It was a very nice weekend, equal measures of hard work, and celebration too. We celebrated graduation with my sister Anna, and her husband Dave, and we have learned that when my sister excuses herself to use the ladies room, and takes a while to return, it does not mean that she has fallen in. It means that the sneaky woman is paying the bill. Thanks, you two.
After celebrating, Tim and I came home and donned work clothes, and went to the apartment to work. It's pretty much just finishing touches at this point. I scrubbed down the bathroom, and the carpets will be cleaned tomorrow.
When we got there, our building's sole tenant at this point was hard at work. Kelly had spent probably $100 of her own money and was potting flowers, and making a new flower bed in the back. A young man hovered. We assumed it was her boyfriend. He began to talk, and we began to worry. He was a friend of Vince's, he explained, a former tenant. He did not seem to have any idea at all that this was not good news in our book. So I looked at him and said, "Well, Vince was not a very nice person. We did a good turn for him, and he turned out to be a user, and dishonest." He assured us that Vince was doing well for himself now, a machinist for a plant in Ridgeway, far enough from here that we don't need to worry about him. But the young man talked on, in a sad sotto voice, and we saw, right away, that he had a lot in common with poor Vince, who we had taken as a tenant only because his story was so very sad. Turns out when someone has a hard luck story, sometimes, their hard luck is due to their own poor behavior. We learned that the hard way, and believe me, we won't get fooled again. (Cue music)
I headed into the house and got to work. When Tim came in, I said, "Gees. You don't suppose Kelly has picked up with the likes of that one, do you?" in a worried voice. Kelly is special to us, a classmate of Cara's, just recently diagnosed with cancer, so I feel a little like her mother, even if I'm not. Tim grinned. "Noooo! You don't worry about her. She's smarter than that."
Linda, our new tenant came, bringing her mother. They were both thrilled with the apartment, and the new laminate flooring we put down, the new paint, and new drapes. She signed the lease, and excitedly took possession of the keys.
Later we all hung out on the front porch. Kelly sat there eating pizza. We quizzed her about the boy, who had been still hanging about the house when Linda showed up. Kelly said, "I don't know him. He just was hanging around in front of the house, said he had not eaten for three days. So I cooked a pizza for him, because I felt bad." We all stared at her, aghast. Linda laughed. "It's like a stray cat. You start feeding them, they're yours." Tim said, "You should have seen the look on Kelly's face when he asked if he could rent an apartment in this building." And he pantomined a sad face with clasped hands mouthing "NOOOOOOOOOOOO!" as she stood behind the young man.
Everyone laughed again. I said, "Well, the next time you see him just hanging about the building like that, you are free to tell him that he's not welcome. You also need to keep the front door locked. He's a young man that makes me very uneasy. It sounds very heartless, but we have learned the hard way that you never rent to a person because you feel sorry for them."
Kelly munched on her pizza, nodding sagely. She said, "Yep. You wait until after you've signed the lease. THEN you find out you've got cancer." We all laughed once again, and I said, "Well played, Kelly, well played." She swallowed her pizza and said, "Thank you," taking a small bow. We all joked and laughed in the warm afternoon, comfortable in our front porch sitting. At one point, Tim said, "Well, if I can't find my wife, I know where she'll be hanging out."
We came home to cook supper for Buddy, Brianna and William. We sat in the driveway blowing bubbles for little William to chase, and the warm afternoon turned into a warm evening, and as the light faded, one by one, 36 solar lights came on along the driveway and around the foundation, creating a soft almost magical glow, and really, I felt like the luckiest person in the world, surrounded by the voices of some of the people I love best in the world.