Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Having to Deal with Bull Puckey

Honestly, it's hard to believe what some people will do. Three years ago my daughter signed up for a "black belt club" at a local, and perhaps to remain unnamed Taekwondo school that was named for a person and is now named for a large West Coast city. Anyway, first we had one daughter and later another sign up for classes. The second daughter got hooked by his classy "black belt club" which required a three year contract. Should have realized he was pretty slick then since there was no "out " of the three years. We set it up so that we would pay it off in 18 months rather than the three years. This gave us a somewhat significant discount and got the pain overwith (or so we thought) in a timely manner. We gave her the "fulfill your responsibilities" lecture and off we went.

She attended the classes for about two years. Then she began getting more sporadic. She got so she hated the testing. The teacher is a bit snide and sarcastic when they don't know all the Korean words or faltered on their poomse -- form. Part of the time she deserved the reprimand if not the tone, so we weren't always sympathetic. After all, she does tend to be a bit lazy and it did take some discipline.

Finally the last six months she just refused to go. Fine with us. We'd gotten most of the benefit of it and her interests had changed. And just a couple of months ago, I was going through the file drawer and saw the Taekwondo file and shredded it. After all, we were done with that.

Mid March I was wondering where my bank statement was and was getting a little concerned. Great - probably got delivered to the wrong box. Finally the husband brought it in -- it had been left for several days in the truck. So I got right on balancing the checkbook when what to my wondering eyes should appear but ANOTHER bank deduction for that same old stupid Taekwondo school. It had been 18 months since I'd last seen that and, why, just a month ago I'd been reveling in the fact that that was all done.

So off to the bank I went to discover that not only had he deducted the fee once, but he had deducted it twice. Yes, for some reason he thought he could just mosey right on into my bank account without so much as a by-your-leave. Needless to say, I reversed both of those charges. It takes a lot of gall to just start making deductions within so much as a thought of putting the whole family's finances at risk by us unknowingly bouncing checks all over the city. It makes a difference when you think you have $450 in the bank and in reality you have about 60.

Needless to say I was a bit peeved. I left a message on his voice mail and the next day he "returned my call." Obviously he must do this quite often. No, not one word of "oh, my, how distressing for you - I'm sure we can work this out. Oh no, none of that. Just a humor-laden voice lecturing me about the contract and my personal responsibility. I couldn't believe it. He was like something out of a nightmare. He said he would send a copy of the contract by registered mail. I said I would come and get a copy and that was when he said that if I came over he would call the police because I was threatening him. Obviously he has been coached by a slick lawyer, or if he does this on his own, he has all sorts of potential psychological diagnoses.
I hadn't threatened him. I was talking loudly and quickly and I was definitely mad at him. There was no way I couldn't be mad at him. I mean really, he'd only taken to debiting money out of my account without my knowledge. I always taken that with equinamity - doesn't everyone?

When I told him that I had reveresed those payments, he then had the gall to tell me I would go to collections. But my hackles really got up with his accusation of threatening him. So I wrote out the whole scenario and gave a copy to the police; sent a copy to the city licensing and sent a copy to the better business bureau. I'll be sending follow up letters to each regardless of how this turns out so they can hear "the rest of the story." I wasn't threatening him; I was protecting myself.

I'm talking to an attorney tomorrow. Oh, he did send the contract -- which has a little "renewal" wording at the end (not initialled, not pointed out; just snuck in there without so much as a by-your-leave) and a little letter letting us know how much we have to pay to get out of this little kerfuffle. Maybe I'll get stuck paying him something; maybe not. But I'm making sure that when this is over I'm completely done with him, hense the attorney.

But I'm comforted by several things. All of my friends are now aware of what a creepy businessman he is. Fortunately for him, most of them don't have kids the age of his school. One works in an office of a local high school -- and they all talk; one works in the library at another local high school; another works for a large medical clinic and the last works for Snohomish County health. Regardless of how much money he gets, it won't be worth the ill-will that he has engendered. What goes around comes around -- if he treats people this way, I'm sure that others will treat him that way too. I had another neighbor who had told me he was corrupt, but back then I had defended him. (I'm feeling insecure about my judgement of character).

I'm attempting to maintain a godly attitude through this and I must say it is hard. But I try to keep the long range in mind. We're told to pray for our enemies, and although I didn't think I had any, apparently I do have and this is my opportunity to practice this. Not much fun. But then on the other hand, the Bible also says, "what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul." Obviously he's a long ways from a repentant life. Perhaps in his effort to gain the whole world he is sacrificing his soul. So, I'll try to remember that it's not worth his soul spending eternity in hell and so I'll pray that he sees the error of his ways.

So, what if I'm stuck with a stupid payment to him that could be much better used towards my kids tuition, the carpet my house needs, the new windows that I would like to replace, the car that will need to take the place of my old "standby" that has 210,000 miles on it. This too shall pass. I just hope that it passes quickly. And if he ends up with any of my money, I hope that "it gives him as much peace as we had while he was trying to wrest it from our grasp."

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Water Under the Bridge

It's over, the job of almost eleven years, is past. My last day was December 31st. It was almost surreal knowing that not only was I being sent out the door, but that in just a couple more months the whole thing was in the past. New Hope is no more. Yesterday I took cookies to the final five and to my delight was also able to take my chair home with me. Yes, the chair and I have been together for a long time, so we've melded into a comfortable unit. It's almost like old times this morning, sitting in it and typing away. But it's not old times. The door is shut and the keys have been turned in.

It's only fitting that yesterday it began snowing. Sort of like heaven was covering up the ickiness. Burying the body so to speak under the beautiful snow.

It's history now. No use crying over the spilled milk as they say; it can't be rebottled or put to good use. It's water under the bridge. But a travesty it was.