My Story – Brothers, Friends and Lovers
Chapter 8 – Nothing But Frustrations
(Monday - A Surprise at Breakfast)
Copyright 2005 by Sasquatch
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The next week turned out to be nothing but one big frustration after another.
Monday morning arrived, I got up and took care of the 3 S's, you know shit, shower and shave, well the shave part is only once or twice a week.
When I was done, I stuck my head in George's room and loudly announced "Hey Bro, I'm finished in the bathroom." I got his usual mumble "yea, yea I'm up" which probably meant he was playing with himself.
I made my bed and straighten up my room, as I was getting dressed I hear the toilet flush and the shower start, "Good" I thought, "I won't have to hassle him a second time this morning." I finished dressing grabbed my books, and as I left my room heard the shower turn off.
When I walked into the kitchen I stopped short, I think my jaw dropped. Dad was sitting at the kitchen table drinking a cup of coffee and reading the paper. He was always gone before we got up.
I recovered before Dad noticed and put my stuff on the kitchen counter, got my breakfast and sat down at the table. As he looked up, I said in a rush "Hi Dad, how come you're home, are you feeling ok?"
"Yea I'm ok, I just have the day off. Is George coming down soon?"
"He was just getting out of the shower when I left my room" I replied, "He should be here in a few minutes."
"Good, I'll explain everything when he gets here" Dad said, and went back to reading the paper and drinking his coffee.
Fortunately George is fast once he gets started, in less than 3 minutes he was walking through the kitchen door. He stopped short just like I had with a dumb founded expression on his face.
He glanced at me and gave me a dirty look, as if it was my fault. He grabbed his breakfast and sat down at the table.
Before he could say anything, Dad spoke. "Morning George, I'm not sick, I'm feeling fine I just have the day off. I'll explain what's going on while you boys eat your breakfast." George closed his mouth and started eating.
"The company decided that everyone has to many vacation days on the books. They set up a plan limiting the max number of hours allowed. We were told that we have to use up our excess vacation time or lose it. Right now I'm 2 weeks over the limit. By the end of next June I'll have another 4 weeks. June 30th is the end of the company year and that's when the rule goes in to effect. So I have 6 weeks of vacation to use between then and now or lose it."
I could see the look of relief on George's face, I'm sure my expression mirrored his. Dad hadn't been fired, and we weren't in trouble.
"What I've decided to do is take Monday's off for a while, Thursday and Fridays are my important staff meetings so I can't take Fridays off. Your Mom is going to try to schedule her trips so that she can be home on Monday's too. Your Mon and I are planning some weekend trips and a couple of week long vacations to use up my excess hours."
George started to say something, but Dad cut him off "George, just wait till I'm done, then you can ask questions, OK?" George just nodded. "You too David" he said, I quickly nodded yes and kept my mouth shut.
"Wally has a lot of vacation time to use too. Wally has been acting VP of Sales and Marketing for 3 months now. His important meetings for getting the sales reports are Mondays and Fridays, so he is taking Tuesdays off."
Dad always tried to explain things completely to us so that we would understand what was going on. He could see from the confused looks on our faces that we couldn't figure out what Wally taking Tuesday's off had to do with anything.
He explained, "Both Wally and I feel that we don't get to spend enough time with you boys, so this will give us some extra time together. On Mondays I will take the four of you to school in the morning and be at your practice in the afternoon, Wally will do the same on Tuesdays."
"Oh no" I thought, "Now Bill and I won't be able to talk and spend time together." George was frowning at all of this too.
Dad looked at both of us and said, "Ok, you can ask your questions now."
George jumped in with both feet with his usual lack of caution. "Where will we stay when you are gone for a week? Is David going to be the boss?" he said sarcastically. "Will I have to do everything he says? Why should he be the boss just because he is older? He doesn't understand me or the things I like."
Before he could continue his tirade, Dad interrupted using his command voice, he spoke only one word, "GEORGE!" When he spoke this way you knew that you had better pay attention and he would book no dispute.
George stopped breathing; he almost bit his tongue as he snapped his mouth shut so fast you could hear his teeth click. You could see the look of fright on his face. It had been years since Dad had used this tone of voice on either of us. I just sat there, kept my mouth shut and my face in neutral.
Dad was staring at George so intensely that George shrunk back in his chair. In an unaccented level voice, Dad told George, "Young man, you will show some respect for your brother and ME!" Dad put some real bite in the "ME!"
Dad continued to stare at George; he screwed up his courage, very carefully and politely looking directly at Dad, and said, "Dad, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be disrespectful." Dad kept looking at him a little less intensely. George turned and looked at me and told me "David, I apologize."
I looked at George and politely told him, "Bro, I accept your apology."
Dad inhaled, leaned back and let his breath out with a sigh. He looked calmly at George. "Even though I don't like the way you asked your questions, I will answer them."
George knew that he was standing on very thin ice. He had been put on notice, he could still ask his questions, but he had better ask them correctly.
"The plan was" Dad started.
"Oh Great" I thought, "past tense, George has fucked it up for both of us."
I pulled my attention back to what Dad was saying, "that you both would stay here. In the past you both have both shown that you were learning responsibility."
"Another past tense, I guess that we would be sent into exile somewhere when they were gone." I moaned to myself.
I listened to what else Dad had to say, "David will not be the boss, but he will be in charge. You don't have to do everything he says, but you will comply with all reasonable requests and follow the rules your mother and I lay down. He is in charge not only because he is the oldest, but also because he has shown both your mother and I that he can be trusted to keep his word."
Dad looked me, and then at George, and in a mild tone of voice, advised him "George, I think that your brother understands you a lot better than you realize."
"Your mother and I have planned a trip for this coming weekend. She will be home this afternoon and we will talk about what the rules will be while we're gone. Wednesday evening we will discuss them with you, and then you can make suggestions. If we agree with your suggestions they will be included in the rules. Thursday evening we all will sign the rules pledging our word to follow them. Any questions?"
George piped up "Yea Dad I have a couple."
Dad looked at George and said mildly "Ok George go ahead."
George asked, "What if something comes up that isn't covered by the rules?"
"Good question, George" Dad said smiling.
George brightened with Dad's praise, realizing that he wasn't in as much trouble as he feared.
"There's not a simple answer to that question, rules can't be made to cover every situation. If that happens, I will expect the both of you to negotiate a solution. If you can't agree then I will have to say that David has the final decision. That decision will be binding on both of you, until you can talk with your mother and me about it."
I could tell that George wasn't very happy with that answer, but he knew Dad had given him a reasonable response to his question.
George continued, "My second question is what happens if I don't want to sign the rules?"
I have to give him credit for guts if not smarts when he asked that one.
Dad looked at him thoughtfully, "That's a reasonable question. And I hadn't really thought about that possibility. I'll tell you what comes to mind, but it is not necessarily the final answer."
"Neither you or your brother will be forced to sign the agreement. If either or both of you don't want to sign it you don't have to. If that happens then your mother and I will let you know what our final decision is."
"Right now my thoughts are that you will be required to stay with you grandparents while we are away."
We loved our grandparents, but this was a fate worse then death.
Actually dad wasn't threatening, we both knew that unless Wally and Kate, Bill and Harry's parents, were available to watch us, that is where we would go no questions asked.
They're Dad's parents, and they had been raised strict Quakers. They were expelled from the Quaker community because they wanted their children to have the choices that they hadn't. They still followed the Quaker ways, but accepted that their children and grandchildren would find their own way in the world.
While they had electricity and an inside bathroom, they didn't have a TV, radio or computer. The only book that got read, other than schoolbooks, was the Bible. When we stayed with them, they had strict rules about being home on time, our friends weren't allowed to visit and the things that we were allowed to do were strictly limited.
We knew that they loved us and understood that we had different rules at home. They respected our rules when they visited us, but required us to abide by theirs when we stayed with them. I could see that George wasn't real happy with this answer either.
Dad asked, "Are there any more questions?" he looked at me "David?"
"Not right now Dad, but when I see the rules I am sure that I will have some then."
Dad turned to George, "George?"
George looked up at Dad saying, "Like David said, not right now, but after I see the rules I know I'll have some."
"OK" Dad said, "It's time to pick up Bill and Harry and get you guys to school. I'll go get dressed and get the car out of the garage and meet you out front."
Dad headed off to his room and George and I grabbed our schoolbooks and went out the front door.
I could tell from the tension in his neck and shoulders that George was pissed. Added to that was the fact that he was stomping down the front walk.
I called out "Hey Bro, wait a minute."
He turned abruptly and shouted angrily "WHAT!"
"George take it easy" I told him, "I'm not your enemy. We need to work together on this. If we work together we can get the rules to include the things we both want. That way we'll both get to do we want and still be within the rules."
George opened his mouth to say something, but before he could say anything I hurried on, "Look! I don't want to be your boss. I don't want to have to be checking up on you all the time. If I have to do that, there won't be any time for me to have fun." George was cooling down a little.
"I know what you are going through, I went through it only two years ago myself. I am available to talk with you anytime you feel the need. I won't judge you I really do understand." George was staring at me with that same strange look from last night.
I rushed on "I'm going to ask Dad for a copy of the rules tomorrow night, that way we can get together and work out what changes we want. If we don't make any unreasonable demands and support each other, Mom and Dad will be probably agree with what we want."
George thought for a moment and then more calmly said, "You may be right, I'll think about it today and we can talk about it tonight."
"Ok" I agreed as Dad was backing the car out of the garage.
"Shotgun" George shouted as he headed for the car. Well ok he won this time. We picked up Bill and Harry and it was a relatively quiet drive to school, as we didn't want to talk about the things that were really on our minds.
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