Harvey began going into the gym a little later in the day so he could help Lori with bathing and feeding the two rambunctious toddlers who were not always happy to wait their turn.
The former man-cave of Harvey's had been converted to a playroom and Harvey had done a lot of stenciling and painting on the walls to decorate it. That put him in the mood to look around for other home projects once he was done.
After he'd had playtime with Graylan and Valrae he was off to the gym for the day. So far, the place was not yet running in the black, but it was coming along nicely. It was just that the expansion and renovations had not been cheap.
Going shopping at Goth's Apparel one day Lori ran into Melanie's oldest sister, Yvette, and Elle's dad, Julian. Yvette told her that their home car restoration business was going very well as was the daily fruit stand they had. Lori thought she looked wonderful; she was wearing her hair differently, just scooped up in a casual ponytail, but it made her look years younger.
"Wow, Yvette! You are looking just fantastic!"
Lori believed in telling people anything good you thought about them the moment you thought it. If you waited you usually never got around to it and everyone liked to hear that someone admired or approved of their actions or looks. Yvette's delighted surprise told Lori that she'd been right.
Julian said he was on his day off from his restaurant and told them that Elle and Corky were very busy with their art store. Lori said she hadn't been there since it opened and she would be sure to get over there soon.
At the gym, which he had renamed from the 1-2-3 Gym to the Feel the Burn Health Club, Harvey always met new or potential customers with a friendly hello and was available for questions about the membership and how much personal training he could provide if it was wanted. It was sometimes hard to squeeze in his own workouts, but he managed to do so. At the moment he was operating the gym by himself; it sure kept the costs down.
He was happy to see his old dorm mate, Colby Goth, come in one day. Colby confirmed the rumor that he was now married. His wife, MacKenzie, was the girl he'd met through Holly and Chelsea while at University.
"I can't tell you how grateful to I am to those girls," he grinned, "We're expecting our first baby soon."
Harvey congratulated him,
"Man, that's great. You just wait, Colby, you're gonna love it; fatherhood is somethin' else. Our two rug-rats are the coolest little people I know. I just happen to have a few photos here..."
With that Harvey reached behind the counter and whipped out a few candid photos he'd recently taken of Graylan and Valrae.
Harvey's twin sister, Holly, was married to Andy Lomax and one day Andy's father, Larry Max, came in and bought a membership. Harvey was surprised to find out who he was; he sure didn't look like somebody's father the way he was dressed. Of course, he was single so that was part of it, Harvey supposed. He was friendly and easy to talk to, though, and Harvey liked him almost immediately.
Back at home Lori and Harvey were trying to teach a nursery rhyme to the twins. Graylan was eager to learn, but Valrae was stubborn. She was quickly becoming a daddy's girl, still Harvey had to be very persuasive to get her to sing along with him.
The twins were a joy to their parents; cute and funny, but into everything. Lori told her sister Grace she couldn't take her eyes off them for a moment.
They often played in their bedroom while Harvey and Lori painted in the studio down the hall, but the playroom downstairs was their favorite place.
Lori still loved to go shopping and she bought a lot of the twins' clothes at consignment shops, but she always stopped by Goth's. You never knew who you might run into there. One day it was Grace. Lori knew she didn't see her often enough considering how close she lived, but the twins just kept her so busy. She was able to get away today only because her mother had dropped by and offered to watch Gray and Val. She had to let Grace in on the latest gossip regarding Jenny Hammond--she had it on the best authority, her sister-in-law Allyn...
"Hey, they've got this picture taking booth here now," Grace said, "How long has it been since we had our picture taken together?"
Little Lori with big sister Grace who was a teenager then.
"Too long!" Lori agreed and they decided to remedy that situation right then.
"Do we fight over who gets to keep the picture?" Grace asked.
"No, we just pay for two copies. No problemo."
Life with Gray and Val was so different from that of a childless married couple in so many ways. No more sleeping in; even on weekdays, of course. Their day began very early. And being awakened in the middle of the night to take either or both of the twins to the potty or get them a bottle was not unusual either.
They'd added a kiddie pool and a rocking pony to their yard for the children and enjoyed watching them play. Valrae loved the pony right away. As for the pool, Graylan hated wearing his little swimsuit and as soon as they put him in the pool he pulled it off every single time.
"He thinks he should be in there 'nekkid' like in the tub," Lori laughed. Finally they quit even trying to get him to wear it.
"He's just a baby, still," Harvey said, "And he's in his own backyard, what does it matter?"
"He'll have to get used to wearing swim trunks sooner or later," Lori replied, "But you're right; I vote for later."
Valrae wanted to be read to constantly and Lori thought perhaps she might become a bookworm once she learned to read since Lori had always been one. Graylan's favorite game was peek-a-boo and he never tired of it. Melora told them back in North Carolina they called it "peep-eye". That sounded strange to Lori but she knew every region had its colloquialisms. Whatever the game was called, "Little Man" loved it and would laugh uncontrollably when Lori played it with him.
When the twins had their nap, Lori and Harvey grabbed a little time for themselves; often going for a dip in the pool. Lori loved the slide, but sometimes got a bit nervous about diving.
"Aw, c'mon, honey. You can do it," Harvey encouraged.
"Ugh. Why do you always ask me to do this when you know I feel like I'm walking the plank at the edge of a sword?" she complained.
"Cause you look so cute up there; I like being the one who rescues you when you land in 'the drink'."
She clucked her tongue,
"Harvey. You're so bad."
"I know. It's part of my charm."
She gave him a flirty smile and then did a swan-dive off the board.When she smiled like that she would duck her head toward her uplifted shoulder in a mock-shy way. It made her look like a little girl and Harvey usually said "Uh-oh, she's wearing her cute-face". John had told him years ago that Lori had been making that face since she was two and it worked quite well in getting things her own way. Harvey had to agree. And he was almost positive he'd seen it on Valrae's face a time or two.
Next blog update: Harvey and Lori Ferguson Ch. 15 The Case of the Wayward Desk