The next morning I woke early and was ready for coffee at 6:30. I reminded myself to buy a one cup coffee maker to have in my room so I wouldn’t have to go to the dining hall for my first cup.
When I got to the dining hall, Mario was making coffee. “Mario, I want to thank you for being the chef on the island. You did a great job, and I have a bonus for you.” I gave Mario an envelope that I had picked up at my office before I went into the dining hall. I watched Mario open the envelope and the smile on his face. Mario never showed much affection to me, and there wasn’t a reason to do so either, but I did get a hug this time.
“Thanks, Brad, this means a lot to me. I’ve been seeing this girl on weekends, and I want to buy her a ring. I can do that now.”
“Mario, congratulations, I know she must be special because that’s the kind of guy you are. If you ever need time off, let me know, and you need to bring her here so I can approve.” I said that with a wink so he knew I was kidding.
I poured myself a cup of coffee as soon as it was ready and headed back to my office. Everything seemed very quiet; the kids were still sleeping. As I was thinking about the trip, it dawned on me that I forgot to invite Corky. I’d have to make it up to him. He doesn’t hang around Sanctuary much. I need to talk to Pat and see why he doesn’t spend more time here. He would be welcome just as Bubba is welcomed.
Organizing the day, I needed to go to the vets for Sandy, get the models, and look at some of the other items the hobby store sold. I may find more items the kids may be interested in doing. I also need to find a case to show off the finished models, and I need more bingo cards.
I made a phone call to Abe, leaving a message to call me back. Heading toward the dining hall, I met Mario and Adam, bringing breakfast to the hall. Asking if I could help, Adam gave me his pan and went to get another one. From what I saw, it appeared that pancakes were on the menu today. I got a cup of coffee and headed for a table. I saw Aaron entering, followed by Tony a few minutes later. Getting their coffee, they sat down beside me. “Tony, I forgot to include Corky in the list of kids going to the island. I need an activity for just him. What do you think?”
“How about me taking him to a ball game?”
“That’s a great idea, Aaron. Since it’s you doing this, it won’t seem like he’d be competing with the kids. Eventually, he’ll be accepted like Bubba. I’ll pay for the tickets and give you some money for souvenirs.”
I watched as the kids began to file into the hall and headed for the food line. I got up for more coffee, followed by Tony and Aaron. When my cup was full, I sat at another table. Tony and Aaron took the hint and followed suit. I noticed some of the kids came to them, and they hugged them. Tony looked a little uncomfortable, but Aaron was all for it. It seemed my plan of spending more time among the kids had its payoff. Of course, the bonding that went on at the island was paying off as well. Many of the kids thanked me for the vacation and asked if we were going to do that again. I played with them telling them that the next trip would be to the North Pole. They laughed, knowing I was fooling them. Thinking about the next trip, I was reminded that there were other opportunities, like a dude ranch or a campground. Even a trip to some Caribbean Island would be of interest or a cruise. As my table filled up with kids, “If you wanted to go on another trip, where would you like to go?”
One of the kids said back to the island, and another said Disney and the ideas kept flowing. The other tables around us got into the discussion soon the entire dining hall were discussing the next trip. Of course, some suggestions were impossible due to security reasons. But some had possibilities.
With breakfast over, I declared this a free day since most of these kids were still tired from the trip. “Tomorrow, we’ll be back on schedule. School starts at 8 am so be sure you’re ready. But for today, it’s a free day.”
“Bubba, let’s go and get Sandy, and I need to stop at the hobby shop to get the models.” I didn’t need to say that twice when Bubba headed for the car. I told Tony where I was going, and I’d see him at lunchtime.
While I was driving, “Bubba, I need to stop at the hobby shop first; otherwise, I’d have to leave Sandy in the car, and that isn’t good.”“Ok”
Pulling into the parking lot, “Bubba, you can help me pick up these models, which will allow us to get to the vets quicker.”
I took my list and gave Bubba the second page. He looked at the list, and when we entered the store, he headed for the models. I spoke to the clerk and told him what I was going to do and if he had any empty boxes to place the models for carrying. He left the cash registers and went into the backroom. Meanwhile, Bubba was bringing models to the cashier’s counter. When the cashier returned with the box, he began to ring up the counter items and put them into the box. I started to pick the models when Bubba came and took what I had and carried them to the counter. I just gave him the list and let him go at it. I then looked around the store and saw a few paint by numbers kits. I took all of the kits that were on the shelf to the counter. I know the cashier thought I was crazy, with Bubba running and kept adding to the pile on the counter, and then me with all of those paint by numbers kits. But I knew I had something for everyone. When we were finished shopping, Bubba helped me to load the car.
On the way to the vet, Bubba asked about the paint set. “I thought if a kid wasn’t interested in building a kit, they might be interested in painting. This paint by number painting kit helps you to paint a picture. It’s fun, and then all of the kids will have something to do.”
That satisfied Bubba as we pulled into the vets, he was ready to jump out of the car. Unfortunately for him but fortunately for me, he still had his seat belt on. “Wait until the car stops, Bubba. You could get hurt.” “Sorry, Dad”
As we entered the vets, Bubba rushed to the receptionist, asking for Sandy.
“If you just take a seat, I’ll let the doctor know you are here for Sandy.” Bubba came and sat beside me. He saw the door open and took off for the reception area. As soon as the receptionist opened the door, he went and took Sandy. I think Sandy missed his as well, at least by the tongue bath he gave Bubba. I went and paid for his stay, and we left.On the way home, we had to stop at the pet shop. Once we had everything Bubba needed, we went home. Bubba took Sandy for a walk. I saw Billy and asked him to help me carry the kits to my office.
I hadn’t heard from Abe. As I headed to the dining hall, I saw Abe sitting at a table with Tony. “Why didn’t you call?”
“I came to see you instead. I have a painter for you. Here is his rendition. I showed it to Tony, and he liked it.”
Looking at the rendition, “I like it also. How soon can we have it done so I can put it on the building? I want one for the dining hall, and then if he could give me a small copy that I can take to jewelers to have the medals made as well as the lapel pins.”
“He’s already working on that. He’s doing the sign for the building now.”
“Before we post the sign, we need to get the building painted. “
“Can you arrange that, Abe? The kids wanted to know why the extra floor. I told them, and I think they are excited about making this a hobby floor. I picked up the models, and I got some paint by number kits.”
“The Staircase is finished. I’ll have it installed this weekend, and you can use it the next day. The finishing will need to dry.”
“That’s good news. The building on the lot seems to be coming along. Can we make the building as tall as this building?”
“What did you have in mind?”
“I would like to have the third floor for cocoons, only without an amenity room at the end. I want to expand the number of toilets. Instead of chutes, we will need carts that can be rolled to the basement for laundry. Then leave the fourth floor empty, and on the other floors, I would like to have one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments.”
“I think I can handle the issue of the laundry carts. We could break through the basement wall and build a space to house the cart from the chute. It wouldn’t be hard to do that.”
“I guess we’ll have to build an external fire escape for the apartments. “
“Yes, but that isn’t a problem. We can do that, and we probably should think about doing the same thing in this building.”
“I never thought about a fire. I guess with the cook shack away from the building, I thought we would be safe, but we could have an electrical fire. Maybe we should install a sprinkler system.”
“That would be a good idea. I’ll draw up the plans, and if it’s ok with you, I’ll contract the guys to install one. We should include one for the cook shack.”
“Do we need to install a water holding tank?”
“It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea. This is becoming a large complex, so it probably would be a good idea. We can install it on the other vacant lot and maybe build a swimming pool as a backup. In case of an electrical failure, we can use a generator to supply power to a pump.”
“The kids would love a pool. They all learned how to swim when we were on vacation. Next time you and your family need to go with us, Abe.”
“Maybe I’ll have time once you stop coming up with projects.”
“I’ll try. I might have too since I’m running out of lots.”
Tony was going to say something but held his voice. I was curious as to what he was going to say. I’ll question him later.