Diary of a Drywaller: Chapter 20
Doug Bellamy / September 2019
“A house, not made with hands” 2 Corinthians 5:1 – Part 2
The house turned out be an incredible first home. It was beautiful and even to this very day it would be a fine place to live. Bear in mind, we had spent nearly a decade living in either a borrowed tent or an older, so-so rented home on a dead-end street, which was called of all things, Tobacco Road.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Rob, then the president of Alta and the human side of this incredible gesture, wanted to be sure we liked the location as well. He said, “I own a lot out in San Marcos. Want to go out there and have a look to make sure you’d like to live in that area?” Make sure we like to live in our own brand-new home that was built for us as a special sort of thank-you, I guess? Ya think? There wasn’t any doubt in our minds, and we weren’t really concerned about where it was located either.
Adrenaline surged as we drove up the recently paved road carved out of a hillside in San Marcos, Calif. With just a single glance at the lot that would soon become our home, we were enthralled. Construction began shortly thereafter, and it was one of the most exciting times that I can recall.
During construction, Rob and I were standing in the living room. Drywall was stocked and we were about ready to start installing it. Rob shook his head, teared up and said something completely out of character for him: “I am not building this for you.” Though I’m not sure he ever put it into words, we both knew what he meant. He was eluding to the fact that he felt divinely prompted to do this act of kindness. If I were to paraphrase it for him, what he was trying to say was, God is doing this!
He was completely correct, even though the whole concept of a higher power and/or the God of the Bible was completely foreign to him. Nevertheless, the power of God was tangible, and he could feel its influence. At the same time, I had made no secret of the fact that I firmly believed in God and always did my best to lead an upstanding life, one pleasing to God. He knew that something supernatural was at work. He could see it in our day-to-day interaction.
I’m sure I probably alluded to this in a prior chapter, but Rob was a very, very, very frugal individual, and he rarely spent money that wouldn’t ultimately make him more money. I could spend the rest of this chapter giving you example after example underscoring this fact. However, this kind gesture would do none of that. In the limited earthly sense, he stood to gain nothing for his investment, time and entrepreneurial spirit in this unique endeavor. This act was so completely out of character for him that he not only knew it, but couldn’t help but say so.
One morning shortly thereafter, I arrived at the house to find a huge forklift parked almost dead center inside the house. My heart sunk. I later learned that the brakes had failed. Hydraulic fuel had bled off, leaked out, releasing the break, and (fortunately) when it barreled down the steep hill from the mountaintop construction site of another home, though it hit our house and broke a half-dozen dozen trusses, it came to rest on a stack of drywall. Otherwise, it probably would have demolished the entire home and left instead, a pile of rubble.
That brief setback stunned me and caused me to reflect more deeply on the goodness of God and what was happening. Perhaps in the excitement I had begun to take it for granted? It was with great gratitude and heartfelt appreciation as we literally picked up the pieces and completed the project. Once we had moved in, we were so grateful, and we instantly had a huge amount of equity pushing us forward financially and well into the middle class. We had gone from pit, to pinnacle. Or so it seemed. It was incredible. However …
We hit another snag. We couldn’t get a loan for the measly amount Rob required us to pay in order to merely reimburse him for his cost. The tax lien I mentioned in an earlier chapter loomed as a glaring obstacle, resulting from the collapse of my first business and unpaid payroll taxes. It stood dead ahead, and I had to save enough money to pay it off in order to qualify. Meanwhile, Rob charged us a paltry sum for rent.
Willing to pay our past debt, we scrimped and saved until we finally had what we thought we would ultimately need to settle with the IRS. However, when I approached the IRS, they said there was no record of the debt. It had appeared on numerous credit reports for years and now, it vanished? Go figure. God again?
Doug Bellamy is former president of Innovative Drywall Systems Inc. dba Alta Drywall, Escondido, Calif. Contact him at [email protected].