Friday, September 26, 2008

A Day in the Life 9/26/08

A Day in the Life 
Weather Report: Same as yesterday

Several (2) people have asked, "What do you do all day?" It sounded a little accusatory, but as I thought about it, I sometimes have the same question. It's like when our kids were small and Cindy would try to tell me what she did that day as I was changing out of my business clothes into my family suit. It would take her about 45 seconds, then she would pause and say, "Well, it doesn't seem like much, but it took me all day."

I am finding my days are like that. I plan things with some inclination to be organized and get the most important things done first, and Cindy has even helped me to make a daily schedule of what I am going to do each hour (She is the queen of organization), but you can't organize an ant hill very well and I feel a little overwhelmed.

The picture on the right is the schedule I began for this past week. I started out very well, but something happened Tuesday afternoon and I lost the rest of the week.

OK, here was my list of things to do this past week.
  1. Fund the native missionary going to the MTC
  2. Krasnoyarsk rent problem
  3. Count the mission cash box & reconcile
  4. Record Irkutsk apartment change
  5. Retrieve money given for the Irkutsk old apartment
  6. Rent issues in Tomsk
  7. Sasha returns-review office repairs with him
  8. Passport duplicate forms process (Cindy)
  9. Work with branch president to find error in books
  10. Mission presidency meeting agenda
  11. Mission presidency meeting
  12. Meeting summary emailed
  13. Review & update rent chart
  14. Follow-up on branch audits
  15. Print calendar
  16. Zone Leader Conference materials gathered
  17. ZLC handouts
  18. Prepare and print New Visa Trip funding memo
  19. I hate my desk. Rearrange things somehow
  20. Get cell phone for Cindy
  21. Office coordination and calendaring meeting agenda
As you can see from the picture of my week's planner, Monday started in focus, and I got most of the hourly stuff done Monday, but after the Mission Presidency meeting Tuesday, I lost it. Here is a list of the phone calls for Tuesday.
  1. Moscow MSR office re tithing deposits
  2. Elder re $
  3. Moscow Audit office
  4. Elder Branch Pres re bank deposits
  5. Tomsk re rent
  6. Tomsk re repairs
  7. Tomsk re closing an apartment
  8. Irkutsk re new apartment I didn't know about
  9. Barnaul re tithing deposits
  10. Krasnoyarsk re apply $ received to Sr Couple rent
  11. Kemerovo re rent for meeting place
  12. Ulan-Ude, was rent paid for August
  13. Elders in Kazakhstan need more finances
  14. Kazakhstan Sr Couple re elders' needs and time table
  15. Kazakhstan bound elders leaving Omsk
Other unscheduled stuff
  1. Changed the batteries in the four clocks by Pyotr
  2. Re-write the Visa Trip funding memo for ZLC
  3. Look for Family Needs Assessment for Alcotts
  4. Sisters need more funds for transportation
  5. Completely revise rent chart so I can follow it. The current one is all wrong
  6. Talk to, with, and about the Kazakhstan bound elders
  7. Calculate the Kazak elders' financial needs by several scenarios that are possible
  8. Research the Kazak-Rouble exchange rate. Translate that into dollars for the funding. Guess what the exchange rate will be three days after I request it when the elders try to take the money off their debit cards.
  9. The Local Unit Budget Allowance (LUBA) notification for the 4th quarter came by email from Moscow with some branches blacked out and no explanation. Called for clarification. Suggested, maybe, they could send the explanation along with the email next time SO I DON'T HAVE TO CALL THEM, HUH?!!!!!
Wednesday morning the Zone Leaders started to come in from the outlying cities for the ZLC Wednesday night and Thursday. They come in the morning for the soccer game in the afternoon and sort of hang out in the office 'til game time. They are such great young men. I love all of them, BUT, you might as well try to work in the stadium during a hockey game. They are so glad to see one another, you'd think they really love one another.

While they are playing soccer, I do my final preparation for my ZLC 15 minute presentation and we leave about 4:30 for the Mission Home and dinner with everyone (2 Traveler's Coffee sandwiches, fruit salad, and chips) prior to the meeting at 6 pm.

Thursday is quiet because Pyotr is still on holiday, Olga is here working, Cindy is here, Yulia is in the back office, and the elders are all at the Mission Home. Quiet. It is so quiet.

I took the time to try and rearrange my desk situation; to very little avail. I wanted to turn the desk facing the window so I'd get daylight on my work. The only light in my spot is about 4 feet off center of the desk and it is dark. As things often go, the desk is 2 inches too long for the space. I kept measuring it and willing it to be shorter, but the string I was using (no tape measure) was still 2 inches too long. I considered the saw, but surgery was out of the question. I searched the office for shorter desks, but the two other desks that are shorter were in a space where they too could not use a longer one.

I worked for 2 hours on different configurations and working my faith to shorten the desk. The desk's will to remain the same won the day and I finally succumbed to reality. From the scratch marks on the floor, I think that many financial elders before me had probably come to the same conclusion after exhausting their will against the same desk. So, I guess what I have will do.

I finally got most of the week's work done during the rest of Thursday until the elders started arriving after their meeting adjourned to pick up the renic (flee-market) bags with the mail for their cities, but it was OK. I have learned to love these missionaries. They are the strength of the church, truly Saturday's Warriors. They do what I was not able to do at their age and what I still cannot do now at my age. I admire and respect them for what they do and who they are. Awesome is too weak a word.

Friday we fed the 5,000 (actually only 15) out of our cupboard and new refrigerator because Sister Hughes ( CES couple on the left bank) was too ill to host them, so we didn't get into the office until about 2pm. Then we had to leave at 4:30 to get ready to feed the assistants and the zone leaders before we all went to the quarterly cultural activity; this time it was the ballet. That's a whole 'nuther blog.

I hope this helps some of my friends see what my days are like here in Novosibirsk. It is never dull. It is rarely what I planned to do. It is stimulating and challenging. It is frustrating and humbling, especially when someone asks if I have done something that I didn't yet know I was to do. I love my job, most of the time, mostly because what I do keeps the elders and sisters on the streets (or off the streets at night) where they can find the elect, the lost sheep, that needle in this big haystack called Siberia.

What a country.

And that was the week up to Thursday. Thursday was

1 comment:

Trisha said...

That is exactly how I feel. When you talk about it, it sure doesn;t seem like alot, but it does take all day. Nice to know that I am not alone.