Note; always check with the Australian Standard and your local council before starting any building projects. Lady of the House is a work of fiction and shouldn't be used for advice.
“What?” Kent raised his head from the steaming bowl of spag bowl.
“The frame. It doesn’t look right.”
I frowned at him. “What do you mean ‘it’s fine’?”
He shrugged. “It means what it means.”
Then I realised what it was that was missing and should’ve gone on before the frame had been lifted and put into place. “Bracing.”
“There isn’t a steel cross in the middle, that’s why it looks wrong.” The first little bit of stress eased and then the next wave crashed into me. “How are we going to put it on while they’re standing?”
“It isn’t needed.” Kent shoved a forkful into his gob. “Not for a tiny internal wall.”
“Bullshit. All walls need it to strengthen and keep them straight. I’m sure there is a national standard.” I drummed my fingers against the kitchen table. “Where’s the computer, I’ll look it up.”
“Lori,” Kent called out as I rushed to my room. “Come back here and eat your dinner. The internal frames are fine, they don’t have to have bracing, it’s only external frames.”
Computer in hand, I came back and sat at the table. Determined, I strike at the keys with deadly accuracy and speed.
“Lori.” He repeated.
“Yeah, yeah. But I want to know if I’m right or wrong.”
Sighing heavily, Kent went back to his food.
Minutes passed. “A-ha!” I read the title to the page and felt relieved that I had found it easily. “Let’s see.” Under my breath I murmured what I was reading. “Only has to be on…”
That last sentence caught Kent’s attention and he raised his head again. “Yes?”
He rolled his eyes. “Standard says external walls, Lori. What more can you want?”
“On the internals also so I know the house is really solid.”
“Jesus, me and Andrew are doing the work. Don’t you trust us?” He dared me with his stare.
“I trust you, but it wasn’t going to be how I was going to do it originally.”
At that point in time, all of the plaster other than on the internal of the bathroom and our two bedrooms, had been stripped off and piled in the shed out of the weather. When we had a decent pile of rubbish I would get Shane’s ute and do runs back and forth to the tip, until then it had to wait.
“You forgot that it had to be done,” he countered.
“That doesn’t matter. I just know that I was going to make it really solid on the internals because the roof was going to have to span further and that meant putting in extra beams…” I fiddled with the fork.
“The frames are strong enough, don’t worry. And the space here is amazing. It was a great idea to do an open plan living.”
He was right. The space that was now open with the walls separating the lounge, dining, and kitchen gone, and the hallway wall also removed, leaving only the internal bedroom wall to support the roof, it was pretty awesome. Once the laundry was moved and the kitchen extended into its space, this would all be top notched.
It was however, costing a small fortune with materials.
Andrew and Kent weren’t getting paid. In all honestly, I wanted to give them everything they needed to live comfortably in the house, but I couldn’t afford it. That night we were eating the leftovers that mum had dropped off, and my lunch was going to be the other container of it in the fridge.
The one saving grace, I was doing all of the renovations on money that I had in the hand. No credit card or adding to my mortgage. Nope, half of what I made went to the mortgage and the other half was divided between bills, food, and building supplies.
I may have over spent on the materials that week and so wasn’t going to be able to shop for anything but what was marked down to be cleared.
“You spaced out. Are you alright?” Kent waved his hand in front of my face.
I smacked it out of the way. “I’m just thinking. The finances are looking very tight this week.” I noticed that he had finished his bowl and was moving it to the sink. “How long did I space out?”
“A little while. I thought the finances were alright,” he said over his shoulder.
“Sort of. I’m trying to do all of this without adding to my loan or getting a credit card. So all of this, on top of the mortgage and the bills, doesn’t leave much to feed three adults and two kids. Jenny already chucked a tantrum because I bought the cheap chips for her to eat at school.” My head slumped forward until my forehead rested on the table. “And I owe you and Andrew so much for doing this work.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
“I do. I hated it when I had to dispute my pittance of a pay when I was babysitting back in high school. It’s horrible when people don’t appreciate the work.” Lifting my head, I added. “And I really appreciate you and Andrew. Working for board and food isn’t enough, you should be getting more than that.”
“Lori, it’s fine right now. Andrew isn’t poor and I don’t want to move out yet.”
“But that’s just it, your financial situations shouldn’t come into it. You’ve done the work and need to get paid.” I interrupted.
“Listen carefully before you butt in again. I am saying that this arrangement is fine now for everyone, but we will get paid in the end. We’ll figure something out, even if it’s a payment when the house is sold.”
I blinked. He’d really thought about this. “You know what you want.”
“Yep. Me and Andrew have worked it out and we’re fine with things at the moment. Why? Is there a problem for you?”
“Well… I wasn’t really planning on flipping this house in the near future.” I watched as he began to realise where this was going. His eyes went wide. “Yeah,” I continued. “I think we need to come up with a better plan.”