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Dana and I had a talk with the boys about getting along with people in the workplace and that even though Jerry wasn't going to be their best buddy, he was their boss.
"You don't always have to like your superiors, but you have to be respectful of them and work to the best of your abilities," Dana said.
The next week after one of their shifts, the boys were in Jake's room after dinner. I was going down the hall to our room to get something and I couldn't help but eavesdrop on their conversation.
"You have to let it go, Jake. I know Jerry's being a prick, but dad and mom are right that we have to learn how to deal with someone like him," Sean said.
I was impressed that Sean was being very mature about the situation and giving his brother advice. I gathered, from the little I was able to hear, that Jake was showing great restraint. It seemed that Jerry had taken a dislike to him and that Jake was near his breaking point and was about to express his concerns to Jerry. When the boys came home from their next shift, Sean was in a positive mood, but Jake was a little subdued.
"Mr. Langdon showed me the computer accounting system that they use. It was kinda cool," he said.
I'm not sure most kids his age would've called an accounting system 'cool' and it was becoming clear that Sean could very well end up in the accounting world at some point.
"And how was your shift, Jake? Did you and Jerry start into the insurance report for head office?" Dana asked.
We should've known that this would result in a very detailed account and from the sombre look on his face it would not be very upbeat in nature. It took him about five minutes to relate all of the events that took place, along with a great deal of editorial comment and from what he told us it was abundantly clear that Jerry would not become his BFF (best friend forever).
"On top of that, he didn't like when I tactfully pointed out his spelling and grammar mistakes," he said, as he finally ended his rant.
There was silence from Dana and me, as we didn't quite know what to say. Sean, it appeared, had heard most of it already in the RDX on the ride home, so he shrugged his shoulders when we looked at him.
"Oh! So... when are you two going to finish the report?" Dana asked.
"I don't know. He really wasn't talking very much at the end and he just wanted me to go away. I think we'll finish it on my next shift."
"I hope you were respectful to him," I said.
"I'm finding that part difficult," he said, with a scowl.
I was unhappy that things were not going well with Jake, but I didn't want to intervene just yet, as I wanted to see how things would progress. I was hopeful that Jake and Jerry would be able to work out any conflicts they had.
Glen was also getting some real on-the-job experience that just wasn't confined to his teaching at the art school. His artistic abilities were blossoming and he was doing some great work and it was also quite apparent that he had a real talent for design. This was why the contractor that had done the renovation of his family's living quarters above the Old Fire Hall Gourmet, had hired him a few times to do some computer renderings of house plans for some of his jobs.
"Glen is a whizz at using the design software and he's not only cheaper than the company we used to use, but he invariably finds things we've missed in the paper and pencil plans. He also has some great suggestions for design changes," the contractor said.
We had the contractor over that evening to discuss some renovation costs on a house that Fin and Tatania were considering buying. They had come in from Nova Scotia and looked at a number of houses that our real estate agent had picked out for them. There was one house that they were seriously considering, but they needed the renovation information before they made an offer on it. We were all happy that they had definitely made the decision to move to the town.
Although Glen was very busy with school work, teaching at the art school and the contractor jobs he was doing, we could see that he was missing Garth. He had gone with Susan and John to Stratford a few times to see Garth in 'Fiddler on the Roof' and once with Sinead. He and Sinead drove up by themselves and stayed overnight at a hotel, which didn't go over very well with Susan and John, but Glen was very strong willed and he got his way. He was very upbeat the last week of the musical's run when he knew Garth would be coming home the next week.
"You seem to be very happy these last few days," Dana said to him one day after school.
"Does this have anything with your brother's return home from Stratford?" I asked, as I smiled.
"Maybe," he said, with a grin.
Glen didn't show too much emotion most of the time, as he usually was very reserved, but he couldn't hide his excitement at the thought of having his little brother back home.
We all went up to Stratford to see the final performance of 'Fiddler' and it was great. Everyone was pretty emotional at the cast party later, to which we were invited. The boys got big hugs from the family, as well as some of the actors and crew and their billet family. The Director was very complimentary and he said that he would keep the boys in mind if any suitable parts became available in any of the future productions he was involved with. He also suggested to the parents that Garth and Derek should get an agent.
"I know a couple of good ones, that are honest and have a number of younger clients," he said. "They're always on the lookout for talented youngsters like Garth and Derek," he said, as he gave them a big smile.
He also mentioned that they were easy to work with and got along with everyone. He emphasized the word 'everyone' as again he smiled. Apparently Garth and Derek had made their peace with Melody after the mouse incident.
"Melody apologized to Derek and me for being a b...," Garth paused, as he almost said a word that was likely very descriptive of her, but would've got him in lots of trouble.
"Her father made her, so we apologized to her for the mouse," Derek added, as the two of them smiled.
Apparently the father recognized her arrogance and according to the director, Garth and Derek weren't the only people she treated this way. One of the other sets of boys had a run-in with her about something she said to them.
The fame hadn't changed Garth and Derek even though they were celebrities in their school and the community. The two boys were particularly amused when a couple of grade two girls asked for their autographs.
Garth was still telling jokes and liberally using the texting function on his phone. After his first day back at school, he sent Glen a text from the school bus to see what Dana had made for a snack. When he found out it was apple crisp, he texted Glen to see if he would ask Dana if he could have some ice cream with it. Glen texted back that he would have to ask her himself.
"Oh, my! I hope this is an autocorrect," Dana said, after she received the text on her cell phone.
Glen took a look at her phone and then started to laugh, as did Jake and Sean once he had passed it to them. Instead of his text asking if he could have 'vanilla' ice cream, it came out as 'vaginal' ice cream.
A few minutes later, we heard the door to the laundry room open and the familiar thud of his backpack landing on the tile floor, followed by the thump of his shoeless feet on the hardwood as he made his way to the kitchen.
"Hey, this isn't vanilla ice cream," he said, as he looked at his bowl of apple crisp after he plopped himself down on a stool at the counter.
"No and it's not the flavour of ice cream you asked for in your text, either," Dana said, as she gave him one of her looks.
Glen then showed him Dana's phone and the text.
"Is this a new word you learned in Stratford?" Glen asked, with a big smile.
"Oops!" he said, as he covered his mouth and turned beet red.
"Maybe your brother can turn off autocorrect on your phone, or perhaps you should take a bit more time to read your texts before you send them," I said, as we laughed.
He was able to recover and tell us a couple of jokes he had learned from the actor that played Perchik in 'Fiddler'.
"I've got lots to tell you, but I'll spread them out over the next couple of weeks," he said, with a big smile.
"That's very kind of you, dear," Dana said, with a note of sarcasm that he didn't pick up on.
"I hope they don't have any words in them like the ice cream flavour," I added.
He gave us a sheepish smile and then launched into the first joke.
"This Sunday school teacher asked a little boy in the class if he thought Noah did a lot of fishing when he was on the Ark?" he said.
He paused and with his serious look, he asked us if we knew the story about Noah and the ark.
"I seem to remember something about that," I said, as we all laughed.
Satisfied that he could go on, he said, "So, the little boy says 'How could he, with just two worms'."
"Well, I'm sure reverend McLaughlin would want to hear that joke. Perhaps you should tell him the next time you're at church," Dana said, as she smiled.
Even though his jokes hadn't improved over the summer, we laughed anyway, as we were all glad to have him home. He couldn't leave things at one joke and he decided that since it appeared we liked his first one, he would follow it with a second one. This one wasn't as well received by all of us though.
"A few women were in court and they were blaming each other for making a lot of trouble. The judge says 'Okay, the oldest person can present their evidence first'," he said, as he paused.
"What happened to the giggling?" I asked.
"Perchik told Derek and me that if you pause, it builds up suspense."
"Well, we're all tingling with excitement waiting for the punch line," I said, as I ruffled his hair, which started the giggles.
After he straightened his hair and stopped giggling, he said, "The case was dismissed because nobody would testify."
"Oh, Oh," Jake said, as Dana was giving him another one of her looks.
"Garth Webster! That's very sexist," she said.
I had been very careful not to chuckle too loudly, as I didn't need to get myself into trouble. It was clear from Garth's look, that he didn't really understand why his grandmother wasn't very pleased with him.
"C'mon downstairs with us Garth and we'll explain," Sean said, as the boys took off to the media room.
A couple of weeks had gone by since the boys had started working and Sean was learning a lot about the Horton's financial tracking system. John Langdon was appreciating Sean's expertise with the computer and his accounting ability. Jake's shifts weren't turning out to be as productive, though.
"Jerry told me that the report was done and sent off to head office. He did the whole thing without me," Jake said, with obvious disappointment when we asked him how the report was going.
I wasn't very happy at this turn of events and I knew that sooner or later, I would have to speak to John. The next night, we were out at the theatre with John and his wife and at intermission I asked how things were going with the business. He said fine and then talked at great length about how Sean was doing very well with the accounting system and how well he worked at the counter.
"How is Jake doing?" I asked, as I thought this would be a good time to bring up my concerns.
He paused and said that Jerry told him Jake wasn't working out very well, but that he was getting a little better. When he finished, I could see that there was something else he wanted to tell us.
"I don't think you've told us everything," I said.
Again, he paused and then said, "I didn't want to get into this, but I thought you said Jake was an excellent English student. Jerry will have to redo his report to head office on the insurance claim, because they sent it back with some stinging comments about how it was unintelligible and would have to be cleaned up before they could send it on."
"I'm sorry, but I don't understand why you called it Jake's report," Dana very quickly interjected.
"Jerry said that Jake was the one that wrote it after he went over the incident with him and that he was very disappointed with the result."
"I can assure you, John, if Jake had written the report they wouldn't be sending it back," I said.
Dana and I straightened him out and he was now very concerned and he promised that he would have a meeting with Jerry the next day and talk to him about the report and the miscommunication.
"I'm sure he said that Jake wrote this. Maybe I misunderstood him, but given the action by head office this makes more sense. As I said, Jerry's not the most literate individual," John said.
After the next shift, Jake was in a better mood, because John had undertaken to go over the insurance claim details with him. He told him how it should've been done.
"He was going to let me help him while he rewrote it, but I asked if I could try to do it by myself," he said, with a big smile.
It was refreshing to see him happy after a shift, which hadn't happened too many times since he had started. He had it done for his next shift and presented it to John, who was very pleased. Head office was also very pleased with it and sent John an email about how thorough and well written it was. However, not everyone was happy, as Jerry was jealous at the positive attention Jake was getting.
Jerry was on Jake the next couple of shifts for little things. Jake was particularly grumpy one night when the boys got home from work.
"He said Jake was too chatty with the customers and he was causing big lineups at the counter," Sean said, after Jake had gone to his room.
"Is that true?" I asked.
"No. He's really good taking the orders and the customers love him. He's also really good at explaining things to the older lady that Jerry hired the other day. He didn't do much training with her and she's - how should I say - missing a couple of Timbits in her ten pack."
"Sean." Dana said. "That's not a very nice thing to say about someone."
"She's really nice, but if Jake wasn't helping her, things would be a disaster when we get really busy."
"Looks like I'll have to have another chat with John soon," I said, as I sighed.
"Don't, Dad. Jake doesn't want you to. Besides, Jake's getting really good at handling him. You know Jake. Jerry's no match for him when they have a disagreement. He's got all the Timbits in his ten pack, but he's missing the icing," he said, with a big smile.
"Oh my gosh. You have donuts on the mind," I said as the three of us chuckled.
Before he left the kitchen to go to his room he asked an interesting question.
"Dad, remember when you taught the inventory chapter in the grade 12 Accounting course and you said that the inventory figures in the books should have an almost perfect correlation to the actual inventory count."
I was amused at his statement as I thought back to the young boy that I adopted, whose favourite word was 'stuff'. I told him he was correct and that seemed to satisfy his curiosity, but I wasn't quite sure why he asked the question.
The boys had the next weekend off, as we were away in the US at Carson's NCAA hockey evaluation tryout in Rochester. It was a good break for all of us and was definitely a positive experience for Carson. He appreciated having the boys, Dana and me along with Doreen and him.
Doreen and Dana enjoyed the shopping part of the trip, as did the boys. Sean and Jake got a lot of new clothing that they hadn't seen in Canada. I was also very happy to find some California wines that I couldn't get in our LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) and I ordered a couple of cases, which were being shipped home.
There were four universities that had expressed interest in Carson and each of their scouts met beforehand to get to know him better. Dan Pelligano was there and he was able to sit in on the meetings and he was a great help to Carson.
"All the scouts I talked to were impressed with the way Carson handled himself in the individual interviews," Dan said, when we were at dinner after the day's session.
The session also included some physical testing along with the on-ice work.
"I couldn't do many chin-ups, but they said my cardio readings on the exercise bike were some of the best they had that day," he said.
"Why were you talking to the coach on the ice before the scrimmage?" I asked.
"They had me down as a forward, but I told them I played defence now," he said.
"Good thing you said something, young man. The scouts were quite impressed with your ability to move the puck out of your own zone," Dan said.
He told us that they were also impressed with the way he was able to control the powerplay from his point position.
"You need to set aside some time next week, because I think you're going to get some visits from a few university scouts," he said, as he patted him on the arm.
He said that he would set up a schedule and they would meet the scouts individually in his office in Toronto.
"If they make any offers, which I think they will, it will be for next season," he said.
Two days later, after we had returned home, Dan got calls from three universities and when they met, they made conditional offers of full scholarships for the next season. The conditions were based on marks and season scouting reports. Along with Doreen, Carson asked if I could be there and I was honoured to have been included. After the scouts left, we took some time to think about what was presented. The offers were fair and Carson would visit each campus during the next few months before he made his decision.
When I got home, the boys and Dana were anxious to hear what happened. I filled them in on what had transpired and the boys offered to tutor Carson in Math and English when he needed some help.
"The hockey schedule isn't always very accommodating from a school perspective," I said.
"Carson's a pretty good student, so it won't take a lot of our time. We're glad to help," Jake said, as Sean heartily agreed.
Since the boys were in their last year of high school, they would have to think about where and what they were going to apply for at university. They had to make a decision before the Christmas holidays which was approaching in a couple of months.
Stéphane was torn between business and music. He wanted to go to Laurier University in Waterloo for either program, as the school, though small, had a good reputation in both of those disciplines.
The music faculty, which was named after Maureen Forrester, the world renowned operatic contralto, arranged early auditions for prospective applicants. It was optional, but Stéphane felt that it would clarify some things for him about his future and that it would help getting in if that's what he chose.
He had the option of doing some solo pieces, or playing in a small ensemble, which is what he chose. Rather than use some of the third and fourth year music students from the faculty to back him up, he asked the 'ensemble' if they would accompany him and despite the very busy schedule all of them had, they agreed.
Charles was the most reluctant, as he and Ronald spent most weekends together, as Ronald came home from Waterloo. Mark and Sandy were not comfortable letting Charles go to stay with Ronald each weekend, so Ronald came home most of the time.
Stéphane had given the music to everyone a month beforehand and each of them had practiced alone to learn the parts. They were able to put things together fairly quickly over the course of a weekend when Melissa had come in to stay with Rachel.
"That was sounding very good," I said, after one of the practices, when they had come up to the kitchen for a bite to eat during one of their breaks.
They were using the media room downstairs which was just big enough for the six of them. They were doing the first movement of Haydn's Piano Concerto in C.
All the parents went with the kids to the audition, as most of them were considering applying to either Laurier or Waterloo University, which was down the street from Laurier. We had arranged tours to let the kids see what the two campuses were like. Glen came along with Susan and John, because he was also considering Waterloo. Garth had voice and dance lessons that day and Mandy's parents looked after driving him there and back.
Melissa was leaving after the audition, because she was going to apply for engineering at the University of Toronto, the university her father attended. Sean was disappointed with this, but they had talked about how they would work things out over the four years.
"You were great backup for Stéphane, boys," I said to Sean and Jake as we made our way to the parking lot.
"The judges thought Stéphane did really well," Sean said.
"They also told us we sounded pretty good," Jake said, as the boys smiled.
"The audience thought so too," Dana added, as she put her arm around the two of them and gave them a big smile.
When the boys came home after their next shift at Horton's, they were very upset.
"Is something wrong, boys?" Dana asked, as they stomped into the living room.
"We're really pissed off," Sean said.
Sean rarely swore around us and usually it was when he was really angry.
"That jerk fired Vikram tonight," Jake said.
"And he didn't even do it in private. He did it in front of all of the employees and customers that were in the restaurant," Sean said.
When we got them calmed down they told us what had happened. Apparently Jerry said he had caught Vikram stealing boxes of meats that were used in the various sandwiches on the menu. He said that he suspected him, because there had been inventory discrepancies for quite some time and they happened to coincide with Vikram's shifts.
"Even if Vikram did steal the inventory, that wasn't fair the way he did it," Jake added.
They told us that Vikram was devastated and tried to defend himself but Jerry was very forceful and Vikram was not very assertive. Vikram's friend, Jenny, who was also being subsidized by Jake and Sean's place and was assertive, stood up for her friend and Jerry fired her as well.
"This must have been quite a scene in front of the customers," Dana said.
"Oh yeah! That cleared the place pretty fast," Sean said.
Jake had left the room while Sean was telling us about the events and he came back into the room with the Horton's employee manual that the both of them were given when they were hired.
He picked up the phone and asked, "Dad, what's Mr. Langdon's phone number?"
"Whoa! I understand that you're upset about this situation, but we need to talk about this before we involve Mr. Langdon," I said.
Jake's skill with language was exceptional and he knew instantly that Jerry had not followed Horton's procedure for terminating an employee, as he was able to find the pertinent sections in the manual. He had read the entire thing from cover to cover after he was given it, when the boys started. Jake meticulously went through what had happened and laid out his case, with reference to the documentation, as to why Jerry hadn't followed proper Horton's procedure.
"We'll call Mr. Langdon in the morning, boys. It's late and he may already be in bed," I said.
"If he doesn't do anything, then I'm going to call head office. Mr. Langdon, as the operating partner/owner, is supposed to conduct an investigation before they can fire someone in these circumstances," Jake said.
"We still don't believe Vikram stole anything," Sean added.
"Boys, you need to calm down," Dana said.
"Your mother's right. I want you to let me handle this, boys. I know you two are upset, but this is something I need to do," I said.
When I called John the next morning, he said that he would definitely talk to Jerry as soon as possible, however, he wasn't going to be in until the next day. He was scheduled to take in the order early the next morning.
"Jake is right, that I'm the one who has the final say on hiring and firing. This is especially troubling, given the fact that Vikram and Jenny's wages were being subsidized. We need to make sure we're acting responsibly," John said.
That night when the boys got home from their shift, they were uncharacteristically quiet and calm. I told them John was going to meet with Jerry early the next morning after Jerry had processed the order that was to be delivered. Jerry took the deliveries and because he was an early riser, he got head office to put us first on the delivery schedule, which was 6 am. John was happy to delegate that task to him, because he didn't like to get in until after 8.
"They certainly have calmed down from yesterday," Dana said, after they had gone to their rooms.
"I know. I wonder what's going on?"
It didn't take long for us to find out. The next morning I was awakened early by Dana, who was frantic.
"The boys aren't in their rooms and the RDX is not in the garage," she said.
I got up and quickly dressed and made my way to the kitchen. Just then we heard the garage door open and the sound of the RDX driving in. I was very annoyed and went down to the laundry room to meet them.
"Where have you two been?" I asked.
Dana had now made her way down the hall to the laundry room and Jake pulled out his Smartphone and showed us a video clip.
"Is that Jerry?" I asked.
"Yep." Jake said.
The clip showed him taking boxes from the order that had just come in and putting them in his car.
"Notice, Vikram isn't there," Sean said, as the two boys smiled.
We made our way to the kitchen and while Dana made them their breakfast, they explained what had happened.
"Because we're changing over to the new accounting system that head office wants us to use, I noticed that the inventory figures hadn't matched for a long time," Sean said.
He told us that he brought this to John's attention and John said that they usually didn't and sloughed it off. That was why he had asked a question of me the night before about the correlation between the actual inventory count that was taken each week and what was in the system. John was a very good manager for some things, but detail like this wasn't his strong suit.
"Jerry probably thought I was going to figure out sooner or later that he was stealing the inventory and that's why he fired Vikram to fool us," Sean said.
"The assistant manager heard Sean and me talking about this and he sort of tipped us off about Jerry. He doesn't like him any more than we do," Jake said.
The assistant didn't want to rock the boat, as he feared for his job if he had said something. Apparently Jerry had boasted to his family about the thefts, which had got back to the assistant manager.
"Aha! So that explains why the food cost in this location is 1-2% higher than our other ones," I said.
"John, I need to meet you at the store as soon as possible," I said, as I called him on the phone.
All of us, including Dana went to Horton's and John met us in his office. We showed him the clip and Sean and Jake told him what had happened. They also filled him in on the historical facts and Sean explained the accounting discrepancies. He also outlined how much profit had been lost just this year because of it, which really made John angry. John wasn't one to mince words and he used some very colourful language to describe what he thought of Jerry.
"He's in the kitchen. Bring your phone. I want to see what he has to say before I fire him."
When John confronted him with the evidence, Jerry was pretty cool about it.
"You people don't pay enough. I had to do something to make up the difference. Youse guys have lots of money, so I didn't think it was such a big deal," he said, as he scowled at us.
I had to restrain John, as I wasn't sure what he was going to do. When he calmed down he told him he was fired and he was going to escort him out of the restaurant.
"I'll be by tomorrow to pick up my things and severance cheque," Jerry said, as he sneered.
"In your dreams you will. You're lucky we're not pressing charges, but if you set foot back in this restaurant we will," John said.
He stomped out of the office with John close behind. John followed him to the parking lot and made sure he got into his car and drove off. When he came back to the office, Sean and Jake explained how they figured out what Jerry was doing.
"When you told me that Jerry took the physical count of the inventory each week, that's when I became suspicious," Sean said.
"I guess I should've listened to you, Sean, when you said that something was funny with the figures."
"It was because of the new accounting system that you had me installing. The errors started to show up real quick," Sean added.
"Cameron, the assistant manager, kind of knew what was going on, but he was afraid of Jerry, so he didn't say anything," Jake said.
"When he heard us yesterday talking about Jerry being the problem with the inventory, he confirmed our suspicions," Sean added.
"You have two fine boys, here, Dana and Al. They've just saved us a lot of money going forward," John said, as he gave the boys a big smile.
"I hope you're going to call Vikram and Jenny as soon as possible," Dana said.
"That's the second item on my list. The first one is to promote Cameron to manager," he said.
"Now that you'll be making more money, do Jake and I get a cut?" Sean said, as the two of them had cheeky smiles on their faces.
"How about free Timbits for a month?" John said, as we all laughed.
"How about ten percent of the extra profits going to Jake and Sean's place," Jake added.
"Well, I think our other two partners would be Ok with that, eh Al."
I didn't say anything as I just smiled and shook my head yes.
University of Waterloo
Wilfred Laurier University
Haydn Piano Concerto in C, Movement One
Tim Horton's Timbits
Powerplay - when one team has a penalty and the other team has a manpower advantage.
The Point - a player, usually a defenceman, that plays at the opposition's blue line when a team has a powerplay.