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The Jackson’s

So, I’ve been thinking.” Andrew Jackson leaned back in his chair and gazed out of the dining room window as he spoke. A blue jay landed in the old elm tree in front of the house and squawked noisily for a few seconds before heading on its way, and a flock of geese winged its way south over the mostly leafless woods at the edge of the pasture.

Rose looked up from her book. “That can’t be good,” she said.

“Sometimes I can’t help myself,” said Andrew. “I do try to keep it to a minimum.”

“I know you do darling,” said Rose, “and I appreciate the effort.”

“I was thinking about moving,” said Andrew.

Rose sighed. “You really shouldn’t do that,” she said. “You’ll just get yourself all depressed. Just because we’re going to have to move doesn’t mean we have to think about it.”

Andrew nodded. “I agree that your approach has its merits,” he said, “but I worry that if we don’t think about it at least a little, then when the time comes we will spend a lot of time standing around and saying things to each other like, ‘I wish we had thought of that sooner.’ And anyway, what I was thinking was that maybe there is a way for us to move without actually having to ‘move,’ if you get my drift.”

Rose gave her husband a blank look. “I completely fail to get your drift,” she said, “and if your plan has anything to do with filling thousands of balloons with helium and attaching them to the house so we can fly it to where we’re going, then I will have to forbid you watching any more movies with your granddaughter.”

“Helium-filled balloons!” said Andrew. “What a great idea!”

“I shouldn’t have said anything,” said Rose.

“You’re right,” said Andrew. “It’s not really a practical solution. Not like my solution, which is the most practical solution I’ve ever come up with for anything.”

“Go ahead then,” said Rose. “Let’s hear it.”

Andrew leaned forward in his chair.

“Musical houses,” he said. “We should play musical houses.”

Rose was silent for a moment. “You really should stop this thinking,” she said. “It doesn’t make any sense. How would we play musical houses? And with whom?”

“We would play with Randy and Brady obviously,” said Andrew. “Randy and Jackie are going to move in here anyway. So Brady and Amanda can move into Randy and Jackie’s place, and we move into Brady and Amanda’s place. And instead of moving everybody’s stuff, we just trade even up.”

There was another pause. “I don’t think I can fit into Amanda’s clothes,” said Rose. “That’s where your plan falls apart.”

Andrew looked crestfallen. “I hadn’t thought of that,” he said, but then he brightened. “I know,” he said. “I’ll just buy you new clothes.”

“All of them?” said Rose.

“All of them,” said Andrew.

“Well then, musical houses it is,” said Rose. “I can’t believe we didn’t think of it sooner.” “She paused.

“What about the fireplace and the hot tub? Last time I was at Brady’s house it didn’t have either of those.”

“I’ll put them in myself,” said Andrew. “We’ll build a sunroom onto the back of the house with a built-in hot tub and a fireplace. It’ll be like our own little couples resort.”

“I like all of it,” said Rose, “except the part about you putting in the hot tub and the fireplace yourself.”

“Are you questioning my abilities?” said Andrew.

“Questioning’s not the right word,” said Rose. “We should hire professionals for that, that’s all I’m saying.”

“I can accept that,” said Andrew.

There was a long pause.

“Of course,” said Rose eventually, “this will only work if Brady and Amanda want to move out of town.”

“Amanda wants to move out of town,” said Andrew. “I know because I asked her. So no worries there, because Brady will be happy to go along.” He paused for a moment. “So here’s what we do,” he continued. “We go to Europe on vacation for a month. As soon as we’re gone, Randy and Jackie move in here and Brady and Amanda move into their place. Then the contractors go in and put the addition onto the house with the fireplace and the hot tub. A month later we come back but instead of coming here we just go to our new place in town. So instead of moving, we have a vacation.”

“You’re completely crazy,” said Rose.

“Crazy like a fox,” said Andrew.

“Crazy like a crazy person,” said Rose.

“Sometimes it’s fun to live in a fantasy world for a little while,” said Andrew.

Rose picked up her book. “I’m with you on that,” she said, and went back to reading.

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