The Castaway Hotel: Next Generation Book 3

New Digs

We woke the younger boys earlier than usual on Sunday morning so they’d have time to feed the puppies and take them outside to pee and poop afterward.  Once they’d finished doing that, I asked them to change the pads in the carrier next, because the puppies had peed in there overnight and we’d have to leave them in the carrier while we were at church. 

“I can do that,” Revin offered.

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“Yeah, cuz I get to play with the puppies too.” 

“Ok and thank you for volunteering.  Just put the toys in there again after you put the fresh pads on the floor of the carrier.” 

“K.”

Once those things had been taken care of, we had the boys wash up before grabbing a quick bite to eat and getting dressed for church.  Once we were ready, Tristan, Revin, Hunter, Hayden, and Wyatt rode with us, while Benny, Joshie, Ryan, Holly, and Noah rode down with Dion and Trey.  Dad and Pop took their own car and Elliot rode with them. 

As soon as we picked up Becky, Revin told her about the puppies.  “Dad D and Dad B brought two puppies home with them yesterday.” 

I’m not sure whether Becky’s reaction and the look on her face were due to Revin referring to us as Dad D and Dad B, or because we got puppies for the boys.  “All boys need to learn about raising a pet,” I explained. 

“And they’re lettin’ me help too,” Revin added. 

“I’m glad you’re getting to spend time with the puppies at their house, since we don’t have enough room for one,” she relented. 

“Can I go back with them after we eat so I can play with the puppies some more?” he teased. 

“And you can come to the house with us so you can see them too,” Brandon offered.  “You don’t have to stay long, just an hour or so.” 

“Yes, I guess I have time to do that, seeing I got a lot of work done yesterday.  But if I do it, you’re going to have to go home with me when I’m ready to leave,” she warned Revin. 

“Yeah, ok.” 

When we got to the church, we went to our Sunday school classes first, and then we met up afterward for the church service.  Brandon and I were watching the boys more closely today and noticed that Hayden, Hunter, and Wyatt were whispering to each other from time to time.  Seeing they weren’t doing it loudly enough to bother anyone else and they weren’t being disruptive, we didn’t say anything or try to stop them.  When the service ended, we loaded into the vehicles and headed over to the diner to eat. 

“So what kind of puppies did you get the boys?” Becky asked while we were waiting for our meals. 

“They’re beagles,” Brandon told her. 

“And they’re really cute and they like to lick a lot,” Revin added. 

“And they’re very playful too,” Tristan added.  “They like to chase us when we let them run loose in the yard.” 

“Just keep a close eye on them so they don’t run off,” I warned. 

“Yeah, we do.  We just like it when they chase after us.” 

After we finished eating, we drove to the house, and Becky, Brandon, and I decided to sit at the picnic table while the boys went inside to feed the puppies.  I told them to do that first, because it was already later than their normal feeding time, and then the boys carried them outside to show Becky. 

“They ARE cute,” Becky stated as Flash began to lick her. 

“That one’s Dobby and this one is Flash,” Revin told his mother, and then they took the puppies out to the middle of the yard, set them down, and then they began running around.  As if on cue, the puppies started chasing after them and we watched this frantic activity for the next few minutes.  I noticed the puppies stopped to do their business at different times, and I saw that Hayden and Hunter each had a treat that they gave to them once they finished.

“Revin wanted a dog, but I didn’t feel we had the room for one, and I couldn’t justify the added expense, so I’m glad he’ll be able to spend time with them while he’s here.” 

“Yes, we told the boys the puppies were for all of them, and Revin even helped to clean up after them earlier when he changed the pads in the carrier.” 

“I’m impressed,” she said as she watched her son. 

A short time later we noticed the boys were trying to teach the puppies to ‘sit’ and ‘shake’, so I decided to give them some advice.  “You should go get the treats and give them one whenever they do what you want.  That way you’ll be able to train them faster.” 

“Ok,” Tristan squealed before running into the house to get the bag of soft treats. 

“Just don’t give them too many,” I warned.  “I don’t want them to get sick, because you just fed them.”

When Becky was ready to go home, I told Holly, Hayden, and Hunter to come with us, because I’d take them to see their mother after we dropped Becky and Revin off at their house.  Brandon and Dion were going to go out and buy the television and Xbox while I was running the other errands.  Trey, Dad, and Pop were going to keep an eye on the boys while we were gone, so I had my group load into the SUV, while Brandon rode with Dion in his car. 

“Thank you for lettin’ me play with the puppies,” Revin said as I was dropping them off at their place. 

“You’re very welcome.”

“Yes, thank you for doing that for him,” Becky added. 

“It’s our pleasure, because he’s part of the family as well.” 

As soon as they went inside, I drove the rest of us to Shady Pines Nursing Home.  “The building kind of looks like a hospital, but it’s in a nicer area” Holly remarked after looking the place over. 

“Yes, it does,” I agreed. 

Shady Pines is a not-for-profit nursing home in a semi-rural setting.  The parking lot is off to one side of the building, and there is a small green area in front the main entrance that is lined with benches so the patients can go out and enjoy the weather on nice days.  Behind the building is an even larger green space surrounded by lovely pine trees, hence its name.  The patients are allowed to use this area as well, which they usually do when they have visitors.  There are even metal tables fastened into the ground, and there are stacks of plastic chairs they could use to sit at one of the tables.  There isn’t any fixed seating at the tables, and I assumed this was to allow access to them by the patients in wheelchairs.

When we went inside, I let Holly go up to the front desk and inquire which room her mother was in and how we would get there.  The person on duty gave her the information and we followed Holly up to her mother’s room.  We passed a lounge area as we made our way to the room, and I felt this was probably the place were the staff held group activities for the patients.  Several people were inside as we walked by, and a couple of them were working on a jigsaw puzzle, while the others were playing cards.  It was nice to see they didn’t have to sit in their rooms all day long. 

After knocking on the door to Julie’s room, which was open at the time, we saw her wave for us to come inside. 

“I’m so glad… you’re here,” she said as we entered. 

It was a fairly large room for dual occupancy, and we passed by her roommate’s bed as we made our way to see her.  Julie’s living space was along the outer wall, so she had a window to look out of as well.  One of the first things I noticed was that the place wasn’t as utilitarian as a typical hospital room would be and there was a colorful border along the top of the wall, just below the ceiling.  Both beds had a bedspread of the same color, which made the room seem more festive and less institutional.  Julie and her roommate also had their own wardrobe, along with a small dresser, and I saw the photos of Julie’s two husbands sitting on top of the dresser containing her clothing. 

They also had their own bathroom, which had an open shower stall they could use while still in their wheelchairs, and between the beds there was a curtain that could be pulled forward to give them privacy.  There was plenty of room for each of them to get around in their wheelchairs, since her roommate was in one as well, and there was a television attached to the wall that the two of them shared.  After we greeted Julie and the kids gave her a kiss and hug, she introduced us to her roommate. 

“Alice, this is… my daughter… and two sons… and this… is Danny.  He’s taking… care of them… for me now.” 

“We’re very happy to meet you, Alice,” I said, which earned me a smile before she responded.

“It’s nice to meet you too.”

I visited with Alice while Julie spent time with her children, because I wanted to give them some privacy.  I also didn’t want to leave Alice out in the cold and I got to learn a little bit about her.  Although she was in a wheelchair too, I discovered in her case it was due to an arthritic condition, but her mind was still sharp.  She told me a bit about her life, and I shared some information about our family with her. 

At one point we offered to take both of them outside for a while, and they were eager to go with us.  I let Holly push her mother while the twins walked on either side, and I pushed Alice’s wheelchair.  As we were going down the hallway, Alice gave me the low down on the place. 

“Those with Alzheimer’s and dementia are on the second floor, along with the ones that are totally bed ridden.” 

“Thanks for filling me in about that.” 

“And the dining room is at the other end of the hallway.  The aides wheel us down there, help to get our food, and they push us to a table, but we feed ourselves.” 

“That’s nice to know too.” 

When we got outside, we took a stroll around the open area behind the building.  Along the way we saw a couple of squirrels, a few birds, lots of green grass, and plenty of sunshine.  The smell of the pine trees also filled the air, and I think we all enjoyed getting outdoors on this gorgeous day. 

While we were outside chatting with Julie and Alice, the twins told their mother about the puppies.  They informed her of their names, the type of dog they were, and what they did to take care of them.  Julie didn’t say much and merely smiled and nodded, but I could tell she was thrilled with her sons’ enthusiasm.  I could also see that Alice was enjoying listening to the boys as well. 

When they finished, Holly told her mother about her job at the daycare center and filled her in on the various things she’d been doing with the children.  Julie seemed impressed that her daughter was so involved, and Alice questioned her for more details on her accomplishments. 

“How old are the children?”

“I work with the three and four-year-olds.” 

“That’s a precious age, and what books did you read to them?”  Holly answered listing Dr. Seuss and some Disney stories, along with some other picture books.  “I’m sure the children must have enjoyed those.” 

“Yes, and I enjoyed seeing how excited they were as I read to them.”

After spending about an hour and a half outside with them, Julie said she was getting tired, so we wheeled them back to their room.  We offered to help Julie get into bed so she could take a nap, but she said she’d get one of the staff to do that instead, so we said goodbye to both of them.  Julie kissed each of her children and gave them a hug before we headed to the door. 

“We’ll see you again next Sunday,” I said as we were leaving the room. 

“Goodbye, and thank you for including me,” Alice replied. 

“You’re very welcome, and we’ll include you every time we come, unless you have other visitors.”  She smiled and waved as we exited the room.  

As soon as we got into the SUV, Holly turned to me and spoke.  “Thank you for bringing us here today and for letting us spend so much time with our mom.” 

“You’re welcome, and I would have stayed longer, but your mom appeared to need a nap.” 

“I know, she gets tired easily and takes two or three naps during the day, besides sleeping all night long.” 

“Can we bring the puppies next time?” one of the twins asked, although I didn’t notice which one had spoken. 

“No, not until they’re potty trained, because I don’t want them having an accident inside.  I’ll take a video of you guys playing with them next Saturday, and then we can show it to your mom when we come here to visit her again.” 

When we got back to the house, the twins went off to play with the puppies, and Holly thanked me again before we went inside.  I went to find Brandon and discovered he was busy setting up the TV and Xbox in the rec room. 

“Damn, I thought you’d wait for me to help,” I said when I saw what he was doing. 

“Dion and I handled everything, and you were busy doing other things.  How was your visit?” 

“It went well.  Shady Pines seems to be a very good set up for Julie and she seems to like it there so far.  We also got to meet her roommate, and she seems really nice as well.”

“Is her roommate also in a wheelchair?” 

“Yes, but in her case it’s due to arthritis, and we included her when we took Julie outside.” 

“That was sweet of you.” 

“I didn’t want to leave her behind, because I didn’t know if she got any other visitors.  Even in a place filled with people, it can still be very lonely if no one is coming to visit or paying attention to you.” 

“That’s one of the reasons I love you, because you’re so thoughtful and considerate.” 

“Oh, I’m sure you would have done the same thing.” 

“Possibly, but you’re always aware of things like that.  So is it one of the better nursing homes, as you thought?” 

“Yes, it appears to be very clean, the patients seem happy and well taken care of, and it looks as if there is plenty for them to do.  I’d say it was one of the better nursing homes that I’ve been in or heard about.” 

“That’s good to know.”

I then checked to see if the boys had fed the puppies again, and after learning they had, I told them that Brandon and Dion had set up the Xbox in the rec room.  As they ran out there to check it out, I went to do some of my chores.  I did that until it was nearly time for dinner, and then I went to clean up before I sat down at the table with the others. 

While we were eating, Holly and the twins filled in Dad, Pop, Dion, and Trey about their visit to the nursing home.  “It’s a nice place and my mom seems to be happy there,” Holly told them. 

“That’s good, and there are plenty of trained professionals to help her with anything she needs,” Dad agreed. 

“And does she have a nice roommate?” Pop followed. 

“Yes, her roommate is a lovely woman about the same age as my mom, and they seem to get along very well with each other.” 

“And we took them both outside for a while too,” Hayden added. 

“Well Holly and Dad pushed their wheelchairs, but we went with them,” Hunter clarified. 

“And Dad says we can take the puppies to show her sometime, but we have to wait until they’re potty trained,” Hayden continued. 

“But he said he’ll take a video of us playing with the puppies next Saturday so we can show it to Mom when we’re there,” Hunter stated. 

“Then it sounds like everything is working out for the best,” Dion observed. 

“Yes, I think it’s a good situation for both of them,” I agreed. 

“And when we got home, we found out that our dads had bought us an Xbox and a new TV,” Hayden offered. 

“Yes, we saw them bringing those things in the house earlier,” Dad agreed, “so I hope you thanked them for doing that.”

The boys looked at each other for a couple of seconds, and then spoke in unison.  “Thank you!” 

They looked at Dion, Trey, Brandon, and me when they said this, so we all replied, “You’re welcome.”

Now that all this had been taken care of, I turned to Elliot and spoke.  “Have you talked to Ian lately?”

“Only briefly, because he’s busy studying for finals.” 

“And is he still coming home this weekend?” 

“Yes, he’s going to call me when his plane lands, but his parents will be picking him up.” 

“That’s good, but I’m sorry he’ll miss your birthday.” 

“I was going to ask you about that.  Can we have my cake on Sunday after dinner, so he can be here too?” 

“Sure, we don’t have to do it on Friday night, but that leads me to ask you another question.  Do you want your presents on Friday, or do you want to wait until Sunday for those too?”

“You can still give me your presents on Friday and I can show them to Ian later.  I just want him to be here for the cake and ice cream.  Besides, if he’s already here for that then he can spend the night too and his parents won’t be able to talk him out of it.” 

“So there’s a method to your madness,” Pop joked. 

“Definitely.  I didn’t get into Yale on my good looks.” 

“It’s a good thing, because otherwise they wouldn’t have accepted you,” Noah quipped. 

“Oh, that’s hitting below the belt,” Elliot groaned. 

“No, I was aiming for the other head – the one on your shoulders.” 

There were a few giggles from Ryan, Benny, Joshie, and Tristan, but it passed over Hayden, Hunter, and Wyatt’s heads.  “At least the mirror didn’t crack the last time I looked into it,” Elliot joked. 

“That didn’t happen to me either,” Noah replied. 

“Then why is the mirror in your room cracked?” 

“Because I went to toss my car keys on the dresser, but I threw them a little too hard.” 

“Oh, sure.  Likely excuse, Mr. Potato Head.” 

“Ok, I think you two have insulted each other enough,” Brandon interrupted. 

“We’re only joking and not really serious,” Noah shot back. 

“Speak for yourself,” Elliot added with a grin. 

We finished the rest of our meal, and then we spent time with the kids watching a movie next.  We had to pause it about halfway through so they could feed the puppies and take them outside quickly, and then we started it again when they rejoined us.  When the movie ended, we sent the younger boys upstairs to take their showers, and then they came downstairs again to take the puppies outside one final time before putting them in the carrier for the night. 

Brandon and I followed them upstairs and tucked them in, kissed each one on the forehead, and said goodnight.  An hour later we said goodnight to the older ones before we turned in as well, seeing we had another busy week ahead of us.