After sending the twins off to school Tuesday morning with their bellies full, I called in and took another vacation day. Then I grabbed some breakfast, cleaned up after myself and left the apartment.
I was walking to the elevator when I saw another set of double doors to my right. Who lives there, I wonder. They must be rich, too.
As I was heading toward the electrical box in search of posters, I spotted a cardboard box chock full of stuff just sitting there. It looked like a box of junk, but I searched through it just in case and found a pretty snow globe. Hmm, that could be worth a few bucks.
Then I jogged over to the electrical box and peeled off another poster, being extra careful now that I knew how much they were worth. I noticed another cardboard box on the opposite side of the atrium where I found a different snow globe. Then I peeled off another poster before taking the elevator down to ground level.
Victor’s driver offered to bring me wherever I wanted to go, so I picked Desert Bloom Park. I knew there were ponds full of fish and potentially other collectibles just waiting to be found. I was feeling lucky today.
Right behind the chess tables was a small pond where I caught a guppy and a perch. I knew they weren’t worth much money, so I explored the area to see what else I might find. Cracking open another strange rock netted me a pretty crystal. According to Google, it was Alabaster and worth $25. Not bad; not great, though.
I was getting hungry, so I sat down at one of the picnic tables and ate one of my leftover hot dogs from yesterday’s lunch. Then I headed back to our empty lot. It was time to make it a home.
With the money we’d amassed so far, I was able to build a 3 x 2 bathroom with a door and a window and furnished it with the cheapest toilet, sink and tub available. Bathrooms are not cheap — it cost us a whopping $1,300. No more emergency runs to the park to pee, though.
Next, I bought the Easy Camper Tent for $420, giving the kids a place to sleep with an (albeit canvas) roof over their heads. Worth every penny. I also bought a Chillville portable cooler stocked with ready-to-eat cereal, yogurt and granola. So, we won’t starve either.
After getting everything set up, I was proud of myself, and absolutely exhausted. So, while the twins were still in school, I curled up in the tent and slept for a while.
I was awoken by the school bus dropping off the kids and the sounds of their raised voices.
“I’m so hungry! I think my belly is trying to eat itself!” cried Kylie.
“I’m starving! I can’t believe they didn’t let us each lunch!” Cole shouted angrily.
I came out of the tent as they were talking and walked toward them. “What? Why not? That’s so wrong!” I concurred as they both took out their lunches and began eating them, standing on the side of the road.
After they’d each eaten a few bites, Kylie exclaimed, “Emma, what’s all this?”
“I’ve been busy, you guys. You now have a place to sleep. We have a cooler full of food and our very own bathroom — with a bathtub!”
“How’d you get all that stuff?” Cole asked, looking happy but perplexed.
“I got some money by selling most of the stuff we gathered over the last few days. I’m so proud of you guys. Cole, all those fish and the other stuff you caught on Sunday were worth over $300! That was almost enough to pay for the tent you and Kylie will be sleeping in tonight.”
Cole beamed with pride. Kylie’s eyes welled up with tears as she looked up at me. “But I didn’t help at all.”
“Kylie, sweetie, you helped a ton, too! Your friend Victor let us stay at his apartment the last two nights, right? If not for him, we would’ve had to sleep in the park. Instead, we slept in a fancy penthouse because you’re so good at making friends.”
“So, I did good, too?” Kylie grinned.
“You did great. We all did!”
As soon as Kylie finished her lunch, she christened the bathroom sink by washing the dishes with a satisfied smile on her face.
Both she and Cole started yawning soon after eating lunch, and they happily checked out their new tent.
While the kiddos slept, I started planting some of the produce I’d harvested yesterday.
Gardening was hard work, but I remember how rewarding it was to help Mom harvest the ripe fruits and vegetables. ‘Everything tastes better when it’s fresh from the garden,’ Mom always said. Miss you, Mom. So much. I sighed heavily. Focus, Emma. There’s too much at stake to be feeling sorry for yourself.
Although I was thrilled we could afford to buy a tent, it only had enough room for two people to sleep in it, even if they were little people. Unless I wanted to sleep on a stone bench tonight, I needed to make some more money. At 6:53 PM, we were down to our last $9. I’d better get moving. It’ll be dark soon.
I went exploring the area near our neighbor’s house and found an old well. I hesitantly stuck my hand inside and was surprised to find another frog. It was pretty small, so I put it in my pocket with the first frog I’d caught. I felt a lot of squirming around in there and quickly turned to Google to figure out what was happening. I learned that frogs breed like rabbits if kept together in captivity. How cool is that? I’m a frog breeder now. Ch-ching!
There were more weird rocks in the area, so I cracked them open and collected a couple of trophies and some type of metal.
I went down to the local stream and caught a nice big trout. Cole had woken up and called my name. I yelled back that I was down by the stream.
Before Cole had even reached me, I’d nabbed my first goldfish. It was a lot bigger than the one I’d had in a fishbowl as a kid.
Cole said he was bored, so although it was starting to get dark, he fished for a bit, too. He caught a colorful guppy. They’re not worth much, but they’re pretty to look at.
After Googling my recent acquisitions, I found I’d hit my funding goal. That was some expensive metal. We’d pulled in another $539 today.
I finally had enough to buy myself a cheap bed — a Gordian cot — for $255. And I was ready for a good night’s sleep.
The twins had each taken a bath, spending extra time playing in our new tub, and were finishing up their homework. It had been a good, productive day. We had a whopping $6 to our names, but we were sleeping on our own land tonight. And that was progress.
At the end of Day 3, here’s where we stand with skill levels.
Emma gained almost a full level in fishing and is nearly finished level 1 in gardening.
Kylie’s skills remain at the same level as yesterday.
Cole had a small gain in mental skill from the brief time he spent fishing.