It’s been another six weeks since my last unusual encounter. The books continued streaming in, piled-up around the house in more stacks than I could possibly get through in one lifetime – only to stop as suddenly as they began. This evening, I’m late coming home from work; too many hours spent making very little progress on some research.
As I pull into the driveway, I’m tired enough to single-mindedly park, before fixing a sandwich and curling up on the couch with whatever movie is screening on TV.
The next morning I’m awoken by the chemical smell of paint and a rapid hammering. My alarm hasn’t gone off, but before I can start to establish the reason for this, I’m awoken by footsteps and the sound of crockery being moved around in the cupboard. I make my way to the kitchen, snatching up a particularly heavy novel on the way, and my heart sinks. Rattling through the cupboard, pulling stray dishes down, is Penelope, who whirls around to greet me.
Penelope: Good morning, dear. I hope we didn’t wake you – it’s Saturday, so I don’t think you work today – do you?
Me: No – no, I don’t, but why do you want to know, and why are you going through my cupboards?
Penelope: Oh, well, we decided this place needed a bit of tidying up. Andrew decided the place needed repainting, and I’ve patched up that old cupboard door that came off the hinge before.
Me: Why? Are you planning on selling soon?
Penelope: Not at all, in fact we’re thinking of buying again. It just seemed the right thing to do right now, a good way to spend a Saturday and make sure your living conditions are good. More than just comfortable, as I thought last time I was here. She casts an approving look at the new furniture, before studying the wallpaper with a frown. And that wallpaper needs to go, I think. It’s very plain, don’t you agree?
Me: Well, I’ve never really given it much thought. I don’t think much about wallpaper, do you?
Penelope: No, not all the time. Just on the occasional day when I’m renovating or thinking about renovating.
Me: I see… I need some air, please excuse me.
As I step outside, the paint smell gets stronger, and the first thing that catches my eye is the vivid red paint being painted around the windows; the second thing is the van unloading a roll of carpet. Andrew waves cheerily, but makes no move to remove the earphones from his ears. Worry comes over me for the first time since I heard the hammering.
It looks like this place will be renovated no matter what I think; so much for making myself at home here.