Thursday, October 22, 2015

Generation One —Chapter Four ReBoot: As the Family Grows, So Does the House …

      Erik worked very hard night and day. He gathered the wild fruits and flowers from around his lot, reminding himself of a Cave Man from times past, but the fruit and flowers really paid off well. So cave man or not, it was worth doing. He practiced his music and got promoted, again. A very nice bonus came with this most recent raise, too.  He spent his free time, what little there was in one of two places. He was either at the Box hardware store buying Sheetrock and nails, or he was at home, trying to figure out which end of the hammer to use. More than once he smashed a finger, as he built walls. He could only hope it would look like something when he was done. If it didn’t actually look like the house in his head, that is.

     Zoe also managed to get a promotion in the Culinary field. She studied the Masters as often as she could, made friends with her co-workers, and tried to avoid shortcuts, which resulted in overfilled dishwashers. For a time, she was lucky enough doing this, but one evening, her unwise practices came back to haunt her. She ended up having a sudsy mess, when the machine failed, turning into a mechanical monster spewing forth copious soap suds, veritably frothing at the control panel, which turned the entire kitchen on its head. The suds threatening everything and everyone that came into its path. Chefs were slipping as they made haste taking their completed dishes to the Pass. Zoe was scared someone might fall and truly hurt themselves. “Oh, be careful. Please, don’t run. At least, give me a moment to mop up this mess!” she said, using the mop to steady herself. She almost fell herself, as her feet slid in opposite directions, hanging onto the mop for dear life.
Her boss was understanding enough, but Zoe came home in a very tense mood, and aching all over several of her muscles pulled, wondering if the next day she would still have a job. She walked into the house and found Erik in the bare-bones of their kitchen.

 From the look on his face, she knew something was up. “Okay, so what now?” Zoe snapped. “Did my boss call me or something?”
“No, and just why should he call you at home?”
“I don’t care to talk about it,” she crossed her arms over her chest and turned her back to him. “So what if I over-loaded that freakishly old, poor-excuse of a dishwasher. Half of the time it breaks down on its own. Doesn’t mean I did it!”
“So, …” Erik began, looking up at her. He was seated on one of those little stump chairs, about the only seating besides their bed, that they had. “Are they docking your pay for the repairs? Is that what has your undies in a bunch?”
“W-w-what? Is that what this is about, money? You’re the one who walked away from a lucrative career! Don’t you hand me that.”
“Is that what, what is? I was just sitting here. You’re the one who came in like Hurricane Zoe. What is it with you, lately? Seems I can’t do anything right in your eyes anymore!”

     The state of their build was largely at the heart of the tension. As it seemed to Erik, couples should never go into a build, or even a major remodeling project, without first signing a paper stating that they would not succumb to the inherent stress that accompanies such undertakings, by getting a divorce. For awhile there, the honeymoon phase of their new marriage was sorely tested. He learned Zoe could be a little hot-headed when pressed too hard. He also realized he was, too. So, more than a few times he resorted to humor. Telling a funny story or just a good joke would get the two of them back on track and in a better frame of mind. Not only that, but make-up woohoo was the best. Now, he understood what everybody always said about it.  Of course, it, too, comes with its own consequences.

One bright sunny morning when Erik was again up very early harvesting his ‘crops’, Zoe came running up to him. She was all excited, as she tended to get and in only a moment, she shared her good news with him. “Erik! We’re having a baby. I just took a test. We’re pregnant!”
“Honey, that’s wonderful. That’s great,” he said, wrapping his arms around her and holding her tight. “This is the best day of my life,” he said and kissed her.

As the time went by and Zoe’s little belly got bigger and bigger, so did their house. Erik had several walls erected by now. He was pleased with his progress, and the house was really shaping up. So far, he hadn’t received any hate mail for the monstrosity he was building from the nearby neighbors, at least. The City Inspector was kind, too. Erik had made very few mistakes along the way. Surprisingly. Nothing had to be torn down and reconstructed, so he was grateful for that, at least. Money was tight, but in some ways, that was good, too. He was forced to spend very carefully and to plan things out.

They now had an enclosed kitchen, with a bathroom off of it, a nice entry way, or at least the beginnings of it. And a front door. An actual front door. He moved their tree-stump chairs into the corner of the kitchen. Zoe’s promotion also included a gift card for some rather nice kitchen counters. Erik got busy and installed them. He also found matching corner pieces to insert. The old, get-me-by counter was sold and a new matching one put in its place. He could hardly wait until he could replace the appliances. The old refrigerator was just that. Old and refurbished. Most of the time it worked, luckily. But the stove was nothing short of a disaster. If Zoe was going to get anywhere as a chef, she needed better appliances. A real gas oven, not this electric piece of near-junk he bought on the fly.

Erik was now, once again, a headliner.  He brought in a nice salary. Things were looking up. Happily his disguise was yet to be penetrated. The most he read in the local rag magazines, was a complimentary comparison to the long-disappeared Erik Cantrell.  Erik continued to use the sobriquet, Ee-Sea. Only a very few at work knew his true identity. His boss, primarily and his new record producer. He went without an agent, as that would surely blow his cover. And, he preferred that only he and Zoe handle their money. And, Erik did a much better job of keeping track of every Simoleon and smaller, spent.

     He got back very late one night, boasting a promotion for his efforts and finding Zoe in the throes of labor. After several long, miserable hours, Zoe gave birth to a little baby girl. Erik had hoped for a son, but he fell in love with little Patrice the moment he held her. Besides, he had only just turned thirty. Zoe’s birthday was a little ways off, yet. There was plenty of time for more children. Once Zoe got further along in her career, and Patrice was a bit older, he would approach Zoe for another child. And, he’d also like to get more of the house erected. A roof, would be a good addition, too. No telling just how long he had of this great, sunny weather that he could rely upon.

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