narrated by: Emma
Chris is working second shift, which leaves me and the kid to fend for ourselves at night. I honestly don’t know what to do with him, and he’s not a very demanding kid. I imagine if I had gotten a high maintenance kid, that I would have lost my mind by now. We have a table that my Grandma bought for us, but no one eats at it. He’s perfectly fine to eat a grilled cheese sandwich on the sofa for dinner.
His fifth birthday is this month, and my Mom volunteered having a party at her house. Ever since we reconciled, she’s crazy about throwing parties or mini-family reunions of torture as I prefer to call them. But Chaz is super psyched over the event, he’s still at the stage where birthdays are a pretty big deal.
He insists that I sit in his room with him while he plays. It’s the most bored I’ve ever been in my life. I don’t remember my Mom or Dad sitting in our room watching us play with our toys.
I try to keep us busy with something, whether it’s our apartment park, or my sister Grace and her kids coming over. She doesn’t mind driving down here when Benjamin is working, just as long as we don’t play outside. She’s terrified of this ‘side of the city’ and thinks her kids are gonna get capped if they play outdoors.
Ainsley and Chaz are little buddies, and he loves having another kid to play with, even if it’s a younger girl. Ainsley starts preschool at the end of this month, and he’s excited to teach her the ropes at Longfellow Elementary.
Sometimes I catch these glimpses of Chris in Chaz, and it’s partially horrifying, but equally humoring too. Growing up, I never saw much of myself in my family, always feeling like the odd one out. So I didn’t expect to see me and Chris in Chaz, it wasn’t anything that had even crossed my radar. He’s not a bad kid to have.
I try to get Chaz tired out that he falls asleep at an acceptable hour, but he insists on staying up until Chris gets home. I’m grateful that he’s a kid now and not crapping in his pants anymore, but micromanaging every little thing isn’t for me ether. Pick up your clothes, brush your teeth, get dressed, rinse off your dish. It’s old, and I’ve only been doing it for one year.
At least I can manage to get him prepared for bed before Chris gets home at eleven, he rushes through it all, then watches through the window for his carpool to drop him off. We both miss having a car, but there’s no off-street parking at this place.
One hug later, and the kid practically tucks himself into bed, and falls asleep. I suppose it isn’t too shabby, my niece Isla is a terror, and Chaz has never been like that.
This is the only part of the day that me and Chris get to spend together, and the only part that feels like really living. We rarely get out of the house to the bars these days, not because we won’t leave our kid behind with a sitter, but because Erin is pregnant and in a coma induced sleep as soon as Logan is in bed. She’s a proper Mom too, and he’s out before eight o’clock, no eleven-thirty business like we have here.
Colin usually comes by to play games, and I just hang out, eating crappy food out of boredom, and watch the boys trash talk each other.
Colin and his twin brother Luca used to annoy the tar out of me when they lived below us at our old place. But I’ve grown fond of them over the years, and we rarely see Luca anymore. Apparently nobody sees him, Colin says he’s wrapped around Nadia’s finger, but I don’t know that it’s a bad thing necessarily.
When I don’t work the next morning, we don’t bother sneaking into bed until the sun is rising. Chaz knows how to grab some juice out of the fridge, and turn on the television to entertain himself. I might worry more if he wasn’t a good kid, but he can’t even reach the deadbolt to get out of the apartment, so I don’t fret.
Erin took my place as Lorelei’s best friend, I used to be sore over it, but in the end we just went separate ways. I was invited to the wedding, and I intend to go, maybe mend the friendship. Erin is feeling overwhelmed with being the maid of honor though, and I’m glad it’s not me.
She calls twice while I’m there, and I’m already over the wedding preparation stage. I’m glad that I just eloped.
Chaz plays alright with Logan, he’s only three years old, so he’s a bit too babyish for him. Pretty much addicted to peek-a-boo, which just seems ridiculously stupid. Chaz was obsessed with watching tv and his Dad play video games from the get-go.
Not to mention that Logan isn’t potty trained yet. Erin is a good Mom, but it makes me feel better that she can’t get her son potty trained.
During the week when I work, Chaz stays home with Chris, and I go down to the salon. I hate this place. I didn’t realize until recently that I just really hate working here. I cut people’s hair, and talk to them idly about their boring lives, and their lame problems that are always tiny, but are blown out of proportion. I’m just over it.
I’m darn good at it though, cutting the hair, and styling it. I get more requests now than Grace does, and it does bring in good money. We were given a business grant from the county, and split it down the center. I walked away with $15,000 in my pocket, and there is nothing else that would bring in that kind of money for me.
We had one employee, and she quit. Now she’s replaced by another person, and I can barely force myself to remember her name. She grates on my nerves more than Jocelyn did, and the only consolation for putting up with her is that she gets grossed out about the stupidest crap, and it humors me on a child-like level. She seems to think I’m hilarious though, and totally doing it all in good fun.
On a rare afternoon that we were both home, we took Chaz outside to play, and Chris got all quiet and serious, said he had to talk to me about some stuff. I instantly felt sick, like he’d been cheating on me, and my mind started racing, all completely ridiculous. In this relationship, I have been the one to wander, more than one time, and as far as I know Chris has never done that.
Chris wants to own his own garage, fix cars for locals, but also repair cars and sell them for profit. I’ve known this was his dream since forever, he started talking about it more when I found out I was unexpectedly pregnant with Chaz. Back then he wanted to do the parenting gig, open his auto shop, flip cars, and raise our kid right, and all I could think was that it might not even be his kid. One thing I thank my lucky stars for is that Chaz is Chris’ kid, through and through.
Apparently Chris has found the garage he wants to buy, it’s attached to a liquor shop, and is abandoned. Doesn’t mean the city doesn’t want a chunk of change for it though, they are asking $79,000 for it.
I can’t help but laugh at that amount, they won’t ever get that, but not only that, we will never have that much money. We both make squat, and my $15,000 grant seems like nothing next to that amount.
Aside from that, he told me that he wants to buy a house, get Chaz his own backyard, and a bedroom that has a window in it.
He wants to know what I want to do, what my dream is for our future, and make a plan to make it all happen. I wasn’t expecting that. All my life, I’ve just floated from one thing to the next, going to community college because my sister Grace did, sleeping with men because they expected it, drinking and smoking cause no one wanted me to do that. Even working at the Salon is Grace’s dream, not mine.
I didn’t really know what I wanted, and so he started going over the finances and what it would take to get to each goal. A loan for the garage was mandatory, but he was hoping the city might cut him a deal if he could save a hefty chunk of the amount.
He felt that saving for the garage would take longer than buying a $30,000 house down the road, but that it would pay itself off and provide a better living than working at the gas station garage making minimum wage.
I agreed with that idea, better to set up a livelihood for us, than buy a house and struggle to make ends meet. He was pumped to hear that, pulling me to my feet, and telling me we could go walk by the garage, that it was just two blocks down.
We did end up walking down, and it looks like a dump, but I can see Chris owning it one day, and really making it a good thing. And even though the garage is his dream, it feels like I’m apart of it, and that this is our life that we share. It’s the first time I’ve felt like I was a contributor, and not just dragged along.
Over the weekend we had Chaz’s fifth birthday bash, I was in a great mood, knowing what we had planned for our future. Suddenly everything seemed more attainable than it ever had before, but even that mood can’t stay long when I’m hanging out with my Mom. She just really annoys me, no matter what she says, I can’t help but roll my eyes like a teenager around her.
Chaz had a great time though, and he’s the reason why I try to act my age around my Mom.
We ended up all getting heat exhaustion, except the kids since they abused the sprinkler for the entire day. Mom had to drag Dad inside, he just restocked his pond, and was ecstatic every time he got a big one.
The most fun for me was after it started raining and everyone went inside. Grace decided to jump in the sprinkler, and I got a wild hair to jump in with her. It was freezing, thundering, and lightening, and Mom kept yelling that we were going to get struck down dead.
All of that made it the most fun I’ve had in a long time. I hang out with Grace regularly, and I’d say we are close, but she’s a Mom, and she’s always in ‘mom-mode’ and this afternoon she wasn’t a Mom, she was my sister. We danced around, mocked the kids, and laughed until our stomachs hurt.
It was the perfect ending to the month, everything just feels more hopeful, and though I don’t necessarily love being shrink to all our salon customers, I do love working with my big sister. It’s nice to see that even though she’s thirty now, that she can still kick back and have a good time. I don’t picture myself ever living in suburbia, but the dream that Chris has for our family, seems to be the perfect fit for me, and I’m looking forward to saving for that dream.
Notes: Emma rolled the want to have a good reputation! She was on the negative side of that reputation bar in the past, and I took it as a sign that she’s being a bit more positive on her outlook.
Chris is going to buy the auto shop that Pru built a while back for him. This household was supposed to be played way back when, then I got my new computer, my game broke, and I pushed them to the end of the round. I still don’t have their side of South Port built up all the way, I’m just trying to ignore it, because that is something that really bothers me in my hood.
I also built a house that I intend for them to buy one day, so I’m excited for them. They will take out a loan for the garage, but I want them to use cash for the house. I’ll see what they have saved up by the time I get back to them in the next round. Hopefully Salon Sisters will get another bonus perk, and this $15,000 will have gained some good interest.
Thanks for reading!