Weather Report Thursday: Rain
7:55 am Thursday 10.2c and raining
Today it was 14.9c and cloudy at 9:00 am when we went to the office. One of the missionary apartments in Tomsk needed some new appliances, so I sent Pres Gushin with the van to transport a stove. . . I think I need to start a little farther back.
In Novo (Novosibirsk) we have a large apartment (in a previous blog on inspections) that has become the warehouse for the stuff that no one wants or that comes from apartments we are vacating. It is a big place, but it is getting crowded with a lot of discards. This includes a stove from a senior couple's apartment and several washing machines.
Now, at the last transfer, the new Zone Leader in Tomsk moved into the dump of the mission. It is the cheapest rent, but is evidently a real mess. Specifically, the stove doesn't work at all and
the refrigerator and washing machine quit unpredictably, leaving water on the floor in both cases and spoiled food (in the fridge of course). This Zone Leader decided to see if we could move him and after some investigation we found that anything else in Tomsk would be at least 6000 roubles ($300) more per month. for a couple of month's rent we could upgrade this place and be ahead. The current rent is 9000p (roubles) or about $370 per month.
With the range and washer at the "Palace", a locally purchased refrigerator, and a couple gallons of paint we could decided we could make the place comfortable. Check this . . . when the landlord heard our complaints about the appliances he said it was our problem. Now when he heard that we wanted to do some painting and move in our own stove and fridge, he is raising the rent 3000p a month. Fun huh? Even at that, we are still ahead, but it is irritating to have someone benefit from your upgrade when he wouldn't do it himself. We'll get even by baptizing him and taking 10% off the top for life.
Anyway, today I sent Pres Gushin to Tomsk with the mission van loaded with the fridge, washer, the Bowdens (senior humanitarian couple) and Gushin's daughter, Dasha, who is visiting from BYU for a few weeks. We saved the Bowden's bus fare and the cost of the appliances, provided Pres with a chance to talk with his daughter for 7 hours, and got two big items out of the "Palace". Good management, huh?
Pres Gushin and his wife (& Dasha) are all exceptionally nice people, as is Olga who also works in the office. They are all indispensable and I feel very close to them, even in this short time. Last night I took them all to dinner to celebrate our 42nd anniversary, including the Bowdens who were staying with us, to "Mexico". Yea, right. No, not a plane ride, it is a Mexican restaurant a few blocks from the office. It is actually quite good. We had authentic Mexican guacamole, salsa, chips, Fajitas, taco salad, and stuff. Mom felt all "Cabo" like and said that all we needed was some sun and some heat. All agreed.
We wrapped up the evening with an hour's meeting with the Bowdens trying to plan out how we can get and use the Family Enrichment books in Russian. The Humanitarian Services Director for Eastern Europe in Moscow is supposed to be sending us a CD with the book printer ready and we are supposed to find a printer and the money to pay for them. President Mickelsen is supportive, but we don't know the costs and just how much money we have. The Bowdens can get Humanitarian funds and together we hope to print enough to make the books affordable.
Lots going on and busy every day. My cash-box balanced today and that always make it a good day, but in Russia, any day you can end with a smile and good friends around you, it is a good day no matter what else happens.
What a country