Friday, July 24, 2015

#153: The Greek Crisis, Part 2; Lou's Potential Sperm Donors, Part 2

"Oh, NO!" Bill moaned.  "That means Dude's awful mother is coming back here!!!"

"Bill, please be nice," Regina admonished her husband.  "Dude's parents are very old, there's a financial crisis in Greece, the banks have closed, and they can't get enough money out of ATMs to live on."

Regina had just come back from Alice and Dude's house, where she had been informed what was going on in Greece, and of the dire straits in which the elder Daedelus, Andromeda, and even Ophelia had suddenly found themselves.

"Well, I sure hope you and Scout will forgive me for sleeping on a park bench while that nasty old biddy is staying with us!" Bill exclaimed.

"Well, you're in luck," she told him, "because Peter has offered to put them up in Lou's old room.  So, I guess I'M in luck, too--because I won't be married to some homeless bum who sleeps in the park!"


Ophelia had remained at Dude's house to get on a conference call with his parents, but Peter had gone back to his own house. 

And he packed up all of Lou's remaining possessions and shipped them to her.


Ophelia came back after about an hour, and sat down to obsess over the news coverage of the Greek government-debt crisis,

after having given Peter her aunt and uncle's information so that he could buy plane tickets for them.

"Ophelia," he pleaded, sitting down next to her, "the news is NOT changing from one minute to the next.  And you're only making yourself sick watching this endless coverage."

"But I don't know what else to DO with myself," she said sadly.  "It feels like my whole life is falling apart."

"Go over to Bill and Regina's, and get the rest of your things," he advised.  "Then come back here, take a bubble bath, and change into some fresh clothes.  Then put your considerable artistic talent into figuring out what to do with that 3rd bedroom upstairs."


Meanwhile, Lou had gone on "dates" with each of the three other potential sperm donors to whom her friend and colleague, Edwin Clinton, had introduced her.

They were Pablo Hildebrand, a very smart tech guy with whom Lou had a lot in common, due to her previous job in the industry,

Braylen Sanford, a very bright Medical Intern who'd just begun his career at Lou's hospital,

and J Huntington III, the scion of a wealthy and respected family; he worked as a fitness trainer.


Sitting alone in the park one evening, Lou was trying to come to a decision.

'They're all good guys, all good-looking, all smart, and all seem emotionally stable," she said aloud.  (By "they", she meant Pablo, Braylen, J, AND her friend and colleague, Edwin--each of whom she was considering as a sperm donor.)


Lou had continued to excel at work, and got promoted to Medical Specialist.

She and Edwin went out to the Rattlesnake Bar for a drink to celebrate.

"So," he laughed, "why did you make all those guys I found for you take you out to a fancy restaurant?"

"I paid," she sniffed.  "And I wanted to see how each of them behaved in an upscale environment--you can tell a lot about breeding from that, and good breeding is what I'm looking for in a sperm donor."

"So how'd they do?" he asked.

"Well," she answered, "Pablo has a very analytical mind, which I admire, but he has all the social graces of your usual tech guy. 

"Braylen will have a good career in medicine, I think--he's a bit rough around the edges socially at this point, but I really like his coloring--the introduction of blond hair genes might be good for my lineage somewhere down the line.

"And J is CLEARLY the best breeding in terms of family and looks and social ability, but I'm concerned about his lack of ambition--that might be an inheritable trait for my future child."

"So, are you even CLOSE to a decision?" Edwin asked.  "Am I still in the running?"

"Edwin," Lou announced, "I have MADE my decision."

Monday, July 20, 2015

#152: The Greek Government-Debt Crisis

The next morning, Peter finished a painting, and Ophelia was checking her email.

He then began making breakfast,

when he heard Ophelia shriek.

"What is it???" he asked, rushing in.

"I tried to pay a bill from my bank account, and I couldn't access it," she said, mystified.

"And then I checked my email, and I got a message that the bank meeting about the loan for my new photography studio in Athens--which meeting was scheduled for TOMORROW--has been canceled!  And that the bank is closed indefinitely!!  And that I'm limited to daily withdrawals of only 67 euros!!!"

"WTF???" he asked.  "That makes no sense!"

Ophelia continued to go through her email, and found several frantic messages from friends and family,

while Peter put on the news.

It turned out that, since Greece had just defaulted on a huge international loan, the country's creditors were refusing to continue their years-long bailouts, and the Greek banks--without a fresh infusion of foreign cash--had closed, leaving depositors able to withdraw only a nominal amount of money each day.

"I -- I just don't even know what to do!," Ophelia stammered, coming into the living room.

"I have to go talk to Dude!"

She went upstairs.

Peter was relieved that--despite her panic--Ophelia apparently intended actually to get dressed before leaving the house.


Alice, rocking her son, didn't understand what her husband was saying on the phone, because he was speaking Greek,

but it was clear to her that something was seriously wrong.

"Dude!" Ophelia cried as she burst through the door.

"I know," he told his cousin.  "I just got off the phone with Mama!"

"What are your parents going to do?" she asked.  "Can they get enough of their money out of the bank to live???"

"Fortunately, they have U.S. bank accounts, since they lived here for a few years, and Papa trusted the American banking system much more than the Greek banking system," he explained.

"I just have to figure out how to get the money to them."

Ophelia despaired.

"Since my own parents died," she wailed, "Daedelus and Andromeda--and YOU--are all I have for family!"

"Cousin, calm down," Dude pleaded, hugging her.  "We'll figure a way out of this."

Just then, Peter arrived (catching up to Ophelia after having thrown on some clothes).

"Let's just buy your folks some plane tickets," Peter suggested to Dude.  "Then at least we can get them here, where we know they'll be safe."