Kelly gives her mom a hug on the porch of the ‘new’ house. She is surrounded by luggage, but it isn’t hers, hers is still in the taxi. Michael is trying to look busy organizing Kelly’s things for her while she and her mother talk on the porch. Kelly is on her way to her dad’s house, but has stopped to make sure that Michael and her mom are settled, first. “He won’t mention it to you, but he’s got a shellfish allergy.” Kelly says, grasping at conversational straws.
“No shellfish…got it.” Lorretta replies, feeling suddenly as though she’s being left pet-sitting.
Kelly and her mom have never gotten along very well, but now, with Kelly’s pregnancy, leaving school, and boyfriend, there are too many elephants in the room to even pretend effectively. Eventually, Kelly climbs back into her taxi. She and Michael say their goodbyes quietly and have a quick hushed conversation Lorretta cannot hear, before Kelly closes the window and the taxi drives away, leaving Michael behind.
After a long pause, he comes up and shakes Lorretta’s hand, the second time he’s done that. “Well, Mrs. Whitman, it’s a pleasure, thank you for having me.” He is standing up straight in a way that does not seem natural for him, and his words are rushed. Lorretta purses her lips, and considers correcting him, since she isn’t ‘Mrs. Whitman’ anymore, but ultimately decides against it. “Come on then.” She sighs, turning to open the door and let him into the clearly mid-remodel foyer. She’d offered to have Kelly come in for a minute rather than talking on the porch, but no, the fumes wouldn’t be good for the baby.
The fumes are admittedly horrible. Lorretta shows Michael upstairs to his new room, makes sure he knows where the bathroom is, and explains some of the work-in-progress situation. She then tells him she’s sorry, but she has to leave for work, and asks if he’ll be alright on his own. His reply is a clearly fake confidence that almost makes Lorretta smile. “Good.” She nods, going off to get ready.
Lorretta finds quickly that Michael is just fine. He’s got a minor stammer and a lack of confidence, but otherwise seems nice. She wishes he’d stop kissing up to her, but having all the dishes done is helpful, and he’s good at pulling up carpet nails. He and Kelly are trying to find jobs, but it’s slow going, and Lorretta resents that a bit.
She’s struggling to pay the bills on a grocery teller salary, but every time she brings up that the shop is hiring, Michael turns her down. This goes on for two months, Lorretta bringing up more and more entry level jobs, Michael putting her off, until finally, she snaps. “What is it? Huh? Are you too good for working a cash register?!” This outburst came entirely unprompted over fried chicken, and Michael is left stunned for a long moment. Lorretta will later realize this resentment has very little to do with Michael himself.
He stammers for a moment, and then finally offers yet again to pay rent if that’s what she’s needing.
No, that’s not it. She’d told Kelly that she wanted them saving all their money for the baby.
So, why is she so upset, then? “I just want to know you’re going to provide for my daughter.” is the reason Lorretta finally gives, deflated, frustrated.
It turns out that Michael was turning her down for those jobs because he has a degree in tech and was looking for something in his field. Lorretta points out he could have mentioned that weeks ago and saved them a lot of trouble. He apologizes. He was embarrassed he’d gotten to graduate before all this and Kelly didn’t. Lorretta aptly comments that this is an entire mess, but it’s a good thing he graduated.
Although, whether he meant to or not, Michael did her a favor. Lorretta starts looking into night classes.
The two of them get on better after that, although Lorretta does get after him for being a kiss-ass, she’s sick of having him stand up every time she walks into a room, as though waiting for orders. The pair manage to take the carpets out of the downstairs, revealing the stunning hardwood underneath. They rent a sander and debate how best to finish the floors, eventually landing on staining it and putting down polyurethane sealant.
They choose a very dark wood stain to complement the black trim and front door, and experience a big learning curve using the sealant.
They’re both really, really proud of how it looks. Unfortunately, doing all that has made the dated lighting and kitchen counters stand out like sore thumbs. Obviously they were eventually going to work on those, but now it’s really not something they can ignore.
Starcraft: Bot Fight
Let's do some scripting to make the Starcraft AI fight itself, and see how smart it is. Or isn't.
If Star Wars Was Made in 2006?
Imagine if the original Star Wars hadn't appeared in the 1970's, but instead was pitched to studios in 2006. How would that turn out?
The Terrible New Thing
Fidget spinners are ruining education! We need to... oh, never mind the fad is over. This is not the first time we've had a dumb moral panic.
Diablo III Retrospective
We were so upset by the server problems and real money auction that we overlooked just how terrible everything else is.
Mass Effect Retrospective
A novel-sized analysis of the Mass Effect series that explains where it all went wrong. Spoiler: It was long before the ending.