The doorbell rings and Milie answers it. It is the landlady whom I had not previously met. As she comes in, Milie says “This is my sister;” the landlady indicates the woman with her, “And this is my mother.”
Her mother, who is a full head shorter, says, “and body guard.”
They go to the back where they’ve ripped out the back patio and cinder block wall. When Milie first saw the place it was literally a jungle back there, and over the summer we ripped out all the dead vines. The ladies inspect the new cement that was laid on Friday morning, that has cat prints in it from the stray cat that we call Frankenstein.
“Looks good,” she says and they leave.
There are a number of other topics we could bring up, like, “Could you come look at this hole that your man made in my wall to drop a phone wire down, that I fear will leak cold air in the winter, and the fact that he didn’t even run the wire behind the gutter on the roof? Our outlet by the sink still has no switch plate. And would your people come and move a washer into our basement if we broke down and bought one on the internet?” But we don’t.
I should be careful not to make my house sound crappy. In fact, it may be the fact that certain aspects of the remodeling are so nice, like the hardwood floors, that smaller things seem so much worse, like that they dripped paint on it.
After the door closes, Milie turns to me, says, “It is 9:30 at night on a Sunday, right?”
“Yes,” I say, “and she was wearing a blue velour track suit.”