Do any of you remember that choreopoem by Ntozake Shange that starts Somebody almost walked off with all of my stuff? If you’re not familiar, go read For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide/ When the Rainbow is Enuf.
My home of 63 years was stolen from me by Safeco Insurance and Protech Construction. They conspired to tear down my home when the only damage was to my bedroom; cracked open at the seams when a huge tree limb laid down on the roof in high winds. They tore down my workshop, which had no damage. They destroyed all of my pollinator plants; I had grown a honeysuckle blind on my side fence, had roses, rosemary, lavender, night-blooming jasmine, cacti and succulents, also night-blooming. I had a fig tree, a lemon tree, Christ’s Thorn. So much here for human and insect enjoyment, now completely gone.
This house is not a house. It is a poorly constructed structure that doesn’t have a front step that passes the Building Code. I had a front porch; now there is a slab. Rain comes into the front door because there is no longer any cover. I have to get drenched to come into my front door because it is open to the elements now, nothing like I had. I was training the bougainvillea to create an arch across my front; they killed half of the archway. Protech’s builder even stole all of my heavy duty steel fencing, my steel doors, my window bars. I do not have a back door, sufficient windows in my bedroom, no closet and none of the shelving I had was replaced. This structure does not meet Building Code standards, yet Kent Stiles signed and paid off Vince Paglia for destroying my home, and he did not report any of this to Underwriting, as he should.
I had copper piping; it was replaced with PVC. I had a heater in my bathroom ceiling; it was not replaced. I had recessed lighting in my living room; it was replaced with fire sprinklers, something I didn’t have before and for which I have no instruction manuals. I have no idea how to maintain them and Protech did not provide me with any instructions.
The entire time Protech worked on this shack, they lied to me about what I could expect. They didn’t even get plans to rebuild the house even though I repeatedly asked that this be done. I was told not to worry. I was told there would be crawl space access available underneath my dryer. There is not. My attic access was not replaced. The roof is not vented, though the roof of my home was vented. In fact, my home was hand built of hard wood. I know the man who built my home. He gave me my first nickname, Sputnik, because I would circle around him like a satellite whenever he came to do maintenance. Mr. Elmer Lambert was a very tall, broad Jehovah’s Witness. His wife, Ima, always gave me fruit as a treat, never candy. They were both gentle, kind people who taught me to appreciate their religion. JWs are smart and we can thank them for helping develop surgeries where transfusion is not necessary. I like reading their publications and still do to this day because of Mr. and Mrs. Lambert.
I had the cutest built-in cabinets in my kitchen. I could fit all of my “company” dishes, glassware and special cooking tools in that built-in. Needless to say, it no longer exists and most of my cookware is now in the garage, all that isn’t sitting on the side and at the back of this structure. Guess it doesn’t much matter as my stove is still not connected to the gas line because there are no cut-off valves installed. Just a capped pipe. The shelves are too small to hold my klediments, literally. My home measured 800 sq feet. This structure measures about 618 sq feet. Safeco sent an agent to measure the space after I reported to them that my home had been rebuilt and replaced with junk. My property lost value, but the property taxes tripled. My net worth took a hit, too. My home was and is my owned free and clear asset. Now, it is worth less, of poor construction, and I don’t trust it could stand up to a treefall like my 1923 Rambler Custom.
I have to thank Protech president Vince Paglia and his wife and, I believe, owner of the company, Kimm Paglia; his builder, Steve Willsey of Willsey Construction; and, of course, Kent Stiles of Safeco/Liberty Mutual for this destruction. How any of them are still in business, how they still possess licenses is a genuine mystery to me. Insurance companies owe a fiduciary responsibility to their customers. Safeco/Liberty Mutual has failed grossly in meeting their responsibility.
As I have said in the past, if you have Safeco or Liberty Mutual as your insurance provider, find another, fast. If you have a need for a contractor, do not contact Protech. You will regret it for the rest of your life if you use their services.
Yes, someone did walk off with almost all of my stuff. They took the home I lived in since I was 6 months old. They took the home in which I was midwife to my mother’s death. They took the home in which I and my mom raised my son. I had to give away much of my stuff to charity because I could not put it into the structure. The rest stands outside under tarps. It would decide to rain as soon as I have no place to store my things. My greatest loss is my library. Built over a lifetime and composed of a variety of texts, many of the books are in the garage, but I couldn’t open all 800 boxes that came back from storage, so some books were not located until after the rains had done their damage.
My library and my lemon tree…someone must pay for those two things if for nothing else. My mother planted the lemon tree to commemorate my son’s birth. It did not bear fruit until he was 19, in the same year as mom’s death. She did get to see that tree bear fruit and her grandson is a wonderful young man now. Protech cut down my lemon tree, with fruit on it, but left the tree hazard that started this entire fiasco. They are going to pay to have that removed, too.