The boys had been great with helping to get the roof swapped over for new tin. I’d done most of the sanding of the walls myself, mostly because it was one of those things I could do alone throughout the week after work. Sand the walls and ceilings and then wash them down.
Painting had been the easiest out of everything, especially when I used the roller. My wrists still hurt from cutting in along the edges with the brush. But it was easy and quick.
Third coat only if it absolutely needed it.
Kent and Andrew helped with the floating timber floor throughout the house. The only place it changed was in the bathroom where it was tiled and all of the amenities had been put into place.
That weekend of bedding up the toilet had been fun, not.
“And now, there’s just this kitchen.”
I was in debt. I was going insane. I was exhausted.
If I wasn’t at work earning the money to pay for materials on top of the mortgage, then I was obsessing over every other detail that needed to be taken care of, trawling the hardware shops for marked down items and making deals with the managers. I was on first name and cookie bases with most around town and the surrounding areas.
“What am I going to do after all of this?” my fingers fiddled with the screwdriver as I considered moving into the house. It was beautiful and spacious.
But it was my home.
It felt more like a building site I was working on.
“I had considered selling it and moving on, only a couple of months ago. That’s still an option.”
And then the issue was how much could I get for a property like this? Would I be able to cover my costs?
“$280,000 for the property. Plus, real estate fees and the interest the mortgage has charged. All of the materials and labour costs… it’ll be cutting it fine if I ask for $360,000. And that’s off the top of my head. But What’s the market like around here?”
“Lori?” Tony poked his head through the back door.
“Oh hey, what are you doing here?”
“Came by to help. Were you talking to yourself?” Like the smart person he was, my brother removed his shoes before entering.
“Yeah, just working things out.”
“You know, other girls your age are normally thinking about boys.”
“Tony, I’m not fifteen. I’m not a little girl anymore.”
“Right. Women are normally thinking about men.”
I shrugged. Can’t argue with that because I knew so many people from my year at high school who had all disappeared into relationships as soon as school finished. Some even had babies. And yet, here I was obsessing over a house. Go figure.
“What are we doing today?”
“Building the cabinets for the kitchen.” I climbed to my feet and pointed at everything with my screwdriver. “I was about to get started.”
“Brilliant. Let’s do this.”
As we moved around each other, holding this piece and that one, making sure the adjustable legs went on the base first, we fell into the old rhythm.
And then into the old conversations.
“What are you going to do after this?”
I shrugged. “I’m assuming you’re meaning after this house is finished.” The screw tightened.
“Well, I’ve been thinking about it for a while. I might sell this and buy another.”
My brother raised his eye brows.
“You’re doing that look.”
“This is my face.”
I snorted and moved the carcass over to the wall where it would roughly sit. “Do you think I should just move into this and continue living my quiet life?”
“It would be less stressful.”
Tony shrugged and picked up the door.
We moved onto the latches and getting the doors onto the cupboards before levelling it all up. But my mind was wandering back to the conversation. He was right, it would be less stressful and better for my check book if I didn’t go off and buy another house straight away.
I mean, where on earth was I going to get the money to go again? And so quickly?
It would bad enough the taxation office was going to think that this was my new business and charge me capital gains if I sold in under twelve months. That was a minus.
Fuck, it would be easier if I was like all of the other girls out there and just wanted a stable job, a house with things that weren’t falling apart, and then person to spend the rest of time with. That would be easier.
Instead of thinking ‘he’s cute’ I’m thinking ‘that’s a deal on flooring I can’t ignore’.
“Tony,” I lifted the level from the top of the cupboards, happy that we had done it. It was all level and in place.
“Would it be such a bad thing if I started doing the reno stuff professionally?”
He paused. “What money do you have to support yourself?”
I bit my lip.
“Were you planning on selling this property?” He changed the direction of his questioning.
“Yeah. If I could get high 3s then I can cove my costs.”
“Your best bet would be to buy a place that you can fix up quickly and then put a tenant into it.”
Why hadn’t I thought of that? Renting out a place would mean the house would slowly pay for itself over the long haul and I would have equity to borrow against.
A grin broke across my face.
“Though,” my brother added. “I wouldn’t be doing that to this place unless you think the market for a nice place is here in this town. This place is too nice to be used as a rental.”
“Thanks brother, that’s a nice thing to say.”
“Hang on there sister, I’m not finished. The market is shit for selling and this will sit. You’ve fucked yourself by sinking so much money into renovations, when if you had cleaned it up and made it comfortable then you could’ve rented it for a reasonable price.”