We woke up way too early Monday morning, energized from our opulent surroundings and incredible view. Although grateful for the Feng’s accommodations, I hadn’t really gotten a good night’s sleep, and the twins still looked tired as well. Since we were in a virtual stranger’s home, I’d never relaxed enough to fall deeply asleep, instead taking a series of cat naps.
Our hosts had told us to help ourselves to breakfast in the morning. So, the kids made themselves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Once they’d finished eating, I sent them off for their first day of school.
I, on the other hand, notified the administration that I’d be taking a vacation day. I had three days available and really needed the time to make enough money to create a temporary home for the twins and me.
I used the facilities, grabbed a quick PB&J sandwich and washed the dishes. Then I ventured off to accomplish my mission.
As I came off the elevator, I couldn’t help but notice a slim, blond man in a bright, floral suit. It takes a confident man to pull off a suit like that. While I was looking in that direction, I spotted what looked like an electrical box and decided to check it out.
On the back of the box was a colorful poster. I carefully peeled it off, thinking, maybe it’s worth a few bucks. If not, it can decorate the walls of our house once we have one.
The massive windows of the modern skyscraper really brought the outside in. As I was looking around, trying to find my way out, I noticed how symmetrical the building was. True to form, there was another electrical box across the atrium like the first one I found. I ran over to check it out.
Sure enough, there was another colorful poster to add to my new collection. I needed to get going but wanted to grab a shower somewhere first. After all the running around I did yesterday, I needed one, and it didn’t feel right using the shower at the Fengs’ apartment.
An expensive building like this caters to an upscale clientele. So, offering amenities like an onsite gym makes a lot of sense. Luckily for me, gyms usually have locker rooms with showers. Let’s hope it’s not a members-only club.
I walked into Skye Fitness like I belonged there and quickly noticed it was a multi-level facility. I took a guess that the locker rooms would be downstairs and went in that direction.
I entered through the ladies’ door and found a clean, modern locker room with a fuschia sink.
Most importantly, there were individual rooms with showers! They even had fluffy, white terrycloth robes for members to use.
I walked out of the shower feeling clean and refreshed. I quickly got dressed and went upstairs.
I spotted Bjorn whom I’d met yesterday at the park. He was focused on his workout, so I didn’t interrupt him. On the treadmill next to him was a friendly looking guy with tats on his left arm. I watched him for a few minutes and finally introduced myself, learning that his name was Paolo.
I was getting hungry and was still tired. When Victor’s driver spotted me exiting the building, he was kind enough to drive me home. Home sweet
home empty lot.
I found a community garden a short distance from our lot, which had a picnic table and grill. I had given the leftover franks and beans to the twins so they could have lunch with the rest of the kids. That left me with nothing, though. So, I fired up the grill and cooked some hot dogs.
While I was cooking, I’d noticed someone had come to open their little pop-up shop selling food. I was pretty sure the food on display would be better than my hot dogs, so I sat facing away from him as I ate my lunch to avoid the temptation. When I was done, I again divvied up the leftovers into sack lunches to eat later.
Now that my belly was full, I explored the community garden to see what was ripe for picking. The garden’s caretaker seemed to be giving me the evil eye, or maybe I was just paranoid. Nothing to see here, mister. I was able to pick carrots, sage, lots of daisies and even a few lemons. Enough to really get our garden going.
I checked the time and figured the school bus would’ve dropped the kids off by now. I hurried back to our lot and found Kylie napping on one of the stone benches.
I frantically searched for Cole and found him across the street on another stone bench. He was fast asleep, too.
I was as exhausted as they were and crawled onto the nearest bench and nodded off for a bit. I was awoken by Kylie and Cole who had concerned looks on their faces. I immediately knew they needed a bathroom as much as I did.
The temperature had risen quite a bit since we’d nodded out, and we were starting to sweat. During the day, we were subjected to an intense, dry heat, but once the sun went down, the desert air cooled significantly.
So, as much as I hated to do it, we called Victor, and he came to our rescue once again. Thank goodness, the Fengs had two bathrooms. Of course, three would’ve been ideal. I gave the twins first dibs. At least the kids weren’t hungry since they’d eaten their sack lunches at school. We were all still exhausted, though. And the Fengs had central air conditioning, so it was a relief to cool off after our quick naps in the sun.
While the kiddos napped in the living room, I kept Victor company in the dining room as he danced to the stereo. He and Lily both seemed to enjoy dancing, even by themselves. I was tempted to join him, but it didn’t seem appropriate.
When Kylie woke up and started chatting with Victor, I knew that was my queue to take a quick nap.
I woke up a short time later to the happy sounds of Kylie’s giggles. Even the usually serious Victor was smiling and chuckling to himself.
By 8:40 PM, Kylie had worked her magic and she and Victor had become good friends.
The twins had homework to do, but we were all still exhausted, so I let them put it off until morning. We said goodnight to the Fengs and fell asleep in the same places as we’d claimed last night. By 1:30 AM we were all awake.
Cole and Kylie both needed showers, and now that Kylie was good friends with Victor, I was a little more comfortable letting them use the shower. Kylie used the shower downstairs, while Cole went upstairs and used the one in the master bathroom.
When Cole came back downstairs, his face was flushed.
“What’s the matter, Cole?”
He whispered in my ear, “Victor came into the bathroom while I was taking a shower and said I was being inappropa-something. I think he’s mad at me. Did I do something wrong?”
Oh, shit. Maybe it wasn’t cool to use their showers after all. It’s strange that Victor would tell Cole he was being inappropriate but not say anything about Kylie using the downstairs shower.
“I don’t know, Cole,” I responded in a low voice. “Maybe Victor’s OK with us doing certain things but not others. Like it’s OK to sleep on the sofa, eat their food and use the toilet and sink, but maybe it’s not OK to sleep in their bed or use their shower. Don’t worry about it. It’s not your fault. We can’t follow the rules if we don’t know what they are. Hopefully, this will be the last night we need to sleep here anyway. I’ll figure something out.”
I was hungry but being conscious that there were some unspoken house rules, I made myself another PB&J sandwich for dinner since I knew those were OK to eat. Once again, Lily entertained herself by dancing to world tunes.
Now that I was no longer starving, my body craved rest, so I zonked out on the love seat for a bit, assuring myself that the twins would behave like the little angels they were.
When I woke up, I saw the kids sitting at the dining room table doing their homework while Victor ate some applesauce. Even Victor’s pajamas are fancy and suit-like, but the Fengs are definitely not foodies.
When Victor finished eating, he helped Kylie with her homework. I could tell it helped her focus, and she finished before Cole did. Kylie loved being the center of attention. When they were done, they both hit the sack.
Although I was still exhausted, I was desperate for fun. All work and no play makes Emma a dull girl. I entertained Lily with my crazy eyes, funny faces and ridiculously corny jokes.
“What does a nut say when it sneezes?”
“I don’t know. What?”
“Ca-shew!” I replied, inhaling deeply and imitating the sound of an exaggerated sneeze.
“Oh, Emma, you crack me up!” Lily giggled.
“Lily, you just made another nut joke!” We both giggled like schoolgirls. I was so overtired I was afraid I’d never stop giggling and would really embarrass myself, but I was finally having fun and acting like a teenager who didn’t have a care in the world. If only that were my reality.
Eventually, I gave in to exhaustion and curled up on the love seat in the master bedroom. When I awoke the next morning, I saw Victor asleep in his bed, but on top of the covers. I took it as a good sign that Victor wasn’t comfortable enough to crawl into bed with a teenage girl sound asleep in his room. Still, I didn’t want to overstay our welcome. Time to set up a makeshift shelter for me and the kids.
Before anyone else woke up, I quickly Googled everything I’d collected yesterday, proud of the progress we’d made in two short days. I was thrilled to learn the posters were worth $185 for the pair, and I’d harvested enough produce to start a decent sized garden and sell the rest for a tidy profit.
At the end of Day 2, here’s another look at everyone’s skill levels.
Emma’s biggest skill gains were in comedy for her antics with Lily and cooking, from grilling hot dogs for lunch. She also posted a slight gain in gardening from the plants she harvested.
Unsurprisingly, Kylie gained social skill from her conversations with Victor. Achieving the good friend level unlocked the shower at the Fengs’, according to the challenge rules. It was not without incident for poor Cole, though.
Cole’s social skills increased a bit as well, but not nearly as much as his twin, the little chatterbox. 😉