Welcome Sean Michael to my blog this week -- Sean's here to share a bit of Making It Work.
Making it Work, a Mannies Incorportated Novel
Parker has been Manny to Grif and Blue’s kids ever since the twins were first born. Fourteen years later, he’s caring for five kids and Grif is now a widower. Everything is about to change again for Park and his charges, though, as Grif is marrying a man with three girls of his own and the new family is moving to a big house they’ve built just outside of Ottawa.
Rand has been with his family since fifteen-year-old Josie was little, and he now finds himself transplanted from Austin, Texas to Ottawa, Canada when his charges’ father, Mike, marries Grif. Coming to a new house in a new country with a new blended family, he’s determined to make sure that even though they’ve been uprooted, his girls still have everything they want and need.
What could go wrong?
Park and Rand’s styles as mannies couldn’t be more different, the kids all hate each other on sight, and the newlywed fathers are busy honeymooning. It seems pretty clear the whole situation is a recipe for disaster. Can everyone find their place in this brand new family, including both mannies? And will Park and Rand ever see eye to eye on anything? The answer surprises even them.
The front door opened and he heard, “Good Lord, look at this place. It’s the size of a cruise ship!”
That had him chuckling, and he headed through the kitchen to the huge living room/front hall/great room/whatever that made up the front third of the main floor of the house to greet who had to be the other manny.
“Hey there. I’m Parker Bouchard, but you can call me Park.”
He stopped, more than a little stunned. The kids had warned him that the Richards’ manny was a hippy, but he hadn’t thought they were serious. This guy wore two braids hanging to his waist on either side, a vest and a pair of baggy tie-dyed pants and rope sandals, and piercings in his lip, his ear, and in his nose. There was a guitar slung over one shoulder, a lean body covered in wildly colored tattoos, and a bright rainbow bag. “Rand. Rock on.”
“Right. Dude.” Because a guy like Rand had to be a dude, didn’t he? Park shook himself mentally. Be nice. He’d met Mike and the girls, and the girls were well-behaved young ladies. “I was just making a cup of coffee, we could sit and have a drink and I’ll give you the loonie-tour afterwards.”
“Works for me. I brought some kickass free-trade organic coffee from Austin, along with all the kids’ teas. I can’t wait to explore my grocery options.”
“Grocery options? I put in an order once a month online, there’s a half a cow in the freezer, and we get a green goods box every week for fruit and veg. I’ll just increase the order.” They had to combine the family, right?
“Yep. Penny is vegan. Josie is gluten free, and Carrie, at this point, only eats peanut butter and eggs.” The man put his guitar and bags down. “Lead on, MacDuff.”
“Is Josie allergic to gluten or have celiac disease?” He didn’t hold with different food for different kids, but allergies had to be worked around. He was even willing to find vegan options for the Penny as long as she followed through on that mindset in the rest of her life, too. But the youngest was SOL as far as being catered to went. If you were hungry, you ate. He led the way to the kitchen.
“She’s gluten-sensitive. It bothers her ADHD. No need to worry. I’ll cook for them. I have that down. I’m sure you heard about the horror when your brood visited. They couldn’t wait to get home to ‘real food’.” The last words came with air quotes.
“I don’t see why we have to make four different meals just to feed the kids. They’ll all have to learn to compromise. And your youngest needs to learn she eats what’s on hand or she doesn’t eat. You can’t let her dictate you like that or it’s going to expand into more than just food.”
He grabbed an extra mug and poured them each a coffee.
“Thanks for the input.” That didn’t sound even a bit like an agreement.
“Look. We need to work together here, help integrate the families. If the kids see us divided, they’re going to think it’s just fine and dandy that they are too. Whether or not we agree, we can’t let them see that. We should keep this kind of discussion private. And frankly, I think we should decide now on as many things as we can think of that are going to come up so that we already have our position to fall back on.” He wasn’t asking a lot, really. He just wanted his well-oiled machine to continue being a well-oiled machine. He was pretty sure Rand was more a blowing-in-the-wind kind of guy and that wasn’t going to work here. Not with eight kids coming together because their dads got married.
“Hmm.” Okay, what did that mean? That was the epitome of nonanswer answer.
“Is that agreement?” Think positive, right? Just because Rand looked like he was the total opposite of Park physically didn’t mean their thoughts on child rearing were so different. He could hope, anyway, right? There had to be a chance, slim though it might be.
“I have zero issues communicating. However, the girls have been through a lot of change. I’m not going to force the meal issue with them. I’ll cook for them or, if you’d like, cook for the group, but I’m not interested in disrupting them any more than they have been.” The words were calm, quiet, and utterly immovable.
“So how long are we going to do this cooking whatever anybody wants even if it means something different for eight different kids thing? At some point they’ve got to deal. And my kids have been uprooted too, you know. This is a new house for them, and they’re going to be going to different schools. And the whole blending-the-families thing. If we just keep everything the way it is, that blended thing is never going to work.” He was a little surprised that someone who looked like such an easygoing hippy was being recalcitrant about fitting them all together.
“Well, probably thirteen years, unless Rommy decides that I’m not trying to poison him. Then I could cook for fifteen. I still haven’t figured that out. I tend not to plan more than a decade out.”
“You’re going to cook different meals for every kid until they leave the nest? Seriously? So they rule the roost is what you’re saying?” Ran roughshod over Rand big-time, he bet.
Best-selling author Sean Michael is a maple leaf–loving Canadian who spends hours hiding out in used book stores. With far more ideas than time, Sean keeps several documents open at all times. From romance to fantasy, paranormal and sci-fi, Sean is limited only by the need for sleep—and the periodic Beaver Tail.
Sean fantasizes about one day retiring on a secluded island populated entirely by horseshoe crabs after inventing a brain-to-computer dictation system. Until then, Sean will continue to write the old-fashioned way.
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