When I got to the house, and it was becoming a house, first thing I did was ask, ”So after we lay the tile how long before we can walk on it.”
“At least five hours,” he said.
“How long will it take you to lay it?” I asked.
“No more that three hours,” he said.
“So we want to start about noon with the floor and leave it over night to set up?” I suggested.
“Yes Ma’am that would be good,” Tomas said.
“There is no need to put tile under the built in items so lets work on those till noon,” I suggested.
“Very good,” Tomas said. I could tell he was relived not to be digging the trench to the container.
I decided to build cabinets along the wall with the window. Then I wanted storage shelves on the wall across from the window. In my mind I had allotted four feet to the bathroom area, eight feet to the kitchen area, and twelve feet to the living room bed room area. The extra foot would be taken up by the thickness of the bathroom divider.
There were no real interior walls to build but I did want room dividers/shelving units in the bathroom area. I wanted twenty inch wide units on either side of the box. On the bathroom side it would be open with shelves, and have wallboard on the kitchen side. The shelves needed to be at least eight inches.
We already had the lumber, since we had bought it with the tile. Tomas built the two room divider storage units in place. I had most of the spaces between the shelves set at approx one foot. The very top shelves and the lowest shelves were two feet each. The units were the same on either side of the box. Tomas had to remove the screws from the wallboard joints in the bathroom wall to secure the dividers to them. He also secured them to the metal floor of the unit. He did an excellent job. He finished the building an hour before we were to start on the floor.
He could spend the hour on the center kitchen area and do a little, but I really couldn’t see the advantage in it. “Tomas, let’s break early for lunch. I need a break.” I said so he wouldn’t feel bad about it.
I also needed to decide how I wanted the kitchen cabinetry to look. I decided over lunch to make the cabinets under the window the work space and the ones on the other side my dining area. In order to get more walk space in the kitchen area I decide to make the counter top on the work station eighteen inches wide and the one on the dining counter twenty inches. I left the amount of wood and sizes up to Tomas. I would rather have had The Brit figure it out but I just knew what I wanted. I wanted closed cabinetry at the work station and open storage above the dining counter. Since we had to have everything out of the box to put down the floor I held off buying anymore materials.
After I finished my lunch I said to Tomas, “Well as soon as we finish the floor, we will call it a day.”
He was agreeable since I always paid him for a full day, whenever I called the day over. We had some lumber scraps and the door, which we slipped under the box. Her and I covered it with the plastic tarp. Then we laid the tile in a black and white checkerboard pattern. When we finished the place really looked like a house. Not a finished one, but it looked more like a house than a storage container.
I drove to my apartment and waited to see if The Brit would be home in time for dinner. When he didn’t show, I made a pot pie in the microwave. I emailed him, but he didn’t answer. I was beginning to worry, when I saw the headlight of a car pulled into the drive. It was him and he had several boxes. I went down to unlock the garage. The garage came with a small area where I was allowed to store my stuff. It was the area I stored the last of the shine, it was also pretty much full.
“God I am glad to see you,” it came out sounding like a lover. I was sorry instantly.
“I’m glad to see you too,” he said more casually. “So I have a few more boxes in the boot of the car.”
“I will have to find room for them upstairs. There is not enough room in the garage for it all.” I said.
“Not to worry love the old lady inside loves me. I can use the extra space where her old car is stored.” he said with a smile.
“That’s fine with me, I won’t be here much longer,” I said. “I could get the power turned on tomorrow and be in there if the sewage holding tank was set and the water line run.”
“We have only two more days this week so let’s get it all done,” he said with a grin.
“You want to get rid of me that bad,” I said.
“Well to be honest, Jeremy is coming tomorrow,” he said looking hard for my reaction.
There it was then. No matter how much I pretended, I was never going to be a man. It also explained why he hadn’t answered the phone. It wasn’t the kind of news your brother would drop on you over the phone. Oh well I supposed that not being able to pose as a man was a good thing. “Have you eaten?” I asked.
“I stopped on the way up,” he said.
“Well how about a spot of tea then,” I said trying to keep it light.
“Yes I could go for a cuppa,” he said. “Sylvia you did know it wouldn’t work between us?”
“Of course I knew. I might have been a little hopeful, but I always knew.” I said sadly. “Now let’s go make the coffee and tea big brother.”
That night I slept on the bed and he slept on the floor. I expect he didn’t want to be unfaithful, while he waited that one night.
I was up at five and out on the bike. I rode with a vengeance and covered more ground than usual on my two hour ride. I was in the tub when The Brit returned from his riun. He brought one of my two chairs from the kitchen. I knew it was bad when he spoke.
“Sylvia I need you to do me a favor.” he said.
“Don’t worry hon I won’t tell Jeremy you screwed me.” I wasn’t smiling when I said it, even though I tried.
“Thanks but that isn’t all I have to ask, you not to tell Jeremy. He has no idea what Swamp Dog does. He thinks I sell gym lockers,” The Brit said.
“Have you told him anything that is true,” I asked.
“Not really, We meet mostly in rustic bed and breakfasts when I can. I lived in the compound, so this is going to be difficult to explain to him.” he said.
“So what does this Jeremy do?” I asked.
“He is a commercial artist. He has a few clients, but he lived with his mum.” he explained.
“The two of you are going to live here,” I asked.
“For a while. We are going to try it out for a bit to see how it works.” he said.
“Well you know more about logistics than I do. So have at it, but I really need to get the house finished then.” I admitted.
“Yes and I can help you. What do you need most?” he asked.
“I think if I get the power turned on and that damn septic holding tank in and hooked up, and the water line run,I can live in it. The rest Tomas and I can finish while you do that,” I said.
“You will have the tank in today, after all they did promise by the end of the week, and it is the end of the week tomorrow,” he said.
“I really haven’t had time to check up on them. I didn’t realize I had to do it all by the end of work tomorrow.” I said.
“Don’t worry together you and I are pretty persuasive. Jeremy and I can help you finish up with it,” he promised.
I quickly threw on a camo tee shirt and green cargo pants. I drove to the plaza where I met with Tomas at the home depot. I paid them almost four hundred bucks for the rest of the lumber to finish all the cabinets and counter tops.
When I left the store I drove to the box. The man from the power company arrived while we were talking about the ‘eat on’ counter top to be attached on the wall. In order to get full use of the space the cabinets on that side had to be only tree feet tall, and hang from the ceiling. So Tomas built the frame for it and then I held it in place while he screwed it to the wall.
He was adding the shelves, when someone shouted in through the open end doors. “Hey I’m here to hook up your power. I’m going to put the meter in place and turn you on. Should,’t take but a few minutes,” he informed me.
“You going to have to set a pole,” I asked.
“No ma’am we are going to run it underground,” he said.
“Do you have a trenching machine?” I asked.
“Yes it buries the cable,” He said.
“I don’t suppose you would run a little extra trench for a hundred bucks,” I asked.
“I could lose my job, if anyone found out,” he said.
“You see that trench from the road,” I said. “I need it finished up to the side of the house, I’ll give you a hundred and fifty cash.” I said.
“I’m sorry ma’am, I just can’t.” he said.
I nodded and that was the end of it. I figured I would make the sewage tank installer the same offer and see what happened. If it didn’t work out, I would have Tomas finish it the next day.
Slightly before noon the trucks and heavy equipment arrived to put in the tank. They dug the hole, then installed the tank. They also ran ten feet of drain line to the box and hooked to the outlet of the toilet.
Then I made them the hundred dollar offer, to dig the last of the waterline. The had a the tiny shovel back hoe which was run by the operator walking being with a remote control box like a model airplane.
“Make it two, if I don’t share with Luke he will tell the boss.” the operator said.
I agreed just because I needed it done right away. It was agreed he would wait while we unrolled the water line then bury the most of it. The black plastic pipe had laid under the box since day one.
Tomas stopped what he was doing and hooked to the supply line at the street, then unrolled it up to The house. The trencher operator buried it and we were good to go. The inspector was called and promised to be out and check it all before we could cover the connections up. The contractor had covered the holding tank all but the trap and connection. He left us to cover that in after the inspection.
Tomas stayed till five finishing up the interior cabinetry. There was a lot of raw wood left but I planned to finish it myself, someday. The last thing was the sliding door at the front. The door was a security night mare but we installed it anyway. Tomas left me a small piece of trim cut to length to put in the track to secure the door while I was in the house. He left the outside door on the container so that I could close them over the sliding door and lock the box should I go out of town for an extended time.
I paid him a hundred dollar bonus just to make sure I had covered all his out of pocket expenses. His final act was to place a set of factory built concrete steps on at the new front door. We agreed that he would come back in a couple of weeks to build me a deck on the front.
Enough had been done for me to move in on the same day Jeremy arrived. I made no effort to be out of the apartment before he arrived. I planned to have him help move me the next day. We might not be sleeping together, but he was damn sure going to know that I had a claim on The Brit.