“Soon is a relative term, Mr. Campos. Can you give me a firm date?” I asked as we stepped over, around and through construction, looking at the week’s progress, which actually was considerable. Workmen were present this Saturday, setting tile in the master bath, finishing cabinet installation in the expanded kitchen and pantry, and installing pot lights high up in the newly vaulted ceilings in the living and dining areas. Last week they had finished laying tile in the kitchen. I had seriously wanted to keep the old linoleum, but Campos had shown me several patches beyond repair and warned of the dangers of asbestos. I’d relented and picked out a durable tile to match the cabinets he was installing.
“What? No, it’s not. What yellow tabby cat?”
“I think she’s lying on the back deck right now. Been here almost every day ... just makes herself at home. Real friendly gato.”
“That’ll work. Thanks,” I said, relieved somewhat. An original estimate by the architect of six weeks’ work had been stretched to eight by the contractor, and I was eager to get settled in my new house. And was excited that afternoon because Colin was coming to see it for the first time. I was hoping he would approve. Then I asked myself what would happen if he didn’t. “Nothing,” was my answer ... I loved it, and that was all that mattered. Nevertheless, it would be interesting to see what he thought.
“Uh, why no. Doug recommended him.”
“Doug? The guy you were with at La Diosa?”
“Yes, Sharon’s guy. Remember?” Why did it bother me he thought I was with another man?
“Oh, Sharon’s Doug. Yeah, I remember.” Turning back to Campos, he said, “So show me around, mi amigo. What damage have to done to this beautiful old house?”
I’m coming, I said to herself. After all, it is my house.
“Yes,” I said laughing, “I did know. But I’m turning it into a home, not an investment property.”
Surprised, I put my hands on his upper arms, leaned back and looked up at him skeptically. He bent down and kissed my forehead lightly, released me suddenly and said, “I’m starved! What’s for dinner?”
A solid knock on the front door cut me off. Colin went to the door, opened it wide and grinned. Josh stood there, a huge McAllister’s restaurant bag in one hand, two giant drinks in the other.
“Well, bring it here, Mrs. Grant, don’t just stand there. I’m hungry, remember?”
“Why? There’s lots of windows open. She’ll probably leave in a few minutes ... just curious about the renovations, I’m sure. You sure she’s not yours?
“Of course I’m ... Let’s eat, Murphy.”
“What type of things do you build or design?”
“Design and then build. Mainly furniture. Cabinets, desks, benches, things like that. I like detailed work but in a finished product that looks simple, like the wood was always meant to be that way. Like Campos did on those kitchen cabinets of yours. That’s real quality there, you know. You’re lucky to have him on the job. It’ll really pay off for you in the long run ... great investment.”
“Home, Murphy. Home. And I like quality. Do you hire out? Do commissions, I mean?”
“Only for special people,” he said smiling at her. “What’d you have in mind?”
“Oh, nothing, yet. I haven’t enough furniture to fill this place, just some mattresses and box springs in storage, so I don’t know what I need or want. But maybe we can talk about it after I’ve moved in ... hopefully in mid-August.”
“Yes. August 15th at the latest.”
“His word’s good as gold, so August 15th it is. I know some Saddle Tramps who’d love to earn a little cash by helping you move in. You have some furniture in storage you said?”
“Makes sense. What’s it called now?”
“Tech Terrace Park.”
“Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Isn’t that the name of the neighborhood?”
“It is, but it’s still Flint Park, to me.”
“Yes, especially if you bring cookies,” I told him playfully. After he left, I closed all the windows because of the nosy cat and locked the doors because of the construction equipment inside. Then climbed into my Volvo and headed for the Nest, grinning like a schoolgirl who’d just been asked to the prom. Of course he could see me next week ... with or without cookies ... and the next and the next.