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Chapter Forty-nine
The House of the Righteous

"The house of the righteous shall stand."
~ Proverbs 12:7 ~

At the beginning of August, Charlie turned her attention to the task of remodeling Villa Rosa. Much of her time was now spent pouring over notes and ideas she had concerning the broken-down estate. Adam admired his wife's undaunted spirit, for he had seen the pictures of the desert ruins, and he certainly didn't envy her task. With Adam's full support, Charlie began making a list of things that would need to be done, and then called Thomas, her new brother-in-law, for his recommendation for a general contractor that would oversee the renovation of Villa Rosa. It was early one morning in August, that Shirley received the phone call from Charlie, asking to speak to Thomas.

"How's the honeymoon?" asked Thomas.

"I'm getting things ready to begin work on Villa Rosa," explained Charlie, "and was wondering if you could recommend a good general contractor."

"What material is this place of yours made of?" he inquired.

"Sandstone," replied Charlie.

"Well," he said, rubbing the back of his head thoughtfully, "Shirley tells me this place is old, so it will probably take some expertise that you won't necessarily get with someone who builds with your more traditional materials, like wood and brick. There are some good GCs [general contractors] in Southern California, but with a specialty project like this, they'd be subbing [subcontracting] out to people who have more experience with certain aspects that they're not as familiar with."

"There's no electricity," continued Charlie, "and the nearest town is Drywell, where the one building has to run off of a generator, so I'm thinking of the possibility of solar energy or maybe even wind power."

"Like a wind turbine," he mused thoughtfully. "I've always wanted to combine renewable energy with a home. What about water? Do you have water?"

"Villa Rosa has some old plumbing," she answered, "and there was someone who lived there for several years, so I'd imagine there has to be some kind of water source, even if it's completely broken down by now."

"Have you considered drilling your own well?" suggested Thomas. "Even if you could plumb back into the city's water, you'd make the place more self-sufficient if you had your own well. Of course, that's if there's an underground water source, in the first place."

"I've also been thinking of geothermal heating to heat and cool Villa Rosa," said Charlie.

"I've heard of that," said Thomas, intrigued by the suggestion.

"It's better for the environment, and cuts down on air pollution," she explained. "Adam also had an idea that I really like. The sandstone floors are so battered and cracked, that they'll probably have to be removed. Instead of more sandstone, we'd like to put down pipes under a concrete slab floor, and pump hot water through them to heat the place."

"Radiant heating," smiled Thomas. "It could be powered by the geothermal heat pump. I'm not sure how much money radiant heating would save in utility bills, but it would be more comfortable in the winter."

"The only thing I don't like about it," sighed Charlie, "is that the concrete floor won't match the pink hued sandstone walls, like the current floor does."

"That's no problem," said Thomas, "concrete can be dyed."

"Also," said Charlie, seeing that she was holding Thomas' interest, "I have a problem with the inner courtyard. I love it, but it has some downfalls. In order to move from one room to the next, you have to pass through the courtyard. When it's cold or really hot outside, you have to brave the temperatures just to get to the next room! Do you have any suggestions?"

continued on next page...
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