Category Archives: Family

The March (and April) of Real Estate (Part Deux)

All of this is still applicable – excepting the part where House #7 dissolves into a pit of lava… Our backup offer worked! (6 months later). After these months of intense moving/building activity I can get back to visiting this lovely oasis of snark. But first a recap… : )

It's not a shithole, it's an OPPORTUNITY!
It’s not a shithole, it’s an OPPORTUNITY!

You are carrying:

It's not a shithole, it's an OPPORTUNITY! It’s not a shithole, it’s an OPPORTUNITY!
photo credit: edenza via photopincc

In Front of Dream House #7
You are standing before a nice, two story house with the prefect number of rooms, the ideal amount of non-grass yard, a lovely pool and deck area, and a perfectly sized guest structure off to one side.
A real estate agent is standing nearby.

>AGENT, WHOSE HOUSE IS THIS?
Agent: “Hopefully yours! It’s been 2 long months of house hunting and deal making, so just sign those papers and your dreams will come true!”

>AGENT, WHAT CONTRACT?
The agent gives you a funny look.

>INV
You are carrying:
a purchase contract
a pen
a deep bitterness
a flask (containing booze)

>GIVE BITTERNESS TO AGENT
The agent takes the bitterness from your hands and gives it a thorough inspection. “I’ve seen worse,” she says, handing it back.

>WHAT IS DREAM HOUSE #7?

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Once Upon A Time On Vacation

London Bridge may be falling down, but they're ripping the old Oakland Bridge apart the hard way.

London Bridge may be falling down, but they’re ripping the old Oakland Bridge apart the hard way.

In a Driveway
You are standing in your driveway. There is a minivan full of luggage here.

>STATUS
Today is February 27th. You are stressed out. Your mother-in-law is corralling the boisterous, screaming children. You have also not posted a blog for seven days and kind of suck for that.

>WRITE BLOG
What would you like to use to write your blog?

>USE CELL PHONE
As your phone lights up, your spouse emerges from the house and announces that you are ready to leave on vacation.

>WRITE BLOG
No time, you need to drive!

>DRIVE
You fire up the van and head off from home to enjoy a stimulating drive up from San Diego through Los Angeles.

>DRIVE NORTH
You deftly drive through the traffic. Yup, it’s stimulating.

>WRITE BLOG
You can’t do that while driving.

>DRIVE NORTH

North of Los Angeles
You are now north of Los Angeles, near Magic Mountain theme park.

>RIDE ROLLER COASTERS
No time to get vertigo today.

>DRIVE NORTH

Kettleman City
You are in Kettleman City. There is a gigantic fake western town under construction here and an In-and-Out Burger.

>EAT IN-AND-OUT
Your stomach thanks you as you briefly mourn for those souls who don’t know the glory of an In-and-Out Burger.

>LOOK AT WESTERN TOWN
You are giddy with the nerdy anticipation of a western author.
westtown

>PLAY IN WESTERN TOWN
After a quick jaunt through the construction site, your spouse reminds you of the time.

>DRIVE NORTH
It is not your turn to drive.

>ENTER VAN
Done. Your spouse fires up the van and heads north into the hilly nowhere.

Middle of Nowhere
You are in the middle of nowhere. You still owe the universe a blog post.

>WRITE BLOG
Your spouse reminds you that it is bad form to tell the universe (and the vicious thieves that live there) when you’re not at home.

>WRITE BLOG
You boldly fire up your software and scowl as the Internet ceases to exist. You may as well relax.

>WAIT
Your spouse finishes the drive to San Francisco.

San Francisco – Parking Garage
You are in San Francisco parking garage. There is a ramp heading down to 8th Street and a hotel here.

>GO DOWN RAMP
You cannot do that. There is urine and other icky stuff down there.

>ENTER HOTEL

HOTEL ROOM
You are in a hotel room. There is a King sized bed here, devoid of screaming children (a scenario wholly unfamilar to you).
There is a bottle of wine on the bar counter.

>SAVE GAME
Game saved.

>WRITE BLOG
You head for your laptop and promptly acquire the crappy spouse of the year award.
(You have lost 200 points)

>RESTORE
Game restored.

>ENJOY VACATION
Done. 2 awesome days pass.
(You have earned 200 points)

HOTEL ROOM
You are in a hotel room. There is a King sized bed here, devoid of screaming children (a scenario wholly unfamilar to you).
There is an empty bottle of wine on the bar counter.
There is a flyer on the bar counter.

>LOOK AT FLYER
There is going to be a history event at the Old San Francisco Mint today.

>GO TO MINT
You attempt to reach the Old Mint but relent to the urgent pull of hunger.

>FIND FOOD
You discover a restaurant at Sixth and Market called Showdogs.

>BUY FOOD
You are glad you did. An all-beef sausage, fries and a Lagunitas Sucks later, you are ready to commit to history.
sausage

>GO TO MINT

Outside – The Old Mint
You are outside the Old San Francisco Mint. Golden shutters cover the windows around the lower floor and you can’t help but wonder which one your Western Novel hero character would break into.
A steep staircase cut through solid gray granite leads to a historical shindig.

>ENTER OLD MINT

Inside – The Old Mint
You are standing inside of the Old San Francisco Mint. Costumed characters mill about, bringing specific color to the historical displays that fill the rooms.
To the east and west are historical displays. Stairs wind downward into darkness where the vaults await. A bright passage to the north leads to a
courtyard.

>STUDY OLD MINT
sfsteel

You head room to room and downstairs and upstairs, drawing sketches and marking doorways for later use in fictional accounts. You finish hours later, standing in a central vestibule.

In a Vestibule
You are in a central passageway in the Old Mint. A long table filled with cupcakes and tasty desserts flanks the south wall.
The swollen head of Joaquin Murrieta floats in a nearby jar.
A costumed Leland Stanford is sitting here, guarding the cupcakes.

>LOOK AT HEAD
You are almost mostly positive that it’s not a real head. But, wow.

>GET CUPCAKE
Leland Stanford waves his arms, blocking your move.

>LELAND, GO BEARS
Leland Stanford is amazingly not impressed. He sulks away to seek assistance, leaving the cupcakes unguarded.
(As the spouse of a Cal grad you have gained 150 points)

>EAT CUPCAKE AND LEAVE TIP
You devour a tasty pastry and leave a donation on the table.

>WRITE BLOG
As you tap the pseudo-keys on your Iphone, a costumed historian attempts to shanghai you onto a boat to, well, Shanghai.

>EXIT MINT
You wisely head back outside.

Outside – The Old Mint
You are outside the Old San Francisco Mint. Golden shutters cover the windows around the lower floor and you now know your Western Novel hero character will be breaking into the window at the southwest corner of vault room V5.
A steep staircase cut through solid gray granite leads to a historical shindig.

>WRITE BLOG
A homeless fellow edges close, eyeing your cell phone. You sense the need to go enjoy more vacation.

>CONTINUE VACATION
Another 24 hours vaporizes before your eyes…

>WRITE BLOG
There is no time, you have to go home now.

>DRIVE HOME
Done.

Home
You are sitting at your kitchen counter, exhausted but with post vacation satisfaction.
There is a laptop here.

>STATUS
You are back home, grandparents relieved, children sleeping soundly, spouse relaxing on the couch.

>WRITE BLOG
Done.

The Birthday Game

The Iphone hidden under your pillow buzzes softly, rousing you from sleep. It is 11:30pm – just 30 minutes until your wife’s birthday. She is lying asleep next to you, sleeping soundly and oblivious to the celebratory machinations at work in your mind. You’d best get cracking if you’re going to get things ready. However… sleep does sound awesome….

In a Bed
You are lying in bed, just barely awake. Your wife is sleeping nearby.
An Iphone alarm is vibrating under your pillow, keeping you awake.

>GET PHONE AND HIT SNOOZE
You grab the phone and instead lurch out of bed.

>GO BACK TO BED
You silence the alarm and instead shuffle out into the living room.

>GO BACK TO THE BEDROOM
You stay put and instead remember that you have prep work to do for your wife’s birthday before she wakes up.

>THANK YOU
You’re welcome.

>LOOK

Front Room
You are in a front room and really not awake. You know there is a Kitchen nearby. There is a closet on one wall and a large desk opposite the television area.

>FIND PRESENTS
I don’t see any presents here.

>FIND THE HIDDEN PRESENTS
Oh, those! You dig through the (hiding place redacted) and retrieve the hidden presents from the children.
It is now 25 minutes until your wife’s birthday.

>WRAP PRESENTS
You are too incoherent to attempt that.

>ENTER KITCHEN

Kitchen
You are in a kitchen and really not awake. There are cabinets and stuff. Moonlight gleams off a coffee maker. The Living Room is to the south.

>MAKE A CUP OF COFFEE
Your wife does not drink coffee. Good Lord, do you know this person at all!?! Focus!

>MAKE ***ME*** A CUP OF COFFEE
Ah, sorry mate. Hot coffee bubbles its way down into the pot.

>GET COFFEE
You burn yourself and are now a bit awake.
You are now carrying a coffee stain.

>INV
You are carrying:
a coffee stain
presents

>OPEN CABINET
You reveal a line of mismatched coffee mugs.

>GET COFFEE IN MUG AND DRINK IT.
Done and done.
You are now awake.
It is now 20 minutes until your wife’s birthday.

>SOUTH

Living Room

>WRAP PRESENTS
You lack paper.

>OPEN CLOSET
400 rolls of lovely wrapping paper fall out onto the floor.

>GET PAPER
You select a suitable roll that is almost out. Hopefully Costco has another

50 pack on sale soon…
It is now 15 minutes until your wife’s birthday.

>WRAP PRESENTS
You lack tape.

>LOOK AT DESK
There is an old PC, assorted books, and a supply drawer.

>OPEN SUPPLY DRAWER
You see every office product imaginable inside.

>GET TAPE
Which roll of tape would you like, the green label roll or the purple label roll?

>I DON’T CARE
Wrong answer.

>GREEN
Wrong choice. This isn’t her first birthday, is it?

>GET PURPLE LABEL ROLL OF TAPE
Satin finish gift wrap tape taken.

>WRAP PRESENTS
You wrap up the presents to the best of your ability. The word ‘passable’ comes to mind.
It is now 10 minutes until your wife’s birthday.

>GET CARDS FROM THE KIDS
You don’t see any cards from the kids.

>GET THE HIDDEN CARDS FROM THE KIDS
Oh, those! You dig through the (hiding place redacted) and retrieve the handmade cards from the children.

>LOOK AT DAUGHTER’S CARD

"You are my princess AND my hero!"

“You are my princess AND my hero!”

>PUT A CARD AND GIFT IN DAUGHTER’S ROOM.
You arrange the gifts on her desk.

>LOOK AT SON’S CARD

2-18-14 logcard1 2-18-14 logcard2

>PUT A CARD AND GIFT IN SON’S ROOM.
You arrange the gifts on his dresser.
It is now 5 minutes until your wife’s birthday.

>QUIETLY PUT AWAY PAPER AND TAPE.
Quietly done.
It is now 1 minute until your wife’s birthday.

>GO BACK TO BED
You silently return to bed. The motion causes your wife to stir. She rolls over with a little smile and you place a single kiss on her forehead. “Happy Birthday,” you whisper.

*** you’ve won!!! ***

You scored 100 points out of a possible 100.
Would you like to continue the free form game?

>YES
As you wish.
Ten minutes pass and then a brutal scream tears through the monitor that is sitting on the bathroom counter. It is your son’s voice, crying with the familiar and hated sounds of growing pains.
(You have lost 10 points).

>GET OUT OF BED
You leap out of bed, waking up your wife.
(You have lost 5 points)

>RUN TO SON’S ROOM
You trip over a box of leftover girl scout cookies and wrench your ankle.
(You have lost 15 points)

Son’s Bedroom
You are in a bedroom that is decorated with road signs and car stuff.
Your son is in bed, screaming in pain.
It is very dark in here.
Your wife has now not enjoyed 10 minutes of her birthday.

>TURN ON LIGHT
Your son wails and chokes in response and you turn the lights back down.
(You have lost 10 points)

>SON, WHAT HURTS?
Your son points to his knees and gags while sobbing.

>COMFORT CHILD
You attempt to massage and sooth your child. It doesn’t work.
(You have lost 20 points)
Your wife has now not enjoyed 15 minutes of her birthday.
Your son gags again and screams, “BATHROOM!”

>CARRY CHILD TO BATHROOM
Your wife enters the doorway as you come rushing out. She staggers back from the collision.
(You have lost 35 points.)

>COMFORT CHILD
Son: “I WANT MOMMY!”
Your wife takes the child and heads for a rocking chair.
Your wife has now not enjoyed 30 minutes of her birthday.
(You have lost 5 points, leaving you with zero.)

*** you have lost! ***

PLAY AGAIN? (Y or N) >Y
Excellent! We’ll see you again in 2015!

(P.S. After 7am she had a great day.) 🙂

Hello Monday, It’s Wednesday…

What the hell is a gigawatt?

What the hell is a gigawatt?

The chime of a Cupertino Marimba rouses your weary soul. After a quick peck on the cheek of your spouse, you kick off the toasty comforter (gently, your spouse is not as equally inclined to rise this early), and swing your legs to the floor. You reach over to your dresser and instinctively swipe a to-do list from the atop the pine surface, then stagger out towards the living room.

Living Room
You are in your living room. Or, by all visual accounts, a cookie warehouse. Your kitchen lies to the south. Dozens of cases of Girl Scout cookies form a narrow passage that blocks your way into other parts of the house.

>SOUTH

Kitchen
You are in the kitchen. There is naught a sliver of light from the moonless sky outside the windows. Candace sits on the counter near the sink, bathed in the eerie amber glow of a full power charge. A digital clock beams greenish numbers at you from over the microwave.

>LOOK AT CLOCK
It is 4:22am.

>STATUS
You feel very much like it is 4:22am.

>INV
You are carrying:
a to-do list

>READ TO DO LIST
Things to do for Monday:
kiss spouse
write blog
kiss kids
go to work

>LOOK AT CANDACE
Candace is the pinnacle of functional household technology: A voice-activated, 12-cup coffee maker married to a swivel mount 10″ wi-fi tablet with detachable wireless keyboard. Santa was good to someone last year…

>TURN ON CANDACE
The system whirs to life in a series of clicks and bubbling fury.
Candace: “Good morning! It is swell to see you again!”

>DETACH KEYBOARD
You set the small keyboard on the tile counter.
Oddly, you hear water steaming within Candace’s metal bodice, but no percolating.

>LOOK AT COFFEE POT
The pot is full. It is not yet hot. You feel confused, it must be 4:23am.

>WRITE MONDAY BLOG
Candace interrupts your effort.
Candace: “Sorry, but you can’t do that.”

>LOOK AT KEYBOARD
There is nothing special about the keyboard.

>WRITE MONDAY BLOG
Candace: “It is much too late for that, master.”

>CANDACE, IT IS VERY VERY EARLY AND IT IS MONDAY
Candace: “Yes it is and no it is not.”

>WRITE MONDAY BLOG
Candace: “It is Wednesday.”

>CANDACE, YOU ARE WRONG
Candace: “Says the dummy who thinks they can time travel.”

>CANDACE, WHAT DAY IS IT
Candace: “Today is Wednesday, February 5th.”
You find this to be utterly shocking as you are positive that last night was a typical Sunday evening.

>SHIT
You really don’t want to do that.

>NORTH
The cases of Girl Scout cookies in the living room collapse as you approach. You are trapped until your spouse awakens, unless you’d like to also wake your kids by screaming.

>OH, HECK NO
Thought not.
Candace beeps loudly.
Candace: “Your old coffee is now reheated!”

>CANDACE, WHERE DID GIRL SCOUT COOKIES COME FROM?
Candice: “The charming little one called ‘Princess’ conspired to conjure them. Your spouse brought them home Sunday. You sorted them until passing out in the wee hours of Monday morning.”
(This news sounds vaguely familiar)

>CANDACE, WHAT HAPPENED TO MONDAY?
Candace: “You were late to work. You came home. You took orders and sorted cookies. You took the ‘Princess’ to a dance class. You taught a four year old about sorting cookies. You made dinner. You resorted cookies again. You passed out in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.”
(This news sounds vaguely familiar)

>CANDACE, WHAT HAPPENED TO TUESDAY?
Candace: “You were late to work. You came home. You sorted cookies. Your four year old opened boxes and then you bought a lot of cookies. You became grouchy. You made dinner. You helped with homework. You sorted cookies.”
(This news sounds vaguely familiar)

>WRITE BLOG
You hesitate. Perhaps you should wait until Thursday and reset the table.
Candace: “Master, some cookies make reheated coffee better…”

>LOOK AT BOXES OF COOKIES
Each box is labeled with a cryptic title. You see Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs, Do-Si-Dos, Trefoils, and Savannah Smiles.

>CANDICE, WHAT IS A THIN MINT?
Candice’s amber light flickers as she plunges onto the internet.
Candice: “A Thin Mint is an exceptionally narrow edifice in which to manufacture coinage, or a chocolate mint cookie that is meant to live in a freezer.”

>CANDICE, WHAT IS A TREFOIL?
Candice: “A Trefoil is a classic, buttery shortbread cookie, or a literary plot-device wherein an evil doer is undone by any manner of tall foliage.”

>CANDICE, WHAT IS A SAVANNAH SMILE?
Candice: “A Savannah Smile is a tart, lemon cookie covered in powdered sugar, or a grin from a joyful Southerner.”

>DRINK COFFEE
It tastes of metallic water and bad judgement.

>WRITE BLOG
Your fingers hesitate on the keys. Still not ready. Maybe some physical activity?

>SAMOA
Nothing happens.

>TAGALONG
I’m not sure what to do.

>CANDICE, WHAT IS A DO-SI-DO?
Candice: “A Do-si-do is a peanut butter sandwich cookie or a square dance manuever.”

>DO-SI-DO
The dance requires a partner.

>DO-SI-DO WITH CANDACE
You rip the machine from the wall and launch into a series of steps. The awkward coffee maker slips from your grasp and smashes on the ground. The spilled pot of coffee soaks quickly into a loose case of Thin Mints.

>LOOK AT CANDACE
Candace flickers in her death throes. She is beyond cookie therapy. Weak sounds emit from the bent speaker panels.
You sense activity nearby as the six year old ‘Princess’ enters the room.

>GOOD MORNING, PRINCESS
The princess ignores your greeting, looking instead at the ruined Thin Mints.
Princess: “Thank you for supporting my troop! That’ll be 48 dollars please!!!!”

>KISS CHILD AND GO TO WORK
Done.

Work, Children, and Burning Quilt

*Cue music!* - We go togeeeeether, like oil and water, cats and fire pits!

*Cue music!* – We go togeeeeether, like oil and water, cats and fire pits!

Kitchen
You are in a kitchen. Light from the full moon reflects through textured glass on the south wall, reminding you that you’d rather be sleeping. Assorted appliances line the counter like stoic, chrome soldiers. There is a cabinet filled with every food imaginable on the west wall. The rest of your house is to the north.
There is a mug on the counter.
Your son is shuffling nearby.
Your daughter is twirling nearby.

>STATUS
It is 5:52am. Something important is afoot, but you can’t think clearly.

>INV
You are carrying:
a typical amount of tired
work clothes (wearing)
work badge (wearing)

>NORTH
The children block your path.

>LOOK AT CHILDREN
They appear equally disgruntled by the early hour. You should probably do something for them, but can’t think clearly.
There is a loud beep and a bubbling sound from the row of appliances.

>FIND THE BUBBLING SOUND
The bubbling sound is coming from a fresh pot of time delayed coffee.

>GET COFFEE
(in the mug)
Done.

>DRINK COFFEE
Ah, nectar of the Gods! Your head clears somewhat.
You are now aware that you will shortly be late for work.

>NORTH
The children block your path. They are hungry and standing here expectantly.

>TALK TO CHILDREN
Son: “Feed me breakfast, please!”
Daughter: “I want food, please!”

>STATUS
It is 5:55am. The children are tired. You must leave for work 18 moves. If your children are not fed and happy, you will have a burning quilt.

>GET QUILT
There is no quilt here.

>COMPUTER, YOU HAVE A TYPO
If you say so. You just wasted two moves.

>GET FOOD FOR CHILDREN
You have to be more specific.
The children are hungry and pacing around you, grabbing at your pants.

>LOOK AT FOOD
Between the fridge and the cabinets, you want for nothing.

>MAKE EGGS
Risky. Your spouse is in bed with a migraine. You need to avoid a tantrum. Maybe ask what they want?

>CHILDREN, DO YOU WANT EGGS?
Son: “I want some eggs!”
Daughter: “No, I HATE eggs, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!”
That’s not going to work. Try again, perhaps.

>CHILDREN, WHAT DO YOU WANT?
Son: “I want cereal!”
Daughter: “I want a smoothie!”
That’s not going to work. Try again, perhaps.

>CHILDREN, PICK AGAIN
Son: “I want pasta and meatballs!”
Daughter: “I want a pony!”
You hear stirring from your bedroom. The children are getting too loud.

>CHILDREN, FOCUS!
The children stare blankly at you.

>STATUS
It is 6:02am. The children are tired. You must leave for work in 9 moves. If your children are not fed and happy, you will have a burning quilt.

>COMPUTER, DID YOU MEAN GUILT?
No. Tick-tock, tick tock…

>CHILDREN, WHAT DO YOU WANT
Your son crosses his arms and pouts.
Daughter: “Fine, I’ll have some eggs.”

>MAKE EGGS
You only manage to place a pan on the stove.
Son: “NOOOOOOOOOOO, I HAAAAAAAAAAATE EGGS!!!”
You hear stirring from your bedroom. The children are getting too loud.

>CHILDREN, YOU BOTH SAID EGGS
Son: “No I didn’t! I never, ever did!”
Daughter: “But I hate eggs, and you KNOW that!”

>DRINK COFFEE
You can’t right now, your face is buried in your hands.

>PUT CEREAL AND YOGURT ON TABLE
You place a selection of food on the kitchen table.
Both children are now crying loudly.

>KISS CHILDREN AND GET COFFEE
Each child gets a goodbye kiss.
Mug of coffee: taken.

>STATUS
It is 6:10am. The children are tired and grumpy. You must leave immediately for work. You sense a burning quilt coming.

>NORTH
You head towards the bedroom to rouse your spouse.
Both children wail, “NOOOOO!!!!!” and clutch violently at your legs. You lose your balance and leap forward, trying not to spill hot coffee on your offspring. The mug goes flying from your hand and into the open hall closet across from the kitchen. You tumble in after it, sprawling headlong onto a fluffy quilt, now saturated in 20 steaming ounces of Columbia’s finest.

On a Burning Quilt
You are on a burning hot quilt. You are also upside down in a closet. The exit is to the south.

>WEEP
There, there.

>STATUS
You are going to be late to work. You are covered in coffee. Your children are nearby, angry. Your spouse is standing nearby, holding and shaking their head.

>QUIT
Good call.

For anyone chuckling or nodding their heads right now – check out the Twinfamy blog. It’s good stuff that makes a parent feel better.

Photo credit: Me!

Of Writes and Wrongs

yac 1-16-14 glasses book

A Sidewalk Cafe
You are in a sea of wicker tables, most of which are filled with hipsters and stay at home parents. A caboose converted to a freestanding coffee bar serves the uncaffinated masses. The aroma of freshly ground coffee and sugary additives envelopes the scene in a comfortable home style haze. There are shops to the west.
(You are currently seated at a round wicker table.)
There is a laptop here on the table.

>LOOK AT HIPSTERS
The tablet wielding hipsters mingle and frolic in their impeccably mish-mashed clothing.
(Somehow you never managed to be this cool.)

>LOOK AT PARENTS
The stay at home parents laugh gaily and sip drinks in a well-rehearsed, relaxed fashion.
(Somehow you never managed to be this cool.)

>LOOK AT LAPTOP
Your laptop is on. Chapter 13 is on the screen, awaiting completion.

>WRITE NOVEL
(on the laptop)
A barista enters the area and stands at your table.
barista: “Sorry. You have no coffee. You can’t work here.”

>BUY COFFEE
barista: “You don’t seem to have enough money.”

>INV
You are carrying:
an arm
a leg
a list
laptop
money ($3.00)

>LOOK AT ARM AND LEG
arm: it is an average arm.
leg: it is an average leg.

>GIVE ARM TO BARISTA
barista: “What kind of place do you think this is?!”

>READ LIST
1 – buy lots of milk, cheese, yogurt.
2 – buy veggies
3 – write

>GET LAPTOP AND STAND UP
Taken.
You rise from the table. The hipsters snicker at your jeans and Atari T-shirt.

>WEST

Organic Matter Dairy
You are standing in front of a store called Organic Matter Dairy. Cheeses, yogurts, and milks of all variety assault your visual and olfactory senses. There is a coffee stand to the east and farm stand to the west.
A cashier is standing in front of the store with a knowing smile.

>ASK CASHIER ABOUT DAIRY
cashier: “Just name it and I’ll run inside and gather it for you!”

>GIVE LIST TO CASHIER
The cashier reads the list with a nod.
The cashier disappears into the store and returns with two nylon bags heavily loaded with dairy. You take the bags and sling them over your shoulder.

>PAY CASHIER
cashier: “$3.00 is not enough, sir. That’ll be an arm or a leg, please.”

>GIVE LEG TO CASHIER
That would make your remaining shopping rather difficult.

>GIVE ARM TO CASHIER.
cashier: “Thank you, come again!’
Your bags of organic dairy slip from your shoulder and clatter on the ground.
A pair of hipsters strolls past and chuckles at your domestic futility.

>GET BAGS
You wisely put the bags of organic dairy on your remaining good side.

>WEST

Farm Stand
At the west end of the strip mall area is a huge pop-up canopy festooned with cardboard replicas of roots and tubers. There are pre-packaged sacks of vegetables piled up in two mountains. An eager looking farmer stands between the piles.

>LOOK AT PILES
One pile of sacks is labeled ‘ORGANIC VEGGIES’. One pile of sacks is a labeled ‘CHEAPER CONVENTIONAL VEGGIES WITH ADDED PESTICIDES AND CHLORPROPHAM’

>GET VEGGIES
(which ones, the organic veggies, or the cheaper conventional veggies with added pesticides and chlorpropham?)

>GET CHEAPER CONVENTIONAL VEGGIES WITH ADDED PESTICIDES AND CHLORPR
I don’t know what you mean.

>ASK FARMER ABOUT VEGGIES
Farmer: “Got two types, kiddo. Your choice.”

>ASK FARMER ABOUT CHEAPER CONVENTIONAL VEGGIES WITH ADDED PESTICID
Farmer: “Didn’t quite get that kiddo, you ran out of space.”

>ASK ABOUT VEGGIES
Farmer: “If it doesn’t fit in the parser limit, you probably shouldn’t put it in your mouth.”

>GET ORGANIC VEGGIES
Done.

>PAY CASHIER
farmer: “$3.00 is not enough, sir. That’ll be just under an arm or a leg, please.”

>GIVE LEG TO FARMER
Farmer: “Thanks much, come again!”
The farmer hands you back some change.

>INV
You are carrying:
a list
laptop
bags of organic dairy
a sack of organic veggies
money ($8.00)

>EAST
You wobble/hop east, using the weight of your bags for balance.

Organic Matter Dairy
A cashier is standing in front of the store with a knowing smile.

>EAST
You shuffle/scoot east as best you can.

A Sidewalk Cafe
The hipsters titter and gawk at your awkward entrance on the scene.

>SIT AND OPEN LAPTOP
You seat yourself at a round, wicker table.
You open your laptop. You novel is back up on the screen.

>WRITE NOVEL
(on the laptop)
A barista enters the area and stands at your table.
barista: “You again. Can I help you sir?”

>BUY COFFEE
barista: “Oh, I’m sorry. The hipsters and stay at home parents have drank it all.”

>KILL BARISTA
barista: (laughing) “Oh, you’d have to take a number for that. You are welcome to stay while you wait!”

>WRITE NOVEL
(on the laptop)
You are too frustrated to write Chapter 13 right now.

>WRITE BLOG
(on the laptop)
Done.
One of the hipsters places a card on your table.

>READ CARD
“Next time, keep your limbs intact. Check out a site like LocalHarvest.org. Stay healthy, stay in one piece. Oh, and nice shirt.”

photo credit: Camera Eye Photography via photopin cc

The Parenting Game

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photo credit: peasap via photopin cc

Today finds you, a harried and hopeful author, on babysitting duty at your sister’s cozy house. A 15 month old toddler could be a handful for some, but you have nothing to worry about. After all, you are a master of creative dilemmas and hectic deadlines.

Cozy Living Room
The smallish living room contains a fuzzy rug, a set of couches and a bookshelf filled with colorful, rhyming books. There is a hallway to the east and a kitchen to the south.
There is a diapered toddler here.
A dog is here, circling your legs expectantly.

>INV
You are carrying:
a proof copy

>LOOK AT PROOF COPY
Your only copy awaits nap time for final editing.

>LOOK AT TODDLER
Sweet. Innocent. He coos at your attention.

>SOUTH
The dog tags along behind you as you depart.

Kitchen
You are nearly blinded upon entering the room. The all white floor, walls, counters, and appliances are awash in glorious daylight from large windows over the sink.
There is a note on the counter.
A towel is draped over the oven handle.
A dog is here, circling your legs expectantly.

>READ NOTE
(Taken)
“If you fail to find the coming events humorous, Joelle Wisler offers a brief child rearing tutorial: HOW TO TRAIN YOUR KIDS SO THAT YOU ACTUALLY WANT TO LIVE WITH THEM
You don’t have your smartphone, so you discard the note.
The dog voraciously eats the note and lies down, satiated.

>GET TOWEL
Taken.
You hear crying from the living room.

>NORTH
Cozy Living Room
There is a diapered toddler here, crying.

>GET TODDLER
You trip on a lump in the rug and crash headlong into the corner of the bookcase, knocking yourself unconscious.
*** You have lost ***

(Quit, Restore, Go Back?) >GO BACK
Done.

Cozy Living Room
There is a diapered toddler here, crying.

>EXAMINE RUG
You spot an unusual lump beneath the rug. You lift the edge and retrieve a rubber tow truck. The dog enters the room and consumes the tow truck as if starving.

>GET TODDLER
No, he might wrinkle your proof copy.

>PUT PROOF COPY IN BOOKSHELF
Done.

>GET TODDLER
Taken. He winces at ceiling lights and screams wildly. The dog rushes into the room, all barking and slobber, and smashes through the front door, never to return. You don’t know how you’ll explain this one to your sister.
*** You have lost ***

(Quit, Restore, Go Back?) >GO BACK
Done.

>TURN OFF LIGHTS
The toddler falls silent. There is an awful sound and an unpleasant smell.

>TURN ON LIGHTS
Cozy Living Room
An undiapered toddler is here, giggling.
There is a small poopy here on the rug.

>GET POOPY
You are interrupted by an awful sound and an unpleasant smell.
(Which poopy, the small one or the orange one?)

>LOOK
Cozy Living Room
The smallish living room contains a fuzzy rug, a set of couches and a bookshelf filled with colorful, rhyming books. There is a hallway to the east and a kitchen to the south.
An undiapered toddler is here, giggling.
There is a small poopy here on the rug.
An orange poopy lies nearby.

>GET SMALL POOPY
You are interrupted by an awful sound and an unpleasant smell.
Your path is blocked by a wide, runny poopy.
The toddler wobbles out of the room and to the south.

>LOOK AT ALL POOPIES.
small poopy: You see nothing special.
orange poopy: You detect carrots.
wide, runny poopy: Something is not right here.

>PUT TOWEL ON RUNNY POOPY.
You are no longer cornered by the wide, runny poopy.

>SOUTH
Kitchen
An icky trail on the floor heads north back to the living room.
An undiapered toddler is here, giggling.

>GET TODDLER
You yank the child into the air, holding him at arms length. Best head for the bathroom.

>NORTH
You slip on the icky trail and hear a sharp *SNAP!* as the tendons in your ankle cease to agree with each other. You drop the toddler protectively onto your chest as you fall. Your shirt is likely ruined.

>CRAWL NORTH
Cozy Living Room
An undiapered toddler is here.
There is a small poopy here on the rug.
An orange poopy lies nearby.
A soiled towel is covering a wide, runny poopy.
A dog is here, growling at the bookcase.
The dog is carrying:
an unused diaper (attached)

>GET PROOF COPY FROM BOOKCASE
You protectively reach for your precious novel and the priceless edits within. You accidentally knock the diaper loose from the dog, further angering it. The dog tugs the proof copy from your grip and consumes it with gusto. The child claps and squeals with joy as you hear the sounds of a car returning home out in front of the house.
*** You survived! ***

You conclude your babysitting experience disappointed, frustrated, and severely injured. You also left the house in 235% worse shape than you found it. This gives you a score of 52 and a rank of ROOKIE PARENT (8 months exp.)

WOULD YOU LIKE TO TRY AGAIN?

>HELL NO

Thanks for playing! Comments left below from similarly experienced parents and/or authors may appear in future installments.