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Chapter 9 – Anchor Installation


I got up early Thursday morning, showered and dressed, then headed out to the pool to crank up the heaters so they could start doing their job.  While the heaters were cutting the chill over the pool, I headed back inside and fixed myself a quick breakfast.  I had just finished cleaning up my mess and started a fresh pot of coffee when the drive sensor dinged promptly at 9:00 announcing the arrival of Mike and his guys.  It was time to get the pool shelter anchors installed.  Hopefully the heaters had done their trick and the guys wouldn’t suffer too much.  The concrete would still be cold as hell, but I didn’t have any way to warm that up, also.


I answered the doorbell and let Mike and his crew in.  “Morning, Mike, guys.  Hope you’re ready for some bone-chilling work.”  They grumbled unhappily at the thought while Mike chuckled quietly to himself.  I led them through the house to the glass wall facing the pool and said, “There ya’ go fellas.  Tented, heated and ready to roll.”  Their eyes grew wide with surprise and Mike busted out in full laughter this time.  “What’s so damn funny, Mike.  You knew I’d done this.”


“I sure did, but I somehow forgot to pass the word on to them,” he replied while pointing over his shoulder to his crew.  “I’ve been giving them grief all day yesterday and this morning on the way out about how cold it was.  They were starting to get really pissed at me.  It took everything I had to maintain a straight face the whole time.  By the way, this is Ted and John.  They’ll be installing the anchors for us.”


“That was cruel, Mike.  Funny as hell, but still cruel.  C’mon on guys follow me and I’ll show where you can get power, then you can bring the anchors and your tools out.”  I stepped through the door to the pool deck and showed them where the power outlets were located, then led them through the back door of the garage so they could retrieve their equipment from the truck.  Mike and I headed back inside to have some coffee and conversation while the boys got to work.  We settled into some comfy chairs where we could ‘supervise’ and watch as the guys started measuring and marking.  They were soon ready to start cutting holes in the concrete to install the anchors.


Mike cracked the door and hollered out, “Double-check all those locations before you start drilling.  I don’t want to have any mistakes or holes that need to be filled.  I’m pretty sure Max doesn’t either.”  Mike sat back down with a contented on his face as he watched the crew do exactly as instructed.


“What’s with the smile, Mike?”, I asked.


“I just love to give them hell.  I know they’re all good guys and know what they’re doing or they wouldn’t be working for me.  But, sometimes, I still like to remind them who’s the boss.”


“Boy, I’m glad I don’t work for ya’, I’d have snapped a long time ago.  One of the perks of working alone is not having to deal with asshole bosses like you,” I laughed as I punched him in the shoulder.


“Oh damn, Max, that’s cold.  I think I’m seeing an additional ‘Jerk’ charge being added to your final bill for this shelter,” he retorted.


“Sorry, man, couldn’t resist.  I’ll take it back if you’ll forget about the ‘Jerk’ surcharge.”


“Done.  Now, speaking of work, Max, when’s your next book due out?”


“It’s going to be a while, Mike.  I put my writing on hold while I came to terms with being gay.  Once I did that, I decided that I still wanted the family I’d dreamed about for so long, but for obvious reasons, going the ‘normal’ route isn’t going to work for me.  It wasn’t easy, but I’ve managed to talk to a child service agency in town and, while they aren’t really excited about a gay man adopting, they are at least thinking about it.”


“Why would you even dream of giving up the life you’ve got just to complicate it, Max?  You needing some new challenges in your life?”


“I don’t look at it as new challenges, though I’m sure there will be some.  I have a good life, Mike, and I want to be able share that life with someone.  Also, I’m not going to live forever and I sure don’t want the government getting my estate when I die, so I’m hoping to have someone who I can pass it to.”


At that moment, Ted, popped the door open and asked, “Hey, Max, can I use a bathroom or should I just whiz into the pool?”


“Aw, c’mon, Ted.  You know there’s no peeing in the pool.  John’s right down the hall toward the garage, last door on the right before the garage.”


“Thanks, man.  John will probably need it when I’m done.”


“No problem.  You guys need any coffee or anything else to drink?”


“I don’t right now, but I can’t say for John.  He might when he comes in.”


“I’ve got a fresh pot on the warmer whenever you want some.”


“Thanks, Max, maybe in a bit.”


After Ted headed back outside, John came in to use the bathroom, then said on his way back out, “Max, we can’t thank you enough for the tent and heaters.  It’s making the job much easier to deal with.  I really wasn’t looking forward to working in those little enclosures we have.”


“Glad I thought of it, John.  I almost called too late to get it set up in time for you, but the party place was happy to take care of it.  I’m guessing they don’t much tent rental in February.”


“No, I bet they don’t.  Oh, and Ted said you some drinks available.  Do you mind if I grab one?”


“Not at all.  Coffee’s in the pot on the counter and soft drinks and tea are in the fridge.  Help yourself.”


John grabbed a Pepsi and headed back outside after thanking me for the drink.  Mike and I resumed our conversation.


“So, tell me, Max, how many kids are you planning to take in?”


“Well, I was planning on adopting only one, but after meeting with Anna, the director of the agency I’m talking to, she introduced me to four boys in need of good homes.  I haven’t said anything to her just yet, but if things go as I hope they do when they come out for a visit, I’m going to see if I can adopt all four.”


“FOUR!?!?  And all four of ‘em boys, have you lost your freakin’ mind?”


“You’re not the first to ask that question, Mike.  I’m still asking myself the same thing a couple times a day.  But, the more I think about it, the more it feels like the right thing to do.”


“You’re a braver man than I, Max, and I wish you luck.  May I ask why you’re doing this without appearing to be a nosy Nellie?”


“Ha, sure you can.  I’ve have a great life, Mike.  I’m a successful writer who’s had four best-sellers, I’ve invested my earnings well and obviously live a very comfortable life.  I’ve finally figured out that life with wealth and comfort is meaningless without someone to share it with.  Since marriage and kids aren’t going to be possible, I thought I’d check into the kids’ part by itself and see how that would work.  So far, so good, but only time will tell.”


“Well, I truly do wish you luck ‘cause you’re going to need it.”


“I know I am and I’ll take any extra luck you have and are willing to share.”


At that moment, Ted and John came back inside announcing they were done with the anchors and ready for Mike to take a look.  We all headed out to inspect their work and Mike verified the placement of the anchors and said everything looked good.  Ted commented, “We both really want to thank you for the tent and heaters, Max.  It made the job go much so much easier.”


“Yeah, we would have frozen to death out here without that,” John added.


Mike looked at his guys and said, “Why don’t you two get the tools loaded up while I talk to Max a minute and we’ll be on our way.”


“Sure thing, boss,” Ted replied.


Mike and I headed inside while Ted and John started loading their tools through the garage and into the truck.  Mike turned to me and said, “Well, Max, it looks like we’re ready to install the wall panels and heaters when they get delivered.  I checked with the manufacturer before leaving the office and they tell me they are still on schedule to be shipped the middle of next week.”


“Perfect, Mike.  Any idea when you and your guys will be out to set it all up?” I asked.


“We’re expecting the delivery truck to arrive sometime Thursday afternoon.  The driver’s going to check into the Hampton Inn and get some rest after a long drive from New Mexico.  We’re planning to come out Friday morning, leading the delivery driver, to unload and start setting up the shelter wall panels.  The driver also works for the company and he will supervise the installation and be on hand to make sure everything goes the way it should.”


“That sounds just great, Mike.  I’ll start the heaters when I get up and have the coffee going when you get here.  How many of you will be here?”


“Well, the panels aren’t that heavy and usually two guys can handle them, but since we’re going to haul them through the garage, I figured we’ll bring 4 crew guys, myself and the delivery driver for a total of six of us.  That going to be a problem?”


“Not at all, Mike, I just want to be prepared so everything’s ready to roll when you get here.  I’ll open the rear garage door to make it easier to get the panels through without having to fight the regular size door.”


“Now, I have one other thing I want to talk to you about, Max.  While we appreciate the tent and heaters, you really didn’t have to do that.  We had planned on bringing our little portable enclosures and I had calculated your price based on that plan.  I now think since you went to the extra lengths and expense to rent the tent, I owe you a discount or rebate on the total price I quoted after placing the panel order.”


“Nope, not gonna’ happen, Mike.  I was happy to help.  I know how cold it can be out here in February with the wind and everything and I didn’t want to have to worry about anybody getting frostbite on my account.  I could have easily waited until it warmed up to have the shelter done, but I wanted to have it available for the boys when they come out for a visit in a couple weeks.”


“Well, I still feel like I’m overcharging you and want to discount the price anyway.”


“If you feel that strongly about it, I have another idea for you to consider, Mike.”


“What’s that?” he asked.


“Instead of refunding the money to me, how do you feel about making a donation to a group that could certainly use some financial assistance?”


“Hey, that’s a good idea, how’d you come up with that so quickly?” Mike asked.


“Herb at the Ford dealership is doing the same thing on the new Flex I have ordered.  He was willing to give me a rebate if I paid cash for the car when it came in instead of financing the thing.  I told him I’d be happy to pay cash, but he could donate the rebate to someone else.”


“I like it, Max.  Who’s the donation going to?”


“Herb is sending the rebate to the adoption agency I’m working with.  With the state budget being what it is lately, they are always fighting to find the funds they need to place kids in good homes.  It takes a lot of money to do the inspections and investigations required by the state, but the state apparently doesn’t think they should have pay for them, so it’s up to the agency to raise some of the funds they need as they need them.”


“Sounds like a great cause to me, Max.  I’ll personally deliver the check to the agency and tell them you sent me.”


“Go right ahead with the personal delivery if you like, but leave my name out of it.  I don’t want them knowing I’m involved in any way with the donation because I don’t want them to think I’m trying to ‘buy’ my way through the process.  I want to be treated just like anyone else, no special favors or consideration.”


“Gotcha’, Max.  Mum’s the word.  Well, it looks like Ted and John have everything loaded up, I guess we’ll get out of your hair until the panels are delivered next Friday morning.  Thanks again for the tent and heaters.”


“I’m always happy to help, Mike.  Tell the guys thanks and we’ll see you next Friday.  If anything changes, just let me know.”


“Will do, Max.  Have a good weekend.”  With that, Mike headed out to the truck and they headed down the drive.  Since I wasn’t expecting any other visitors today, I got undressed and relaxed the remainder of the day.


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