making it

april 2016
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Abby Creelman (72 years), Eva Barthelet (42 years), Paloma Creelman (17 years), Linny Barthelet (7 years),

narrated by: Paloma

During the evening it’s just me and Linny. Mom works 9-9 at the Mini Sprout, and Grandma still works at the Pizza Palace. I had to quit working at The Red Mill after Eric laid off Mom, and with that, I lost my scholarship for working at a local business.

Oliver insists that everything is going to work out. But he isn’t the one left behind here, trying to stay positive, do well in school, and take care of a little sister.

I sign up for the free cooking contests whenever there is one in our area, bringing Linny with me. It’s our chance to eat, after all we relied on Oliver’s family for dinner.

We try to binge eat in secret so the other contestants and judges don’t disqualify us.

Mom and Grandma always say I’m a great cook, and should open my own bakery. It’s something I’d like to do, but I’m realistic enough on real world businesses and their fail rate. Not that I’m anywhere close to having the money to buy a property. Mom has been trying to encourage me to take it one step at a time, that business owners don’t just buy properties and make it. Sure, I could work at the Pizza Palace with Grandma, but it’s embarrassing enough having her work there. Especially with Meg and Peter working there.

The judging part of the competition takes a long time, there’s usually several tables to go through before it’s my turn. I think they should have an age limit, instead of just allowing anyone to enter.

Linny usually falls asleep on the sofa in the front hall while she waits. It’s like Thanksgiving dinner for us when we have these competitions, and we both get sleepy after we eat.

I manage to win this particular contest, I think the judge felt pity on me because the dessert to my side was extensively more impressive. I’m not complaining though, fifty dollars is fifty dollars. It’s enough to buy a few groceries to last until Mom or Grandma get paid.

While I make dinner, I usually let Linny to herself, it’s generally rainy here, and she’s always jumping in the puddles. At least she can clean up after herself, and take a bath when she needs without needing me to nag at her to do it.

Sometimes I forget that she’s just a kid, and could use boundaries, heck I’m still just a kid most of the time.

She came inside, too tired to eat, and wanted to just go to bed. Usually she stays up until Mom gets home, but was whiny that she needed to sleep, and now.

An hour later I was sitting down to attempt to catch up on my homework, when I heard a huge coughing fit from her upstairs.

And then a thud.

Without a doubt, the worst empty-panic-striken feeling in the world grabbed a hold of me as I flew up the stair case. I called for an ambulance, the operator assured me that she’d be fine. She was breathing, and even opened her eyes a little, and told me she was just tired. It only assured me enough to think she wasn’t going to die.

Mom met us at the hospital, with Grandma right behind her. It took a few hours just to get seen, you’d think an ambulance ride would put you at the top of the priority, but she was quickly dropped down when Linny sat up and said she was hungry for dinner.

A thousand dollars later, at least Mom said, we were released. They said she needs to eat more, and that her cold will be gone in no time.

Mom’s worried about the hospital bills. She sat me down to talk to me about college. She’s tried before, but I never want to listen. We can’t afford college, I know this, but Oliver’s family can’t ether and he got scholarships and loans. Mom doesn’t think I should take out loans for school. My dream job isn’t in a hospital or courtroom, but in a bakery, and that’s where I should put my focus and energy, she says.

She makes me so angry, I can barely look at her. I know she just wants to keep me around to watch Linny. It’s like she doesn’t believe in me that I could be a lawyer if I wanted. She just doesn’t get it, sure I like to bake, but I want to earn a living. I care more about having money than I care about freaking chocolate chip cookies.

Her boyfriend, Gideon is over all the time whenever Mom is, he fixes the television, something Grandma had to do. He even checked her oil on the beat up wagon, though he doesn’t know how to actually change the oil, Mom still has to pay to have that done.

Even Linny is warming up to him, she doesn’t even know our Dad, he died when Mom was still pregnant. She doesn’t see what a betrayal the entire thing is.

When the mail lady comes by to drop off the mail, and my letter from Eastborough University is in the mix, I know that this is my break. I can’t wait to show Mom that I can earn a decent living, that the bad luck of the Creelman family ends with me. I’m even generous in my imaginary scenario, I’d most definitely help pay Grandma’s furniture loan off, and pay their bills.

In the end, it’s a small letter instead. “We’re sorry, many exemplary students applied this year…” The generic letter that’s given when people aren’t really sorry at all, when what they really want to say is, “Paloma Creelman, you’re family is worthless, and we don’t think you’ll amount to anything.

Notes: She really did try, but not until her junior year, and she never got that grade to go up past a D. She has quite a few skills as well, just didn’t get that homework done timely. Paloma is a *very* unhappy girl, which is only going to get worse when she ages up an realizes she didn’t get to go to college for certain. Linny really did have a giant coughing fit, walk out of the bedroom, and pass out! Scared the crap out of me! I thought the Grim was on his way in, but she was fine, just exhausted, and starving.

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11 thoughts on “making it

  1. Oh, Paloma…I wonder what’s next for her. I can see why she’s so unhappy with trying to find food and money for food and care for her sister and then to get rejected from university. Perhaps she could apply for culinary school in another country. She reminds me of one of my students-much too young to be caring for her younger siblings and her grades suffered as a result. 😦 Makes me want to cry

    1. Thanks Starr, I don’t know what will happen next for Paloma, her LTW is culinary career, she’s nearly maxed with cooking enthusiasm, and I want a bakery for her. Cause I don’t have one, and she’s constantly rolling wants to cook/bake. I think she’d be happiest with it. But that’s not going to happen at 18.

      This whole family has had nothing but hard times, given to it by the game, and ROS. I feel for Paloma, she’s had a lot of responsibility on her lap, and had to grow up too quick.

  2. I feel terrible for Paloma. She has a lot on her shoulders at such a young age and her mom’s lack of support for her dreams makes things worse. I can understand why she’s so unhappy. 😦

    1. Thanks Shana, I would like to say from Eva’s pov, she just doesn’t want Paloma to spend a lot of money for college, to study for something that she doesn’t really love/wouldn’t be happy doing. Plus, she knows first hand how horrible debt and interest rates are, they are struggling to pay off their own debts. So she doesn’t mean ill towards Paloma, but Paloma doesn’t always see logic, and college was as much about the experience as it was the education. Her boyfriend is there, where else would he want to be?

  3. Poor Paloma! I have a terrible relationship with my dad because of his lack of support so I feel her pain. I don’t think she should give up, one door closes, you just search for another! I hope she’s strong enough to find her other doors, because she is certainly capable of doing so.

    1. Thanks Jennifer, I hope that Paloma stays strong too, and that at some point, things turn around for her. Not sure what I’ll do with her in the mean time, I’m aging her up in the summer, I’m sure she’s staying with her Mom cause she can’t afford anything on her own. Like I wrote above to Shana, Eva doesn’t want ill for Paloma, just watching out for her really, not wanting her daughter to start her adult life with a large chunk of debt, when her LTW is culinary (aka a bakery), and that doesn’t require a degree. She’s actually encouraging Paloma to follow her dream of the bakery, and giant debt would get in the way of paying for it eventually. It’s not what Paloma wants to hear, and her first dream at the moment is just to be able to have money, so she’s not as concerned with dreams. But Eva would want the best for Paloma, and to have all her dreams realized.

  4. Oh no, I was really hoping Paloma would make to university! This family really hasn’t had anything but bad luck. This family really deserves a huge lottery win or something! I think Gideon is about the only good thing that’s happened to them lately – not that Paloma sees it that way. Understandably, though.

    I can see things from Eva’s side, I have to say. I do think sometimes mothers know their daughters better than they know themselves, especially at this age. I’m speaking from experience here and my own mother turned out to be right. I can see Paloma with a bakery though I can understand why she wouldn’t even dare to think about that at the moment. It seems so unattainable.

    1. Thanks for reading Carla. 🙂 I’m glad you can see Eva’s side too, she really is a Mom who tries hard, and I think she’s right as well. If Paloma had got it all together I would have sent her, but I agree with Eva. The debt involved with college, and for a career that I don’t require a 4 year degree for… it just wouldn’t necessarily be worth it. Not financially wise anyway. I was curious if Paloma would roll wants for a major though, and take any type of direction.

      Gideon is about the best thing, Abby isn’t a spring chicken, and I’d personally like Abby to have someone with her when her Mom eventually dies. I don’t have any natural deaths until 2021!! And of course I won’t say who that is. But I think Abby/Eva would always be aware of the death possibility. 😉 I’m seriously geeked over aging up Ethan to see when his time comes, and actually having elder deaths.. wow morbid much? But I haven’t gotten to do that yet on the blog!

      I am real excited about Paloma’s unknown future, I don’t have anything planned for her, just the hope that someday she can run the bakery that I downloaded loads of junk for! But even a playable could do it if need be.

  5. Poor Paloma, she had her haert set on going to university, and prooving that she could make it, that the Creelman bad luck would indeed stop with her, and than she gets that letter saying she didn’t get in… I felt so sad for her.
    I do hope she starts thinking about her mother differently. She just means well, and it’s not that she doesn’t think Paloma can’t be a lawyer, it’s just that it’s not Paloma’s big dream, and when there’s not a lot of money I understand she want her daughter to focus on her dream.

    1. Thanks Tanja, I hope that the Creelman bad luck can end with Paloma and Linny though, I went through their family history with my husband the other day, and they’ve really had bad luck. Intending to do a separate post on their life pre-blog at some point I think. Even though she didn’t get to go to college, her dream job doesn’t require it, so hopefully in the end she can still obtain it.

  6. Man, that’s a tough break for Paloma. I can’t even imagine how much it must hurt to see that kind of door close in your face. I hope she grows up to realize that this isn’t the end of everything, that in a way her life hasn’t really started yet.

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