Friday Evening 11:15PM

Sometimes a series of events, dear Reader, leads us to solve some surprising mysteries.

That's exactly what happened to me today. I would like to relate the entire saga so you can better understand the events of today. But I must warn you my temper has risen, so this story I am about to relate may turn out to be - at least partially - a way to vent my feelings. That does NOT mean I will exaggerate. The following story is just as it happened. Bear with me, dear Reader.

Some time ago, in fact in the middle of February of this year, Wililam Charles Company (formerly Rockford Blacktop) got in touch with me about the possibility of dumping concrete along my washed-out Willow Creek bank to stabilize it.  They were bidding on the I-39 project which would start in April. Those of you who live around here are quite familar with I-39 repair work by now.

You'll recall in my February 17, 2010 blog there is a picture of Jim, representing William Charles Co with Dave standing on the Road-Between-the Ponds. (See above)

William Charles won the bid, and a subcontractor - "John" -  with G.M. Sipes Construction Company contacted me again in late March or early April. We met at Beemerville gate and I showed him all the places he could dump concrete. At that time, John asked me to get the proper permits from the Army Corp of Engineers, DNR and IEPA so he could dump concrete here.

I went right to work on it - even during my two-week vacation in Door County, Wisconsin. In fact, I spent a great deal of my vacation time on the phone and computer getting the permits. Marlyn Schafer at Army Corps of Engineers was fantastic to work with. He even rushed the permit AND contacted DNR and IEPA for me. I couldn't have asked for better service.

I immediately emailed John a copy of the permits that Mr. Schafer emailed me. Mr. Schafer also mailed me several extra copies for John's company and for IDOT. I was really excited when I returned from Door County because everything was working out so well.

According to John, the concrete was to be dumped starting on Monday April 26th. On that Monday I waited all day, and by Tuesday, still no dump trucks. I called John. He said the State of Illinois wasn't approving my site yet. He came out and took some more photos.

Weeks went by. I would call John, and he said he called the State of Illinois, but the State took it's time.

In May I contacted the man in Rochelle (Ron) who had originally provided my name to William Charles Co. and explained it wasn't working out.  Ron was surprised to hear that because finding places to dump concrete was getting harder and harder to find. Ron said he would give my name to other companies. And he did. Bless his heart.

Martin and Company out of Oregon, Illinois also came out to look at my property for a project they were going to undertake.

Meanwhile, we're now at the end of May and I visit my sister and family in Arizona. While at Linda's home, I receive a call on Wednesday May 26th from John saying my site was finally approved for dumping and he will begin dumping there Monday, May 31st! I am ecstatic!

Not two hours later I receive a call from Martin & Co. and they want to dump concrete on my Land, too. In fact that very Friday, May 28th! I explain I've been working with Sipes and Co, and feel  it would be unfair if I were not  loyal to Sipes (and William Charles). Therefore I turn Martin down.

Monday comes and I'm so ready for the concrete! Yes, finally, after numerous phone calls to John and to different agencies and gathering the proper permits, the concrete will be here!

Monday passes - and ... nothing. Again. By now I'm getting a little leery of taking John at his word. All along he was quite adament the concrete would be delievered and set on my Land, and each time nothing happened. I call him on Tuesday. Now he says that although Sipes and Co is a union compnay, they are using non-union workers to run the machinery to place the concrete on the other property where they are dumping - and were planning to do the same on my property. The union got wind of it and caused all kinds of havoc. I think he even said something like "shutting us down." Big problems.

Time goes by and I call and suggest he may want to use Derrek, the union earthmover I use (who is here now), and I hear nothing. Then I call again and John - who tells me he is also a sheriff deputy - states again  he will surely get some concrete dumped the very next day or in the next couple of days.

Dear Reader, if you're still with me, I bet you already know the outcome of his latest promise, don't you?

After days go by, I now have lost all faith in anything that John says. Which means I have lost faith in G.M. Sipes Construction Company and also William Charles Company, which he ultimately represents. And if he is truly an offiicer of the law, he has a fiduciary duty to be forthright. Yet all I'm getting is the run-around. And I have no idea why.

I don't even bother to call John again. In fact, I make up my mind not to speak with him again. Meanwhile I'm kicking myself for being so loyal to Sipes  and for not accepting Martin and Co's concrete.

And the rains comes.

And I lose more of my bank on Willow Creek next to my Beemerville Gate.

And then today happened. The series of events that brings us right back around again.

Today I buy a tractor from Dick Bettner. In conversation, I tell him I not only need concrete but I am in need of fill or dirt. Dick tells me of some dirt the Wyoming Township road commissioner dug up near him during a project. I talk with Fran and Floyd Sellers about moving the tractor to my land. Then I mosey into Paw Paw for some Casey's Cappacino. (It's so bad, it's good.) As I leave Casey's I start to go home. But wait. Something tells me this is a good time to stop in and see Alice Zeman - my friend for 37 years.

We chat a bit and I ask if Alice knows who the Wyoming Township Road Commisssioner is. She can't recall his name and suggests I talk with Sherry, the town clerk. Good idea. As I leave Alice's home and drive into Paw Paw, what should my wondering eyes see but a Wyoming Township dump truck going past me heading east on Chicago Road.

Dear, dear know what's coming next. All I can say is... my car is quite adoit at U'ies. I think to myself as I complete the U-turn in the middle of Paw Paw, "How big can Wyoming Township be? I'll just follow that truck."

Wyoming Township is pretty big. I followed that truck for miles and every time he turned, I turned. When he stopped on a narrow road by a bridge, I got out and said "Are you the road commissioner?"

"No...but he is," he said pointing to a man on a front-end loader doing work by the bridge.
I talked with the road commissioner who will probably use most of the dirt for other projects. But he gave me the name and number of MY Willow Creek Township road commissioner, Tim Larson, and just happened to mention, "Tim has been hauling huge semi loads of concrete from the I-39 project to Bill Otterbach in Mendota. Bill has been crushing the concrete into gravel."

I respond, "I was told some of that concrete was going to my property."

"Well, talk to Tim or Bill and maybe they will bring you some."

Long story short - yes, Tim is delivering the concrete to Bill Otterbach (over 100 semi loads) and he suggests I buy chunks of it from Otterbach.

 At this point, dear Reader, I was just feeling a little shocked and mostly amazed. The anger hadn't started yet. Generally I have a long, slow fuse...

Bill Otterbach returns my call and says he'll be out this afternoon (remember this is still long before noon today).

True to his word, Bill meets me at Beemerville Gate. He's very talkative about all kinds of things.  Bill says he will deliver huge chunks of concrete and set them in place for $500.

Now $500 for that amount of concrete, for trucking and the use of a tractor to push them in place is a heck of a deal. I know that. 

 But I ALSO know that this amount of concrete - and much more - was firmly stated by Sipes and Co (representing William Charles) to be dumped on my Land FOR FREE.

I thank Bill and explain I will contact Martin and Co to see whether they may need to dump any concrete in the near future. If not, I'll call Bill.

We part company.

And then ... the fuse started to burn.

The more I think about the chain of events, the angrier I become. It was after 5:30 this evening when I picked up the phone and left word at William Charles Co for the owner of the company to call me on Monday.

Dear Reader, you know how I love this Land, and you know how hard I work on it to keep it up.  So I really expect the people I work with on any project out here to be honest. I expect people to stand behind their word. And that's not what I've received from John of G. M. Sipes Construction Company (representing William Charles).

I'm not angry the concrete went to another place. Sipes has the right to do what they think is best. I understand that.

I would have understood if John had called me and said, "things are not working out" or "things have changed and we're going to take all the concrete to one place."

Yes, I would have understood that. But I was told repeatedly that  "The State approved your site and we are dumping on Monday..."  or "The concrete will be delivered on..." and after the "union" problem "I'll get some trucks in there..."

What I can't abide is someone or some company stringing me along. I can't abide someone not having the decency to call me after the fourth time the concrete doesn't show up, when I was told it would.

That's what I can't abide.

I'm upset about the way I have been treated. Pure and simple.

And the ironic thing is...I wouldn't have  known what "The Real Story" was had I not told Dick Bettner I needed some dirt for the Land, had I not changed my mind and visited Alice, had I not U-turned and followed a dump truck down a country road, had the Wyoming Township road commissioner not mentioned my very own road commissioner was hauling I-39 concrete to Mendota. One event after another led me to discover more about where "my" concrete went.  A series of events explained the-behind-the-scenes play-by-play of which I was not previously aware. That dump truck appearing just as I needed to find the road commissioner - such a coincidence! You know, the Chinese don't have a word for coincidence - "no sense of meaningless chance or random events" because they feel ALL coincidences are meaningful.

Today I feel the coincidences were meaningful. I was led (literally) to some of the answers I was  unconsciously asking.

I still don't know why all the concrete went right past my property to Mendota; I still don't know why the man representing Sipes Construction Company chose to tell me one thing while he continued to do another. It leaves me totally baffled. But the entire answer is out there somewhere, and somehow I think I will come to know it.

Your thoughts, dear Reader (in private) are most appreciated.

In the meantime, if you ever have any dealings with G. M. Sipes Construction Company or Williams Charles Company - think twice.

Good night dear Reader. This blog or journal is my way of talking to you and talking things out. Thanks for letting me vent. The anger has dissipated. I shall sleep well now.


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