As I was responding to a comment by Spouse of a Sex Addict from my last post, it triggered a memory from arbitration.
As mentioned, arbitration week was hell. We listened to the contractor on our beach house construction project lie, repeatedly. He spoke softly and gently and made it look like he was this innocent guy trying to run a business and we, the evil, spoiled, selfish clients just refused to pay his totally legitimate final bill. His attorney also implied that we were far too busy with our business to pay any attention to the construction of our house. The contractor testified that he had fulfilled his entire contract and he didn’t really understand why we hadn’t paid him.
Then the foreman on our job testified that he had no idea there was a budget or a schedule on our house. He said he wasn’t in charge of any bids, or costs, and had never seen the budget. He claimed he had no idea we had a one year contract with his boss, or the bank. His testimony was obliterated on cross. He exited the proceedings as quickly as possible.
During the vast majority of the testimony, the contractor sat in the seat closest to the person testifying and stared down at his phone. When I was testifying, however, he leaned back in his chair and stared at me. I mean stared at me the entire time. The thing is, I’m not easily intimidated. I opened with the fact that I had been treated for anxiety in Spring 2014 and that was the main reason I was kept out of the financial workings of the build (even though I was the obvious person to be involved, with my accounting background).
I then took the opportunity I was given to talk about my house and leaf through every single photo I had taken during construction, every.single.photo and the arbitrators perused them with me. I testified that I would have spent every day watching our house being built, if I could have. I talked about one of the photos and how some debris had washed up in front of the house with Japanese writing on it… tsunami detritus from across the ocean. Sad. I’m sure they could tell how much I love that house.
I also talked about how we asked and asked for the builder to walk through the house with us. How I wanted to point out some glaring issues with the sheet rock in particular. I wanted to ask the builder if he indeed considered it level 5 (something he testified to) and if this is how his “Street of Dreams” houses look? And I stared right back at the builder while saying it!
There is really no one who remembers seeing the builder at the house except his own foreman, and even he testified that his boss was there twice (towards the beginning), over an 18-month time period. We signed the contract with the builder, and only the builder, and we have documentation that HE would be there twice a month, at the very least. Did.not.happen.
My testimony was short and sweet. Blue Eyes, on the other hand, did not get off so easy. Back to Spouse of a Sex Addict’s comment and my response of “apologies after the fact just don’t really help.” And that’s when I remembered how triggering Blue Eyes’ testimony was. He didn’t even sound like himself. His voice was kind of gravelly and he talked softly. Not really like him at all. He talked a lot, in his testimony, about lessons he learned in childhood from his parents. Lessons about honesty and integrity. At one point he said, “it’s always better to ask for permission, than to beg for forgiveness.” WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK!!!!
Our internal General Counsel (our employee), has been working with outside counsel in this arbitration for 2+ years now. He was in on all the proceedings, plus he knows Blue Eyes, has worked for him for close to six years. He kept looking over to me while Blue Eyes was testifying. To see if I was okay… okay with the bullshit story coming out of Blue Eyes’ mouth. He probably wondered if I might jump out of my chair and try to strangle my husband. It was a strange couple of hours.
Both Blue Eyes and I were tasked with telling a story about our house. About how it was meant to be a sanctuary, about our dreams and our wishes. About contracts and timelines and about not giving anyone permission to go over time or budget. Blue Eyes’ story, however, seemed to focus on integrity of the builder, which is totally IRONIC, right? He didn’t really hurt our case, but he didn’t much help either. I mean he said what he was supposed to say, but I’m not sure he was believable. Or maybe it’s just me… I know the truth.
“It’s always better to ask for permission, than to beg for forgiveness.”
I think it was the strange sort of… gloating look on his face that blew my mind (obviously not in a good way). Who is that guy that can get up in front of a group of people in a very uncomfortable situation, and act like he’s the pillar of honesty and integrity?
Yeah, probably a good idea for Blue Eyes to start acting with humility and practice what he preaches. I don’t actually like to sit in judgment of my life partner. It doesn’t give me the warm fuzzies. Unfortunately he often doesn’t give me much choice. When I see him in front of other people, I sometimes don’t recognize him. So who’s the real guy? The one they see… or the one I see… or someone else entirely?