Our Journey Home
It's early morning at the Sunrise Subdivision where the Construction Family, Father Post and Mother Ceiling set-up their family business,owner and operator of P & C Construction for the last twenty years.
Asking his wife about the delivery of materials, Mother Ceiling replied. "You will know from your son, Stone," sipping her freshly brewed cup of coffee. " He should be here in a minute."
Stone, the oldest member in their family responsible of the daily operations doubled his job as the principal family material in this business. Dug up and extracted from a gravel pit, reported here for duty.
Many places on earth where pebbles and stones abound varying in sizes, shapes and colors at the bottom of deep, wide lakes or even small lakes, shallow streams and flowing rivers waiting to be mined. Little known to many, heavy equipments haul these stone materials sitting at the edge of stony riverbeds and gravel quarries on land. Most often big boulders of rock are cut and chipped from rocky mountains. Man has developed multiple ways to manufacture stones up to a variety of household uses and commercially sold.
Stone walks down to the construction site to monitor the progress of the new building they are constructing. Laying the foundation, the Building Supervisor explains the details to Stone then Stone relays to his brother construction materials. Cement, which is powdery that acts as binding agent when mix with water added to rocks, sand and gravel, the aggregates of his brother material, Concrete. Their sister material Silica mixes its white colorless crystalline properties with Cement and Concrete to form the concrete mix in construction.
Premix concrete and the amount of water determines the solidity and high quality of hardened, dried concrete primarily to produce structural posts, concrete stairs, concrete blocks and decorative concrete.
"We have already fifteen sandbags." Stone informed Sandy, a close relative material of the construction family, the grainy part mixed with concrete.
Satisfied of the work done following the detailed plan, the frame of the house began to take shape. Stone left the site to meet his parents at their office mobile home.
Father Post put down the piece of paper he was reading when Stone entered and heard his father say, "He beat us with a difference of few thousand dollars," Referring to thir no. 1 business competitor, BB Construction. "He lowered their prices against the standard pricing. That's ridiculous and disgusting." he retorted. "I will not let this happen again," he assured to Stone and Mother Ceiling.
Stone mentioned that the family materials Cement, Concrete and Silica are their best at the warehouse and at the site.
The following summer Father Post anticipated to enter into another contract from the Real Estate Developer. Not the Job Order he expected arrived at his office. First thing came to his mind if BB Construction was invited too. "This time I'll beat him." he mused.
Dropping his bidding price to put down his competitor strategically P & C Construction was awarded as a supplier.
From then on, BB Construction seemed to block his business transactions. Father Post avoided Pres. Bobcat being absent at the Construction Association's Board Meetings.
To fulfill the new contract, Father Post supplies his children construction materials in the manufacture of fireplaces. Feeling excited that Pres. Bobcat can no longer look down on him for gaining the multi-million dollar project which means a lot to him. His expertise in construction includes the supply of materials as well.
Stone realizes Sandy must be the Team Leader having the grainy property that is right for the project. "I'll stay with Father and Mother." He thought.
Father Post met his family materials, Cement closely associated with Concrete and Silica to form the concrete mix. "Why sending us to a new workplace, another kind of work is confusing. I don't know why we have to leave," They murmured. "Maybe the new company pays more than here. Besides we have to try to work indoors." Silica explained. "That maybe the idea, having been exposed under the sun, the same way during winter," she added.
Their sister materials, Color and Paint worked at the Hardware Store. Father Post sent an e-mail to the Store Manager to dispatch them to their new assignment at the manufacturing company.
Within the next month a white long delivery truck brought down the Construction Family materials, Cement, Concrete and Silica and their cousin Sandy. Piled up on top of each other, still wrapped in transparent plastic, they stood in the huge steel building.
Rows of steel rolling pins met their eyes curiously wondering how they are used. Moving their eyes to the east, a cylindrical mixer is covered with thin hardened dust of concrete particles. At the northwest corner, a 50 feet square meters shape spewing light smoke must be an oven. Sandy tapped Concrete's shoulder. "Do you think we can endure the heat inside the oven?' Pointing at it, Silica and concrete followed their eyes towards it. "It maybe set at the right temperature, who knows," Cement said. "Remember," Concrete added. "We will be stronger if they do that."
The Team Producers swiped their time cards walking to their stations standing infront of the rolling pins, picks a rubber mould to fill it with concrete mix to form a firelog.
The Lead Producer walks directly to the construction materials explaining everything that they were supposed to do. "If this is your first time, you'll get used to it." Lifting a whole bag to his waist carrying them to the cylindrical mixer, a few steps away. The family construction materials slide down into the mixer, pouring enough water over them, the machine started to mix the materials in circular motion, churning, whirling, sliding, bouncing, shaking and bumping to each other until the right consistency and stickiness was reached, an opening under the mixer dropped the materials to an empty wheelburrow, scooped by hand to fill the flat oiled square plastic containers. Shaking the square containers to settle the mixture leveled by a spatula, left to dry from a plug-in industrial table fan and the ceiling fans above.
Moving to the next mixer the materials undergo the same process on that instead of square containers the mixture is filled into rubber moulds to manufacture firelogs. Each rubber mould has a unique design of a tree trunk or branch called firelog that resembles a natural tree trunk or the tip of a tree branch. The manufactured logs varies in length and sizes of different intricate replica of the tree bark, its veins, its roughness and smoothness, its burnt part, its split part and both ends showing the pith.
Noon time break. Painters at the company waited for Color and Paint materials, their late arrival delays the painting of the firelogs.
On the road, the delivery truck was stopped by two masked men. One Masked Guy grabbed the wheels pointing his gun to the driver pushing him out of the truck. The Poor Driver ran to the bush fearing for his life. He was hijacked! What was their motive? Frantically, he called the office of P & C Construction. "I need help, the truck is gone, I'm in the bush,call 911." Right away Father Post alerted the police and all police stations in the area closely watched the plate number and color of the hijacked truck.
The hijackers drove through the sideroads to elude the pursuing cops but not aware of the air police surveillance scouring vehicles of suspicious driving activities. Following their side road route, police cruisers are now closing in to sandwich the hijacked delivery truck.
A checkpoint is set up where the delivery truck would pass. Sensing the checkpoint and the blaring horn of police cruisers the hijacker stopped the engine, waving his companion to get down and run to the bush. Another police cruiser arrived. A canine unit was released to chase the fleeing hijackers followed by the uniformed policemen.
One man was caught and subdued then handcuffed by two officers. Later on, the other hijacker was cornered by the canine unit, the Police Dog.
Father Post heard the report broadcasted over the radio. This is ridiculous and disgusting." That's his usual expression. The hijackers confessed BB Construction wanted to reverse the contract to discredit P & C Construction by delaying the supplies of construction materials to the manufacturer of firelogs, G & E Fireplaces.
"My family materials have been kidnapped. They have nothing to do with the contract, they are just following orders from me to do their jobs." Father Post was furious towards Pres. Bobcat. He rushed to the scene to check the condition of his kidnapped children materials. After their thorough check-up the same driver brought Color and Paint material dropping them off to the manufacturer's compaound.
The arrival of Color and Paint materials relieved the painters that they can now paint the firelogs. The Color material of the Construction Family are pigments compose of different minerals and other chemicals. It reflects moods and feelings that the color generates. Resins called vehicles are sticky substances forming a film with the colorful pigment changing the dull and flat appearance of unpainted objects.
The Color material cannot work by itself without the help of the Paint material sticking on surfaces and beautify the manufactured concrete mix. The Paint material made up of ink, water and pigments, partly oil and acrylic. Water is used as solvent.
As soon as the rubber moulds are emptied, each set with 4, 5, 6 pieces of firelogs, are filled in one cage. The concrete slabs and different sets of firelogs are baked in the oven overnight drying and resisting the heat to store energy.
"How do you feel in here?" Cement asked Concrete. "Nothing, I feel sleepy right now," "Me too." Cement answered and they went to sleep. Sandy didn't sleep right away. He remembers his last job. He worked at a Landscaping and Garden Center. There was not much heat like this hot over there that he felt on his skin. "Never mind, the pay here is better, maybe I'll get use to it later on," comforting himself, moving his body on his side his mind still on his former job.
"At the decorative concrete section where I was assigned, people choose and buy me on display. More people buy especially when I'm on sale, buying crates to use me on their walkways, patios, gardens and driveways. One customer who was so fascinated about me placed more order to the storekeeper and delivered me right away or I'll run out of stock. He wanted to finish his driveway all the way to his door entrance and concrete stairs. To make his new house more beautiful and look more expensive this customer came back and bought one more load for his patio at the back of his house where he entertained the guests during his housewarming. I was overwhelmed with the rception I received hearing from people how elegant looking, admiring the host knowing how to choose the right decorative concrete." Sandy expects the same admiration and appreciation at this location. These thoughts dragged him to sleep, snoring.
Next day the firelogs were fetched from the oven pished by a manual forklift inside a steel cage then picked and counted, picked and counted piece by piece to complete the set of a fireplace design based on the paper drawing describing the form and shape of the firelog.
Sandy wakes up, seated at the counter watching the Construction materials like him. He tried to figure out how he will lead his team as a new decorative concrete piece of art, a fireplace, the centerpiece inside the house to warm and beautify it.
Sandy is dressing up. The Tangerine Color material coated around his straight body. It was sticky and wet. Then he was soaked to the Dipping Tank of Latex Solution. His veins were blackened but his skin was now covered highlighted with Peach Color material. Putting his hands on his painted black spot, he felt the paintbrush heavily brushed at his ends with Peach Color then Tangerine Color highlighted it. White color highlighted his black spot. The plug-in table fan blew over his body to dry before it is bubble wrapped to prevent his body to catch mold and rot.
Unpainted concrete firelogs look dull, flat and boring piece of art but after passing through the process of chemical combinations, passing through heat, colored and painted evolved into its artificial beauty. All the materials used made the whole display set to look like like natural firelogs.
Manufactured stones from concrete mix are spayed with plain white, tangerine, peach, brown or not at all used as additional pieces to a set of firelogs.
Father Post and Mother Ceiling met long long time ago in one of the subdivisions they had worked at. Falling in love for each other and sworn to stay and live together as time went by watching thing their business grew.
Recently they received their incresed rental of their office mobile home and realized that they have paid so much and at the middle of their discussion Mother Ceiling said. "It is time to buy our house, a place to gather on family occasions. Our children can come anytime to rest and relax, we can call "Home Sweet Sweet" away from troubles and hectic schedule everyday, anyway they were helpers in our business referring to Cement, Concrete and Stone,our boys,Silica, Paint and Color, our girls.
"That's true," Father Post replied. "What are we doing? Working hard for our clients, builders and others. We almost forget our personal relaxations not giving time for ourselves. Our children doing the same, working for our business. We never go for vacations."
Two police officers showed up at the office informing Father Post that Pres. Bobcat was suspended to operate his construction business as a result of their long investigation and facing charges being the mastermind of kidnapping, robbery and attempted murder ordering to hijack the delivery truck of P & C Construction supply materials. In addition, he may be fined for a hefty sum of $5 million if found guilty of the charges. His business license is cancelled. Father Post and Mother Ceiling felt relief to their mental burden imposed by Pre. Bobcat.
Months pass by quickly. Father Post and Mother ceiling thought of visiting their children wondering why they heard nothing from them then driving to G & E Fireplaces not expecting to see them full of dust particles inside their cages.
"Are you alright here," bewildered Father Post wanted to know if his family materials liked what they do being baked all the time.
"We will stay until our contract expires. We cannot leave yet even if we like to. We don't find any problem except when the mixture is less strong but as far as our performance is concerned, we met all the requirements. How long are we assigned here?" interrupted. "I can't wait till we will be together again."
Not too long from now," Father Post didn't open his plan to buy their home that everybody will no longer work at all. "That's right, that's what we want to do," as if Mother Ceiling read what's in Father Post's mind. Not to tell them yet.
Back and forth the delivery truck picked up the family materials once a month destined to the assembly plants. The concrete slabs used as fireplace mantels, tiles installed inside,outside and front, the firelogs inside the fireplace.
Not long after, the Construction Family wrapped up their family business and decided to rest. Father Post and Mother Ceiling sold their business and summoned their whole family materials informing the new home they have bought.
"This is our family home," Father Post walks his children through a beautiful white house surrounded with white fence overlooking the lake. A gated archway leading to the back of the house, white stones and pebbles filled on both sides of the concrete walkway. At the front lawn, well trimmed rose bushes blooming with white flowers and white hydrangea planted at the foot of the stairs. Within a few days Father Post was standing at the entrance door as a greeter, Mother Ceiling inside watching their guests coming in while their children materials slept quietly inside the fireplace, a cozy room for them all.
As the winter approaches and the first snow falls, their children will wake up and dance to warm up the cold winter nights. From them on, the family lives there year after year.
Everytime we visit a home, we would see Father Post at the front, Mother Ceiling inside and a fireplace as the centerpiece in the livingroom, remember that a Construction Family has retired.