The next day, after the men were all assigned their work for the day and after I had discussed the project with Bill, I drove over to see Mrs Black. She had a nice ranch house probably close to 3000 ft on split levels. There was a nice fenced in well-kept garden that she liked to attend to herself that surrounded the house. Further out was a horsebarn with enough room for four horses with a hay loft and tack room adjoining it. The acreage was divided into two lots so that she could switch the horses from pasture to pasture. She had two horses of her own and boarded a couple for some friends.
I found her in the horse barn mucking out the stalls. “Now that looks like interesting work” I said as I walked up. She paused in what she was doing and said, “Good morning to you. Well it is actually. It is a simple job and gives me time to think. It’s not hard work and sort of brings me closer to nature”. I looked at her. She had on tight blue jeans and riding boots and a shirt that was open at the neck and she looked every part of a horse wrangler. All that was missing was the cowboy hat and I’m pretty sure she could produce one of those if I asked. ” I get “the closer to Nature bit” when I look at what you are shovelling”. She laughed. She had this real pleasant laugh of a women very confident in her own abilities and looks. “Give me a couple of minutes and we can go in the house and talk business”. I was no stranger to mucking out stables so I grabbed a shovel and started to load the wheelbarrow. She never said anything except to thank me for helping. I figured it was the least I could do.
Back in the house, she made coffee and we sat in the kitchen and discussed her project. “I want to replace all of the cabinets with new ones and then put in new granite counter tops along with a new sink. The cabinets should all be fitted out with roll out drawers. we need to replace the dishwasher at the same time” she said We were in the right spot as that is where the work was going to be. I had brought along samples of cabinet door finishes along with the counter top samples and we discussed her remodelling project. We had planned on buying the bases and uppers pre-made and then my cabinet-maker, Glen would make the doors to match her design. She thought this was a good idea and had suggestions as we discussed the design of the project. The bathroom project was relatively simple and she said she would buy the sink and shower unit herself and we could install them. That was fine by me.
We finished discussing the project and as luck would have it, she was more than willing for us to do it during the winter months. We sat there and talked and she told me a bit about herself. She originated from Albany and had moved here after she and her late husband had married. They did not have any kids and had only been married for a couple of years when he met his untimely death as the result of a tractor-trailer sliding on the ice and colliding with his car. He had hung on for a few days and then passed away. This was several years ago and I asked her why she had not remarried. I guess that I was pushing my luck a bit when I asked but she was very easy to talk to and didn’t seem to mind the question. “Oh, I don’t know. Probably because I haven’t met the right person yet who was not interested in my money” she said. I stood up to take my leave. “Thank you for stopping by. Draw up the contract and I will sign it for you” she said. “We can arrange when you can do the work later on after we see how bad this winter is going to be. I have been thinking of another project so maybe we can discuss this one later on”. I thanked her and jumped in my car reflecting on Mrs Black as I drove. Not on the project but on her. I found her to be an attractive and interesting lady.
My thoughts turned to my own marriage to Jody. We had been married about ten years and had been unable to have children. A bout with uterine cancer had left my wife where she could not have kids. She had been cancer free for several years and felt pretty confidant that she had beaten it. We had discussed adoption but both of us had our reservations. In retrospect, that was probably more to do with the strength of our marriage more than adopting a kid. Even though we had never actually said as much, we both knew that our marriage was on shaky ground and was beginning to lose its sparkle. I sighed as I drove back into town and told myself to stop thinking about it and to live life as it came.
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