We lived frugally in our first months on the coast. We bought materials and tools and set out to finish the house on our own. We were in deep debt and we needed to stop the hemorrhage. I drove to the hardware store, and then the woodshop. I bought screws and nails, hooks and wood. I measured the bare closets and borrowed a power saw and cut boards to fit. I became an expert at drill bits. You can figure out which is for wood and which is for cement when you’re getting nowhere with the hole even as sweat pours from your forehead. Or if smoke starts emerging from the hole. It happened. Several times.
We kept going. We swept and mopped. We moved boxes and crates from one end of the house to the other, making way for the furniture we’d moved in from Buenos Aires. We put a mattress on the floor for us. No bed yet.
And we put a couple of old beach chairs on the patio, still only a carpet of rough cement. It made a great view, tough. Pine trees dotted our land and beyond, and there were so few people around. We were living in a forest only a short walk from the beach. We opened a bottle of beer and put on some Bob Marley and started to chill out and watch the two kids and the dog run wild in the forest and in the sand that surrounded the house.
“Hey, watch this,” my eldest daughter shouted to us.
She jumped and disappeared.
Then she crawled out and did it again.
There were five big holes on our lot that the workmen had dug for extra sand to build the house even though we’d bought enough to fill Santa Monica Bay.
Each hole must have been six feet deep.
Six feet deep, I thought.
It gave me an idea on how to get even with the tosspot foreman who’d pilfered his way to riches with our project.
My face brightened.