The phone rings, officially screwing up my internal timeline, because Adaleen starts in with, "About this afternoon " Maybe some time has elapsed? Anyway, Adaleen mentions that Roman's coming along, and Nicki confirms excitedly, "So Daddy's coming?" She jumps up and down like a little girl. It's warm-ups for the sprinting she'll have to do away from Bill when he gets the news.
Bill is doing a little sprinting of his own. He and Ben are striding through Henrickson's Home Plus at a pace that would make race-walkers cry in envy. Bill is explaining to Ben how he wanted to move into the lawn-and-garden retail sector with his second store, but "a consultant said, 'Nooooo, it's not part of the strategic vision statement.' Heh! Even our loan rep at the bank said no -- 'What's with this extra 20,000 square feet?' Begged me to drop it. The economy's soft, he says, not the time to diversify. Nobody believed me. Nobody got it -- nobody except your old man. Lawn and garden exceeded first month's projections more than any other department. From now on, when you think home and garden, you think Henrickson's Home Plus. There -- now let's get the floodlights. House is like Fort Knox."
From the depths of the couch, the husband's cracking jokes about how Ben's about to blurt out something awkward like, "Dad, I want to hump Mom Number Three." However, I am quite touched by this scene: it seems like Bill is laying the groundwork for Ben to begin working in the business, and to reassure Ben that he'll always be working for his best interests. It's like he's devoted his life to repudiating Frank's crappy parenting.
Speaking of cultists, here they come now. Teeny cries the warning, and three battered vehicles pull up. Barb and Bill come out, and Bill gives Joey and Wanda a bluff hello. Lois comes over, greeting Barb with surprising warmth. It's only spite affection, as she's deliberately freezing Bill out. In the background, a group of frumpy women and girls is spilling out of the vehicles.
Teeny drags Lois inside and the old bat asks, "This one is yours, Barb?" Barb brings the passive-aggressive by replying sweetly, "Isn't it wonderful, all that Bill's accomplished?" Then we hear Margene trill, "Do I hear voices?" She hits Lois at warp-speed velocity. Lois's eyes bug out as she gets the full impact of a Margene Moment, and she completely curdles the moment by saying bitingly, "Isn't she young and pretty?" But Barb's not playing; she's embraced Margene and she says in precise, saccharine syllables, "You can talk to her, Lois." Margene has rallied and she asks, "Should I call you 'Mother H'? Or Mother? Or just...Mom?" Lois spits out, "Lois." Barb is not having it: she shows Lois "the ring we gave Margene." Lois blows them off. Barb looks over at Margene; the younger woman is just reeling, and Barb's about to get maternal, but they're both distracted by Lois's voluble display of affection for young Ben. Margene can't help but take that as a slam.