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Chapter 7 – Cleaning crew


I awoke the next morning, well-rested and ready to attack another day.  The cleaning crew would be here shortly and I wanted to be ready for them.  I ran through the shower, dressed and fixed myself a quick breakfast of eggs and sausage.  After cleaning up my breakfast mess, I heard the ding of the driveway sensor announcing, I hoped, the cleaners.  I met them at the door, let them in and directed them to where they could stash their coats and boots.  I then led them on short tour of the house while giving them directions on what needed to be done.  I saved the pool deck area for last.  It turns out that I should have done the pool deck first as one of the crew, Ron, was there specifically to take care of that area and he wanted to hit it early. 


The crew went back out to their van to retrieve their equipment and cleaners and got straight to work.  Three of them attacked the study while Ron passed through the house with a what looked like a leaf blower.  I followed him outside and pointed out a power supply he could use.  He started blowing the snow at the doors and worked his way out to the end of the pool area.  It took him about half an hour to clear the area and it looked like a blizzard while the blower was running.  When he was done, I asked him about the blower and he told me it was basically your regular leaf blower with a larger motor and fan in it to help displace heavier materials.  It was the first time he had tried to use it on snow, but he was glad he did because it performed flawlessly. 


We headed back into the house to warmth and comfort.  My study was done and I could hear the washer running so I assumed they were working on the bed linens from the other three bedrooms already.  Ron found the team’s leader, Dawn, and she gave him his next task.  It turned out his job was to take the three bed comforters to an outside service to be cleaned.  Dawn told me that with washing and drying the sheets from the other three bedrooms and the towels in the bathrooms, she thought they could finish quicker if the comforters were taken out.  I told her that was fine with me.  While Ron was gone, the rest of the crew dusted, vacuumed, mopped and worked like dirt demons to finish up the rest of the house.  Ron returned with the comforters about two hours later, just as the rest of the crew was finishing up.  The beds had already been re-made and the comforters were back in place in very short order.


Once the cleaners were done with the job, Dawn came to my study to let me know they were ready to move on to the next job.  I headed out to the kitchen with my checkbook so I could pay them.  After a quick review of their work, I was nicely surprised at the job they had done in a very short period time and I let them know how happy I was with the results.  I wrote out a check to cover the charges quoted to me by Joyce.  I then gave each crewmember a $100 cash tip to thank them for their excellent work.  All four were stunned at the tip, but happily accepted the gift.  I quietly slipped Ron an extra $50 for taking care of the pool deck and let him know how appreciative I was for the extra work he’d done and let him know he was welcome to come back and use the pool any time he wanted.  Ron was a nice-looking guy about 25-30 years old and I quietly hoped he would take me up on my offer.


Dawn, Ron and the others loaded up their equipment and supplies and headed down the drive.  Just after the drive sensor dinged to announce their departure, the phone rang.  I grabbed it the kitchen after noticing from the caller ID it was M&M pools calling.  “Good afternoon, Mike.  I assume you’re calling with good news,” I answered.


“Well, I think it’s good, but I’ll let you be the judge.  I just got off the phone with the shelter people and they were ecstatic at getting an order like yours this time of year.”


“Great, glad I could help them out.”


“I told them the size of shelter we need and it looks like they have enough of the regular wall panels already built and ready to ship out.  They will only have to assemble a few roof sections and the triangular wall sections for each end of the shelter.”


“That sounds great, Mike.  Did they give you any idea when they’d be ready to ship everything?”


“Like I told you yesterday, the anchors will be shipped tomorrow so we can get them installed before the panels arrive.  They expect to have the special sections built in about a week and should be shipping everything else next Friday or the following Monday.”


 “Perfect, Mike.  Now, I have some good news for you.  The pool deck is cleaned off as promised.  You wouldn’t believe how they did it.  Actually, it was just one of the crew, Ron, who took care of it.  He had this thing like a leaf blower on steroids and once he started, the deck area was cleaned off in about half an hour.  Now you guys won’t have to deal with that when you come out to install the anchors.”


“Thanks for that, Max.  We could have done it, but having it done before we get there will save us some time.  Just hope it doesn’t snow more between now and then.  We’ll bring the heaters out when we receive the anchors to help ward off the chill while we install them.  Considering the size of the shelter, it will take at least a day to get all the anchors in place and ready.  It won’t be much fun this time of year, but I won’t complain about the income.  Speaking of which, the total for the shelter and everything comes up to $47,500.  I know that’s more than what you probably expected when you started this project, but it is what it is.  That’s not a problem, is it?”


“No problem at all, Mike.  I’ll call my bank this afternoon and have $36,000 wired to your business account.  Sound okay to you?”


“That’ll work just fine Max.  Thanks.”


“When do you think your guys will be here to install the anchors?”


“As long as UPS doesn’t have any issues, we should have them Monday or Tuesday next week.  I’ll schedule the guys to come out Thursday if that works for you.”


“Thursday should work out just fine, Mike.  That will give me time to deal with some other things I need to take care of.”


“It’s a date, then, Max.  We’ll see you next Thursday about 9:00 in the morning.”


“I’ll be here and have everything ready for you, including a large pot of hot coffee.  Have a great weekend, Mike, and we’ll talk to you soon.”


After ending the call with Mike, a thought popped in my head and I made another quick call to help Mike and his guys.  I called a local party rental company and arranged to have a tent erected over the pool deck.  I figured heaters without some way of cutting off the wind wouldn’t be much help in keeping the guys semi-comfortable.  I know it’s their job to deal with the elements, but if I could help, I would.  I had to make sure they had a tent that could be set up on concrete without damaging it and, fortunately, they had just what I was looking for.  I had the tent folks scheduled to install the tent Tuesday afternoon and they should expect me to have it for about two weeks.  While they didn’t much enjoy the thought of erecting a tent in early February, they were happy to have the income from the rental. 


I next checked in with Herb about the status of my new Flex.  He let me know it was still on schedule and I should expect delivery in about a month.  I knew nothing should really change in a couple days, but I was just trying to avoid any surprises.  I had more than enough happening that surprises would not be welcome.  I finally got undressed again and called James to see if he had heard anything from Anna, but he was in a meeting with another client and had to call me back.  I waited for about an hour before the phone rang.


I anxiously answered, “James, have you heard from Anna yet?”


“Hi, Max, I’m just fine.  Glad you asked.  How about yourself?  You hanging in there?”


“Sorry, James.  I’m getting a little nervous and freaked out.  I’m just fine and glad you are, too.  Now, answer my question, have you heard from Anna, yet?”


“As a matter of fact, I talked to her just about 10 minutes ago.  Anna and her staff have had several discussions about your proposal and it sounds like they approve of the idea.  One of Anna’s staff is single and has agreed to give up one of her weekends to come out and supervise a visit with all four boys.  They agree that the visit would not only give each child a chance to see where they would be living, but also give Anna a person on-site to evaluate your home and the living conditions for an adoptee or two in the case of the twins.”


“That sounds great, James.  Did she give any hint as to when they would like the visit to happen?”


“The date seems to be up to you and the staff member.  Her name is Carol Ward and it will be up to you to call her and arrange the date and time.  It sounded to me like it could happen any time as long they have enough notice for Carol and the boys to be out there for the weekend.”


“Perfect, James.  Why don’t you give me Carol’s number and I’ll get in touch with her to make arrangements.”  James gave me the number and we said our goodbyes.  I called Carol’s number next.


“This is Carol Ward, how can I help you?” she answered.


“Good afternoon, Carol, this is Maxwill Sanders and I just got off the phone with my attorney, James.”


“Good afternoon to you, also.  You sure didn’t waste any time calling, did you?  Are you just a bit anxious, Mr. Sanders?”


“Well, I guess maybe a little bit.  First, Ms. Ward, please call me Max.  Everyone else does and I think as we work through this process, you’ll get tired of calling me Mr. Sanders.  James tells me that you and Anna have agreed to a weekend visit with the boys and that you would be coming along to make sure everything goes smoothly.”


“Yes, sir.  And you can call me Carol.  I’m not too big on the formalities, myself.  And, yes, I agreed to be the supervisor for your case and will be coming out to spend the weekend with you and the boys.”


“Thanks, Carol.  Is there anything special I need to do for or during the weekend?”


“Not really.  From my discussions with Anna, I understand your home has 4 bedrooms.  You, of course, have your own, the twins will use one, Thomas and Michael will use the second one and I will be in the third bedroom.  Is that correct?”


“Exactly.  All the bedrooms currently have king-size beds and I figured, for the weekend anyway, the boys wouldn’t mind sharing a bed for a couple of nights.  You don’t see a problem with that, do you, Carol?”


“No, I don’t think it will be an issue.  I mean, Joseph and Alexander already do everything together, so sharing a bed shouldn’t be a problem with them and I don’t think Thomas and Michael would mind sharing the same bed, either.”


“Excellent.  I have already created a list of meals for the weekend, but I can make changes if you think it’s necessary.  The menu’s pretty basic, actually.  I thought we’d eat at Steak ‘n Shake on the way out after picking up the boys Friday afternoon.  Then, on Saturday, we’d have eggs, bacon and sausage for breakfast, hamburgers, hot dogs and chips for lunch, and pizza for supper.  Sunday morning, I’d planned on waffles or pancakes for breakfast and spaghetti for lunch.  I assumed you’d be leaving sometime Sunday afternoon, so I haven’t planned anything for supper.”


“It certainly sounds like you’ve given this a lot of thought, Max.  Your meals sound fine and I don’t see any need to change anything.  You’ve selected a decent variety of food that should appeal to anyone and the boys, and myself, will be just fine with your choices.  As far as when we would leave, I had planned on Sunday afternoon, probably around 4:00.  That gives me time to get the boys back to their homes and me to get home for a relaxing evening.  I think I’ll need it after what sounds like is going to be a busy weekend.  Now, the only other question I have for you is when would like to have this visit happen?”


“Well, it won’t be this weekend or the next as I’m having some work done that will be a surprise for the boys.”


“I hope you’re not doing anything crazy, Max.”


“That depends on what you consider crazy, Carol.”


“Hiring a circus, going racing, swimming, you know, that kind of crazy.  I don’t think anyone would enjoy those things in February.”


“You’re safe with the first two guesses, but you struck out on the third.”


“What??  You’re planning to go swimming?  In this weather?”  I had to laugh at her reaction.


“To be honest, Carol, I have an in-ground pool at my home and I am having a shelter installed to allow us to do just that.”


“You’re not doing that because of our visit, are you?  That’s going way too far, Max.”


“No, Carol, it’s not just because of the visit.  I’ve wanted a shelter over the pool for a long time so I could use it in the winter, I just never got around to it.  This seemed to be the perfect excuse for me get off my butt and make it happen.  However, the shelter won’t be installed and ready for use for a couple of weeks.  I want to make sure the boys can go swimming if they want to while they’re here.”


“Well, from what Anna has told me, if any of our clients can afford to do such a thing, it’s you.  Oh, I’m so sorry, Max, that sounded crass.  I hope I didn’t offend you.”


I laughed and replied, “No Carol, I’m not offended.  It’s hard to be offended by the truth.”


“Thank you, Max.  I’ll try to abstain from any further such comments.”


“No problem, Carol.  So how does the third weekend from this one sound to you?”


“That sounds just fine, Max.  It gives us time to plan with the boys and gives me time to prepare myself for a weekend with four active boys.  I’ll talk with Anna in the morning and let her know what the plan is and we’ll be all set.”


“I’ll look forward to it, Carol.  Don’t let the boys know about the pool, please.  I want it to be a surprise when they get here.  If you can get me their sizes, I’ll get them some new swim trunks.  I’m guessing they don’t already have any.”


“No, I’m sure they don’t.  I’ll double-check on the sizes you’ll need to get and let you know so you can have them when we get there.”


“One more thing, Carol.  How do we want to handle transportation?  Right now, my only vehicle is a Shelby Mustang which would only hold two or three of the boys along with their bags.  I have a new Ford Flex ordered, but it’s not even built yet.  If you want, I can meet you at your office in the afternoon, then we can head out to pick up the boys together.  I could take two in my car if you can take two in yours.  Does that sound okay?”


“That’d be fine, Max.  Well, it sounds like we have everything set.  I’ll let you go and I’ll start getting things set up on my end.”


“Thanks, Carol.  I’ll look forward to your visit and if anything comes up, I’ll be sure to let you know.  Have a great evening.”


We ended our conversation and I sat back to think a bit.  I wanted to make sure I had everything ready for Carol and the boys when the time came for their visit.


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