Saturday, October 1, 2011

Brian Ottomas Ch. 8 Back From Twikkii Island

All the way home from Twikkii Island Meadow and Brian talked about how they couldn’t wait to see the kids and how they would love to go on a vacation with them. If not to Twikkii, maybe to Three Lakes, which was much closer and didn’t involve flying. When they got back the first thing Willow had to do was go to the nursery for Willow and just love on her. She’d missed all three of the children, but it was hardest to be away from the baby.

Willow had been well taken care of; it was obvious that all the children had been. Nana had taken Willow to the playroom every day when Heath and Brook were in school and let her play while she sat and read. Willow just loved the play-station, especially the blocks.  The children had still had playmates over after school. Tessa Ramirez was a friend of both Brook and Heath (who still did not realize she had a crush on him).

That night Samantha and Pete stayed for supper before they headed for home. The next day Heath and Brook played on their new swings. The greenhouse had been dismantled--neither Meadow nor Brian had time any more and besides, they wanted the space for the kids. But it was definitely getting even colder. Soon the trees would be bare and there would be football and other things to do, but swinging in the cold would not be fun.

It wasn't too much later that Meadow came to Brian to tell him she definitely was pregnant, but true to his word, he took the news in stride. Brook's bedroom upstairs had two twin beds, so once Willow had her birthday there would be room for her. But Heath's room was smaller and he was used to having privacy. Where would they put the next child once he or she outgrew the nursery? The room where Brian's parents had stayed a few days (formerly the music room) needed to stay as it was--he and Meadow thought they might take the kids up to Three Lakes before Christmas. Brian did get a chance to paint it but had to use navy blue paint to cover the black paint. Pete said not to worry, he liked navy blue and Samantha would too. There was no room for the piano anywhere so Heath was behind in his practice.

While they'd been at Twikkii Brian's brother Dylan had sent a message via their parents that he needed to talk to Brian as soon as he got back. It turned out that he wanted to promote Brian to manager--Dylan needed more time for travel and wanted to semi-retire. The job of manager would pay a lot more money, but he'd have to work longer hours. Brian and Meadow decided that he should take the job. The band would have to get a new guitarist--although Brian hoped to play with them from time to time.

Brian would start as manager almost immediately so he tried to spend extra time with the children over the next couple days, especially Willow.

Brook had a good friend at school, Kirstie Burb, but Kirstie had not been to the Ottomas house until she came over one Saturday. Brook wanted to introduce her to Heath and when she did Kirstie immediately seemed to crush on Heath, who remained clueless about any girls liking him. Brook couldn't figure it out; she loved her brother, of course, but what was the big deal? Both Tessa and Kirstie thought he was the greatest thing since Coke. There was just no explaining some people's tastes Brook decided.

Before Kirstie could leave it began to snow. It was almost a blizzard so Brian drove her home. She was wearing an extra winter jacket of Brook's because she'd only brought a sweater. It was just a week before Halloween; no one had expected this snow. When Brian returned he sat on the sofa to read the entertainment section of the newspaper. Both Heath and Brook came downstairs and before long they were both asleep, one on the sofa next to Brian and one on the love seat. Their father smiled, yes, it had definitely been a long hard day of playing. Overnight it continued to snow and by the middle of the night the house was blanketed in white.

Brian started on that Wednesday night to work with Dylan to learn how to manage the Club Dante. Although he'd been in and around clubs, lounges, bars and honky-tonks for more than 15 years both here and across the country, Brian knew he had plenty to learn from his older brother about running the club. He would have to schmooze with customers but that would be no problem for Brian--he was already very people-oriented by nature, just like Dylan. That's why he had once been so good at selling insurance even though it had bored him and he never missed it.

A couple days later Brian told Meadow,

"I think that we should face the fact that we're going to need a bigger house."

Meadow wrinkled her nose,

"Oh, Brian, I love this house. I know it's getting too small for us now, but I love the look and feel of it. I wanted our family to be here for years and years and make lots of happy family memories."

"We have to have more room, sweetheart. And I already know of a place we can consider. Remember my parents old house? You were there a couple times. Well it's for sale again and at a really good price. It's really big with a lot of rooms and a nice big yard, but I realize it isn't our style. Still I think we should check it out."

So Meadow agreed to go with Brian to look at his childhood home. She remembered it as being very beautiful but so formal, with a double staircase and huge foyer with a marble floor. Meadow had been invited to a birthday party for Brian and his twin, Bridget, when she was about 13, but she'd never been above the first floor.

"Do you really want to live here? I mean, do you feel sentimental about living in your old home?" she asked Brian when they toured the house.

"Not really," he shook his head, "Home is wherever you and the kids are."

"It's just so formal, Brian. I love the organic look and feel of our house, I like that it fits our casual lifestyle. None of our furniture would look right here, anyway, and the kitchen doesn't even have any cupboards, counters or appliances in it--why is that?"

"Well, the people who bought it from Momma and Daddy fell on hard times and now it belongs to the bank. The bank is offering it at this low price but it comes as is. The bank hired a contractor to demo the outdated cupboards and fridge and stuff to redo it but then decided to put it on the market first. I'm sure if it doesn't sell they will eventually put new cupboards and appliances in, but the price will go up then."

On the left: Exterior view of Brian's childhood home, now up for sale again. On the right: the imposing foyer with marble floors and double staircase.


The very empty kitchen, sans cupboards, counters and appliances is shown below on the left and the formal dining room is on the right.

 The huge living room

In the end, neither Brian or Meadow could work up much enthusiasm for the imposing house as a future home for their family and never really seriously considered buying it. So the question of a new house remained unanswered--for the time being.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lomax Family Ch. 10 Andy and Holly

Now that the big house was much quieter and emptier with just Andy and Holly Lomax and their infant twins, the enormity of the the place struck them full force. They felt it was a responsibility they owed toward Larry Max to take the very best care of their new home. Deciding to forge ahead with the changes they had discussed, Andy hired contractors and soon the quiet was shattered by workmen banging away and occasionally cussing.

Fortunately, before the big snow had come in late October, they had dismantled Larry Max's old greenhouse and removed the fruit trees. Now they could build a children's yard. Andy and Holly were both outdoor, active people. They wanted Arliss and Alexa--as well as the future children they hoped for--to have plenty of room for outside play and adventure. It must be safe, though.

To this end they put up a new fence, part of which completely contained the play-yard. There was a gate to the pool but it would remain locked until the twins were old enough to swim.

Swings and a sandbox went in, of course. and Andy insisted on putting up a basketball area for shooting hoops. Holly knew he planned on enjoying it himself for the time being.

One Saturday when it was quiet once more--the workmen weren't there and the babies were sleeping, they had some time to use the hot tub upstairs. Splashing and teasing led to a little romance.

Andy still hated doing repairs around the house. That is, he was fine when he started out, but when it took longer than he thought it should to fix the sink, toilet, garbage compactor or exercise machine, he lost that famous temper of his. Holly accepted this with equilibrium. She was as laid-back as Andy was tightly wound. It was funny to Andy's father, Larry Max; both of the younger Lomax boys, Corky and Andy, had quick tempers, Corky's was more in regard to his jealousy over Elle, whereas Andy was just plain crabby at times, while the older two kids, Mike and Chelsea, were just the opposite; easy-going and even-tempered.

When it came to the twins, though, Andy was patient and loving. When he was home from work, he eagerly did his fair share of parenting. Holly hoped he'd stay that way when Arliss and Alexa got to the terrible twos.

That early snow had melted away in a couple days, but it stayed cold and all of Pleasantview knew it was going to be a long winter. Holly discovered she was again pregnant and the couple were both pleased and excited about it.

However; this meant that the twins and the new baby would only be about 18 months apart. Andy wanted Holly to have a nanny to help out even before she had the baby and she finally agreed to start interviewing possible candidates. They moved furniture around a bit in Mike and Lucy's old room, and traded the Queen sized bed for a single one so that it could be used by the in-house nanny they hoped to hire. 

Holly had no intention of hiring a young girl for the job, as Lalique Flynn had done. Lalique was single. Holly had a husband to think of; a young good-looking husband. The person she had in mind was much more of a Mrs. Doubtfire type.

Mrs. Georgia Buckley fit the bill nicely. She was a long-time widow who had grown children and she'd been in childcare for ten years. Her references were excellent and she said she was happy to help with chores and cook as well.

A heavy snow came again not long after Mrs. Buckley had settled in and, naturally, that was the night that little Bradley decided to make his entrance into the Lomax household.

Having Mrs. Buckley there helped so much more than Holly had even guessed. It meant that she would have time again to practice her piano. Time to give a little more attention to each child. The twins took to their nanny right away and she was so good with them. In addition she made excellent cocoa and delicious sugar cookies.

The newly decorated rooms were now in use; or soon to be. The twins were moved from the little yellow nursery to a larger one across the hall and a bathroom had been built between Holly and Andy's bath and the blue nursery (as it began to be called).  

And the best thing was the new playroom. This large room had originally been Andy's mother's art studio. After their divorce Larry Max redid it for his master bedroom so that he could give Mike and Lucy his old room. Too many painful memories there anyway. Now it had become a playroom that would hopefully keep the twins bedrooms a little more neat and organized.

So at the moment there were three small babies in the house, but that was soon to change; Alexa and Arliss had a birthday coming up in just one day. If things were hectic now, the joint would be jumping with two toddlers on the premises.

The following day was birthday time for little Alexa and Arliss. Alexa was the older twin by three minutes, so they brought her to her birthday cake first. As much as Holly was eager for them to grow and learn just before she blew out the candles for Alexa she became a little tearful for a moment.

Andy brought Arliss to his cake next and they all cheered as the moment grew near. Both of the twins were happy and eager to learn all about their new world. They could crawl now and the possibilities were endless. The two children were introduced to the playroom, which immediately became a big hit.

After playing so hard the twins were happy to try out their new cribs. In the days and weeks ahead there would be potty-training, and learning to walk and talk. Every day would be a new adventure for Arliss and Alexa.

A visit from the grandparents--Holly's mother and father, that was--and their Uncle Harvey and Aunt Lori was in order. Harvey and Lori, in fact, were expecting a child of their own very soon. The twins were bathed and dressed in their cutest outfits to be ready for the family's arrival.

Shep and Madeleine brought Holly's younger sister, Debbie, with them. Saturday night was ordinarily "date night" for her, but she was eager to see how the twins had grown. Any interested boys could just cool their heels and wait to see her another night. She was confident they would.

Holly prepared stuffed rainbow trout for their supper while Mrs. Buckley kept tabs on baby Bradley and the twins waited fairly patiently for their cereal. The rest of the family gabbed in the living room while their bellies rumbled and delicious aromas emanated from the kitchen.

Holly called them to the meal and it was lucky the dining room table could seat eight people. Conversation, as is usual with large families, was noisy and brisk, punctuated by frequent laughter. Mrs. Buckley was invited to join right in; the Lomax family was casual about things like that.

Lori couldn't resist spending most of the evening playing with little Alexa and even took her to potty when it was necessary. Grandpa Shep tickled and talked to Arliss who responded with delighted laughter.

When Andy brought Bradley downstairs, Madeleine hustled over to take him in her arms. This was the eleventh child in this third generation and it was almost a dream come true for her to have so many grandchildren. Gillian had Robby, Ryan and their new twins Stephen and Sabrina. Margo had Jamie, Maddie, Mallen and Marnie, Harvey's wife, Lori, was due to have her baby right after Christmas and Andy now had Alexa, Arliss and Bradley. Madeleine still hoped for an even dozen grandchildren at least. "

"Nicky and Allyn had better start crackin'", she said now.

"Now, Madeleine, you know Nicky. You can't ever tell him what to do and you never know what he will do," Shep reminded her, "But he claims that they do want children pretty soon."

That fall was the coldest in years and the snow had come early. It looked like it could be a long winter for the tri-county area that included Pleasantview and Bluewater Village. It was warm and cozy in the big house, though, and the growing Andy Lomax family took comfort in the knowledge that spring would come eventually. It always did.