The plan was to do the place up and flip it but Mary knew that wasn't going to happen soon as she came home from work and found Reg sitting on the couch, tea towel wrapped around his fist. He'd started ripping out the old bathroom that morning. Got the ventilation grill half out before the chair slipped out from under him.
"For god's sake. There's a ladder in the shed."
"I didn't want to waste time."
He'd dripped blood right up the hallway and all over the kitchen floor. Hadn't bothered to clean it up, though the mess on the bench showed that he'd found the time to make lunch.
Mary squinted through the dried blood on his palm. "Did you clean it out at least?"
"Ran it under the tap."
"Could be infected. Could be tetanus."
"It'll be right. I just need a rest."
Flog off the first house, use that to jump up the ladder a little. Do that a couple more times and they'd be sweet. In a few years time she'd leave work, and they'd cash up. Early retirement in a place by the sea. Tauranga maybe, or Raglan.
Reg had plenty of excuses. Marty was going to come round and give him a hand, but he cancelled last minute. It was too damp. Too dry. Waiting for wood. He clipped things out of the Property Press, run down shacks in prosperous suburbs, bought for the land, knocked down and replaced with apartments. Wouldn't hear of getting professionals in.
Six months later Mary leaned on the ladder and looked up at the ventilation grill. Reg had broken the plastic clip and it now it didn't fit right.
She did her best.
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