I sat at the end of the table, and they sat across from each other. “We checked the prices of wood for the roof. We figured it would be best to remove the shingles and replace any rotten wood. The roof beams look good, so we don’t have to replace any of those. We included plywood to place on the roof joints and then roofing tiles. This is the price for the materials.”
I checked it over, and it included nails and roofing nails. I didn’t know the difference, and Brad explained the difference. I had no basis to doubt the cost of the materials.
Tom explained that the labor cost would be 50 percent of the material cost. This was out of my league, and I didn’t know if that was fair or not. I’ll have to check with Dad.
I looked at these boys, they were holding their breath, okay not really, but they didn’t know if I would say yes or no.
“Okay, but you need to order the material, have it sent here along with the invoice. I’ll pay the invoice.”
You would have thought that they had just won the lottery. I walked them to the door, they stopped. They were going to hug me, at the last moment, they offered their hands for a handshake.
Four days later, a truck arrived with lumber and roofing tile. I checked the invoice, gave the man a check to cover the invoice. Now I had everything in front of the garage. It had to be moved to the site. I shouldn’t have worried, that evening Brad and Tom showed up. I gave them the invoice, checked it, and started to move the wood and shingles to the barn. I started dinner. I had guests for dinner, so I wanted to make it special. I brought up several strings of sausages. I was going to make sausages with green peppers.
The boys did a good job. By the time dinner was ready, they were finished. I showed them to one of the bedrooms so that they could wash up.
“Tony, how many bedrooms are there?”
“Not counting the master bedroom, there are four on the second floor and one in the attic.”
Now the question I somehow felt would be coming. “Would you consider renting one of those bedrooms?”
“No, but if you’re interested, I have something I think would be more suited for you two. After dinner, I’ll show you.”
I watched the boys eat. Mom would be in heaven. Nothing pleased her more than hearty appetites and people eating her food.
After dinner, the boys did the dishes again. “Get yourselves a cup of coffee and follow me.”
I headed to the garage and the apartment. I watched their faces as we walked into the apartment. They just looked around. “Brad look, a wood stove like Grandma has. When was this last used?”
“Sometime in the middle of 1800s, my grandfather had a maid that lived here. She died two years before he died. The furniture is the original and, as you see, very old.”
Walking into the bedroom, “The bed will be replaced. The dresser is still good, and it’s made from oak, the same with the nightstand. There is electricity, but that needs to be upgraded. There’s no bathroom; in the old days, they used a chamber pot. I don’t know how far we are from the sewer line. I’ll have to check the drawings. The living room furniture needs to be replaced except for the tables. The kitchen needs a refrigerator. You already know about the stove. So what do you think?”
“You would let us live here?”
“Yes, but you would have to earn your keep. You would need to take care of the horses and do odd jobs around the property.”
“Can we think about it?”
Back at the house, I showed the boys where the washer and dryer are. That was the first time they were in the cellars. I showed them the area where we cured the meat for making salami and sausage.
“We never made that on the farm, but we did have a smokehouse. Most of our meat from butchering was smoked.”
“I think every Italian I know makes salamis and sausages. It’s almost a tradition like making wine.”
“Are you going to remove that wood stove as well?”
“I think I’ll see about getting a gas stove. I need to check the layout of the gas line. If that doesn’t work, then I’ll buy an electric range.” I made a mental note to hire an electrician to take a look at the electrical system for the apartment.
“What are you going to do with that wood stove?”
“I’m not sure. I don’t think anyone would want it. Wood stoves are not in fashion.”
“You could use it to heat the barn in the winter.”
“That’s an idea. With the horses in there on cold nights, their blankets might not be enough.”
The boys left, holding hands. Now I needed to make a list for the garage apartment. Updating the electricity, figuring out how to install a bathroom, buying a refrigerator and an electric stove, a new bed and mattress, and a new sofa and chair. I’m glad I have that money in the safe. I think I’m going to need it.