Money Madness

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Talking over dinner.

When I got home from my visit with Noel, I found Mr. Divine in the kitchen cooking dinner with the kids. From the looks of it, we are going to having some type of stir fry chicken with baked sweet potato with salad.

“How was your day, honey?” asked Mr. Divine as he stirred the pan on the fire.

“It was good. In fact, the best word for it would be interesting.”

He paused mid-stir. “What happened?”

“Well, while we were talking Noel got her bank statement in the mail and that was when the drama got epic.”

“Over her bank statement?” said Mr. Divine. “What did they do?”

“Had five dollars extra in the maintenance fee charged to her account. Then when she finally found a number of calls on one would answer. She had to press the extension for wealth management to get an answer.”

Mr. Divine’s jaw dropped. “Yikes. That’s….unheard of.”

The children watched us, listening to my explanation of what happened. As I continued the story I could see Mr. Divine becoming very disturbed by what he was hearing.

“That sounds insane. When I call the bank I never have that problem.”

“And I bet your account is under business or wealth management and you have a specific person you talk to about your account. Someone who knows you and sees to your every need.,” I said as I climbed onto the stool in front of the bar top that extended from the countertop.

He nodded as he mixed the pasta into the chicken and veggies he had stir-fried. “I see what mean.”

“So what’s the huge difference,” asked Kyla as she cut vegetables for a salad. Shane handed her the leaves of lettuce he had washed and continued on to the other veggies and fruits he had on the counter close to him.

“The way bank staff deals with you basically. Your dad has a direct line to someone in the bank and they scramble to help him but when most of us call the bank its a different story. We have to hunt for a number firstly. Then we call and call but no one answers the phone.”

Kyla looked at me shocked. “Really!”

“Sadly yes,” I replied. “That why Noel is so against banks. Nowadays its fees, fees and more fees and little or no service.”

“So what can you do?” Shane dried his hands and moved to stand next to Kyla while he asked the question.

“It’s about being very strategic with your money. Making it work for you,” said Mr. Divine.

The kids looked at us confused. “What does that mean?”

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Next Step

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My children love Berlin. Love, love, love it. Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

While we were away indulging out wanderlust we were keeping track of the next steps we wanted to take in our lives but we were not about to let that distract us from having a good time. The news we had been waiting for reached us during our three-day stopover in Berlin. Kylie got several emails about grades, school and the scholarships she has applied for. From there we put things into place while we continued our trip through Europe. All the necessary information was forwarded to the schools the children wanted to go to so things would be in place when we got back home.

The trip became even more exciting now we got the news about the kids going to the schools of their choice. As we traveled we allowed the children to the take the lead more so they could strengthen their navigation skills in a big and times more complication environment. They helped each other, figuring out how to uses maps and find out information in a country where they didn’t speak the language.

“I’m really enjoying this mom,” said Kylie as she tiptoed and looked through the crowd to see more of the stalls set up at Kunstmarkt, a huge flea market in Berlin.

“There is so much history and culture here. I think going to school here would be a lot more interesting than the US.

Mr. Divine laughed at her remark. “That is probably very true. We can check and see if your university offers a study abroad program. Another option is to do your Master’s Degree or make sure your first job is in Europe.”

“Can I do that?” she asked excitingly.

“Yes,” Mr. Divine replied as she held his arm and looked up him in awe.

“It’s time for both you and Shane to dream big and discover the world. Strengthen your language skills and travel.”

The kids looked at each other and nodded. Their excitement visible. They both had their sights set on choosing a new skill they wanted to discover and develop, plus the fire to go after it. I can’t wait to see what language or languages they choose.

 

Discover Europe

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Artwork and architecture on a building in Milan, Italy.

Mr. Divine has brought us on a trip across the pond and when we drove out of the airport we were all smiles. Yes, the kids and I were beach babies, but we also loved to explore and discover. Right now we are in London with its blend of old and new all hidden in countless nooks and crannies just waiting to be discovered. It called to use us to explore. First, we took a tour on an opened top double-decker bus all around the city. From that, the kids took a note of the places they wanted to revisit.

 

We visited so many spots. Somehow we got in more than ten of the must see places to visit. As we bid London goodbye, Mr. Divine took a note of our sad faces.

“Don’t worry. We’ll be back again soon,” he assured us as we boarded a fast train to Scotland. When we got to Edinburgh we took in the crisp, fresh air, eager for more to discover.  We started on the Royal Mile and just rambled. After several hours we had visited The Writers’ Museum, Queen Mary’s Bath House, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Victoria Terrace and of course the Scotch Whisky Experience. The next day we took a day trip to  Loch Ness that also stopped at Glencoe and the best part is that it allowed us to discover the Highlands. The vistas we saw were truly breathtaking.

The trip didn’t end there, in fact, it had only just begun. We spent the next three weeks roaming through Europe. First, we went to Paris, then to Madrid, across to Barcelona, a stop in Marseille to see the views from the Basilique Notre – Dame de la Garde. In Monaco, we went to Jardin Exotique and Palais du Prince. We continued ongoing from one major city to the next until we had seen most of Western Europe.

We had the most amazing time on that trip and the truly amazing things we saw changed our opinions and impressions of the world. I’m sure there will be other trips like this in the near future and I can hardly wait until we all go to another. Along with the discovery and adventure, we enjoyed the togetherness and uninterrupted family time. It’s an experience we will never forget and are eager to repeat.

Problem Solved

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Lorna was still working at her desk. Photo by Ilya Pavlov on Unsplash

I walked into Mr. Divine’s office to meet him for a lunch date and spotted Lorna sitting behind her desk. I gave her a huge smile. Time to be naughty.

“Oh, you are still here? Oh well. There is still time. Could you please let my husband know I’m here.”

I watched Lorna pale and took a seat to watch. “What do you mean still here?” she asked.

I shrugged. I thought you took lunch at this time. I guess I got the time wrong.”

Just then the phone rang and I glanced up at the clock. Right on time.

I watched Lorna’s face and sure enough, it went almost a ghostly pale. When she put down the phone I could have stuck her with a pen and not get a drop of blood.

You see, I got one of Mr. Divine’s friends to play a part in my McHema Recruitment plot and the call Lorna had just taken just asked her to let her boss know that the off-site interviews he requested had been arranged. Now she thought he job may be in jeopardy. She had every right to think so.

Getting up I went to her. “Lorna are you okay? You look pale.”

She looked up at me with her eyes wide and I almost felt sorry for her, then I remembered her relentless nasty attitude. No, she needed to learn a lesson when it came to how to treat people. Walking to Mr. Divine’s door I knocked and went in.

“You’re here. Lorna didn’t tell me. Is she still being nasty to you?”

“Right now she is too busy catching kittens to be nasty but we’ll see.”

He shook his head. “You up to mischief again.”

“Me?” I asked innocently. “It’s not my fault that your PA doesn’t know how to respect people. She’ll learn in time.”

Just then a soft knock sounded on the door and Lorna stepped in but didn’t go beyond the entrance.

“Sir you just got a call from a McHema Recruitment about interviews.” She paused for several minutes. “Are you firing me sir?”

Mr. Divine looked at her and said nothing for some time. “Do you think I have a reason to? You have been continually rude to my wife and that is more than reason enough for me to want you gone.”

“I’m sorry sir,” she said gripping her hands in front of her. “I stepped out of line. It won’t happen again. Please give me a chance to prove it to you. I really need this job.”

“You could have fooled me,” I muttered under my breath and Mr. Divine smacked me on the ass in response.

“Every single person who steps into my office must be respected. One more mistake from you and you’re fired. Got that?”

“Yes sir,” she whispered and backed out of the office.

I slipped into my husband’s arms and hugged him tightly.

“Problem solved…for now.”

He kissed her then replied. “For now.”

 

Oh Really!

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Happy to see my hubby.  Photo by mari lezhava on Unsplash

Throwing back her head Lindsay started to laugh uproariously. With a smile, she took her picnic basket off the secretary’s desk and moved into the corner and sat down.

“Madam you might as well leave. The boss is busy all day,” she said.

Lindsay smiled and took out her phone. “I’ll just send this little message first if you don’t mind.” Lindsay crossed her legs and got comfortable.

“In fact, I do mind. I’m going to have to call security.”

“Just checking. You did hear the part when I told you I’m here to see my husband.”

The woman got up and rolled her eyes. “As if my boss would be stupid enough to marry someone looking like you.”

Lindsay looked at the woman in shock when she heard her comment taken aback by her blatant rudeness. Just then a message came through on her phone and after Lindsay read it she sat back down with a smile.

“Why are you sitting down? Get out of here woman. As if you can make me believe my boss married you.”

“Lorna! Why are you speaking to my wife like that? In fact, why don’t you call me and let me know she was here?”

The woman looked from Mr. Divine to me then back. “No way. There is no way you are married to her.”

Mr. Divine walked out of his office towards me, pulling me into his arms and floored me with a long, deep kiss. It took me so by surprise that I ended up clutching his shirt and I didn’t even know when I did it.

“Mine,” he growled pulling me closer. Then he turned and looked at Lorna and she backed away slowly.

“If you ever disrespect my wife again you better start looking for a new job.”

“Yes sir, okay sir.” She moved around her desk and sat down watching as Mr. Divine leaned in and kissed me again. After he raised his head he gave me a heated look, took up the picnic basket and dragged me towards his office.

“Hold my calls,” he said to Lorna as I trotted after him. Then she slammed the door shut and locked us inside.

 

Blocker

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I need to see my Mr. Divine. Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

I’ve been telling you all about what’s going on in the children’s lives but I haven’t told you about what is up with me and Mr. Divine. He has had to travel quite a bit for the past few months and like always I miss him like crazy. When he is not here we talked every day, sometimes three or four times a day. He tries to keep his trips short but sometimes they ran longer. Neither of us like when we are apart for each other for long periods of time but it happened.

After one of his trips started running into three weeks I started planning a weekend trip to slip over and visit my man. The kids said they could spend the weekend at either their aunt or at one of their friends but they wanted me to go on this trip. Quickly I arranged everything and took a flight to were Mr. Divine was staying. I went to our home and put down my cases then moved away to his offices.

I arrived armed with a picnic basket for lunch to see my man and when I get the main entrances of his office I saw he had a new secretary and sighed. This was going to be interesting. As I walked closer I watched the woman’s face and noted the way she was looking at me. It was not an inviting look and I had a feeling she was going to a pain when I asked to see Mr. Divine.

“Good morning. I’m here to see Mr. Divine. I’m his wife, Lindsay”

“Do you have an appointment?”

“No,” I gave her a long look. “My visit is a surprise.”

“Well, I’m sorry. You can’t see him.”

Results and Choices

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What is next for my amazing children? Photo by JodyHongFilms on Unsplash

With Shane none too eager to go to school here and talking about being near his sister, we have held off getting his school stuff. The tricky thing is that by the time Kylie’s results come back Shane should have started in school already. Despite that, we started to look seriously for a school for Shane and we found two which were just a few miles away from the colleges that Kylie was most interested in.

To set things in motion we decided to take a trip to see the schools we were considering. We did the tours and were very happy with what we discovered. Mr. Divine also did some online research to see if he came across any dirty little secrets that the school administration may be attempting to cover up. Whatever he found it seemed like it was enough that he took two of the schools off the list. Luckily the schools were not on the top of Shane’s list. So we are all good. We also found out their policy for late start of the term and discovered it was not a huge issue so that settled things for us.

Two weeks later we got Kylie’s results and along with her two passes from the year before, she has gotten another seven at grade 1 and 2 to go with them. Her coach was overjoyed and was on the phone back and forth talking to the colleges that shortlisted her. He then informed her she would have to wait another few weeks to hear back from them about her chances of getting a scholarship. Her coach also went on to explain that with her improved swim times he chances were even higher for success.

During the week after Kylie got her results, she sat down with Shane and they each talked about their choices to try to narrow down what schools that truly wanted to attend. When the information came in they were both on tender hooks, eager to find out what was the next step in their lives and we could hardly wait to tell them.

Already Missing Her

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Shane wanted to be near his sister when she went away to college. Photo by William Stitt on Unsplash

I’ve been telling you about Kylie for the past few weeks but what about my darling young man Shane? He did amazing in his exams and as a result got into the school of his choice. He is happy with his results, but I don’t see any eagerness in him to start at this new school. He has been going to the pool with Kylie and much to my surprise had been working with her coach to increase his times and overall stamina. Despite all these things I’ve noticed that my son is quieter than usual.

Every day he talked to Mr. Divine and I saw a joy that took over my son whenever he had one of these conversations. He also seemed to tag along wherever his sister went. I noted that her boyfriend didn’t mind Shane being with them but I still worried about him always being around older kids.

One day when Kylie was out and he seemed to be playing on his iPad I walked by. What I noticed wasn’t a game but rather a website. Slowly I walked up to him. “Shane, what are you doing?”

He put down his iPad and gave me a sad smile.

“Research. I’m looking for schools for kids my age near where Kylie may be going to school.”

His words shocked me but I managed to keep it in. “You found anything good?”

“One or two but it all depends on where Kylie ends up going to university.”

“True, but even if you don’t go to school in the same state you can still visit Kylie often.”

“I guess,” he said with a sigh.

“If you want to go to school near Kylie you can but the school has to be more than just near Kylie. It needs to do the things you are interested in.”

Pouting Shane cuddled against my side. “I’m going to miss her when she is gone mom.”

“Anything is possible so don’t worry. We’ll start looking for proper schools for you so by the end of summer we will have a plan. So let me see these schools you are interested in.

First Date

 

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“Mom he bought me flowers. Flowers.”  Photo by PHUOC LE on Unsplash

The young man standing in the door was a handsome boy and when he saw my daughter walking towards him he broke out into a huge smile. From behind him, he pulled out a bunch of flowers.

 

“These are for you,” he said handing my daughter a bouquet that consisted of a combination of mixed flowers.

Her smile got wider. “Thank you,” she whispered then turned to be awestruck.

“Mom he bought me flowers. Flowers.”

“Yes he did,” I said. “Let me take them and put them in water.”

Taking then I moved towards the kitchen, pleased he had made such an effort. When I brought back the flowers I placed them in the middle of the coffee table which was between Radley, Kylie and Mr. Divine who was sitting along with Radley’s father. Mr. Divine had exercised his slick investigation methods and whatever he had discovered had him smiling.

“Honey, they are going to watch ‘Wonder Woman’,” he said. “That should be interesting. I can hardly wait to hear how it was.”

By the time the conversation was completed, the decision was made that we would pick up the kids at ten o’clock to drive them home.

When they left Mr. Divine flopped back into the couch like a marionette whose strings had been cut.

“Watching her walk through that door felt like I was getting the skin ripped off my body with tweezers,” he gasped pulling me into his arms and holding me tight.

I understood his pain. “Me too. I feel like rushing out of the house to follow them.”

I laughed holding him tighter. “Please don’t put ideas into my head because I will be more than tempted to follow them.”

Getting comfortable I closed my eyes and let Mr. Divine hold me. Ten o’clock was going to take forever to come but until then I would let my little girl enjoy her first date.

Date Prep

 

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We found the perfect outfit. Photo by Artificial Photography on Unsplash

With permission granted, Kylie and her young man have chosen where and when they plan to go on their date. The plan is he would pick her up from our house to go out, then we would pick them up from where they ended up going to watch the movie. My young lady was beyond excited about the upcoming day, and after we had a talk and got a new outfit she became a lot more settled.

We got her a cute peasant top with blues and reds that she planned to wear with jeans or the new pants we got to go with it. When the afternoon came, Kylie came to me and hugged me tightly. “Help me get ready,” she begged, trying to keep her excitement under control.

“You’ll be fine. Go start getting ready and I’ll help you finish.”

She tried not to rush off to start but in truth she did and after about half an hour she came back dressed in the shorts and top we had bought.

When she stepped out of her room and walked down the corridor to me I was blown away. I had to fight not to cry.

“You look so beautiful baby,” I hugged her tight then sat her down.

“You don’t need makeup but we have that really pretty lip gloss that we bought when we went shopping.”

Together we sorted out a hairstyle then did her face with a light dusting of translucent powder and the lip gloss.

“Perfect,” I said sitting back to see how she looked. “All ready?”

She gave me a shy smile. “All ready. Thanks for helping me mom. It may not look it but I’m so nervous.”

“Just be the amazing you that you are,” I whispered to her as there was a knock on the door. It was time for my baby to go on her first date.