When Ken opened the door, he was surprised to see two familiar faces.
“Hi,” said Sowbug. “We just got laid off. Trollwork is having a slow season.”
“Hey,” said Ken. “Come in, come in. Let me see if I can find you someone you can talk with. I’m kind of busy at the moment.”
Ken found Nancy who was busy baking but figured she could take a few minutes to talk with the Trollworks folks.
“No work, huh?” she asked.
“Yeah,” said Dandelion. “Do you need folks for your commune?”
“We remembered how awesome this place was,” said Sowbug. “We were hoping you needed workers.”
“You’re good at construction, right?”
“The best,” said Sowbug.
“Okay,” Nancy said. “Let me get Sal and Dan.”
Sal and Dan were in the back building listing construction projects still to do.
“I don’t know how we’re going to get to all of these,” Dan was saying when Nancy walked in.
“Oh, good,” Nancy said. “I may have a solution for you.”
“So,” Sal said to Dandelion and Sowbug. “Is this just something you want to do while things are slow or are you interested in living here indefinitely?”
“The Troll is a nice guy to work for but work is sporadic and it usually means moving from place to place.” Dandelion looked right at Sal. “We’re ready to settle down.”
“Yeah,” said Sowbug. “We want steady work, we want to be with folks we like, and we want community. I think this is the place.”
“How about if the work is renovations rather than building new stuff?” Dan asked.
“Fine with me,” Sowbug said.
“Yeah,” said Dandelion. “It’s interesting putting up new buildings but I’d be interested in work on rehabbing old ones for a change.”
“Well, you see this nice new house you folks helped build,” Dan said. “It makes us more aware of all the problems with the other, older buildings.”
“Oh, yeah,” Sal said. “We got lots of work that needs to be done on them. But when that’s all done, we have ideas for making yet another building. We’re still growing in terms of people and it’s going to get cramped here sooner or later. We’d rather have the room to grow.”
“Are you willing to live in a tent for the summer and then move into the new house you’ll have helped build when the weather gets colder?” asked Dan.
“That would be fine,” said Sowbug.
“Yeah,” Dandelion said. “No problem.”
“Okay,” Sal said. “Let’s go talk to the community. I think we have a couple of new community members.”
The next morning, Sal and Dan and Sowbug and Dandelion did a tour of the commune.
“So,” Sal said, “I’m sure you know Groovy House top to bottom, but this is what we call the Side House. I think it was an old barn that got converted into a house before Luna bought the place.”
“Yeah,” said Sowbug. “It looks like a barn to house conversion. But it seems to be structurally sound.”
“True,” said Dan. “But check out the paneling over here.”
“Looks to me like you should rip it out and start over,” Dandelion suggested.
“That’s what we want to do,” Sal said. “But it’s a lot for Dan and me to do--especially when we need to keep a half an eye on the produce stand and help out there now and then.”
“And look at this door,” Dan said.
“Needs to be rehung,” said Dandelion.
“The whole place could use a good coat of paint as well,” Sowbug said.
“You noticed,” said Sal. “Ken and Marge and the house crew would be willing to do some of it but they’re a bit stretched as well. Are you folks willing to paint?”
“No problem,” said Sowbug. “But I think some of this other stuff needs to come first.”
“Absolutely,” said Dan.
“There’s also a broken stair here and there that needs to be fixed,” Sal pointed out.
“I get it,” Dandelion said. “That goes on the list.”
They walked out of the Side House and into the commune’s third building.
“We call this the Back House,” Sal said. “It’s got its share of problems as well.”
They spent fifteen minutes going over the problems of the Back House.
When they walked out the back door of the Back House, Dan pointed to a space just in front of the field.
“This is where we’ve been thinking that another house could go,” he said. “Do either of you have any thoughts about this?”
“Well I know that we’ve got a bunch of time to figure this one out,” Sowbug said. “First of all, we’ve got to get through all the problems in the Side House and Back House before we can even start thinking about building a new place. I’m figuring it will be August at least before we’ll get a chance really to do anything about.”
“And by then we’ll have lived here for several months,” Dandelion added, “and we’ll have a much better understanding of what the commune wants and needs.”
“Okay, okay,” Sal said. “It’s obvious you folks have been doing this for a while. Welcome to the construction crew.”