Authors: Ritter Ames
"Tell him the only responsibility he has in relation to me will be the final invoice I email him tomorrow." Kate smiled. "Really. No worries."
Sydney returned the smile. "But I owe you a huge debt of gratitude. Thanks so much for believing in my innocence and continuing to look for the real killer."
"I thought I heard voices down here!" Meg hung over the banister about midway down the stairs, just at the point where she could see into the kitchen. "
Sydney, are you ready to take Boston by storm?" She continued down the stairs as she said, "We can't wait to cheer you on in the Olympics in a couple of years."
"Oh, good. I wanted to thank you, too, Mrs. Berman. I was just saying how much I appreciated the two of you taking on my defense when the police decided I was guilty."
Sydney gave Meg a hug. "Yes, I'll be in Boston by July first. It's going to be neat watching fireworks there. Dad has already called my coach and has every detail arranged. I think he wants me to skip the camp, but he hasn't actually asked me, and I don't plan to miss it even if he does. I've worked too hard to get to this point, and it's just for the summer. I'll be back in Malibu when school starts."
I'm not sure I'm as mature as
Sydney is right now.
Kate looked over at Meg and had no doubt she and her friend were sharing exactly the same thought.
"Anyway, I won't keep you. I know you have a lot to do,"
Sydney said, as she retraced her steps toward the mud room. "But I have something I finished up last night for both of you, and I wanted to see if you'd like them."
She came back with two one-of-a-kind tote bags
, much like the one Kate had admired days before in the workroom. Sydney's almost-chestnut hair, so much the color of LeeAnn's, had moved forward when the teen bent over to grab the gifts and now framed her face and nervous grin.
Sydney…" Kate began.
"Thank you," Meg finished. "I know I can speak for Kate when I say we love your work."
"Wonderful." Sydney beamed brighter, flipping her long hair back over her shoulders. "Well, Dad's waiting for me out front, so I need to go. I don't want him stressing out."
Now she's going to worry about him.
Kate realized she was frowning again and quickly forced a smile.
No, if that was the case, she wouldn't be planning on going to Boston.
At least, Kate hoped she was right. "Well, take care and enjoy your summer."
Sydney waved and started toward the garage before doubling back. "Oh, and if either of you ever want any of my stuff at cost, please let me know. Bye." The teen disappeared out the door.
"Did you hear that, Katie?" Meg took off in hot pursuit.
Kate was laughing soundlessly as the guys entered from the foyer, puzzled looks on both their faces.
"Did Meg just run out of here?" Gil asked.
"Are you through already?" Keith said, hopefully.
"Meg's off doing a little shopping, but she'll be right back." Her words made Gil's frown deepen. Turning to her own husband, Kate added, "We can leave as soon as the moving truck arrives and I sign the paperwork. You all were absolutely right. Everything is going to work out beautifully."
A repetitive beeping filtered in from the driveway, signaling that the moving van had arrived and was backing up to the open garage doors.
"That's our exit cue," Keith said. "If you don't give me any arguments, I'll even stop and get you a milkshake on the way home."
"You have a deal," Kate agreed. She laced her fingers into his, and they walked to the front door
Every great hero needs a name, and the cat in the McKenzie household is no different. Even Kate has now embraced their scruffy, orange feline hero, but he still needs a name. Give it your best shot, and send your favorite cat name to
. The person who suggests the winning entry will receive a free copy of book 3 in the Organized Mysteries series, as well as see his/her name on the book
's Acknowledgments page for suggesting the cat's new moniker. Get your entry in soon, as the contest ends December 31, 2014!
's 10-Steps to an Organized Move
A move doesn't have to be a time of stress and chaos. With a little planning and follow-through, a family can move anywhere and find everything they need once they arrive. All it takes is following these steps.
Use a List—Don't try to remember everything that must be done. Outline everything that must be done before the move, and stay on-task at all times. Order address labels early, and use them to complete all change of address forms. Have a moving plan for any pets, giving extra attention and packing favorite toys. For skittish animals like cats, let them have their own private place so the movers don't upset them.
Sort Well, and Say Goodbye—Don't move what won't be needed. Get extra garbage bags for all those broken toys and old clothes. Contact a local charity and schedule a pick-up, or have a tag sale that can double as a chance to say goodbye to all the neighbors.
Say "Yes" to Help—If friends or family offer help at either end of the move, jump at the offer. Make sure your kids and spouse take a turn at packing and unpacking chores, too. This includes babysitting help as well, since young children won't just get in the way but also may not completely understand the moving process. If using a moving service, check out the company's reputation and service record. Don't waste your time and money with incompetence.
Start Early—The sooner packing gets started, the less stress in those last days. Begin with the things that must go but won't be needed before you leave. Mark the boxes clearly—felt tip pens work best. And mark "This Side Up" for fragile items. Store like-packed boxes together so that unpacking is easier. And try to keep box weights no more than 50 lbs. to save your back.
Work with Good Tools—Assorted sizes of boxes give better packing options, and all should have lids or be able to be taped closed. Store until needed by opening both ends and folding flat. Look for divided boxes, like those that laundry soap and wine come in. Use heavy duty wrapping paper and tape. Printed newspaper soils items, but unprinted newsprint, rolls of craft paper, or tissue paper work well, as does sturdy but inexpensive butcher paper. For very delicate items use bubble-wrap or corrugated paper.
Rooms Need Distinction—Pack each room separately. Eliminate unpacking confusion by not combining different rooms in the same box. Use different color tags or stick-on dots to distinguish one room's box from others, so the boxes can be easily distributed within the new house on moving-in day. Make a master list that tells which color goes for each room.
A's Get Priority—If it must be unpacked right away, label the box with a big "A." Use B's and C's for the essential but not indispensable. Go on down the alphabet for what can wait until a few days or a week later. And just use "Z" for the out of season or holiday items.
Survival Kit—For that first night in the new home, have the things needed to get through until morning. Have some non-perishable food and a can opener, paper plates and plastic utensils, towels, sheets, blankets, toilet tissue, and change of clothes. Add a few extra items in the car to keep handy through the move and to have that first night, like a flashlight, change of clothes for each person, small games and reading material, pen and paper, bottled water and any medication.
Plan to Succeed—For a smoother unpacking job, sit down as a family and discuss unpacking plans. Decide each person's responsibilities and where things will go. Keep a toolkit handy, so everyone knows how to find whatever is needed, including nails, hooks, tacks, and tape. Arrange furniture first, and make the beds—you'll be glad you did this later.
Keep Stress at Bay—Right away, build a retreat in the new house by getting one room set up and free of boxes. Your family will appreciate this space when breaks are needed from unpacking duties. Order delivery food, and use music, candles, and flowers to help everyone unwind and de-stress after that first big day of unpacking.