The baby twins were fairly easy to care for--Margo and Kevin had developed almost a rhythm to it during the time that Jamie and Maddie were infants. Of course, as Marnie and Mallen got older it would become more hectic. Nothing like trying to potty-train two toddlers instead of one.
After having the twins Margo was ready for a change. She tried the new salon--Bei Capelli--the owner and hair designer there was named Barbara Bel Geddes. Margo had heard she was dating the elusive David Lassiter and it was pretty serious. She was a gorgeous woman and Margo didn't really trust gorgeous women, but she decided to give it a try anyway. She was more than pleased with the results. The new look was chic and would be much easier to fix in the mornings.
Maddie had Willow Ottomas over for a play-date on a Saturday. Margo liked the little girl quite well; Willow was friendly and vivacious and very courteous for a child these days; also she was amusingly forthright.
"You know, I just love to eat, Mrs. Candeloro," she said when Margo served all three children spaghetti and meatballs that day, "But sometimes I get kinda, well...fat from it. Momma says I just have a healthy appetite, though."
"Well, you look fine to me, Willow. Maybe you could just ride your bike a little longer on the days you eat dessert?"
"Yes, ma'am," she nodded and then paused, "You could ride with me sometime if you want to. You probably get a little fat sometimes, too. I know my Mom does, especially after having babies."
"Gee I didn't realize it showed," Margo smiled wryly, "I don't have much time for biking, though, I just have to use the exercise machine."
"Yeah," Maddie agreed, "She sure does get a little chubby sometimes!"
Maddie was rather outspoken herself, Margo reflected and then resolved to up her exercise routine post-haste.
Jamie wisely kept his mouth shut. He hardly heard the conversation anyway since his mind was on drawing the minute he finished eating. He loved art, just as his father did and spent a lot of time sketching super-heroes of his own invention. After their lunch all three colored at the activity table, in fact.
When Willow had to go home Maddie waylaid her for a moment with a joke and some tickling and then they promised to be friends forever.
Kevin had been keeping busy with his painting but he had not begun a new novel yet. Lately, he'd been bored and needed a challenge, but what? Margo hoped he'd figure out something soon because when he was restless (as he was when he was between books) he made her a nervous wreck. He would follow her around the house and make little suggestions on how she might do things around the house in a more efficient manner. He believe this to be constructive criticism but Margo wanted to make a suggestion of her own to him which would probably not have been considered constructive. She counted to ten however; and so far had managed to refrain from being insulting or crude.
What finally happened was that Kevin bought a clothing store in Bluewater Village called Amelia's Closet. He'd always been a snappy dresser and he started to stock it and manage it himself. Mr. Lomax and his middle son, Corky, were two of his first customers. Larry Max was looking to buy a whole new wardrobe with the critical input from his well-dressed son. He'd just moved out of his family home to some bachelor digs and was evidently planning on a busy social life.
It was obvious from the beginning that Kevin was going to have to work long hours. He had a lot to learn about retail sales and the clothing business as well as being a good employer and watching the bottom line. And he had to learn it fast. So far he had only one employee, a local senior named Royal Brecht, Sr. who had been laid off from his job at Larry Max' cafe, in fact. He was a good man both at working the cash register and at restocking. It would take time, but Kevin was serious about making a success of the store.
Much of the house had been redone since the twins arrival. Kevin grudgingly gave up his "film noir man-cave", as Margo referred to it, when they moved the pool table up to the attic and turned the room into a large playroom for the kids and their friends.
They were fixing up a room of her own for Maddie that she could use after her next birthday. It was where the hot tub used to be (which was also up in the attic now along with the pool table) and featured her favorite color, pale blush. The downstairs guest bathroom had been that color and Maddie had claimed it as her own much of the time, but it had been redone in a less obviously feminine manner. So now the upstairs bathroom which adjoined Maddie's new room and had served for Jamie and sometimes Maddie now became hers alone and was painted pink, too. The twins' old bedroom would belong to just Jamie after the birthday and he was allowed to choose his own paint and decor, too, but he wanted to wait until after he became a teen. Right now he liked things that he knew he would not care much about after he grew. Of course, he knew he would always love drawing and art. The room that the twins used to workout in was cut up to make a bathroom for Jamie and what was left just held the exercise machine and a lamp.
The bathroom that the babies and Kevin and Margo used was enlarged a bit and totally redecorated making it possible to incorporate both a separate shower and a tub.
Kevin still had his small art studio though, which was just big enough for a pottery wheel, his easel and a smaller easel for Jamie who was interesting in learning to paint like his father. And painting was still something Kevin enjoyed best, that is, best after writing, even though his time was now limited. Margo had given up her greenhouse in the interest of providing more room in the yard for the children, but she still worked on her fruit trees in warm weather.
The twins had became toddlers; Mallen was a lovely platinum blonde like Maddie and their grandmother. Of course, Kevin and his mother, Bonnie, were blonde too, a sunny blonde, but the moonlight blonde definitely came from Madeleine. Pretty Marnie had glossy brown hair like Margo and Jamie. Maddie took special delight in playing with and talking to her younger sisters. They were good little girls; each with their own distinct personality.
"And smart as whips," their grandmother Madeleine noted. It was true that they seemed to learn faster than even Jamie and Maddie had.
Kevin was a whiz at caring for the babies, but demurred when it came to other things around the house like scrubbing toilets, showers and the like, emptying the potty chairs, and he was absolutely useless in the kitchen. He could get the girls cereal and make sandwiches but dealing with the oven was just not a possibility. Even macaroni and cheese out of a box seemed to mystify him. Margo knew the reality was that he just wasn't interested in learning. Since she loved to cook and Kevin sometimes could be pressed into clearing the table and filling the dishwasher she forgave him as long as he took the trash out every day, was a good-hands on daddy and made the money.
Summer arrived and Jamie and Maddie played in the yard every day. There was just enough room behind the pond for their rides and their swings. They often fished in the pond and playing in the new water wiggler was a very popular past-time with them and with their friends.
Margo and Kevin truly did enjoy their two sets of twins, but toddlers take a lot of attention and it could get stressful. Kevin got away when he went too work (and found different stress there, of course), but for Margo there really was no letup. Whenever she had time, though--which wasn't as often as she'd have liked--she enjoyed a long soak in the new tub rather than a quick shower. Definitely the bathroom makeover had been well worth it in her book.
Next blog update: Shep Ferguson Ch. 11 Nicky and Allyn Pt. 1