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Rocked My Core

Season: Fall
POV: Charles McDaniel
In this post: 

For weeks, a strange feeling had started to build up in me.  I couldn’t pin point what it was or what was causing it.  I just know that sometimes I would feel down.  Sometimes I would feel like I had to force my body to function and my mine to work.  Even getting out of bed was a chore.  I figured that my body was just fighting off a virus or something. Nothing truly important and eventually it would run its course.

That was until the day, I lost it.  Completely and physically.  I had just closed up shop and was about to start the task of putting away the vegetables and fruits for the next day.  When my body gave out and my mind went blank.

I sat right on that floor for a long time.  Images of my life just flashing through my mind.  This overwhelming sense of despair hit me.  Rocked me to my core.

I wanted to scream but held back.  I didn’t want to alter my mother who was working in the greenhouse of my condition.  She had enough stress in her life to last her a couple of lifetimes and things had finally settled down for her.  She even had a boyfriend, Matt, and he had moved in a few months ago.

At that thought, Mom and Matt.  My mind started to conjure up imagines of my future.  All I can say was it looked awful bleak.  I saw myself still on this farm.  Still struggling, trying to earn just enough to pay the bills and maybe have a little bit extra life over.  By my side I saw a woman and a couple of kids.  They all looked unhappy, tired and rundown.

WHY ME?

When I finally managed to collect myself it was already dark outside.  I completely lost track of time and had know idea how long I had been sitting in the store, losing it.

The air outside was cool and crisp.  I took a deep breathe and than froze as a picture settled through my mind.  My dad, in this same position, almost in the same spot.  Doing the same thing.  Only he wasn’t trying to pick up the pieces of his mind.  He was trying to fill his lungs with air.  Trying to breathe after his body had a horrible reaction to a bee sting.

This place must be cursed.

I tired to pretend that everything was alright when I walked into the house.  Mom and Matt were waiting on me, they never started dinner until I was at the table.  No matter how many times I told them it was fine.

I had almost fooled myself into believing that I had put on a good mask.  That they didn’t suspect that something was wrong until Mom asked “What’s wrong, Charles?”

I really wanted to unload it all right there on the table.  To share my burdened with them and get it off my back.  I mean I shouldn’t be the only one worried about my future.  About this farms future.  She and dad were the ones that had the dream of   moving away from the city to become farmers.  To have a big family and raise country bumpkin kids.  It really isn’t fair that I had to take over the massive loan they got to buy this farm.  That I had to bare this weight all by myself.

“Nothing, mom.”  I said, forcing a smile across my face.  I’m surprised my face didn’t crack.

That night I could hear them in the family room, talking.  I was in the bathroom washing up, prepping for bed.  Their words were muffled but I am sure they were talking about me.

I wondered if they thought that I had a problem with Matthew living with us.  I didn’t.  I am happy for mom, happy that she has someone to spend her golden years with.  She shouldn’t be lonely.  She had stayed single for years after Dad’s death and deserved to be happy, right?  After outliving her husband and daughter.

They weren’t the problem this place was.

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I managed for a time to handle the running of the farm without losing it again but everything wasn’t back to normal.   I could feel the pressure, as I now like to call it, build.   It happened a little more everyday.  Some days were worse than others.   If I am honest with myself, I think talking to customers made it worse.  I always ended up comparing myself to them and wondered how different my life could have really been.

Right now, I could have been in college.  Chasing girls, studying for finals.

I mean really.  My life was nothing compared to that of David Hale’s.  This guys a minor league basketball player.  Gets paid tons of money and only works half the girl.  Probably has girls chasing him down in the street.

And here I am helping him pick out a ripe tomato.

It was a few days later when I knew that I couldn’t take anymore.  I knew at any moment I would lose it again.  Before I could embarrass myself and scare Mom and Matthew.  I called a cab and headed to Eaton.  When the cabby asked where I wanted to go I told him, “Anywhere I can let off some steam.”

He took me to a nightclub.

I headed straight for the bar.

The bartender didn’t ask for my indentification which was good since I hadn’t brought any with me.  I sat at the bar and order my first drink, ever.  I was rough going down but I liked the warm feeling it gave me as it settled in my stomach.  I ordered another, and another.  Losing count of how many.

“Come one, farmboy.  It’s time to get you home”  A voice interupted me as I savored the last sip of the dark alcohol in my glass.  I knew that voice, hadn’t heard it in a long time, Meadow Thayer.  We had graduated from Eaton High together I use to ride the bus back to Oasis Valley with her boyfriend Nyack.  They both were now in college.  That thought made me want another drink.  I tried to turn to the bar and place an order but stumbled.  I think on the rug.

“We’ll get you a cab and take you home.”  She said pointing to her friend.  My eyes could barely focus, but I’m sure he wasn’t Nyack.

I felt a hand on my back pressing me forward.  Meadow was by my side lightly holding my arm.  I remember the cab pulling up but after that its all black.

I woke up the next morning with a pounding headache.  I had to keep my eyes shut for longer than normal, the lights in the room were just to bright.  Than it hit me, I wasn’t in bed alone.

My mother snored softly besides me.


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  • The McDaniel’s have a whole lot of debt.  When I originally started the hood, I assumed that they would make a lot of money as a farming family.  I didn’t realize how much work it is to take care of a farm.  Nor did I plan for Carol and Michael (Charles parents) having such a hard time getting pregnant.  Or Michael and Mary (Charles’ sister) dying.
  • I sent Charles downtown to find a girl he was attracted to.  For a born in game sim he knows very few people and he had no chemistry with the girls he knows.   Meadow just happened to be there and inserted herself into the story.

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Smile

Season: Summer
In this post: Carol McDaniel, Charles McDaniel

At one point Carol thought she would never smile again. First, her daughter than her husband, both dead. She tried to stay strong and smile for her son. Charles deserved to at least believe that she was happy. The false smile that she plastered on, slowly planted the seeds of contentment. That feeling of contentment slowly bloomed into a true sense of happiness.

No longer was her smile false. For once, she was smiling a real smile.

Things that should have stressed her out barley put a dent in her mood. The massive loan that she and Michael had taking out to buy the farm was still being paid off was still there. Thru the years the farm had received grants and other subsidies, yet the loan was still massive and collecting interest.

In the past, just thinking about the loan would make her sweat. Now she looked at it as just another thing that she could handle. It, the loan, was still there and would probably be there until the day she died. For most just that thought would be enough to ruin their day, but not her, not anymore. She instead, would find happiness in the little things, like finding time to trim the over grown bushes.

Some people would probably ask her how could she smile when she couldn’t even afford to send her only living child away to college. Her answer would most likely be, “Because he’s a good kid. He made the decision not to go to college on his own.” She knew that circumstance probably pushed him in that direction. Charles knew that they were hanging on by a thread and couldn’t afford not only the financial burden that college would cause but also the loss of his help on the farm.

They had talked about it many times, to many to count and it all came back to the same conclusion. He didn’t want to go, even if she sold the farm to earn the money necessary to send him. Charles said “Mom, the farm is my inheritance. You and dad’s dream, we’re going to make it work.”

There was also the fact that, Charles could have ended up a very different kind of kid. He basically watched his father die and his mom struggle to keep it all together. He could have been hell on wheels, causing chaos. Instead, he was a hard-worker, waking up before dawn to tend to the greenhouse, rushing to help in the store after school and struggling to finish his homework at night. Miracle upon miracle she had raised a good boy, so she had reason to smile.

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  • This family is one of the hardest families for me to play.  Not in time but in effort.  They rarely have time to go downtown or even off their lot.  All the do really is garden and sale.  By the time they get to bed sometimes it’s not til midnight and their energy bar is the lowest it can be without them passing out.
  • I feel bad for Charles because he really hasn’t been able to enjoy his life as a teenager.  The farm consumes all his time and energy.  Next round he will be a YA (at home, not in college).  Hopefully he will get a little time to date.  But I am not betting on it.
  • On the other had Carol has struck up a romance with Matthew Smith, the townie that plays the online grief counselor back in Round8.  I am hoping for good things with them because they need more help and money at the farm.  So, Matthew moving in would be a good thing.
  • Also I have update their family photo and tree.

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Spring

Members of Household: Carol McDaniel, Charles McDaniel

Featured in Post: Carol McDaniel, Charles McDaniel, Matthew Smith (townie)

Carol could here Charles tapping away at a block on his crafting station.   She didn’t know what he was making and was pretty sure he didn’t either.  But it kept him busy and doing something other than school, gardening, and helping run the shop.   Sometimes she felt guilty about that, that he had to spend so much time doing grown up things instead of being a teenager.  Sometimes she thinks that she should have sold the farm when Michael died and brought a smaller place, for her and Charles.  Yet, she couldn’t give it up, it had been their dream and so many of their dreams had gone haywire.  She didn’t put down her book as she asked.  “Do you want to keep the story closed tomorrow and head into Eaton with me”

“With you?”  Charles didn’t bother to stop his project.  They had gotten use to quietly existing around each other.

“Will not with me.  We can take the same cab.  I will meet up with my friends, and you can meet up with yours”

“Sure” he mumbles barley audible above the sound of his hammer.

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“I try to grasp on to the knowledge that they are never coming back”  Carol cleared her throat and stares across the room “My heart refuses to acknowledge what my mind knows is true.”

Matthew Smith sits quietly while she spills her guts.  Matthew is a retired doctor, psychiatrist to be exact.  He now runs an online forum that helps people cope with death of loved ones.  Carol and him had become friends when she posted about the death of both her daughter and her husband.  Most of the time he advised people to get a shrink, or join a group.  But with some people he offered personal sessions held at local venues.  Place where they would feel comfortable and able to open up.

“It doesn’t happen by magic or over night”  Matthew advises her. “It takes time for the heart to heal.  The mind is much better at analyzing theses things, processing them.  Then moving forward.  While the heart feels, yearns, and aches.  It takes time.  Nothing ever happens by magic.”

Their order comes and Carol contemplates his statement in silence.  She is surprised when she looks up and her food is done.  “Follow me.” He states pushing back his chair.

“Where are we going? What are we doing up here?” Carol questions

Matthew stops and looks at her before saying “Trying sometime new.  It’s easier to heal when you go on with your life.  Once of the things to do is try something new.  It makes it easier to do the ordinary things later on”

He continues to walk towards the room glancing back to make sue she was following.  “Come on it’ll be okay.”


They weren’t very good at it but karaoke singing did seem to lift her spirit.  It didn’t fill the two holes in her heart but it did make her feel better for the moment.

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Charles had no idea that his mother was having a counseling session at a restaurant.  He was enjoying teen night across the street.  He didn’t often get to hang out in Eaton, since he had to help out in the store.  He was making the most of his free time.

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  • I know that last little bit about Charles was just thrown in but I felt kind of bad about not mentioning him more.  So, much has gone wrong with this family in the last couple of rounds that I am having a problem getting a feel of him.   Here is a close up.
  • I decided to steal the idea of getting post titles from songs on my ipod.  So far I have been rather lucky.  The Wilson update title was taken from a Young Jeezy song.  This update title was taken from an Aaliyah song.  They both fit the over theme of the post.
  • Carol had the want to go on a date but she really doesn’t have any chemistry with any of the elder males that she knows.  Her and Matthew are just friends.  I highly doubt that she will get remarried.

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1, 2 Punch

Narrator: Carol McDaniel

Round 7: Winter

Members of Household: Michael McDaniel, Carol McDaniel, Charles McDaniel

I don’t know what I had expected when I went to the mailbox.  There had not been any news, yet.  Mary’s plane was still missing and no bodies recovered.   I honesty knew what I expected, some word that by some miracle my daughter was found alive and well.  Everyday since the phone call, I was disappointed.

I try not to dwell on the fact that Mary is still missing.  But even throwing myself into work, my mind always wandered to her.  It didn’t matter is I was planting, or stocking.  My mind would somehow connect that activity to her.

When I wasn’t worrying about Mary, I was worried about Charles.   I would think how unfair it was for him to live on a farm.   The farm had a way of sucking up the day.  I worried that it was sucking up Charles’ childhood.  But whenever we tried to get him to sit back and be a kid, he would refuses and help out in the greenhouse.

Such a responsible child, my Charles.  I never had to tell him to do his homework.  He would automatically sit at his desk and do it.  Benny his dog would wait patiently on his bed for his afternoon walk.

Michael and I tried to lighten things up a little.  Late at night we would have snowball fights.  That had become on of your favorite winter activities.

Michael loved Charles.  He spent every free moment that he could spare with him.  I would often find them having tickling fights.  I would always warn Charles to put on a coat, least he get a cold.

When we were not farming, snowball fighting, or tickling, we enjoyed nature walks as a family.  It gave use time to enjoy doing nothing as will as helping to familiarize Charles with the area.  We had a game to play call in 50 years.  Were we would guess what Oasis Valley would look like in 50 years.

Then that all changed.  Our nature walks became my worst nightmare.  Michael was stung by a bee while we were walking on afternoon.   We didn’t think much of it at first, but then his face got really red and his breathing labored.  We tried to hurry home and call for help but by time we arrived it was already dark and he could breath.  No matter how deeply he inhaled he couldn’t get air into his lungs.  Then he was gone.

I was told that I lost it.  I don’t remember losing it.

But that is what LaKisha Vincent tells me.  She a good friend and encourages me to try and move forward.  The first step according to her and the doctors is to stop thinking in past tense.  But I feel like I have been hit by a  1,2 punch.

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  • *Crys Loudly*. The McDaniel can’t get a break.   First the game hates them (Mary character file disappears) and then one round later ROS hates them.  If you haven’t guess Carol’s biggest fear was Michael’s death.  I was tempted to re-roll but decided that I would “man” up and do it.

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Round 6: Fall

Carol was shocked.  How could a plane just disappear.  Weren’t there tracking devices on them.  The voice on the other end assured her that they were doing everything they could to find the plane.  But form the little information they had it appeared all passengers, including her daughter, had perished.

Carol was stunned by the news.  She couldn’t force her body to move.  She didn’t remember putting the receiver down.  But Michael found her staring at the phone when he entered the house after a hard day tending the fruit trees.

Somehow Carol managed to get the whole story out when Michael put her in bed.  But again that was something she doesn’t remember.  It had all seemed so simple and easy when they had discussed it.  Mary was going to go to the National Farmer’s Convention in place of Michael.  The family had been planning to cut down their fruit trees and just grown ground based plants.  They wanted to make sue it was cost effective and Mary needed a break from the farm.  How did it all go wrong?

The pain of losing their oldest child at times felt like too much to bear.  But they had little Charles to think about.  It broke Carol’s heart each and every time she put Charles down for a nap.  Remembering doing the same with Mary.  It hurt even worse when she thought about how Charles would most likely never remember his big sister.

But time passes and that fall Charles celebrated his birthday. It was a very quite affair with just the three of them since they were still in mourning.  As predicted Charles had no memory of Mary.

Eventually thing started to seem normal again.  But Carol felt that she would never get use to running the store.  That had been Mary’s job.

If it was difficult for Carol to do Mary’s duties in the store.  It was even more difficult for Michael to change Mary’s once pink flowery girls room.  Into a space den fit for a little boy.  Each panel of wallpaper he put up felt like a little knife to his old heart.

But he found comfort in telling Charles all about Mary as the boy drifted to sleep each night.

Michael and Carol decided to hire a nanny for the night so they could spend sometime alone.  Michael didn’t realize how much of their life revolved around the farm until he kept having to remind Carol that the night was just for them.  No farm worries or talk.

By the end of the fall the last apple tree had been hauled off.  And Mary’s body was had not been recovered.

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  • Mary’s death was completely unintentional.  In fact she didn’t die at all.  Somehow her character file vanished.  I had a back up saved but it was so old that it would have been to much of a hassle to install it.  To add insult to injury her exported file that I created wouldn’t work either.  So, i just played the house.
  • I checked the exported character file a few play sessions later and it was working again.  Go figure.

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Home on The Farm

Round 5: Summer
Michael McDaniel:  After Charles’ birthday, you should go have a night on the town.
Mary McDaniel: But I have to do restocking for tomorrow.
Michael: Don’t worry.  I got it.
Charles McDaniel was finally a toddler.  To his mother, Carol, the time between baby and toddler seemed very short.   Too short in fact.  But she was excited to teach him to walk and talk.  And the thought of no more dirty diapers made her want to dance.
Mary on the other hand was excited to finally get off the farm.  Now that she was an adult.  She found that she was seriously lacking in friends.  All the kids that she ween to school with in Oasis Valley were still teenagers and couldn’t get into the clubs that she found herself enjoying on her night off.
Mary might have been feeling a little constricted by farm life but her parents were finally beginning to enjoy themselves.  Part of the reason was because the pressure to have another child was gone.  The other reason was because Mary took on a lot of the responsibilities of running the story.  So, they finally got time to relax.
While Carol and Michael wanted Mary to enjoy being young.  They were happy for he help especially since old age slowly creeped up on them.
On days when the lines were long and Mary found herself working all by herself.  She could not help but wish for a long vacation.  Luckily, there was a big farming convention coming in the fall and Michael wanted to Mary to go in his place.  That was fine by her.
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Now that Charles is here, the McDaniel farm has been pretty quite.  Most of the time spent playing is maintaining the farm and running the store.

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New Addition

No one was more disappointed by Carol McDaniel’s doctor prescribed bed rest more than her daughter, Mary McDaniel.  She understood that her mother was consider old and her pregnancy was high risk.  She just missed the time that they spent together.  Her father, Michael, was busy driving back and forth to the hospital or working on the farm and so they did not get to see each other often.

Carol was disappointed too and a little angry also.  She had argued with the hospital staff almost everyday about leaving the hospital to celebrate Mary’s birthday, only for the day.  And when they finally relented it was too late.  When Carol got home Mary had already blow out of the candles and entered adulthood.  Mary tried to tell her mother she understood but Carol could see how hurt Mary really was.

Mary: We named him Charles, doesn’t that sound Princely. Charles McDaniel.

Peggy: That’s a lovely name

Peggy Crabtree had stopped by the McDaniel’s Family Farm under the pretense of buying for veggies for dinner.  Really her mother wanted her to check if Carol had the baby yet and if all was well.  It seemed like a nice honest gesture of concern by Peggy wasn’t the least bit fooled.  She thought her mother wanted to hear some gossip, maybe Jennifer was wondering if the kid was missing an arm or something.

Mary was not the only one excited about baby Charles.  Carol and Michael could not help looking at him in wonder.  The long wait was well worth it.

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It took forever to get her pregnant.  And every time she did she would have a miscarriage no matter how green her bar was.  I finally had to give them fertility treatments using Inteen.  I am also happy they had a boy, I wanted the name to pass down.  I already have to find interesting ways to pass down the Crabtree, Flores, and Duffy family name.

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