Round 33: January 2038 (Summer)last update/Lauren's next update/next update
Abigail Carmody is 55, Jesse is 53 and Austin and Lauren are 17.Narrated by Jesse Carmody
(Nick is 35, Mitchell is 19, Eddie is 18 and Catherine is 4)
(Nick is 35, Mitchell is 19, Eddie is 18 and Catherine is 4)
We started the year on a sad note, when we lost our dog, Gambler.
He was very old but we’d had him since Austin and Lauren were tiny, so it was tough to finally lose him.
When Abigail suggested a vacation, I jumped at the chance. We last went away about five years ago and I’ve been itching to get away again.
We’re not ready for another dog yet but since we lost Gambler, the house doesn’t seem the same. We all needed a break.
Austin and Lauren were not so thrilled. Family holidays are kid stuff now, apparently.
They were actually expecting Abigail and I to leave them alone in the house.
Nice try but no way. They’re good kids but I don’t trust them that much.
Lauren would probably be okay on her own but Austin can talk her into anything and with us out of the house, it’d probably be a party.
Austin is basically exactly like I was at his age, so I know all too well what he’d get up to.
So despite the protests, we all headed off to Takemizu Village.
To their credit, Austin and Lauren seemed like they were in a fairly good mood and ready to try to enjoy the forced family time.
Abigail loved Takemizu and her enthusiasm must have been catching, because Lauren ended up having a good time too.
They both enjoyed learning all about the culture of the place and just soaking it all in.
Austin wasn't interested in much except the hot springs. It all smacked of education to him, so it lost major points in his book.
As for me, well, the food was great but it wasn’t really my idea of a fun holiday either.
I’m just not one for sight-seeing and that’s mostly what you do in Takemizu.
I would have preferred a more exciting destination. I could have gone surfing in Cape Elizabeth, or done the log roll in Three Lakes.
Still, I didn’t hate the place. It was a nice way for Abigail and I to reconnect, even if it wasn’t the ideal destination for both of us.
Austin and Lauren turn 17 this year, so it won’t be an issue again but if I had my time over, I’d probably discuss a room service limit!
Austin went nuts with it. He’d order one dinner in the early evening and then decide he was hungry again a few hours later and order some more.
Abigail was not happy at all when we got the bill at checkout. Room service is expensive enough but when you’re ordering extra meals, it really adds up!
It was only because she was so relaxed post-vacation that she didn’t go completely ballistic on him!
The weekend after we got back, Mitchell brought his girlfriend Dixie over. They’ve been dating almost a year now and Mitchell seems really happy with her.
We’ve met her many times before, obviously, but she’d never met Nick and his family, so we had one of our big get-togethers.
All these months later and Abigail and Dixie still haven’t really clicked very well. They don’t argue or anything but Abigail isn’t especially fond of Dixie.
Personally, I think she’s a great girl. She was very quiet to start with but we’re a big, loud family. She's opening more and more each time we see her.
I’m pretty sure she’s just a little shy but she does try to join in the conversation at the table.
Dixie seemed to really enjoy talking to Catherine this time. You don't need to worry about finding things to say with Catherine, because she's quite happy to fill any silences herself!
Mitchell is really thriving at Suffolk. He’s moved out of the dorms and into a private house with Tim and Lauren's boyfriend Eddie. They’re paying their own bills, taking care of the house and Mitchell’s cooking real meals for them just about every night.
I definitely wasn’t that responsible at 19. I can’t be relied upon to cook a decent meal now, let alone 30 years ago.
Mitchell doesn't think it's such a big deal but I'm pretty impressed. I’m very proud of him.
Abigail was mainly concerned about Mitchell’s grades. She wouldn’t have got to where she is today without her degree, so it’s really important to her that the kids go on to further education as well.
There’s no reason to worry about that with Mitchell though, at least so far. He’s got a 4.0 GPA and thinks he’ll be able to maintain it this coming semester.
Classes haven't even started yet, so I don't know why he's so sure about it. Our son does not suffer from a lack of confidence!
Lauren will be leaving for college next year. She wants to be a journalist like Abigail and she's already talking about possible majors, writing for the student newspaper and different career paths post-graduation. I think she’ll do really well, just like Mitchell.
Provided she can focus on her studies and less on her boyfriend, that is. The phone is glued to her ear even more than usual now that her boyfriend Eddie is living on campus.
I told myself I was going to be a “cool” dad when it came to my kids dating and Eddie does make that a little easier. I still worry about her, because I'm her dad but Eddie seems like a great guy. Abigail and I both really like him.
Eddie’s majoring in Drama but has no idea what he wants to do past that. But who does, at 18? I didn’t and neither did Abigail.
He's very good to Lauren, which is what counts for me.
Austin has decided not to go to college. Or really, college decided for him, because he applied and didn’t get in. He’s not too cut up about it though. Unlike Mitchell and Lauren, college was never something he was very passionate about.
Austin knows all his friends are going though and I think that was really the main reason he even applied.
Abigail’s trying to be okay but she's really not happy about it. She’s told him it’s more important than ever now that he decides what he wants to do.
He does, thankfully, know what he wants to do. He was tossing up between making a living off his paintings or becoming a photographer and he’s decided on the latter. He did a little research about it and he thinks he’d have a better chance getting into photography and made his decision based on that.
I don’t know how easy photography is going to be to break into either but at least he’s got something he’s aiming for. He’s figuring he can always just keep painting as a hobby, so I guess he can always sell those for extra cash too, if he needs it. Austin is getting pretty excited about next year, actually, which is nice to see.
Austin not going to college does mean Abigail and I will have him living in the house with us longer than we’d planned on. We’ve told him he can move into Mina’s old room and use his own money to fix it up to his liking.
He liked that idea a lot (as well he should, seeing it's bigger than our room!) and has promised he’ll contribute to the general household costs as well, as soon as he gets a job.
It means a change of plans for me and Abigail too. We’d considered downsizing once all the kids were out of the house but will probably stay put for another few years now.
So I guess we won’t be empty nesters as soon as we thought we would. Selfishly, it might be nice to have Austin at home with us a little longer but I’m still hoping he manages to stand on his own two feet before too long.
Outtake:Sarah and Nick should probably stand a little further apart before they toss that football around!
- Title is from Art of Almost by Wilco.
- Do teen hunger scores drop faster? I wasn't kidding about Austin and the room service! He and Lauren both seemed to get hungry really fast while on vacation. It's not something I've noticed at home but at home, they're always close to the fridge anyway.
- There's a lot of head shaking and eye rolling when Abigail and Dixie talk. They unfortunately don't have many interests in common!
- Lauren earned four scholarships, so she'll be off to Suffolk next January, so she'll be on campus with Eddie. Eddie rolled up the want to major in Drama, so when I do the career criteria on him, I'll have that as a guide too. If something perfect comes up that he needs another major for, I'll consider switching him.
- Austin...well...he got two scholarships. He almost had three but his grades ended up dropping on the last day of the session and he lost his Scholar's Grant. I'm not as bummed about Austin not going as I would have been about Xavier though. Austin, despite having the want to go, never really seemed that invested in it. He doesn't have a career LTW, he never wants to skill and I think he'll be happier just going out and getting a job. So we'll see how he does next year. He'll still age up in January, along with the other kids in his birth year, obviously.