unexpected silver lining

april 2027
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(Schehl Household Profile)
Delaney Schehl (64 years), Jared (63 years), Lizzie (12 years)

narrated by: Lizzie

We lived a very routine life, I would come home from school and often find Mom resting on Dad’s hammock before her shift at the restaurant.

She’d go over a list of things that I had to do that evening, most of which were very much obvious. Both of my parents are fine by me, but Mom has the tendency to be more of an annoyance than Dad.

Me and Dad get each other. We get our work done, but our passion is the train table. Every evening that Mom works, me and Dad are out in the garage adding signs and buildings. It has really come along over the years, and while Mom doesn’t understand, she doesn’t put a stop to it.

When Mom is home though, she tends to have a million little things for us to work on. Dusting this or organizing that. She detests clutter and the wasting of time. If we are lucky, we get to watch a tv show before bed, but it’s never exactly a thriller. She doesn’t like anything that is popular, so I can’t contribute to conversations on media at school.

All in all though, I had no complaints. I might have enjoyed having one of my siblings living at home still, but they’ve been gone so long that it’s really more a whimsy than a remembrance or yearning.

But everything changed in the beginning of April. There had been a gas leak in Millwood, and apparently none of the stay at home people in town bothered to turn it in. It wasn’t near the commercial section, just residential, and apparently it stemmed from our house. Mom had been visiting with Peter, and called me at school to say the majority of the house was lost in a gas explosion. They were able to salvage a few items from my bedroom, being the farthest from the leak, but still it was mostly a few dolls.

We had to move, and start everything over. At first, I was devastated. It was the only home I ever remembered, though Mom and Dad had moved around frequently with my big sisters and brother. They had never led that lifestyle with me.

Mom and Dad involved me in the house search, and they downsized from three bedrooms to two. There isn’t even a garage, and our entire train table was lost. Mom says that when I move out that Dad can turn my room into a train room. But that just cut out what we do on our evenings home for the rest of my childhood.

Dad was disappointed, but when he found the price to be quite affordable, and realized that they were getting a large sum of money back from the insurance agency, he was singing a different tune. Now he has retirement on the horizon, which was something they thought would never happen.

I’m so glad that our dog was okay, he could have died in it all like Mom and Dad’s fish had.

While I wish it had never happened, it turned out to bring some better changes. Suddenly we have money. We aren’t like the Rockefellers here, but we are going out to eat almost every weekend. We never ate out before, well Mom and Dad might, but never with me.

It’s exciting to be part of a crowd, especially with so many local Millwood residents. It makes me excited for the weekend, and to be part of this small town. I hope that one day the waitresses know me by name, and by my favorite meal to order. That is why I always order the same thing, one day they’ll get it!

Mom is much more relaxed now too. She isn’t as nit-picky about cleaning things up, mostly because we lost everything and with it all the clutter. She decorated the house to have positive energy, and says that she feels much more at home there than the old house.

My sister, Lauren has told me countless times that Mom isn’t very good at being maternal. But I just don’t get that from her. She always listens to my stories of school, and asks about my friends if she knows they’re going through something. Of course, Dad is better at it all than Mom, but I’ve never felt her lacking when she isn’t at work.

From their stories, I think that our parents have changed over the years and that I have a completely different childhood from them.

After our late lunch, we even walk around town. I can’t believe that Millwood is actually getting a shopping district. New places are coming this summer, and I am most anxious to see what they have in store.

Without the train table though, I find home life more boring than ever. I get my homework done, and Mom bought Dad a hammock replacement. He’s pretty content out there in his quiet place.

We both devour the newest train magazines when they arrive on the doorstep. I get home from school before Dad does from work, so I usually squirrel it away in my room so I can read it before he takes it to the hammock.

Mom invited Meg, Peter, and his wife, Elise to dinner. Mom insisted she would invite Lauren and Isaac if the house was larger. She’s made peace that holidays won’t be easy to host anymore. I think it was a slight for sure, we have barstools, and our own laps if we sat on the sofa. I stay out of Mom and Lauren’s relationship though.

Mom keeps prying about them having a baby, and I can tell that Elise hates it. Peter does his best to change the subject, but I can tell they aren’t happy that it’s taking so long to conceive.

Mom had me at 52, she doesn’t get infertility. It’s not that I’m a 12 year old expert, but I can see they are uncomfortable with it. I don’t ever mention it, and figure when they do get pregnant, that they will tell us.

Dad is great at changing the subject. Elise adores him much more than Mom.

Meg is successfully avoiding the limelight with Peter’s baby-making failures the topic of choice. I know that she’s seeing a guy named Jaron, but only Peter and Lauren have met him. She hasn’t even mentioned him to Mom and Dad yet. I think it’d be odd to not tell my parents I had a boyfriend, but my big siblings all have their little secrets.

I like Elise, but I’m just a kid to her, whereas I’m a kid-sister to Peter. The distinction is important, and makes me much closer to my brother than his wife. I wonder when I grow up, if we will all be friends, or if I’ll always be too young for the adult conversations.

In the meantime, I’ve been having fun with my friends. Leaving elementary school behind has been the greatest thing, and I always liked school. Now I’m great friends with Vivienne and Cicely and Dad always takes us all to Mixed-Tape to hang out. It’s for teens, but it’s mostly us tweens that haunt the place.

There was even a boy named Sawyer who seemed to like me. I never considered that a boy might like me, it always seemed far reach, more like something that happened to my older sisters.

He even complimented me, and asked if anyone had ever told me I was pretty before. The answer is of course yes, but only if my parents count, which I know enough to not say that.

But then I said something that he was totally bored with. He couldn’t even feign interest as I’ve been taught to do all my life.

I was even more wounded when I was playing pool with Vivienne, and he seemed to flirt with Cicely.

Everyone likes Cicely. She isn’t even super extroverted like Vivienne, but I guess she’s just someone that everyone can be natural with. I know that I’m honored she considers me one of her best friends.

She insists that her secret is not taking herself too seriously, though neither her or Vivienne are ever serious about much. When I see them with their Mom, I often wonder how they are her kids. Perhaps their Dad, Zeke was more silly in his youth? Though I can’t even imagine that ether.

Cicely cheered me up about Sawyer by mimicking her Dad, with his serious expression, and attempts at explaining things. He doesn’t often try to be humorous, but he always makes me laugh anyway.

We ended up having a good time, just hanging out the three of us. I know eventually boys like Sawyer will try to screw up our friendship, it seems every teen novel is based on the horrible love-triangle, but for now I feel pretty safe with my friends.

By the end of the month, my only complaint was that I didn’t have flawless skin like my friends. Pimples are plaguing me, and everyone in the family says that I’m just like Peter in this way. I’d rather be like him with mad-skills at painting, not a predisposed condition for acne.

Vivienne gave me some of her acne cream to try, and here’s hoping that I don’t have to spend all summer trying to cover my zits with my bangs.


Notes: The house loss was an ROS. They lost their house but were able to save a handful of items. I changed it to a gas leak, because the natural disaster I had rolled, doesn’t actually happen in Washington. I had them as fully-insured, so they got the value of their previous house and are sitting the best they ever have.

Sawyer is a townie that flirted with Lizzie then moved on to Cicely. And everyone really loves Cicely, but both of the twins are really quite nice, well-liked, and terribly goofy. They really aren’t much like their parents in that regard, and I love their antics. I really like this age of young friends, before the full complications of boyfriends/girlfriends set in.

Their new house tour on tumblr: part i/part ii/part iii

Thanks for reading, and hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!
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6 thoughts on “unexpected silver lining

  1. Well, that worked out really well for them! When I saw the title, I thought maybe they had gotten a chance card for money, so the gas leak was a big surprise. I thought maybe your lot got corrupted and you had to move them out, rather than an ROS. Poor Lizzie, losing the train table! But maybe this frees her up to do more things with her peers. It is a fun age, I agree. Her expression looking at the zit at the end is so cute! I really like your teen hangout arcade. Cicely was so funny with that dad-like thoughtful expression. And Sawyer was so rude just yawning in her face! Was she talking about trains?

    1. The ROS was something like tsunami or something if I recall, which while I suppose it could happen in Washington state… it would demolish more than the Schehl’s house! Seemed like a much bigger storyline than I really wanted to do, and I had no desire to demolish more houses, I was never attached to their previous house so it wasn’t a real loss to me.

      I felt sad for Lizzie!! I built the new house over the summer, and had totally blanked on the train table. I had tried making it a smaller, more affordable house for them so that Jared and Delaney could retire before they die, and there just isn’t room anywhere. I can’t even make the lot bigger to give them a garage because they have a neighbor right next to them, and are on the corner lot.

      The teen arcade is fun! I downloaded it eons ago, and have given it makeovers every few years to keep it fresh. And you totally made me laugh regarding Lizzie talking about trains with Sawyer, she might have been!! At different times they were talking, sharing interests, and talking about her hobbies… I don’t recall at which point he made that face, but I should have been paying attention! Trains would not be the way to win a teen’s heart I’m sure!!

      Thanks for commenting Shannon!

  2. Oh, man, that ROS is a rough one! But I’m glad it turned out okay for them at least.

    Lizzie is so cute wishing to be included in her big siblings lives and conversations. I too wonder how their relationships might change when she’s older. I agree though, this is a really sweet age. I love how passionate she is about trains, lol!

    1. I might have been inclined to skip that ROS entirely if I loved the house, but I’ve always been meh over this one. Lizzie’s relationship with her older siblings is one thing I’m very curious about. Elise doesn’t seem to have much interest in cultivating a relationship with her, which I can relate with. My husband’s sister is way younger than him, she’s only five years older than our eldest. She’s just started university, and I have a hard time relating to her on a more adult level… she was the kid that used to run around screaming for holidays, give me huge headaches, and make me terrified of kids…

      lol her passion on trains cracks me up. I see her as bit of an old-timer spirit about her, with her aged parents. When Meg and Lauren were teens, this household had constant tantrums, and trash can kicking. It’s a completely different household these days! Thanks for commenting Laura!

  3. Oh my gosh, I actually thought one of Lizzie’s parents was going to die when I started reading this! My Elspeth was born when her parents were around the same age and she lost her dad when she was just a little bit older than Lizzie. I’m glad I was wrong on that. Losing the house obviously sucks but it sounds like they’re finding the good things in their new home, despite the lack of the train set. That would have been like a real end of childhood sort of thing for Lizzie. 😦

    Lizzie is adorable and I love her “voice”! It’s very sweet how much she looks up to her brothers and sisters and I think she’s really insightful as well, being able to see how her parents have been different with her than they were with their older kids. Let’s hope boys like Sawyer don’t succeed in tearing apart her friendship group, because I really like her with Vivienne and Cicely and a girl needs her friends. 😉

    1. I am so glad that her parents aren’t dying! That would be terrible, I had been so sad for Elspeth when that had happened. 😦 Losing a house is way better than losing a parent! I felt bad about the train set, and totally agree that it is like an end of childhood for Lizzie.

      She rolls so many wants for her big brother and sisters, and they are all pretty busy with their adult lives. I can imagine her really looking up to them, and wanting to be apart of that group too. I’m curious how Meg’s boyfriend, Jaron might treat her.

      At first, I was very excited about Sawyer! (Lizzie has blond recessive from her Grandma), but then he was all yawning towards her, and then making some moves on Cicely, and that instantly dampened that enthusiasm. She’s way too young to date right now, both agewise and maturity too. I really like this trio of friends. Thanks for commenting Carla!

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