congratulations to Garret who is cooler than we thought!


Life Myth #231

You have all heard the "myth" that if you do something for 31 days, it will become a habit. I am here to tell you that this is not true. Mid-January of this year, Rick signed up for a competition at work. This competition required you to give up a "bad habit" for 60 days and if completed, you'd win a prize. Not one to pass up a prize, Rick signed up to give up our after dinner desserts. Now, being the loyal and suportive wife that I am (and because I still have 6 baby pounds to lose) I said I would participate with him. Friends, it's been way over 31 days now and I want a dessert. If I could, I'd get in the car every night after putting our sweet girls to bed and drive to Publix to get slice and bake cookies and ice cream.
Needless to say, this is one habit I couldn't break in 31 days so I doubt the entire 60 days will help. I think the worst part of all though, is that I have not lost one of those 6 lbs. Looks like I need to give up my after breakfast dessert too.


Nerd Test Winner and Loser!

We posted a nerd test a little while ago. Many of you emailed us your results and we have a winner (our nerdiest friend) and a loser (our coolest friend.)
Surprisingly, our winner and loser are married!!

Our nerdiest friend is with a score of 75 is Garret Walker!
Our coolest friend with a score of 4 (that's embarrassing) is
Mary Martha Walker!


Here's the link to the test if you haven't taken it:


Claire-10 months old-02-19-07

Dear Claire,

You are 10 months old now. This has been a big month for you! You spent your first night away from us this month while your father and I went on an anniversary trip. You stayed with Boo and Papaw for 7 days! I actually was thinking you wouldn’t remember me but you did and I was so happy to see you! I missed you very much while we were away but we had a great time with each other and I am thankful we were able to take the trip. I think every time I want you to do something, I’m going to send you over to Boo’s house! I was still giving you 5 bottles when I left (I know…way too many) and now you are down to 2!! Also, I’d be trying to teach you to drink out of a cup with no success and now you drink out of a cup perfectly!! I am so proud of you.
You still sleep from 7-7 and take 2 naps. You don’t eat any baby food any more and you are such a great eater! You love everything!! You have 4 teeth!
You and Kate are playing together some which is cute. You’ll both just start laughing sometimes when you are playing which is fun. You are becoming more independent but still like to be near me. You can wave, clap and blow kisses. You are walking along furniture but aren’t ready to venture out by yourself yet. You can say UH-OH! And love to drop things and say it. You can say “dada” and just started saying “mama” this week. You’ll only say mama though when you are crying and grabbing my legs trying to get me to pick you up but that’s OK because I love to hear it! You say also say “bye bye” and “hi” when prompted.
You can say “BURRRR” and I know you know what that means because you only say it when it’s cold outside or when I’m changing your diaper! It’s pretty cute.

I love you my baby,


Searching for the Bones of Jesus?

Of course, the documentary on the Discovery Channel tonight was wrong in the conclusion that Jesus' bones have been found. I was not surprised to hear the show claim that we cannot be historical and realistic while trusting the scriptural account that Christ physically arose from the dead. I was also not surprised to see a university scholar claim that finding Jesus' bones would not destroy his faith because he "leaves what happens to bodies to God." That is a noble claim is it not.

Let me clearly state that I find this documentary foolish and without merit. The opening of the show said the information in the following scenes is disputed so the viewer should use their own judgement to decide the truth of what is shown. I have used my judgement and found the show to fully lack truth.

And now a little humor in relation to this story. I was googling for info on this documentary and came across the following comment made by a reader on wtopnews.com.

"I dug up the original Easter Bunny by accident just this weekend. The
tomb had the initials 'E.B' and had mysteriously ancient carrot-like characters."


Mommy's Talkin' Real Loud

I lost my voice Wednesday morning and have been whispering ever since. I have never lost my voice prior to this and it is strange to be unable to make a sound, but I have found it strangely peaceful. It is also humorous to converse with other people because they usually whisper back to you.

Anyway, the point of this post is to pass on yet another "Conversation with Kate". Peggy, Kate, Claire, and I went to lunch on Wednesday. Sometime later that afternoon, Kate came up to Peggy and said the following in a whisper and switching to a loud voice in the middle....

"Daddy's talkin' real quiet AND MOMMY'S TALKIN' REAL LOUD!"