Down by the Lake Ch. 12byBogartsBoss©
The last several years have seen us meld into one big happy family.
In November of our first year we signed papers making us a limited liability corporation. Madge, Jeannie, and I are the partners, with survivors inheriting the corporation. Obviously, I expect they will survive me. Shelly is considered part of the family, but since she owns her own property, didn't have to be part of the LLC.
Also in November we sat for Christmas card photos. At first someone proposed just a picture of the two dogs. I said if I wanted cute, it'd be the two boys instead. I insisted we were family. And it would be family in the photo, so the six of us sat for the shoot, with the dog's in the picture as well. Oh, yeah, we made sure Shelly was in the picture.
The photographer hard a hard time grasping the relationships at first. But after a while, she was asking questions about how we made it work, and then mentioned her husband and a girlfriend. Maybe we're infecting the area ((I hope).
We sent cards out to friends and relatives; some of the responses were negative, some more like 'Now what?' others quite positive. Rob and Sue responded with card of their own that included Mark. Sue asked what brand of vitamins I was taking.
Jessie also responded with a threesome card; herself, husband Don, and Michelle, a beautiful woman of apparently mixed background; she reminded me of French-Thai women I had met in Bangkok.
Mrs. Hoffman has become friends with Jeannie and Madge, but she stays away from me; I don't really mind, I have enough women in my life now.
Madge is doing quite well in real estate now. Her sales numbers are consistent, and she's enjoying herself. Last year she bought a new van, the other had passed 100,000 miles, and with all the running she was doing it made sense. The new one was bought by Madge, with money Madge had earned. The pride of ownership was evident.
Jeannie now manages her own shop in partnership with Shelly. In that first year she helped Mrs. Patrick set up a second lingerie shop at the South Center Mall in time for the Christmas season and Jeannie took over the original shop. But after two more years she wanted to have her own business. We had long family discussions (any discussion with four strong minded adults will be long) about the what and where, and Shelly asked if she could be part of the store.
They found a great location in Puyallup and sell lingerie and antique clothing. I thought it was an odd combination, but what do I know, I'm more interested in the 'getting it off' stage. They've been in operation just over a year now and are nearing break-even in monthly receipts. If things keep up they'll be in the black before fall.
One year after we met we had a Commitment Ceremony down by the lake. Not only was that where Madge and I had met, it was also where we felt we had a sacred place. We chose June because the weather was pleasant and my kids could join us. The we included me, Madge, Jeannie, and Shellie. The women were in frilly summer dresses that complimented their beauty. I was in a charcoal gray suit that complimented my beard.
One of the best parts of the gathering was I got to meet Michelle. A lawyer like Jessie, they worked in the same office. She has a warm personality and obviously loves Jessie and Don. They are also formed an LLC and are currently looking for a larger house together. I was right about her background; her mother is Thai with French ancestors, her father an American serviceman. Not only was she an accomplished lawyer, but a musician as well; her instrument of choice, the banjo. Yeah, picture that. She played for us while they were here. She's good. Very good.
The boys. Let me tell you about the boys. Clark is nine-almost ten. He reads and does math way above his class level. The teachers have learned to use his help in class; he has a way of helping the other kids grasp subjects without them feeling small. We could accelerate him, but I think he would miss a lot of being a kid his age. Maybe in high school he'll go for the advance placement classes. We'll see.
JD is in middle school now, which means the longer bus rides to and from Buckley. He too is well ahead of classmates in several subjects and our problem with him is keeping him challenged. He plays football and baseball well but we don't encourage dreams of a pro career. We want him thinking academics in college first, sports second.
I'm doing fine for a guy knocking on the door of seventy. I have three loving women to keep me well fed and exercised. The boys keep me busy when they're around and the dogs always want to wander the property. Aside from a few aches, and I had them five years ago too, I'm great.
Nelson gets run regularly. Mr. Carswell passed in the January after I bought the car. In his will he included some things for me; all the logs for the car dating back to his original delivery. The last entry in the newest log read; "Sept. 19, dr. to Del Mar-Mr. Murphy driving. 20 Mi. RT. Sold to Mr. Murphy." Included in the packet were the original build sheet and the bill of sale.
The dogs are best of friends, and truthfully, in the years after Naomi died and before I met the girls, Bogart was often my best friend and sounding board. He's showing more grey on his muzzle now, and he's slowed down a step or two, but if I whistle him up, he's ready for a walk or a truck ride any time.
Yes, we are happy. Who knew what a change I would make in my life, and the rippling effect it would have on many others, when I decided one June day to walk down by the lake.