Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Problem with Dunkin' Cookies

The Problem with Dunkin' Cookies
Weather --Light snow and overcast
Temp -- plus 39F Wind --light 3-5 mph

The mission office is a mixture of solemn seriousness interspersed with goofy laughter. We need the laughter to break the tension caused by some pretty serious issues we deal with every day, all day, like when Elder So-and-so came back from his visa renewal trip and threw away his airline ticket before surrendering his passport to Olga to get registered in Novosibirsk. That ticket is necessary to prove that he actually CAME into the country and without it, he could be deported, fined, or jailed for being here illegally, or, when Sister What's-her-name didn't notice that the passport check officer in the Moscow airport port-of-entry didn't stamp her passport and she is now in the country without proof of legal entry, or, when the elders in Barnaul on their way home after English Club got beat-up by a gang of young thugs, or, the time the two Elders who went to Astana, Kazakhstan for a visa renewal couldn't get their Russian visas from the embassy because of a series of unfortunate events and were stranded there for over two weeks in the care of a Humanitarian Couple. Well, you get the idea.

To break the tension, we have to laugh from time to time. Above, one of the elders got a package from home and among the other emergency essentials the family sent there was a set of Ninja Turtle masks. I came around the corner into the "computer room" to find them sporting the masks and quoting Ninjaturtleisms to one another from the TV show that they thought quite funny.

In between emergencies, Sister Cindy laughs a lot in the office with the staff, especially with the elders, (she really enjoys them) but I rarely catch her in a real guffaw. However, twice I happened to be on scene when she really lost it and I caught it on camera.

Sometime in late November of 2008 she and her Travel Secretary Elder Watson were talking about something and his cell phone rang. For some reason she had to answer a question regarding the call and took his phone. (Not so funny yet, right?)

Above, as I sat around the corner with my camera, he is trying to explain what happened in a somewhat calm, collected manner while Sister Cindy is convulsing with laughter across the aisle.

It seems that when she finished the call, they were laughing about something and they both got distracted while she was handing back the phone. He didn't get a good grip on it and it fell between them. Watching it fall, she adroitly extended her foot to keep it from falling on the floor and timed it just right to actually give it a good soccer kick and sent it flying in five pieces.

 For some reason that struck both of them funny and they lost it. I was busy working my stubby fingers to the bone, with my camera in hand, and came around the corner into the foyer to see what was so funny. As they tried to explain it they both lost it again. While Elder Watson reassembled the phone she continued to laugh.
Incident number two, Sister Cindy likes to dunk her cookie in milk. One Family Night when we had the elders and their investigator over for dinner, FHE,  and the requisite game, she served some homemade chocolate chip cookies and provided herself, and all who wished to dunk, a cup of  milk. She likes the wide opening of the cup because she can get a good dunk and not get her hand stuck in the glass.

 Above she is demonstrating the manual dexterity she inherited from her baseball-playing father by dunking while managing her Phase 10 cards. All of a sudden, disaster strikes; she lost her cookie. Amid some little embarrassment and an apology for having to fish her cookie out of the cup, she begins to laugh.

After fishing her cookie out of the cup and downing it quickly, she pauses momentarily to gain her composure and play a card. Taking a new cookie, she makes another attempt at a dunk. You guessed it; dropped the second cookie. If you click on the picture you can see the floating cookie number two.

By this time, everyone at the table played another card while breathlessly awaiting a successful dunk.  After fishing cookie number two out of the cup, and eating it, she takes a moment to compose herself before making the final assault on the cup.

Well, as fate would have it, I missed the final and successful dunk and had to be content with this final picture below of Sister Cindy confidently relaxed and fully composed at the opposite end of the table after finally achieving a perfect dunk. I, on the other hand had to be satisfied with simply drinking my milk with my non-chocolate chip cookie, especially made by Sister Cindy because I don't like chocolate chips.

This is the last of the list of blogs that I intended to write over the months and never got to it. The writing may taper off now as I finish the projects I have on my list. The things left on the list are to finish creating the game I have started to introduce to our friends and to sort, cleanup, and categorize the pictures so that we are prepared to use them if we are ever asked to talk to a group about our mission.

Thank you for following this blog and I hope you will check in from time to time to see if anything else has popped from my fertile mind.

What a companion. What a country


Mom/Cindy said...

We do have a good time. Thanks Elder Doug for all of your faithful recording of our mission. You've done a good job. I love you. Me

Trisha said...

What a companion, what at father, what a friend, what an end.

Shannon Simmons said...

You both DO have such a good time and I am laughing wonderfully at the thought of such amusing situations. I have always said you two are better than ANY tv show. I am looking forward to lots of late night game nights on our family vaca!!!

Carol said...

Enjoy what little time you have left there. I appreciate all you have done to help ease my mind and help me feel like I know a littel bit more about that great country. I hope that the Sister So and so that you were talking about wasnt my daughter but I guess if it was I hope that she has learned her lesson and will be more careful. Take care - I will miss you!

Emily said...

You don't like chocolate chips?

The Drasso Family said...

Thank you for all of the wonderful posts. They added to our excitement and helped us learn much about where our son would be serving - he just arrived there in mid March. You were the link that let us know the four missionaries in his group arrived safely, and you even posted pictures - THANK YOU! I am just sorry you are leaving now. Congratulations on serving well and surviving the harsh climate, and thank you for all the insights into this mission and culture.