Thursday, September 1, 2011

Harvey and Lori Ferguson Ch. 6 After Takemizu

Once they were back from vacation, Harvey was back at work as city planner while Lori was rather at loose ends.

She ran into "Aunt Glenn" (who was really a close friend of her parents but no relation) up at Amelia's Closet, a clothing store in Bluewater Village, and then they were joined by Lori's old friend, Holly Lomax, who had just had twins. Lori mentioned that she hoped to have children soon, too.  She said that in about six months she and Harvey would begin trying to get pregnant, but that meanwhile she was bored. Glenn told her she should take up a hobby; something she could enjoy at home even after she had a baby. Holly agreed, she was looking for the same thing she said. She wanted to be at home, but needed something to fill her time besides the bottles and diapers that had to be done no matter what. They came up with no concrete answers but it started Lori thinking.

On her way out she was startled to see Dylan Ottomas. He was Brian Ottomas' older brother and owned the Club Dante where Brian played guitar Wednesday through Saturday nights. She and Harvey had never gone there, but Harvey claimed he had promised Brian at the block party that someday he and Lori would come up to see Brian's band play. She was a little worried about whether or not Dylan had ever heard of her and how she had run after Brian as a teenager. He didn't seem to notice her though so she shrugged it off eventually.

Early one morning just a few days later a delivery truck pulled up to Lori's house and brought in her new pride and joy; a workstation where she planned to learn to make children's toys. She was busily chipping away at some wood when Harvey got home a few hours later. He came up to see what all the banging was about and Lori turned to him, just beaming,

"Isn't this great? When we have our baby someday we'll have all the toys we need--custom toys!"

She had no idea how adorable she appeared to Harvey at that moment, with her little silver hammer in hand and her face alight. 

He'd confessed to his brother one time, trying to explain the enigma of the woman he loved, 

"See, Lori has this sweet childlike face, the same one she's always had--and she can break your heart with that alone. But then she has this woman's body that's to die for--and she knows it, too. All this along with her funny, sensitive, moody, infuriating and yet fascinating mind. She thinks up these scatterbrained stunts and yet I know she's extremely intelligent. Sometimes it makes me nuts."

Nicky had grinned, "Yeah, forget it, kid, you were a goner years ago from the moment she looked your way. It probably WILL drive you gonzo someday but,'s a beautiful way to go!"

Harvey had to. If making toys up in her art studio made Lori happy he was all for it. She stopped her work now and went to their bedroom saying,

"I'll have supper ready soon, are we doing anything tonight?"

He just had to grab her and lay one on her. She giggled afterwards,

"My gosh, Harvey, you're so impulsive."

"I have to work out for a bit after supper, so maybe we could hit the hot tub for a while after that?" he said hopefully.

She winked, "That's a sweet idea."

For months Harvey had been trying to get a garden going in the small greenhouse in their side yard. He'd had to compost most of the anemic plants that resulted. Once he began to really concentrate on his career in architecture he'd not had much time. Also he'd begun to realize he would never be the horticulturist his father was nor did he really even want to be. But Lori had felt sorry for the 'poor little plants' as she put it and kept weeding and hoping they would do all right.

Besides her new toy-making hobby Lori had asked Harvey about redoing the living room.

"Honey, it's practically new. We've barely lived here two years. Don't you like it?"

"Well," she hedged, "I just don't care for the color of the one couch and chair any more--I still like the style though--and having the piano room a different color from the living room just jars. So could we get the couch redone and paint the music room and maybe get some drapes? I changed my mind about just having hanging plants up there for semi-privacy."

Harvey shrugged, he was at the computer working on the accounts now.

"Well, if you want to do that it's okay with me, if you're not going to go berserk. But I can't go with you this time when you choose what you want, I'm just too tied down with work at the moment."

He didn't look up from his screen so he didn't see her look of relief as she went back downstairs to the kitchen.

As he heard her singing to herself in the kitchen, he stumbled across a few things in her statement. With the problems she had with impulse spending, they had decided she would have a checking account and debit card of her own, but that Harvey would have take care of the housekeeping accounts. She was on a generous budget, but it was still a budget. And she couldn't access their other money without his signature on it as well. Lori didn't really care--she hated to balance her checkbook--it never would come out right, she insisted. So Harvey always took care of it for her. Now he could see that she had already gone ahead with her redecorating project and if he didn't get some money in there right away, her over-draft protection would not cover it. She evidently had only mentioned it to him tonight when she realized he was working on the bills. Probably she had not figured on these expenditures showing up in the statement so soon. Also she must be counting on the idea that whatever she had bought would not be delivered right away. 

Harvey was always patient with Lori, he loved her very much, but tonight something snapped in his mathematician's common sense mind. He went downstairs and called her when he got near to the bottom of the steps. She came to the door that led from the kitchen to the living room.

"What is it, sweetie?" she smiled.

"Lori, you don't have to go look at furniture, do you--because you already bought what you wanted."

Her smile evaporated, Harvey was really upset this time. He began to lecture her in a quiet but angry voice about honesty, how she'd promised to talk over large purchases beforehand to avoid impulse buying, but his voice got a little louder as he went on.

Lori just kept nodding and looking contrite with her head bowed while he lectured her. Finally tears started running down her face and suddenly Harvey stopped. He'd said enough. If they needed to talk about it more it would have to be at some later, calmer time.

"I'm sorry I raised my voice, honey, but it was a shock; you've been doing so good, really you have. I'll put some additional money in there to cover everything. It's just that when I realized you had lied to me tonight; acting as though you were going to go buy things when in reality you had already done so, well, I just lost it."

She sniffled, 

"Honestly, Harvey, I didn't meant to buy so much or to buy it without talking to you, I just couldn't seem to help myself."

"I know, I know. Your parents talked to me about all this before we married, you know that. It's the bipolar. I have been taking your meds the way you're supposed to, right?"

She looked away, tears still glistening on her cheeks,

"Yes. Maybe you should start giving them to me so you'll know for sure I'm taking them," she whispered and looked at him in misery. She wasn't even being sarcastic or defensive, she just sounded defeated.

"I will do that, but only if you want me to. I don't think it's necessary at this time, though. Meanwhile will you forgive me for jumping on you without giving you a chance to explain? 

She nodded.

"You will? Then how about giving me one of your sweet smiles?"

Harvey put his hands on either side of her face and wiped her tears away with his thumbs. Lori smiled a little and all was well again. 

When the re-upholstered furniture arrived along with new drapes and a rug, Harvey couldn't see why she had gone through all this for these very subtle changes. He was much more surprised when they took out her white piano and put it in temporary storage and put in a black baby grand piano in its place. There was just no telling with Lori...

The original way the living room was furnished:

The new love seat, reupholstered sofa, new curtains and rug

The pale blue music room with Lori's white baby grand

The new black baby grand, and the repainted music room. The color flows from the living room into this room and the same for the carpet.

"As long as your happy," Harvey smiled, "Er, you are happy now, right? I mean no more overhauling the living room, okay? At least not for a few years."

Lori was content. She baked and cooked in her beloved kitchen treating and tempting Harvey who had to work out a lot just to keep from growing very fat.  She still devoured books as she always had, wrote happily in her journal each night, and honed her toy-making skills, but she was waiting, Harvey knew. And so they decided that it was about time to start their family. Now that they'd made up their mind to go ahead they were anxious that it not take too long.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Harvey and Lori Ferguson Ch. 5 Takemizu Village

Harvey was true to his word about going to Takemizu Village for a vacation. It was only two weeks after the block party/street dance that Lori and he were up early and ready when the shuttle bus arrived to take them to the airport for their trip to Takemizu Village. It was only the middle of September but already the leaves had started to fall in Pleasantview.

In Takemizu Village it was like taking a step back almost six months because it was just like spring—a very warm spring. Once in their room at the Golden Orchid Resort Lori waited while Harvey changed into cooler clothes; for once she was ready first.

Takemizu Village was nestled between mountains on two sides and it faced beautiful Lake Shigeta. 

(The resort is the group buildings with green roofs in the lower right corner of the third photo.)

After going to the Takemizu Pagoda and Market where Lori eagerly bought local get-ups for them to wear, they went back to the resort to use the sauna and try out the massage therapist on the hotel premises. The method popularly used  here was the accupressure massage. There was a large pool as well and since it was hotter than they thought it would be there in Takemizu they went swimming sometime after lunch.

The next day they were off to new places. They were anxious to sample the local fare and headed to a place for lunch that according to the natives was one of the best. Lori loved to taste new foods--and if possible get the recipes--and Harvey just loved to eat. Chirashi was a dish that would become an especial favorite of theirs over the next few days. 

After more leisurely shopping and taking a guided tour, they hurriedly put on their new outfits as they hoped to get to the Immortal Zen Garden before dark. But the sun had just gone down when they got there where Harvey raked in the garden while Lori was content just to quietly watched him.  In fact, she seemed just a little too quiet to Harvey. He was on his guard.

Often when Lori tried something new she jumped in feet first, so when she decided to try her hand at eastern meditation, Harvey was not pleased.  He left off raking the garden and went up to sit on the bench where he could keep an eye on her. To his shock after a while she began to levitate up off the ground. In a few minutes she seemed to slowly become transparent only to reappear a few seconds later a few feet away. Facially, she appeared to be in some sort of "altered state". Harvey couldn't believe his eyes. When she seemed to disappear completely, he finally spoke up in his calm and deadpan way,

“Knock it off, Brat, we have dinner reservations at the Lotus Room for 9 o'clock.”

He was not calm of course; she was scaring the heck out of him. What if she didn’t come back?

It was on the opposite side of the garden where Lori came back into view looking solid at last and Harvey hurried over to hug her in relief. Hugging him back tightly, she was disoriented and a little frightened so Harvey cancelled their reservations for dinner and they went back to the room.

He  still had high hopes for the rest of the evening, but first Lori wanted to stop at the hotel gift shop where she had seen a book on the history of Takemizu Village for sale. Harvey got it for her as soon as they entered the hotel lobby. Once in the room they ordered room service. He asked Lori if she could tell him anything that would shed light on what had just happened, but she was vague, she said she didn’t have much memory of it at all.

Unfortunately for Harvey, by bedtime he was left to either watch TV or just daydream because Lori had become totally absorbed in the historical book. Harvey was a patient man, though. He knew she would put it down before too long. She frequently got totally immersed in new subjects but her favorite interest by far was Harvey. And that was just fine with him.

They had almost chosen another hotel for the vacation that was called the Flaming Dragon. Now they decided they would move there for the last two nights to see which one they liked better. Lori watched Harvey sign in and thought for the millionth time how much she loved him and needed him.

The rooms in this hotel were quite different and had a separate little alcove for in-room dining.

The hotel also boasted its own zen garden, as well as stream fishing all around the perimeter of the property. Harvey just had to see what he could catch, even though he’d have to throw it back.

When Lori began to meditate again on this day, Harvey shook his head,

“Not again, honey. Try something else. Please, if you love me.”

So she found someone to help her learn the Takemizu Village gesture, which was a graceful bow. It took her a while to get graceful, but finally she had it down.

When Lori wasn’t looking Harvey had to try meditating himself to see what was going on with this phenomenon—how could she possibly have teleported? Soon the same thing was happening to him. He was levitating a bit--for all he knew he was becoming a little opaque as well. With that, Harvey stood up and walked away. He had no intention of going to some unknown place chosen by an unseen hand, no sir.

They went back to the Pagoda to purchase trinkets Lori wanted and yet more Asian clothing when she happened to notice a redheaded woman eying Harvey with hungry eyes. Totally unaware, Harvey was paying for a souvenir he’d chosen. Glaring at the girl, Lori walked over to his side and whispered to him that maybe they should go back to their room to rest before tonight’s visit to the Village Hot Springs. He gave her a big smile and she looked back to see the crestfallen redhead shrug and move on.

They loved the spa here at Takemizu almost as much as the Whitesand Mineral Spa at Twikkii and were learning the accupressure massage technique.  Harvey told her that he was now willing to give up his hot tub—for a while anyway—so they could have a massage table at home. After all, they’d learned both hot stone massage and now the accupressure massage so they might as well keep up with their lessons at home. With his rigorous workouts and jogging he could use a good massage a couple times a week. Lori smiled, she loved it when Harvey got enthusiastic about something new. He didn’t do it all the time whereas she, Lori…

The food available at the spa was especially delicious as well and had become their favorite place to eat.

From there they made a quick stop back to the Immortal Zen Garden where they had tea in a little gazebo. 

That night Lori was again reading her book on Takemizu history when Harvey climbed into their bed and began distracting her. This vacation at Takemizu was almost like a second honeymoon she whispered to Harvey. Harvey could be very romantic when he wanted to be.

“Listen, you beautiful brat, our whole life together is a honeymoon,” he grinned, “At least, so far.”

They had breakfast looking out at the water from their dining alcove window. On the schedule that day was a visit to the Lucky Shrine Park. Harvey, who did not believe in luck, was nevertheless persuaded by Lori to drop a coin in the wishing well there. It did not go particularly well; he was not showered with money as had been hinted by the brochure, but he did begin to itch all over for no accountable reason and it lasted an hour or so. Meanwhile, Lori dug for treasure but found none.

They learned to play Mah Jong—as always Harvey not only picked it up quickly, he soon excelled at it as he did every game. Even when others joined them in play, he still bested all of them.

After they got back from the park they decided to try one of the tours offered by the guide; “Bamboo Forest Tour”. The helicopter that came for them was deafening. Things didn’t go exactly as planned on the tour and some other tourists had been bothered by bees, but not Lori or Harvey. Not then. 

As they arrived at the hotel Lori again noticed another woman ogling Harvey. Really, the nerve of these natives and even some of the tourists. No one at home ever did this; but then most of them knew Lori and that she’d been Harvey’s girl since forever, long before they married. (Or maybe it was just that they knew Lori all right and had no interest in provoking her). The woman in question had simply given Harvey a flirty look and kept on walking, Harvey didn’t even seem to notice, but as the woman walked away Lori stuck her tongue out at her even though she knew it was childish.

Suddenly both she and Harvey were surrounded by bees as they stood in front of their hotel. Luckily they did not seem to be stinging bees and were finally chased away. It was time now to say goodbye to Takemizu Village. Their second honeymoon was over, Lori thought sadly. She stood by rather helplessly as Harvey called the shuttle to pick them up. He hung up and looked over at her and smiled at her woebegone face.

“Remember, Brat, I told you—this is not the end of the honeymoon. It’s only the end of the trip,” he said in a husky voice and kissed her. 

Then the bus arrived and they were on their way home. What further adventures lay ahead, neither one knew. As long as they were together they both were content.