"The love shack is a little old place where we can get together."
One day close to Valentine's this past February, Cornelius showed up at the farm with a box of chocolates. Through purchasing and "tasting" the chocolates, the savvy businessman was offering me the opportunity to discover "valuable Mystery Gifts," including common ones like 5 water and 2 power, uncommon ones like 5 baby bottles and a Redbud tree, and one rare gift, the bestest of them all: A "Sweetheart Cottage" valued at 30 Farm Bucks! Wooo!
Like a drug dealer offering free samples to dope fiends with the hope and expectation they'll return to buy more, Cornelius offered me one free taste of chocolate, demanding a fee of three Farm Bucks for each additional taste I might desire thereafter.
According to Cornelius' sales pitch, by collecting all of the Mystery Gifts I would win a "Platinum Fainting Goat." But as a frugal farmer I was unwilling to shell out the seventy or so Farm Bucks it would take to taste every one of the twenty+ chocolates in the box that I assumed would ultimately be necessary to win the silly goat, so I just took my one free taste and went back to farming.
Although I would have loved to win the beautiful little Sweetheart Cottage, I was not at all unhappy with the uncommon Redbud tree that I won with my free taste.
But then I noticed a Facebook post from one of my newest neighbors, Vickie Sutton, proclaiming that she had won the Sweetheart Cottage with her free taste! I immediately became green with envy, as well as whatever color curiosity is. I was dying to know which chocolate she had picked to win that sexy little Cottage. Was it all randomized, or could there be a system to it that would allow me to pinpoint the secret location of the Cottage within the box of chocolates and win one for myself?
And so it was with all the guile I could muster that I inquired of Vickie, under the pretense of congratulating her on her win. Imagine my surprise when Vickie replied that she had picked the same exact chocolate I had!
Vickie and I had only become Facebook friends and FV2 neighbors a few days prior, and this was our very first interaction; yet learning that we each had picked the same exact chocolate, I suddenly felt that we had this special connection. Were we kindred spirits? Soul Mates? Something more? I just had to find out, so I decided to visit Vickie's sweet little love shack and see it for myself in person.
What Vickie didn't know at the time, but what I later confessed to her, was that when no one was looking I snuck inside her Sweetheart Cottage and set up house!
Curiously, there was no reply to this from Vickie. So naturally I took Vickie's failure to respond to my confession as acquiescence to my continued occupancy of her cottage. I called Carlos to come over and help me move in with my furniture and appliances. Unfortunately, things didn't go very smoothly. I updated Vickie on our situation.
Vickie wasn't quite as upset as I thought she might be, but she did insist that I fix her sprinkler.
"Fair enough," I thought, as Carlos and I endeavored to make the necessary repairs in earnest. But we are incompetent, so we only made matters worse.
Vickie seemed inexplicably more perturbed by the mess we had made with the empty beer bottles than the twenty-foot long flames shooting out of her sprinkler system. In addition to cleaning up our bottles she also insisted that we fix the windows on her cottage. But like I told her previously, we did fix the windows. With boards. Sorry Vickie, but that's as fixed as it's gonna get. We're farmers, not glaziers! Sheesh.
As for the beer bottles, Carlos and I put our heads together and came up with a fantastic idea!
Vickie was remarkably receptive to our very loose interpretation of a Bavarian beer garden, although she did indicate that she would prefer tiki lights. Well, that wasn't going to happen.
Curiously, she made no mention of the money she owed me for her rabbits making my couch their home. However, she did say that she was looking forward to the Oktoberfest party and offered to make more room on her farm for us, so that was pretty cool.
One day Carlos and I were sitting around on Vickie's farm drinking warm beer and trying to figure out what to do about the flaming sprinkler situation. We had been drinking warm beer ever since my refrigerator had become stuck in Vickie's rabbit hole, and it tasted very unpleasant. But then Carlos noticed Vickie's frozen goods shanty on the river and made a brilliant suggestion.
Vickie was surprisingly cool with our makeshift beer shanty. But she said she liked to drink Tecate. Yuck! Not even Carlos would drink that swill.
Our next update for Vickie was kind of a good news/bad news situation. One of Vickie's pigs was killed in an unfortunate accident, but we had just finished converting her flaming sprinkler into a BBQ grill, so naturally a barbecued pork party was in order.
Shockingly, Vickie wasn't at all upset about the deceased swine! She even agreed to bring broccoli casserole and deviled eggs to the party, since she's not a big fan of collard greens.
Unfortunately we learned from the satellite installer that the attic of Vickie's cottage was infested with toxic mold. So we did the logical thing and ripped the roof off of the thing and replaced it with the roof from Vickie's cow shed.
I also had to take Carlos to the vet because he got a bad cough from the mold. I thought Vickie should pay the vet bill. Seemed fair to ask.
Vickie had been absolutely unflappable up until this point, but it seems we finally pushed her over the edge with this one. She was not willing to pay Carlos' vet bill, and she was really pissed off about her roof. She even threatened to evict us from her cozy little cottage if we did not fix it!
The nerve of some people!
Fortunately, an act of God saved us from the additional labor that would have been required to appease Vickie's capricious whims.
There was no reply from Vickie.
911 was not called.
No firemen came to help us extinguish the blaze.
The roof just burned and burned until nothing was left but a smouldering husk of ash and debris.
At first I thought Vickie was so mad that she wasn't talking to us anymore. But then I remembered reading on Vickie's Facebook page that she had been under the weather, so I figured that might be why we hadn't heard from her.
A few days later we received a visit at the cottage from some official-looking gentlemen...
In all the commotion I had forgotten to tell Vickie the good news that I had won my own Sweetheart Cottage. I knew Vickie would be happy that Carlos and I would now have a new place to live.
We finally received a reply from Vickie. She had been trying to shake an annoying cough, which was probably caused by the toxic mold she was unwittingly harboring on her property.
As usual, Vickie was sweet as pie and really didn't seem all that upset considering the damage, destruction, fines and troubles we had caused her. Vickie had proven herself to be a true sweetheart indeed, and no one was more deserving to have won a sweetheart cottage than her.
It's just a shame we left it a shambles. Oh well.
Several days later, after we set up the sweetheart cottage I had won, Carlos and I sent Vickie a postcard.
TWO WEEKS LATER...