Chapter 325 – Renovating the Small Courtyard
With the passbook in hand, the next day, Jiang Junmo went to ask Grandpa Dong for help. He wanted Grandpa Dong to introduce someone who could renovate the courtyard.
Grandpa Dong readily agreed to help and quickly found someone for them.
Then, Lu Xia and Jiang Junmo explained to the person how they wanted the renovation to be done.
However, because Lu Xia wanted to preserve the external structure without damaging it and renovate based on the existing foundation, retaining the basic structure of the courtyard, things got more complicated. Moreover, they also wanted to install facilities like flushing toilets and running water inside the rooms.
So, all things considered, this was a major project that would probably take three to four months to complete.
Lu Xia hadn’t anticipated it would take this long, and even after the renovation was done, they’d have to let it air out for a while before moving in. Looking at it this way, they wouldn’t be able to move in anytime soon, so they had to stay on this side for the time being.
Jiang Junmo looked at Lu Xia with some concern upon hearing this, afraid that he might not adjust well.
Lu Xia, on the other hand, didn’t find it a big deal. Uncle and Aunt were usually busy, coming and going early and late. She didn’t interact with them much. Grandpa Jiang was like a playful old child and a kind person. She didn’t really have any reservations about living here.
So, she reassured, “Don’t worry, I’ll be fine. I’m just a bit concerned about Kang Kang. In that case, should we let him attend the military area kindergarten over here for now?”
Jiang Junmo nodded, “Actually, I checked that option before. The street office said all the kindergartens there, except for the staff kindergarten, are privately run and not that formal. I’m not very comfortable sending Kang Kang there.”
Lu Xia frowned upon hearing this. This meant that once the house was renovated, Kang Kang would still have to go to school here.
However, after some thought, Lu Xia said, “Let’s not worry about that for now. If things don’t work out, we can move during the summer break and then move back when school starts. Besides, didn’t you mention before that Grandpa would go for a summer retreat?”
Jiang Junmo agreed, “Alright, I’ll follow your lead.”
Since the street office had helped them look after the house before, Jiang Junmo took the opportunity to express his gratitude before construction began.
Then, they handed over the house to the renovation team.
On the tenth day of the first lunar month, the two finally visited Senior Brother Xu.
It wasn’t that they hadn’t wanted to visit earlier, but Senior Brother Xu had gone back to his hometown during the New Year period. Just as he returned to the capital, he gave them a call, and so the two went over with gifts.
Senior Brother Xu’s home was also in the East City District, although quite far from Jiang Junmo’s small courtyard, situated in the northern part.
There were noticeably more people around his home, with the alley bustling with activity, and the houses were tightly packed, almost one adjacent to the other.
After turning left and right a few times, they finally arrived.
Jiang Junmo knocked on the door, and soon, they heard the sound of footsteps approaching. The door opened, revealing Xiao Tian.
Xiao Tian saw Jiang Junmo and the others and greeted, “Uncle and Aunt are here! Mom and Dad have been waiting for you.”
Lu Xia and Jiang Junmo exchanged smiles and followed him inside.
As soon as they entered, they walked through a narrow corridor, turned a corner, and arrived at a small courtyard. It was truly small, less than ten square meters, with a few houses surrounding it.
The layout seemed cramped, but it was sufficient for a family of three. It looked just like what Lu Xia had imagined Jiang Junmo’s small courtyard would be like.
At that moment, Senior Brother Xu and his wife also came out.
Seeing them, Senior Brother Xu laughed, “You finally came! Come on in, we’ve been eagerly waiting.”
The two entered hurriedly. The room appeared a bit messy, but it was neatly organized.
After they sat down, Senior Brother Xu’s wife poured tea for them and asked, “Why isn’t Kang Kang here?”
Lu Xia smiled helplessly and said, “He originally planned to come, but then his great-grandfather called him to help pick out a puppy. Once he heard that, he left us behind without a second thought!”
Chapter 326 – Two Puppies
Upon hearing this, Sister Qiu chuckled, “Seems like you’ve adapted well to your in-laws’ place.”
Lu Xia nodded, “They’re all very nice people.”
Sister Qiu was relieved then, and the two of them chatted about recent developments.
That’s when Lu Xia learned that the reason their place was in such disarray was because they had just moved in not long ago.
“We moved in just before the New Year. When we came back, our house was already occupied. You have no idea – in such a small space, three households were squeezed in. Walls were torn down, and the ground was dug up just to accommodate more people.
When we returned, there was barely any room left, almost everything movable had been taken away. We were left with almost nothing.”
Lu Xia sighed upon hearing this. No wonder everything was placed on the floor and there was only one table in the living room, with mismatched chairs. It seemed like a temporary arrangement.
Thinking about it, Lu Xia comforted, “At least you’ve got the house back now. You can gradually organize things.”
Sister Qiu sighed, “Yeah, that’s all we can do now. I feel sorry for the grapevine in the yard. Actually, this house was my dowry. I planted that grapevine when I was six or seven, and the grapes it bore were so sweet.
But I heard they dug it up right after moving in, just to make more space.”
Lu Xia patted her hand and said, “Don’t worry, we’ll plant a new one when the time comes. It’s bound to be even sweeter.”
Sister Qiu smiled at that, “Yes, life is good now. I don’t want to worry about such things anymore.”
After chatting for a while, since it was already noon, the two of them didn’t have lunch there. Given that there was nothing at home, Senior Brother Xu had initially planned to take them to a state-owned restaurant, but they declined. They didn’t want to bother them, seeing that they had just returned and their home was still in a mess.
Senior Brother Xu didn’t insist and saw them off, saying to Jiang Junmo, “I think Teacher probably won’t be back until just before the school starts. You can directly go to the school to meet then.”
Jiang Junmo nodded. He had called the teacher before. The teacher had returned to his hometown and was planning to go after the New Year.
“I understand, Senior Brother.”
When they got back, they saw Grandpa Jiang and Kang Kang squatting in the yard, looking at two blobs of dark shapes.
Approaching closer, they realized those were two small puppies.
Excitedly, Kang Kang introduced, “Mom, Dad, this one is Dahei (Big Black), and this one is Dahuang (Big Yellow).”
Lu Xia looked at the two dark puppies and asked, puzzled, “Aren’t they both black?”
Kang Kang stated seriously, “Dahuang’s nose is yellow.”
Lu Xia replied, “Oh…” Alright, whatever you say.
Grandpa Jiang chimed in, “Your Grandpa Dong helped us find these. Kang Kang was the first to choose from the litter. He immediately liked the liveliest two. He really is my Jiang family’s descendant, he’s got a good eye!”
Lu Xia was left speechless. How could you tell which puppies were better?
Alright then, if you say so.
As for raising the dogs, Lu Xia wasn’t involved at all. She left it all to Kang Kang, and the boy was so thrilled. If Lu Xia didn’t prohibit it, he would have probably taken the puppies to bed with him at night. In short, it seemed like they, the parents, had been relegated to a lower rank in Kang Kang’s heart compared to the puppies.
Lu Xia, this experienced mother, felt a bit melancholic…
Time flew by quickly. Afterward, Lu Xia and Jiang Junmo didn’t have much to do. They were preparing for school to start, and of course, they had arranged for Kang Kang to attend the kindergarten in the military district before that.
Indeed, the military district kindergarten was good. It had a large area, excellent facilities, patient teachers, and the children there were all from military families – second or third generation. Regular folks couldn’t easily get their kids in there.
Lu Xia was quite satisfied after seeing it. She felt assured that Kang Kang would be attending this kindergarten.