The Jake Chronicles 9 – Present Hunting with the Gang
I want to earn some extra money to buy a special Christmas gift, so mom lets me babysit the gang. Well, not really. She only leaves me alone with them for a few minutes but she still pays me for the hour. Dad asked us to write our Christmas lists this morning. I know it’s just busy work. He doesn’t want us poking around the house for presents.
Mom and Dad try their best to hide the presents but we get better at finding them every year. So far Dad’s been locking the door to his study so we can’t get into it. Aunt Sam’s partner Mr. Kendrick was supposed to show us how to pick a lock but she found out and put the kibosh on that. Today we’re checking their bedroom. There’s a high shelf in the closet they think we can’t reach.
Mom’s over in the guesthouse getting it ready for Uncle Charles and his family. They’ll be staying for a long weekend. Last month Uncle Derek and Cousin Charisma stayed for a whole week. Dad said Uncle Derek looked like a man who was ready to walk down the aisle. Mom said Cousin Charisma looked like she was in less of a hurry. I don’t see what the big deal is. If they split their grocery list like mom and dad, they can each take an aisle and walk as fast as they want.
Tucker and the triplets are part of the gang but they’re too young to join in on the fun. They’re at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. With Mom in the guesthouse and Dad at work, I explained my master plan to the gang. But it quickly unraveled when Gabe and Owen, who were supposed to help, got tired and wanted to take a nap. Mackenzie is the lookout, so she’s sitting in the doorway playing with her doll. Matt and Jack have drawer detail while Colby checks the bathroom and under the bed. We can’t find the ladder my Mom uses in the closet because she’s short, so I’m going to hoist Connor up on my shoulders so he can get to the shelf. What could possibly go wrong?
“I see something! It’s a huge box with a bow on it.” Connor yelled as he reached for a big box. “Jake hold still!”
“Well grab it and get down. You’re hurting my shoulders. I told you to take your sneakers off.” Jake grumbled.
“Almost got it.” Connor made one last attempt to take hold of it when his foot slipped.
“You said that five minutes ago.”
“Ow!” Connor yelled as he, Jake and the box fell on the floor.
“Did you get hurt?” Jake looked at his brother.
“I had a stapler in my back pocket.” He got up and rubbed his butt.
“To staple the wrapping paper after we opened the gifts we found. Duh.” Connor rolled his eyes.
I love my brother but there are days when I second guess my decision to make him second in command. Colby would have brought tape.
“Open the box.” Jake shook his head.
Connor removed the lid. “There’s a piece of paper inside.”
“What does it say?” Jake came closer and read it. “This coupon is good for two weeks grounding for snooping. Redeem at any time.”
“We should probably put it back.” Jake placed the coupon back in the box.
“What’s going on?” A voice came from the doorway.
Uh oh. Dad’s home early from work. Everyone stopped what they were doing when my dad walked into the room. Colby poked his head out from under the bed. Matt and Jack had emptied dad’s sock drawer. Mackenzie was nowhere to be found. It looked bad. OK, it looked really bad. I just hope Dad’s in a good mood. It would have been way better if Mom had caught us instead. This would go smoother if I did all the talking.
“Hey Dad. We were looking for…pencils to write our lists.” Jake’s eyes darted around.
“There’s extra pencils in the blue box in the playroom. Try again.” Seth scanned the room. “Where’s Gabe and Owen? Your mom said they were with you.”
“Taking a nap.” Jake smiled as he picked up a baby monitor off his mom’s vanity table.
Grandpa said a quick mind is a good thing for football players and people who get into sticky situations a lot. It’s also good for matching wits with a former Super Bowl champion.
“Why is Colby under the bed?” Seth folded his arms over his chest.
“One of his race cars must have rolled under there. You know how he loves those cars.” Jake replied.
“Why are Matt and Jack cleaning out my sock drawer?
“You’re a snappy dresser dad. I bet they were looking for ideas on what socks to get for Uncle Tate and Uncle J.J.”
“Hi Daddy.” Mackenzie smiled at her dad as she walked into the bedroom dragging her favorite doll.
“Hey Sweet Pea.” Seth picked her up and kissed her on the cheek. “How’s my baby girl doing?”
“I’m fine.” Mackenzie smiled. “How was your day?”
“It was busy but I was thinking of you all day long. Where were you just now?”
“I wanted to see if Gabe and Owen were still asleep.”
Mackenzie likes spending time with Gabe and Owen. Mostly because she was older and they followed her around everywhere she went.
“Aren’t you a good cousin? Maybe you should have put you in charge.” Seth’s eyes darted to Jake. “Did you have fun while Jake was watching you?”
“Uh-hum.” She nodded. “We played a game.”
“What kind of game?”
I love my sister dearly but there’s a reason why we call her Blabbermouth Jones. She tells dad EVERYTHING.
“We were looking for the presents from Santa.” Mackenzie eyes got wide as she quickly covered her mouth with both her hands.
“Oh yeah?” Seth grinned.
She nodded yes but didn’t speak.
“That’s good to know.” Seth tapped his finger to his lips. “Sweet Pea, who knocked over the potted plan in Grandma’s foyer last week and used the vacuum to suck up the dirt?”
“Connor.” She threw her hands over her mouth again.
“Sounds about right. I didn’t really think Tucker and the triplets did it.” Seth said.
Real smooth sis. I had to get her away from Dad or we’d all be grounded until Christmas.
“Say Dad, we really need to get on those lists. If you don’t mind, I’ll take Kenzie and the boys into the playroom so we can get started.” Jake’s eyes darted to the floor. “After we put your socks back in the drawer. And one of the boxes fell off the shelf in the closet. I’m not tall enough to put it back.”
“It just fell, eh? You didn’t happen to find any coupons in there?”
“Oops.” Connor blurted out. Jake nudged him to keep quiet.
“Dad.” Colby held up a small bottle as he smiled sweetly from under the bed. “I found this bottle of oil. Can I use it on my catcher’s mitt?”
Rule of thumb when we find something in our parents’ bedroom they’d hidden well, they’re quick to get us out of there.
Perfect timing Colby. The next time you want me to get you a glass of water in the middle of the night I won’t complain about it.
“No.” Seth scurried over and snatched it out of his son’s hand. “We have glove oil in the garage.”
“What’s that for Uncle Seth?” Jack asked.
“It’s for rubbing on your ankle when it hurts.” Seth replied.
“Mom and Dad had that oil in their nightstand but they moved it. They said it’s special and I can’t touch it.” Matt chimed in.
“Why don’t you all get back to those lists? I have to call my brothers and tell them they’re all getting locks for Christmas.” Seth grumbled as he gently stood Mackenzie on the floor and whipped out his cell phone.
The Blake gang ran for the door.
We were home free until Connor stopped in his tracks. We all slammed each other.
“So, we’re not grounded for two weeks like the coupon said?” Connor gave his dad a quizzical look.
“Shut up.” Jake mumbled to his brother.
“Thanks for reminding me Connor.” Seth stopped scrolling on his phone. “How about this? I’m in a good mood. The holidays are just around the corner. I’ll commute that automatic sentence if you promise to call off this Christmas present hunt. That means no looking anywhere. However, you’re going to wash everyone’s car on the ranch and I’m going to make sure Uncle Tyler does drives his truck along the creek before he brings it over. I’m talking lots of mud and you know how messy he can get. I know you’re excited and curious about what Santa’s going to bring you but you need to learn patience. Deal?” Seth grinned.
“I’ll take that as a yes.” Seth turned to his daughter. “Sweet Pea, you’re exempt from the car washing.”
I put my hand over Connor’s mouth and we got out of there quick. Mom came upstairs a few minutes later with cookies, milk and toy catalogs on a tray and asked about our progress. We didn’t find gifts but I made twenty dollars, had fun and no one got hurt. Not like that last time when Connor almost broke his arm.
I am not looking forward to washing cars but I’m pretty sure I can negotiate how many we wash. Dad doesn’t know it but I want to get him a special present. I told Mom about it and she said she’s knows he’ll love it. I can’t wait until Christmas.
Hope you enjoyed Jake and the gang’s latest adventure! Find out what Jake’s been saving for in the Blake Boys holiday themed story Begin Again! Check out the Blake Family Holiday Playlist!
In case you missed it, check out Tree House Follies with Uncle Jared, Kangaroo Court with Uncle Channing, Phone Follies with Uncle Tyler, Big Brothers Club Meeting with Uncle J.J., Music Lesson with Uncle Tate, Running Interference with Uncle Robert, Field Trip with Uncle Bubba and Babysitting Avery & Wyatt!
Until next time,
Copyright © 2016 Rhonda Laurel. All Rights Reserved.
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