Yes, I was scammed. Over a 5 month period of time, although I didn’t realize it until the fourth month. I was sensing something was not quite right during the 3rd month, but found excuses other than the plain truth, the reality, that I was being scammed. This all happened last year, so why am I writing about it this year? The truth is, I was not ready to publicly admit to what happened. I had to heal, in my own way, in my own time.
It all began (or should I say, was triggered) couple of months before the scam began. You see, I was living in a cabin in rural Tennessee. Electricity, water, sewer, landline do not even come my way. Fortunately I live in a forest, so there are plenty of dead or near dying trees for firewood, And I am fortunate enough that after living in an RV (using solar power) on my land for two years, I still had enough (50%) of my dwindling 401K to have two cabins built, one to live in and one for an herb shop. My house was essentially two rooms with a bedroom in a loft. All powered by solar panels and batteries, with a wood stove for heat and cooking.
Living this way has many learning experiences over the eight years that are stories in their own right, but this story began with a trigger – the bedroom loft. One early cold morning in mid April I was awakened by my dog who urgently (he assured me) needs to go outside. I gathered my phone, water bottle, and flashlight like I usually do when coming down the loft ladder. Then like an idiot I noticed my pajama legs were loose and would therefore drag along the floor. So halfway down I tried to push the bottom of the pajama legs into the socks on my feet. All this while gripping the edges of the ladder and still working my way down, moving my grip along the way. Of course, I lost my grip and fell backwards down to the cabin floor below, landing just slightly above my tailbone and then banging the lower back of my head on the cork floor, while my flailing arms break a floor lamp and knock over a tall side table. Yes, there was some blood and bruises. However the immediate pain was the back of my head. My first thought was “Did I get a concussion?” The dog, oblivious to my moaning, was still insisting he needed out to do his business. I eased painfully to the door, letting him out. Then I decided I better call my brother. We talked for over an hour as he checked my memory and reasoning to see if I obviously had a concussion. I didn’t have a headache other than the obvious impact to the back of the head, nor did I have nausea, which are the usual signs of a concussion. Relieved, my brother mentioned that I am lucky I didn’t break a hip, the usual fear of people our age.
It was then that I decided I needed to have a real bedroom that didn’t require a ladder to get to it. After all, this accident was caused by stupidity, not fragility, and as I am getting closer to 70, I could get stupider, as well as frail. (Although at age 88, my dad is now frail, but he is not stupid – just stubborn. So I do have hope…)
So I approached a dear friend, one who has built so much for me over the years. Table that would fit perfectly over the dog’s crate, library ladder for the loft over the kitchen area, kitchen cabinet to replace the dead DC powered chest refrigerator, insulated and heated shed for the well solar batteries and pressure tank and controller (after the failure of the small metal “well house” to survive the great freeze in winter of 2014), to name just a few among many other projects. His work was always technically perfect and artfully done. And his price was always reasonable. However he always required his labor be paid in cash and I would have to buy all the materials. Between savings, selling the few stocks I had, and buying all materials with my then zero balance credit cards, maybe I would be able to finance it. So. Would he be willing to connect my two cabins that are perpendicular to each other with an addition that would be my bedroom?