Monday, April 25, 2011

The Journal of Phillip Grant - April 6

After returning from our trip, I decided to visit the boys. It was time to see how they were getting on.

My first stop was the little house that Stephen and Abbey share.

Stephen still stresses easily. I hope it's not just the plumbing again. How can anyone fret over plumbing so much?

"Stephen, what's on your mind?"

He shuddered. "Saw the Grim Reaper yesterday and I can't stop thinking about it."

Ah, it's not just the plumbing for once. "Seeing the Reaper in action is always a shock. Even if you know he will be coming soon."

"Yeah Dad. It's not nice at all. And it happened in the pub, which isn't a great thing for a business."

"How is the pub going?"

"It's doing pretty well. I have another job as well. Don't want to depend on the pub too much."

"That's a good idea. Pubs don't usually have too much problem though, customers are very loyal."

Then I turned to Stephen's girlfriend and roommate. "Abbey, my dear. You are looking well."


"So, you and Stephen going to give us some grandchildren soon?"

"Not yet. We aren't even engaged. You have to be patient."

"I'm an old man. I don't have time for patient. I'd like to see some more grandchildren."

Then I went to visit Vincent and Miriam. Oh, and Kari, I guess.

"Vincent, how's life?"

"Hey Dad. Well, things at work could be better."

"What's wrong with it?"

"They just don't seem to recognise my talents at the theatre. I should have had at least one more promotion but they like keeping me at the bottom of the totem pole."

I carefully paid my respect to Kari and little Miriam. [Sigh] I wish that woman didn't drive Vanessa to distraction. Kari was fairly civil to me, but I didn't get a chance to hold the baby.

The girls were off entertaining themselves in their usual ways. Penny and Nick were out at the beach but I doubt they noticed the view much.

In the meantime, Ronnie had arranged to meet James at the local pool.

James and Ronnie had a nice chat. Ronnie told me later that James still doesn't have a new girlfriend.

It was a hot day and the swimming pool was the place to be.  Brad and Em turned up. As did a lot of other people from around town.

Ronnie talked to her cousin Shanna. Shanna is one of Kathy's kids. Shanna has grown a lot since I last saw her, has it been that long?

I was headed over to the pool to join Ronnie and walked through the garden at Eric's place. Tisk, Eric has been leaving the money tree seeds go to waste. I think I'll just pick them up, we could use a money tree or three.

Shanna's girlfriend Stephanie also came to the pool.

My oldest brother Sammy was there too. Sammy is still missing his wife Malia.

That's an awful thought. What if I lose Vanessa? Might as well tear my heart from my body.

Penny and Nick showed up. Penny can hold her breath under water for a very long time. Nick didn't have a chance of winning the hold breathe contest.


"Hey, Dad?"

"Yes, Pen?"

"I'm not positive but I think Nicolas might have an evil streak."


"Well, he started telling me about his latest mastermind plot."

"Does it worry you?"

"Umm, yeah, a bit."

"Ok, I see. Tell you what, Penny. I'll get your cousin Jerod over. You chat to him."


"Jerod definitely has an evil streak. Get to know him then ask. He is family, you can talk to him."

Penny has decided to do a bit of cocktail mixing. I might encourage that as a skill. We bought the bar for Stephen, may as well get some use out of it.

Not only did I invite Jerod over for Penny but both the boys as well. The twins really don't know their brothers as well as they should. So Ronnie spent some time chatting to Stephen.

Penny was taking my advice and getting to know Jerod.

I don't know whose idea it was to dance but it certainly let them get to know each other.

They were actually fairly well matched in skills.

"Hey, Jerod, Dad says you're the one to ask about being evil."

"Uncle Phillip? I'm surprised he remembered."

"It's true?"

"Fraid it is. But why would you want to ask?"

"Well, my boyfriend was telling me his latest mastermind plot."

"Ah, that's nothing to worry about. It's a sort of mind game, nothing more."

"Mind game?"

"It's a mental challenge. Like if I had to make someone vanish in Egypt, how would I go about it?"

"How would you..."

"Never you mind. The only way that I'd actually implement a plot is if someone were threatening me or my family. Harm me or mine at your own risk."

"So that's it?"

"Well, there is the small problem with candy and babies. I mean, you shouldn't give candy to babies, it's bad for them. So me taking it off is good for them right?"


"The parents feel the same way. Something about their screaming babies makes them unhappy."

Ronnie finished having a nice talk with Stephen and got to know her oldest brother a little better.
I'm glad to see she knows both of them a little more now.


"So Penny?"

"Yes Dad?"

"Was your chat with your cousin instructive?"

"It was very interesting. I think that it will be ok, if Nick happens to have some evil, as long as we stay together."


"Yes Dad?"

"You need to go shopping."

"Cool, Dad. You want me to pick up something for you?"

"No, dear. You need to buy yourself a hat."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Journal of Phillip Grant - Apr 3

Two of my favourite girls out playing catch. It's good to see that Penny successfully convinced Vanessa to play. Sometimes it's not easy to convince Vanessa that she should get up and out from time to time.

Well, I gave this dude back the long lost treasure. He's one of the members of the Temple of Heaven.

He sent me back out,  to scour the countryside for metal and gems.

I had forgotten exactly how much cross country running is involved in these adventures. I think next time, I'll send one of the girls to do the running around. I'm getting a bit old for this.

Vanessa went fishing for the day, which she always loves.

I think she's caught almost every fish you can in China. We should head for France or Egypt next time for her to find some new types of fish.

It took awhile to track down my contact.  He took the metal and gems off me gladly. Then gave me a key for the inner sanctum of the Temple of Heaven. This one opens the path to a much deeper area.

I wonder if there will be traps? I hate traps.

Penny has reached a new level of martial arts. She can meditate now.

The V's doing what they love. Sitting on a comfy sofa, reading a new book.

Ronnie is very much Vanessa's girl. They both love their books, both quiet and studious. Penny belongs to my side of the family; athletic and a bit of a slob.

So far, so good with the trap situation. No traps at all.

There are a lot of statues that I must haul all over the room. First I had to get them out of my way.

Then I had to start pushing them to the various floor switches to activate them.

Stupid statue - move. Move I say.

I'm too old for this.

This particular area of the Temple of Heaven is nearly like walking a labyrinth. Fortunately for me, there is only one way forward, I'm not likely to get lost. But it's huge and I keep walking around and around and around.

That's interesting. Penny can float?

Apparently having a very tranquil mind can have some very interesting results.

Well, I finally found it; the central treasure room. I wonder if it's going to take nearly as long to walk out of here as it did to walk in? It's getting late, I'd rather not get to base camp at 2 in the morning.

I was in luck, I didn't have to walk through all the passages again. As I opened the chests, they each  triggered a secret door. Walking out was a fairly direct line back to staircase up and out.

Thank god for that. I was not looking forward to spending hours backtracking through those passages.

Penny spent so long meditating that she could get back to camp by zenoport.

"Dad, it was so cool."

"What was Penny?"

"Meditation. After a while of relaxing and concentrating on a mantra, I felt so light."

"You were floating."

"I was? Cool. Then I found I was one with the universe. That's when I knew I could teleport here."

"We should set aside some time to meditate. It's good to clear your mind of all distractions now and then."

"Ok Daddy, I'll remind you."

Traveling by zenoport would be fast if you didn't have to spend hours meditating first.

The next day, I had to deliver the treasure I had finally discovered last night. 

While I was tracking down my contact, Penny went for her first official martial arts tournament challenge. On her first try, she lost her match. My girl didn't let that deter her at all.

She challenged her opponent again.

On her second try, Penny won her challenge. She was pretty pumped by her success.

Vanessa spent a few more hours fishing.

Ronnie? I think she was either reading or playing chess.

When I had delivered the package and Penny had won her match, we returned home.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Journal of Phillip Grant - April 1

The girls are still working on their charm. Penny and Nick are rarely apart these days. It looks like she was pretty serious when she said he was the one.

"Hey Dad, can we borrow the car? I want to do some shopping with Nick."

"Shopping? Does that poor lad know what he's in for?"

"He made me swear to keep it quick and as painless as possible."

"Ok then. Don't stay out too long."

Since breaking up with James, Ronnie has been experimenting a bit.

She's decided to flirt with an old friend of hers, I think that one is Kyra Pendragon. I can never keep the Pendragon girls straight in my head. There's several of them.

So far, no one has been back for a second visit with Ronnie.  James must be hard to replace.

Corey and I decided to do some laundry. He supervised while I used the machines.

While the laundry was going, Vanessa and I made a little trip across town. We haven't been to see Vincent or the baby for too long.

Miriam is growing so fast. Just yesterday, she was a baby. Look at her now.

Isn't she just the cutest thing?

Our first and so far only grandchild. Vanessa and I keep hoping for more grandchildren. But Vincent and Kari haven't said anything about a second child and Stephen has yet to officially settle on a life partner.

So that's why Penny wanted to take Nick shopping. I see they made a pretty thorough job of getting Nick a new look. The stylist must have been very busy.

Damn, he looks a lot like his dad now. The resemblance is more obvious with that new hair cut.

Penny seems to approve of the new look quite a lot. The two of them kept that up for hours.


So I wanted to go to China. Vanessa was offered cash to smuggle one of her books to China. Penny wants to work on her martial arts in China.

So we decided to take a family holiday to France.

No, just kidding, we were off to China.

It's always a long tiring flight, but it's always too exciting when you finally arrive to pause to rest.

I checked the notice board for adventure.

This guy was offering rewards to retrieve items from the Temple of Heaven.

If memory serves, that's going to be interesting since it's supposedly has quite extensive tunnels, labyrinths and traps underneath the main structure.

The girls went off and did some sightseeing first. First was the Forbidden City.

While Vanessa delivered the extra copy of her book.

The shopkeeper paid her an extra 1,000 Simoleons for it. That alone paid for her airfare over.

Ronnie still isn't too sure of the training dummies. She's getting better, but she's better with her books than with a physical activity.

Penny, on the other hand, is making excellent progress toward her next belt.

She's been training hard. She's preparing for her first ranked match.

Vanessa and I both warned her that ranked matches would be tougher than what she's used to. Don't get expectations too high.

I was having a great deal of success exploring the Temple of Heaven. I managed to find some places that no Grant has ever entered.

This is so worthwhile. I've been finding some great artifacts.

I found the key to the inner portion of the temple.

Only one way to get anywhere in life. Dive straight in, head first.

Especially when you need to enter a dive well.

Dripping wet with bugs all over me. Why the hell do I do this again?

Oh yes, the thrill of the treasure. That's why. I should find quite a bit of treasure. There's been no one here for centuries.