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Steamy world tour & making many babies.
Obviously, my trip had gone well and Andy was happy to once again butt heads with his Operations counterpart.
"75 big ones," Andy said with a grin, slapping me on the back. "You're worth every penny, Rick."
"Thanks, Andy. That means a lot." As I had been doing the last day and a half, I broke the new salary down in my head. "An extra ten thousand dollars a year is roughly an extra 200 a week in my check which translates to maybe a hundred thirty after taxes take home." I smiled to myself as the calculations ran through my thoughts.
Andy clapped me one more time and then turned away. "Ok, enough of this. Don't want you getting a swelled head at how wonderful you are, or you think you are." He motioned at my 'in' box. "There's a study I need on the paper vendors when you get a chance. Information's in there. And by get a chance, I mean by three today."
I groaned good naturedly, "Got it. Damn, you're harsh. I'm working on no sleep. With this kind of abuse, I think I'll ask for a raise."
"A raise!" Andy barked aloud. "Ha! A raise! Ha ha!"
Throughout the rest of the day I could occasionally hear Andy in his office chuckle and mutter, "A raise! Ha!" The hours flew by and even though I was tired, the work was fairly light. I powered my system down just before 5:00 and threw the last of the work I would need for Monday morning into my briefcase. I turned off the light, bid my farewells to the half of the office still here, and made my way out to the lot. It was only a few minutes back to the day care where I once more cautiously pulled in and grabbed a spot, this time almost at the end of the lot.
I entered the daycare amidst the bedlam of yelling kids, frantic parents, and tired staff. "Hey Shelly," I called out as I went up to the system to log my daughter out. This time Shelly did not have the same perkiness as this morning; she gave a desultory wave and weak grin in my direction. I zigged and zagged to the Zebra room door and used the scanner to unlock the biometric lock, entering and closing it firmly behind me. "Hey everyone," I nodded to the teachers and the two mothers here to get their own child. Spotting Amber playing on the mat with a squishy red puppet of some sort, I hunched low and approached arms held out, saying, "How was my Amber ray of sunshine today?" scooping her from the ground and giving her a low spin.
The women in the room all beamed at me and I pretended to not notice their slightly too long glances in my direction. "Good afternoon, Mr. Rick," Kerri said, already bundling up the last of Amber's things and handing it to me. I looped it over my other shoulder as she added, "I stripped her sheets off for you and put them in the bag. Just bring a fresh spare for me to keep in her cubby on Monday, ok?"
"Thanks Kerri," I hoisted my daughter a little higher in my arm. "You're a life saver. What would I do without you?"
Her eyes twinkled and I realized I stepped into another landmine of young-20's flirting. Apparently there had to be a manual out there on how to not keep putting my foot in the wrong place and I just needed to get a hold of it and soon.
"I can't imagine what you would do Mr. Rick without me...or with me either." This brought a chorus of laughter from the associated women which only made my face blush and Amber and the other children present to join in giggling as well. "We'll see, Mr. Rick," she stopped it there, letting me off the hook. "Have a great weekend."
"You too. Take care everyone."
The drive home was slower than the one in, everyone clogging the Southern State Parkway in time for the Friday rush so Amber and I didn't get into the driveway until after 6:00. She was getting cranky and I knew she was hungry so I hoped like hell that Elle had the presence of mind to get dinner finished; or at least started.
I glanced across the street, seeing Stan's work truck was in the driveway.