Bill had filled the first skip and ordered in another, which concerned Kat. She wondered how much stuff Bill planned to get rid of.
While Bill was busy tinkering in the depths of the garage, Kat checked the contents of the skip and sure enough, she found something that breeched their agreement that he wouldn’t throw out anything of hers. She confronted him with the evidence.
“Why was this barometer in the skip?” she demanded to know. “You’ve betrayed me. This is a not yours to get rid of!”
“What do you mean? Uncle Wal gave it to me for my 21st. We haven’t used it in ages. I doubt it even still works.”
“This was in the front hallway of our first home together. I remember you tapping at it every time you walked in the door from work. It’s ours, not just yours.” Kat put it decisively on the dining table and said, “I want you to hang it on the wall near the front door. And you better not throw out anything more without asking me.”
Bill knew when to pick his battles and this moment was not it. He figured the barometer was better off on the wall than on the table. He took a hammer and picture hook, which since he’d cleared a path through the centre of the garage were now much easier to access, and he hung the barometer on the wall. Kat called that a success but kept a close eye on what went into the skip for the rest of the day.
She questioned Bill’s every decision. After much negotiating, she agreed to a further five items leaving the garage. Bill sighed and simmered.
Later that evening Bill called Kylie. “I need your help. I’ve got to get your mother out of the house for a few days. Can you please think of something?”
Kylie thought about it overnight and the next day called her mother. “Mum, I’ve been called into work some extra shifts, but I don’t have anyone who can look after Tiffany.”
“Oh, send her over here. She can stay a few days.”
“Where? Did you clear out the spare room? Besides, I’m not keen on her being in the house that nearly burned down last time we were there.”
“Well, you don’t have to be snippy about it. That could have happened to anyone. And no, we haven’t cleared the spare room yet.”
“Can you come here? We have a guest room and Tiffany would love to show you around our new place.”
Kat was torn. She’d love to see them again. Last time they’d shared so many memories and even made some new ones. But how could she leave now? Would it be safe?
“Ok, I’ll come. When do you need me?”
Bill’s plan was coming to fruition. There was one more thing that would make it even better. He called Violet.
The day Kat left for the countryside she felt hopeful, and so did Bill. As soon as she was out the door, he gave Violet the all-clear. When she arrived at the house, she was ready for action, with gloves, sensible shoes, garbage bags and boxes.
Violet was excited. “Bill, while you work in the garage, I’ll work in the kitchen. She’ll get such a surprise when she gets home.”
Bill was apprehensive but determined. A surprise was what he was worried about. But there was no turning back now.
True to her word, Violet went to work. She started with coffee mugs and crockery. She’d seen enough TV shows to know that anything broken should be tossed. It was bad Feng Shui. A box was quickly filled with chipped crockery and cups, and she felt great delight in emptying the box into the skip.
She found a drawer full of tea towels, clean, ironed and neatly folded. She couldn’t remember ever seeing Kat open that drawer or use any of those tea towels. However, she did uncover a pile of threadbare tea towels in another drawer, as well as a stash of new tea towels with tags still on in a shopping bag. She tossed the threadbare ones into the skip and delayed the decision about what to do with the new ones till later.
Decluttering the pantry was fun and satisfying. So many of the contents, especially the spices, were out of date. So out they all went. She felt so proud to empty the shelves and make room for items to go from the benchtops to the pantry. While she was at it, she arranged the spices in alphabetical order. “This is just the fresh start Kat needs”, she thought.
Now the benches were clear, Violet opened the cupboards to see what else needed culling. There were so many casserole dishes. She brought them out and laid them all out on the benches. “Oh Kat, what do you need all these for?” She chose the best one of each size and put them back into the cupboards. She put the rest into boxes. She’d donate them to the op shop on her way home.
Finally, Violet was happy. She stood back and admired her handiwork. She loaded up her car and waved goodbye to Bill. “You should take a video of her when she gets home. I want to see the look on her face.”
Bill thought he knew what look to expect. But at least he could make a cup of tea and breathe a sigh of relief in his own kitchen.
He’d had a productive day as well. So many of the old tools, inherited from his father, had rusted and it was time to say goodbye. He’d cleared a section of the workbench so he could finally have a place of his own to work on projects. Yes, it was a good result. There was just one more thing to do.
He called the skip company to come and take it away. He wasn’t going to risk Kat sorting through it.
On her way home from Kylie’s, Kat was thinking over all the news she’d tell Bill. All about the things she’d done with Tiffany. All the arts and crafts they’d done together. She’d have to buy some more of those glitter pens Tiffany liked, to have at her place when they visited. Kat smiled all the way home.
The first thing she noticed when she came into the driveway was there was no skip. But there was Bill with arms wide open to welcome her and help her with her bags. Wasn’t he a good man?
As they entered the front door, he gave the barometer a tap, tap, tap. The needle moved to “Stormy”.
“There’s something different here”, thought Kat, but couldn’t put her finger on it. She went first to her bedroom, kicked off her shoes and put the luggage onto the bed. She’d unpack later.
Bill called from the kitchen. “Do you want a cup of tea, Love?” His voice seemed to echo but Kat accepted his invitation and went to join him.
She stood at the kitchen door and stared. Bill was holding his phone up recording the look on her face. It wasn’t good. She wasn’t grateful. She was horrified.
“How could you? You promised!”
“This wasn’t me. It was Violet.”
“That’s worse! How could the two of you have betrayed me like this?”
Kat wanted to run from the house and her feelings, but she didn’t dare. Who knows what else they were capable of?
Catch up on all the past Adventures of Kat here…