With A Few Repairs

The Ragtag daily prompt this morning was VACANT
And the Word of the Day challenge was OCEAN

Here’s my response:

With A Few Repairs

“Now this second property, as I said, is more in the price range you’re looking at. At least, I’m pretty sure if you make the owner an offer, he’ll seriously consider it. I assure you it’s structurally sound, but it has been vacant for a few years and needs a little work to bring it up to par.”

house-3039127_640

The salesman waited for the young couple to recover from their initial impression before launching into his sales pitch. “I’m sure you’re thinking it looks a little run down, but the repairs needed are simply cosmetic, replacing windows, flooring, wallpaper, and so forth. The beams are in good shape, floors are level, doors and windows all hang straight.”

He pointed up. “The roof has no major leaks and shouldn’t need replacing for a few years yet. As you can see, the outdoors needs serious work done, but I can see you’re an ambitious young couple; you’ll soon have things under control. Considering the size of this property, in time you could have a lovely flower garden surrounding the house: roses, hedges, fruit trees, flower beds. Can’t you just picture it? For, say, $300 grand?”

He glanced at the young couple to see if they were buying the dream. Their mouths had dropped open and their eyes were glazed. He’d better try another angle. “There’s one more really great feature of this property: you’ll get an amazing view of the ocean within walking distance. See the trail that goes over that hill.” He pointed toward it. “Just a kilometer farther along it ends beside a little bay. I can assure you that the view is spectacular, especially at sunset.”

“Is there a dock,” the wife asked. “Could we keep a boat there for our use?”

“Err… well… I imagine you could, though you might have to be careful launching it. There are a few rocks in the bay.”

Sunset.bay

The young couple wandered over to the house and he gave them a few minutes to consider it. “So what do you think? Does this look like a project you’d enjoy?” He tried to keep his tone neutral. “As I said, it is in your price range. Or shall we look at the third property that’s a possibility?”

The couple exchanged a silent look and the husband finally spoke. “Perhaps we should check into how much money we’ll can afford to spend on repairs before make an offer. We, uh, weren’t expecting real estate to, uh, involve quite so much work. Our jobs, you know. How much time can we spare?”

“Well, everything costs money these days. The more you can do yourselves, the more you save, but you can have a contractor take a look and give you an idea.”

“Yes.” The wife sounded relieved. “Excellent idea! We’ll definitely think about all this.”

The realtor sighed as the couple walked back to his car. He could read them like a billboard: no way were they buying this place. Like everybody else, they wanted a fully-finished property for the price of a fixer. Just as well they didn’t see the bay.

He glanced back at the house one last time. Would he ever find anyone who’d take this derelict off his great-uncle Norman’s hands?

A Scrooge-Like Compassion

Today’s Ragtag Prompt word is CHARITABLE

There are many people who’s hearts are touched by compassion, who are kind and willing to share when they see a need, and I’m thankful for them all. Unfortunately this trait rarely extends to the animal kingdom. Their policy tends to be, “Me and mine and that’s IT!”

Our poor Angus is nursing a gash on his left cheek because another cat dared to come over and sit on our step — and needed to be taught that such liberties aren’t allowed. Over the past few years he’s had various abscesses that needed doctoring and has notches on one ear — all of which came about during another “physical removal operation.”

I’ve had opportunity in the past to see Angus display the charity of Ebeneezer Scrooge. That crotchety character, when asked for a donation for folks who needed food and shelter during the winter, suggested the poor house. When told that some folks would rather die than spend their days in the poor house, Scrooge mercilessly replied, “If they’re going to die, then let them get on with it. There’ll be less needy people.”

Angus has a nice warm house to live in and lots of food, but he isn’t at all sympathetic to another cat who’d wish for the same. He has come to accept Pookie, who wandered in about five years ago, but should he lay eyes on another cat anywhere near our house now, he communicates his message loud and clear: “What’s here is all ours but YOU, wretch, are not getting ANYTHING. Now beat it!”

Here’s a little poem I wrote once about the subject.

Border Confrontations

Two tomcats meet on my fence;
in a fanfaronade of frizzled fur
they dispute who owns this particular
property. Tails lash, eyes flash fire
as they hash it out – militants
defending self-defined borders,
crouched to spring or flee.
After prolonged discussion one
bows to superior yowl power,
cedes territory grudgingly.
You silly cats! I own this place.
But neither one asks my opinion.

😦

From my book, Silver Morning Song

A Bit of Ruckus

Ragtag Daily Prompt word: EXCITEMENT

Cat & Mouse quote.pexels.jpg

When I saw the above image at Pixabay it took me back to a time when we lived in an old two-storey farm house and had several cats in residence. Having pets in the house does give some excitement now and then, like the morning our black sort-of-Siamese Angus came in from outside, walked into the office, and set a dead gopher right beside my chair. “See what I’ve brought you for breakfast!”

Anyway, back to the farmhouse. My husband was working so I was alone and still asleep. Somewhere about the first light of dawn a strange noise made itself heard through my dream. Half-asleep, I got the impression of someone running down the hall, or maybe heavy footsteps on the stairs. Or was it someone knocking on the bedroom door? But who? Why?

There’d be this thump, thump, thump, followed by a pause, then another thump thump thump thump. I opened an eye, expecting to see someone come running into the room. I held my breath, listening. Thump thump thump…pause…thump thump. I summoned all my courage, sat up and flicked on the light.

Glowing eyes peered up at me from the floor. Our cat, with a mouse tail under its paw. Mouse made a mad dash for freedom and…thump thump thump. The carpet was a type of indoor-outdoor, not firmly attached, so each time the cat pounced its claws went into the fiber… and when he pulled them out again, there’d be this “thump.” So he’d thump thump thump around on the floor, then pause to verify where the mouse was.

Wide awake now, I envisioned the mouse making it to the covers and climbing into bed with me. So I headed for the bedroom door on tiptoes, careful to avoid both parties in this conflict, and left them to it.

Nothing like starting the day off with a mysterious noise and a mouse running around the room.

Constable About

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was MICROCOSM

This is a word I’ve never really understood and never used—I find it hard enough to spell — but I dutifully checked it and came up with “a miniature representation” of a greater thing, “a little world” unto itself that typifies a greater society, or  “a community or other unity that is an epitome of a larger one.” (The last being from Merriam-Webster.)

I suppose you could say that “Amazon authors are a microcosm of writers the world over.” And I hope I’m using it rightly in the following example.

I’ve started reading another of Nicholas Rhea’s “Constable” books. I read this delightful series twenty years ago, when Bob’s mom lived with us. I borrowed them for her, along with the Miss Read books, from the local library. Simple fiction stories divided into cases or incidents, replete with amusing, mild and friendly characters, though some are a trial to the poor constable and his colleagues.

The Yorkshire village where Constable Nick Rhea lived and worked was a microcosm of village life in counties all across England in the 40s and 50s. There are a number of books in this series, which, I understand, was made into a British TV series in the 60s:
Constable Goes to Market
Constable on the Prowl
Constable Over the Style
Constable Versus Greengrass (An amiable “opportunist”, poacher & general layabout)
Constable at the Dam
Constable Under the Gooseberry Bush
And more

Prize-winning gooseberry bushes that must be protected feature first in the Constable in the Dale book I’m reading now. This is followed by the vicar’s successful, if sometimes embarrassing, porker-producing enterprise starring the lovely “White Lily.”

If you like a touch of rural England that’s both nostalgic and a great picture of human nature, do check out these books. I’m delighted to discover that the e-book versions are all free on Kindle Unlimited.

The Travels of Two Fleas

Ragtag Daily Prompt for today is PONDER
Word of the Day challenge is ZERO
Daily Addictions prompt word: TROPICAL

And here’s my response, a just-for-fun tale…

THE TRAVELS OF TWO FLEAS

Two fleas went hopping on a mat,
having disembarked the cat
to have a moment out-of-fur
and once escape that thunderous purr.

Their tropical resort gets hot,
with itchy dandruff and whatnot;
sometimes they hunger for fresh air,
to see the world outside that hair,
so they opt for a walkabout.
The mat gives them a good workout.

Some minutes pass; their wandering zeal
is quenched by urge to have a meal
and so they seek their host again —
but puss has moved along by then
which leaves them with an unfilled yen.

And worse! The housekeeper now sees,
has zero tolerance for fleas,
so scoops the mat up from the floor
and shakes it harshly out the door.
They tumble off into the grass
and land together in a mass.

They sort themselves and find some shade
behind the thickest grassy blade
to soothe their bruised elbows and knees
and ponder life’s uncertainties.
So now two fleas hide in the grass
in hopes that some new host will pass.