Saturday, March 20, 2010

Too Much of a Good Thing

Too Much of a Good Thing
Weather --Started sunny, got windy, now snowing
Temp--plus 26F Wind 25-30 mph

Is it possible to have too much of a good thing? Have YOU ever had too much of a good thing? Well, I think I have on several occasions here in Novosibirsk.

Weather change is a good thing. Without it we would live either in a rain forest or a desert. However, here the weather changes on a dime. As noted above, around 9 am today it started off clear and sunny. Gradually it clouded over during the morning. Then the wind really picked up about noon. (we always have SOME wind) By 3 pm it was snowing, the temp dropped 5 degrees, and the wind had tapered off. Now at 4 pm the wind is again about 20 mph, the snow has stopped and we are waiting for the next event.

Water is a good thing, right? Well, not if you live below a pair of missionaries who forgot to hook the washing machine effluent (for those of you from Rio Linda that's the drain)  back over the lip of the tub after some operation that required its removal. If you put in a load of wash just before you go out for the day, it can be a disaster because a full cycle of the washer would probably dump 10 gallons of water on the bathroom floor and subsequently down onto the ceiling, walls, and floor of the apartment below.  All of the door jams here have a high threshold because they are after-thoughts to the poured concrete construction. The one in the bathroom acts like a dam and prevents most of the water from running out of the bathroom, concentrating it there to find an opening into the lower apartment.

Water can be a problem even when it gets turned off, a common event in the summer when they are repairing the pipes and boilers of the central hot-water facilities. Over several months in 2008, we learned to grab the hot water pipe that bends out from the wall next to the sink to see if we have hot water today. No sense getting naked if you are not getting wet. (This one was in a Moscow hotel. Ours isn't that pretty). However, the absense of water is not the theme here. The problem comes when the "joy-stick" faucet handle is not centered while the water is off or if a faucet is left on accidentally. When it comes back on, while you are away of course, you have running water until you return and you are billed for every liter of hot water you use.

It became even more of a problem for a senior couple who were assigned to mentor a city about 4 hours from their own city twice a month. While staying in their apartment in that city, the hot water was turned off while someone was in the shower. Somehow, the hot water faucet was left on when they locked up and left for what was to be two weeks, but turned out to be more because of illness. About 4 weeks later the Zone Leader got a call from the landlord to meet him at the apartment and arrived to find a swamp. It seems that the hot water returned and ran in the tub for a month, creating a rain forest in the apartment and growing a rather interesting variety of molds on absolutely everything. It only came to someone's attention because it finally began to rain in the apartment (condensation of steam on the ceiling falling on the floor) and that rain began to run into the apartment below.

One good thing we need here is something to help with our digestive system. We just don't drink enough water or get enough fiber. Without being indelicate, we needed a little digestive motivation and since we are, collectively, health-food-nuts, we were looking for something to add bulk to our diet. We tried bran in the oatmeal, but that was insufficient. Then we had our daughter, Trisha, send us some psyillium to add to the oatmeal and to take with water or juice when needed. This is the "active" ingredient in Metamucil. Well, Sister Cindy discovered that this "good thing" can be over-done as well. Have you ever eaten slime? Above, Sister Cindy tried drinking it. You can see the result of too much of this good thing. 

Another good thing that can be over-done is advice. Ya'know, I love advice. There are several people in this world smarter than me, I married one of them, and I love to get their advice; when I ask for it. I thrill at the insight other people can provide to you when they are not living in your skin. It is mind expanding. It is reflective thinking at its best. I LOVE ADVICE. I know so many wise people, it is like I am surrounded by Lamas like this one from Ulan-Ude who is still meditating after over 100 years.

However, advice is like chocolate syrup. A little on your spumoni ice cream can be a delight. Even chocolate syrup on chocolate ice cream can be interesting. BUT, too much chocolate syrup just ruins the whole thing. When there is more chocolate syrup than ice cream, something is seriously wrong and you will probably end up not eating it at all.

Moms and wives everywhere listen up. By the time your son or daughter goes on a mission . . . it's too late. Do yourself and your missionary a favor and save the advice for when they have kids; they'll be listening then. If you regularly give advice on staying healthy, being careful, being a good companion, reading the scriptures; don't. He/she is getting advice and directions from a companion, a zone leader, a senior couple, an office couple, a mission president, and God. That's plenty of chocolate syrup. Come on mom, enjoy the ride.

Read their emails with relish. Respond with supporting, loving encouragement. Be a great cheering section and put him/her into God's hands. You are too far away and too late to make any kind of significant impact in their day-to-day behaviors now. You did a good job. You prepared your missionary the best anyone could. Now let them fly. I can tell you from first-hand experience--THEY ARE AWESOME!!! Especially those assigned to Siberia. I am wiping the tears from my cheeks right now thinking of them and how great they are. Trust me, they are the best of the best and I am personally sinning every day in my pride for them.

Thank you for all you have done to prepare your missionary and the support you are to them. I guess that is one good thing that will be hard to over-do.

What great moms. What great missionaries. What a country.

1 comment:

Trisha said...

Yes I agree there can be too much of a good thing. The chocolate syrup was a perfect example. I love the idea of keeping the advice to a minimum. Let them fly. I guess I am about at that stage with Sara. She wants to do things on her own. I have taught her the best I could (even though I dont think so) LET HER FLY!