Both Christopher Gothier London and Tara Go McCarthy were baptized on the same day.
The Londons had asked Meadow to be their son's godparent, and Christopher had a fine time in the baptismal font, splashing away.
The McCarthys had asked Yulia to be their daughter's godparent,
and Tara was no more subdued than Christopher, and tried to wipe the holy water off of her forehead as soon as it was put on.
Coming home from work the next evening, Yulia ran into Kevin, who was leaving for a nighttime surveillance job.
"Did you hear we're losing some neighbors?" Kevin asked her, excitedly. "Meadow and Orlando bought that old farmhouse!"
"Really?" Yulia exclaimed, delighted for the couple. "When are they moving?"
"Well, the place is a wreck," said Kevin. "There's an electrician there today, replacing some of the old wiring so the power can be turned back on. And George and I are going over tomorrow to help Orlando refinish the floors. And to put in a driveway--the place is so in the middle of nowhere that Meadow will need a car to get to her farmstand downtown."
"She and Orlando and the kids will move in in maybe a week, and they'll just work on the house bit by bit whenever they have some spare time. They hope to have it in reasonably good shape by Ophelia's birthday."
Meadow had been working long hours at her farmstand.
Occasionally, one or more of her friends came by to lend her a hand in the evening.
Calista realized that spraying was not going to get rid of the roaches, so came back the next day accompanied by the White Witch, who Calista assured Meadow could remedy the problem.
Once Meadow's crops came in, business really started to pick up.
She got the farmstand to Rank 5,
noticed a reviewer and chatted him up,
and got a good review in the local paper.
'Good thing the reviewer wasn't here when my displays were empty!' Meadow said to herself.
Keeping her shelves restocked was difficult during the height of the season,
but her efforts paid off when she got a silver restocking badge.
The store was closed on Sundays, though Meadow always went by after church to do a little weeding. Arriving back at her apartment one Sunday afternoon, she picked up Ophelia and put her in her crib,
changed out of her dirty overalls, and emptied the potty in the children's bathroom, where Nanny Kendall was giving Marcus a bath.
"Nanny Kendall," pleaded Meadow, "please tell me we will be able to convince you to come all the way out to the farmhouse once we move?" worried Meadow.
"Oh, I can't imagine my day without your two little charmers," Nanny Kendall replied, lifting Marcus out of the tub.
The following Sunday afternoon, Meadow was eating lunch in her very own farmhouse while Marcus snoozed on his toddler blanket,
and Ophelia napped under her dangle toys.
Meadow could hear no sounds other than the soft breathing of her children.
"This is heaven!" she said, looking around at the drably painted room with its rusting appliances. "Or at least it will be."
She cleaned up from her lunch and Marcus's, disposed of Ophelia's bottle, and took the trash out through the farmhouse's new back door to the composter.
Orlando, Kevin, and George had poured the foundation for the back stairs and installed the door in the last couple of days.
Meadow and Orlando had fixed up Marcus's bedroom (George had done the wallpaper border),
but so far they hadn't had time to do much else with the house. They'd converted the barn to a garage,
and bought a used truck so that Meadow could get to her farmstand downtown.
They hadn't yet done anything with the second floor,
other than moving in the few pieces of bedroom and office furniture that they owned.
George dropped by that afternoon to work on the plumbing, so that Meadow and Orlando could have a second bathroom upstairs. "You're an angel!" Meadow cried, hugging him.
"Don't mention it, Meadow," George told her. "In a way, I'm kind of disappointed that Tosh and I bought a mint-condition place--there's no work to do there, and I like working on home improvement stuff."
After a couple of hours, George yelled from one of the upstairs alcoves, "Hey, Orlando--I've got water here!"
Orlando, working in the other alcove, replied, "Well, I've got no water here, so come over when you have a minute."
By the time George left later that evening, all the upstairs bathroom fixtures were operable, and Meadow enjoyed the luxury of having a bubble bath by candlelight.
"Bliss!" she whispered aloud.
Meanwhile, Orlando went into Marcus's room to tell him that it was bedtime
(Marcus was having a very serious heart-to-heart talk with his teddy bear).
"Teddy will still be here tomorrow," Orlando assured his son as he changed him into his pajamas and placed him in his crib. "You can talk to him then."
Meadow and Orlando watched a bit of TV before bedtime.
"I'm beat," said Meadow.
"Of course you are, honey," replied Orlando. "You weeded the Church gardens this morning, then after Mass you weeded the farmstand gardens, then came back here and spent all day with the kids and the housekeeping."
"And it was perfect," Meadow assured him. "I couldn't possibly have spent the day more happily."
"Soooo," Orlando asked his wife slyly, "is it time yet for another baby?" He shut off the TV.
"I'd love one, but I think we should be 'careful' for a bit longer, honey," Meadow said, and she took his hand in hers.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Join us next week for Yuri's bowling outing, and for the brilliant idea Yuri gets on how to spend more time with Lilly Thompson.