May’s Point of View:
*Ugh!* Why do I have to get up so early? That’s right … school. I got a little behind. Okay, a lot behind. It’s not my fault. How am I supposed to do assignments and stuff when Mom is sick? When Mom is in the hospital? When Mom leaves hospital to come home but still leaves us anyway? It’s NOT fair!!!
*Ugh!* Cold hot dogs are disgusting with a capital D! Gross!!!
*Ice makes happy gurgling sounds and May looks over*
“How can you be so happy this early in the morning?”, she whispers.
Maybe painting something fun that I can see when I wake up might help.
Oh! So soon? *SIGH*
“Sorry! I don’t have time to get the mail. The bus is here!”, May calls out as she runs past the mail carrier, Carrie Post (name is stitched on her uniform, over the pocket). She can’t help but notice what Carries does next. *Uh Oh!* Dad is NOT going to be happy when he sees that!
But you can’t really blame her for being upset. I mean look at what we have to run through to get to the house!!!
*SIGH* Why did the bus have to stop so far away? It’s going to take a …
… while. *SIGH*
May climbs up the steps and quickly realizes she’s the only one ON the bus. *Ohhh.* She quickly sits down and keeps her thoughts to herself.
A short time later …
The bus pulls up to the front of Stary Community School and lets May off. As she heads inside, she looks around and sees she’s the only one. Hopefully, others are inside or this is going to be one lonnng summer!
Tad’s Point of View:
While May was running to catch the bus Tad woke, wondering what caused him to … *Oh! Ugh!* “Something smells rather ripe in here.” *sniff sniff* “It’s not me.” *turns and notices the look on Ice’s face* “It’s definitely you, little buddy. Let’s get your diaper changed and yes, yes feed you as well.”, he says with a smile.
Food sounds good. *UGH!* Cold hot dogs are disgusting. “Hold on, Ice, let Daddy finish his food. Perhaps you can play with your stuffed doll for a few minutes?”
While Ice is happily playing, Tad steps outside to take clothes off the line and picks up the mail from the ground. *grumble grumble* The mailbox is right here!
*Tad takes a quick look at the bills and does the math*
*SIGH* I don’t have enough.
*looks over at the easel and sighs again, LOUDER this time*
I also can’t paint anything to take to the consignment store.
*an even LOUDER and more than slightly irritated sigh escapes from Tad’s lips*
I’m going to have to sell something else.
He goes inside, takes a good look around and decides to clean the freestanding locker before calling Juan to help him sell it. Darn. I was hoping to move it outside and use for storing things but keeping a roof over our heads is more important. Much more important.
Tad takes the pickaxe that Juan brought and begins the slow, arduous process of removing the rocks that are blocking access to the front door.
He feels a sense of pride and accomplishment when he finally finishes … until he realizes he now needs a front door and has to figure out how to pay for one!
Tad cleans himself and then Ice before they leave the house.
He stops long enough to grab a picture using his phone and they head to City Hall.
A short while later …
*standing in front of the clerk filing requests for the department of transportation*
“My name is Tad Pole. Yes, Pole. P-o-l-e. The right-of-way and road in front of my house are covered with overgrown grass and bushes, making it difficult for my family and others to reach our property. (shows the picture) It’s 582 Bayou Gulch Drive. That’s right, Bayou … Gulch … Drive. (wonders about the look the clerk’s face suddenly has) I’m requesting the road & land crew come out and do what needs doing to address this situation. As soon as it can be arranged would be much appreciated. Thank you.”
Tad leaves there, unsure of what just happened but hopes his request will be taken seriously and not deep-sixed in the nearest trash can “filing system”.
Unable to paint. Check.
Everything of value that isn’t needed has been sold. Check.
Tad ticks off his mental list as they head home but something out the window catches his eyes and he asks the taxi driver to pull over. “We’ll take it from here, thank you.” He’s so grateful he bought transportation passes a year ago and doesn’t have to pay for each ride. The three passes (his, Bean’s and May’s) expire at the end of winter but hopefully, he’ll be able to sort something out by then so this doesn’t become an issue.
He waits until the driver pulls away and quickly walks over to the building to find a shady place for Ice to sit and play while he gets busy. “Beggars can’t be choosers and we’re practically beggars.”, he thinks to himself.
There are THREE dumpsters at the abandoned warehouse and no guards on duty. Tad quickly dumpster dives two before spotting the falcon on the ground in front of the third. He watches the bird, trying to find a polite way to encourage it to leave the area so he can search number three when Tad realizes he’s not alone. Someone else is watching the bird … and in a way him, too. Someone with a camera. Dang paparazzi are everywhere.
Tad continues to watch the bird while also keeping an eye on camera guy and is relieved when he leaves without having raised his lens. *WHEW!*
He quickly searches the last dumpster, collects his small haul as well as Ice and gets out of there. The lamp and canisters are turned in at the consignment store (the used tissue box is returned to the bin … two insects are taken to the science center and … a small basket of produce is taken to the grocery store. “Please forgive me, Juan, for selling back some of the things you had given us. You gave us more than enough and every simoleons counts at this moment!”, Tad thinks to himself.
May’s Point of View:
While Tad and Ice are finishing at City Hall, school ends. As May is heading toward the bus, she sees a strange guy standing and staring at the school building. A strange guy with a camera. She asks the bus driver if it’s okay to drop her off at the library instead of taking her home. With a quick smile, the driver nods.
Lakeside Community Library is a busy place. The children’s room seems to be an area where ADULTS linger, looking at the artwork and reading the books. “Oh, c’mon … these books are for us kids, you know!”, May grumbles under her breath as she quickly grabs a copy of The Adventures of Raymundo and sits down.
She finishes the book and puts it back on the shelf, then seeks out a quiet spot to do homework. Finding no free tables, she sits down and begins working her way through her assignment. May decides not to ask anybody for help because she doesn’t like the way they hover and stare when they think she’s not looking. “There aren’t any signs saying that children under the age of 13 must be with an adult so I don’t get it. Adults are so weird!”, she thinks to herself.
Back at the house …
Tad’s Point of View:
There! That looks better, much better. Having an actual front door makes it feel like someone wants to live here instead of someone has to!
May isn’t inside the house, at the swing or easel. Tad takes a quick peek where the water meets the land behind their property and she isn’t there either. Nor is she coming up the dirt road from either direction. Odd. “Odd and a bit disappointing.”, he thinks while he works in the garden. “I wanted to show her how to tend a garden so we can grow what we need and sell the extras.”
Time passes …
It’s dark outside when May finally shows up, wanting dinner.
Tad: “May, where were you? I expected you to come home after school, get your homework done and help keep an eye on Ice so I could get a few things done around here.”
May: “I went to the library and did my homework there.”
Tad: “And … read a few books, I’m sure. I know you love books but I need you here, helping out, so I can continue fixing things up for us. Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know! I have been hired to paint … and speaking of that, you left something on the easel so I was unable to use it today. Painting is my JOB and you kept me from doing that!”, Tad didn’t like how his voice got louder and angrier sounding as he talked but seemed unable to stop.
May didn’t seem to like it much either.
“Just go eat your dinner, May.” It was then that Tad notices Ice hiding in the toybox. “I’m sorry, little buddy, I know Daddy sounds kind of scary right now. Let’s get you out of there and calmed down, then a nice bottle of formula.” Tad feeds Ice and goes to check his phone …
*The sound of something cracking could be heard*
“Darn it! I dropped my phone and now it’s cracked. How am I supposed to pay 150 simoleons to fix it? Much less fix anything else when I can’t …”, Tad’s voice starts to rise again.
May: “Daddy? I’m sorry your phone broke and I’m sorry I didn’t come home or let you know where I was going. I love you, Daddy!”, she says with tears in her eyes and a wobble in her throat.
He does the only thing he could think of while once again wishing Bean was there because she always knew the right thing to say. Tad pulls May in for a big hug and tells her he loves her too.
Tad bathes Ice in the sink before putting a fresh pair of pull-ups and pajamas on him. Extra tickles and snuggles are given before putting his sweet-smelling boy to bed. “Good night, little buddy. Pleasant dreams.”
A little later, May comes in with her finished painting and Tad helps her hang it on the wall.
May: “Good night, Daddy. I’m really sorry and I promise I won’t hog your easel again. I love you.”
Tad: “I know, honey. I’m sorry too. And … I love you more.”, he jokes while kissing her forehead.
May: “I love you to infinity and beyond!”
Tad: “That’s a lot! Good night, sweetheart.”
Tad takes a quick nap with the intention of getting started on a new painting when he wakes up.
We’ll stop here for now.