Tuesday to Saturday, 27 June to 1 July 2017

7:01 AM and the Pooler Sisters are on the phone. Yesterday they called to say they had a rat but I was skeptical—a mouse probably, a rat probably not. They insisted that its body was at least six inches long without the tail. I said, "Call the landlord." No action and this morning (Saturday) they're on the phone, "The mouse just ran under the bed!"

Me, "So it was a mouse."

Sisters, "What should we do."

Me, "Get a big towel, lift the bed and throw the towel over him. When you've got him, take him outside and release him. If that does work, get a trap and bait it with peanut butter and chocolate. Put it along the wall. When you catch him, just throw the trap with him in away."

After the call, Dorothy said, "Have you ever caught a mouse that way?"

In fact, I have. When I was nine living in Carr, CO, I caught a mouse by hand, it bit me and I threw it on the ground stunning it. I took it home thinking to make a pet of it but it died.

It's been an usual week. Tuesday was transfer day with trips to the stake center, to the mission office and to Forsyth. Without the van, that meant multiple trips with the mission pickup and our Subaru to take bikes and bedding and missionaries to the appointed places.

We had been planning to go to Valdosta to move the senior couple and a pair of elders from a poor situation into better conditions. Without the van, that meant working with the assistants to the president to use the pickup to pull the trailer. We took appliances and furniture to Valdosta, filled our trailer twice and a member's trailer twice moving the two households.

Sister Chadwick had to come down on one of the elders who wanted to keep a plastic Christmas tree because, "Someone might want in December." Sister Chadwick's reply, "That excuse is only valid in November, not June."

On our way to Valdosta, we stopped in Tifton for gas and, because it was lunchtime, we went to the Osaka restaurant just off I75 at exit 64, a great little, five table, Japanese restaurant. The food, including suchi, is fast and delicious. The Tifton elders had taken us there the previous week. I highly recommend it.

Coming back to Macon, we stopped again in Tifton for a late lunch and gas. As we were finishing lunch, the sky opened up and dumped sheets of rain. We waited it out, got gas and Sister Chadwick took over the driving. (She often drives in the afternoon and evening when I tend to get drowsy.) From Tifton home it rained, sometimes to the extent that traffic on I75 slowed to less than 40 MPH. Not many places in the country are suffering from drought this year. I heard a report of so much snow that they're still skiing in California for the Fourth of July.

We didn't have much in the way of fruit at home so we stopped last evening at a stand near the office and got tomatoes, peaches, and a watermelon. Georgia, of course, is well known for peaches. When I was growing up, there was one variety of peach, Elberta, and one variety of pear, Bartlett. My dad would drive from Fort Collins every summer to Grand Junction and come home with the pickup pilled high with peaches and pears, some of which he sold and some my mother canned. It wasn't until 1971 when we moved to New York, that I realized there were other varieties of peaches and pears. We have been somewhat disappointed with eastern peaches. Every time we have had occasion to be in the Grand Junction area, our prejudice is reinforced. No peach tastes better than a peach from the Western Slope of Colorado. I asked the young man selling the peaches when free-stone peaches might be available. He said he didn't think there were going to be any this year because of a killing frost earlier this year. I got the peaches home—they're free-stone. Does that puzzle you, the term "free-stone?" Peaches come in two general varieties, cling and free-stone, in which the flesh of the peaches "clings" to the pit or comes away from the pit cleanly.

Monday, 27 June 2017

The clock on the computer says 10:10 PM. I left the house this morning at 6:45 to get the van and fill it with gas to take missionaries going home to Atlanta and get missionaries coming to the mission. The van was not at the mission office. "Well," I thought, "Elder Jensen picked it up for some reason and has taken it to the mission home.

Back to the house to get Dorothy and the poppy seed cakes. We get to the mission home and Elder Jensen meets me at the end of the drive way, "Where the van?"

"I thought you had it. It isn't at the mission office." It was stolen!

Quick rearranged to fill 20 missionaries, two APs, three couples, and the nurse in four cars and a pickup pulling a trailer full of luggage and off to Atlanta.

Sister Goff and we and seven missionaries go to the terminal, everyone gets out, Sister Goff and I park the cars, and Sister Chadwick calls, "It's the international terminal." We unpark the cars, everyone gets in, and we go to the main terminal."

Sister Chadwick and I leave without any missionaries to run errands preparatory to transfer day tomorrow. We take a bike to the shop to be packed for shipping and get a helmet and lock for a missionary coming in. We get to the mission home as everyone is arriving from Atlanta.

Supper is good. Baked chicken and potatoes, salad, bread, and poppy seed cake.

We, the office staff, deliver our training pieces. I unhitch the pickup from the small trailer, load three bike—one packed for shipping—into the back. Off to the mission office to load two bikes into the large trailer along with three bikes already there and 14 sets of bedding. Take the large trailer to the Macon Stake building and park it. The gas gauge is about 1 mm above the empty mark. Gas is 1.919 a gallon. A wonderful thing, cheap gas. Go back to the office to retrieve the wheel chocks I left in place and ran over when we left 30 minutes ago. Take gas receipt into Elder Jensen. He shows us a still from the video on the building. You can see the masked thief holding the stick he used to knock down the camera. Unfortunately, there are no finger prints on the stick.

Leave the pickup and keys with the APs at the mission home.

In the car leaving the mission home, Sister Chadwick announces she's hungry and wants a root beer float. Stop at supermarket for ice cream and root beer. Send $63.

Root beer floats are great. Now it's 10:29 PM. Goodnight.

Sunday, 26 June 2017

We usually pick up Patricia O'Neil, the blind woman who was re-baptized a month ago. The change in her attitude is obvious. She happier and more confident. Amazing what receiving the Gift of the Hole Ghost can do for people.

Saturday, 25 June 2017

Today the Forsyth group had a social at the Kirkpatrick home. Sister Kirkpatrick has a small horse farm near Forsyth. She has a quarter horse, a miniature horse, and a Shetland pony with a colt. For these she has a 12 stall horse barn. One of those plans that get changed as life changes. Shortly after the barn was finished her husband died and with him the plans for renting the stalls and giving riding lessons. But she had all of the kids ride the quarter horse:

This is the Bridges' daughter, who would have ridden all day, Jay Lefholz, and Sister Kirkpatrick.

This little boy was finished and getting off after riding 20 feet.

Friday, 24 June 2017

On Monday, 22 missionaries are flying home and 14 are coming from the MTC so there's lots to do: Get 14 bed-in-a-bags ready and pick up bicycles. In addition, I had stuff from Tifton to take to Goodwill and clean out the trailer. Because of the number of missionaries coming we need to use both trailers and that took time to get the bike rack transfers. The van is scheduled for service so it has to be delivered to the other side of Macon. Another busy day.

Last transfer I offered to prepare the Monday evening meal at the mission home and made lasagna and poppy seed cake. Sister Chadwick made the salad. Sister Grayson liked the poppy seed cake. I making two this week for Monday. One tonight and one tomorrow.

Thursday, 23 June 2017

The management for the two apartments is great. Had a key ready when we get there. With the help of the Tifton Elders, McPherson and Gillins, we get the apartment decluttered and replace worn out stuff like pots and skillets and shower curtains. We take the elders to lunch at an excellent Japanese restaurant. We finish the apartment and find an excellent Mexican restaurant before heading back to Macon arriving at 9 PM. Busy 24 hours.

Wednesday, 22 June 2017

We imagined that we would do office stuff, Sister Chadwick would go to a doctors appointment at 1:30, I would prepare the van and trailer, and we would leave for Tifton with plenty of time to get there and get settled in the empty apartment. Then get up in the morning and clean the apartment in preparation for a new set of sister missionaries.

The best laid plans...

The van wouldn't start, the battery was dead. It hadn't been driven for several days. Elder Jensen has this marvelous little device about the size of two decks of card that can be used to recharge telephones and cameras but, in addition, it's strong enough to start a large van when the battery is low. Ain't technology wunerful.

So I didn't want to stop the engine until I had a chance to drive it some distance and recharge the battery so I got the trailer attached, went to the shed and loaded stuff there and then to our apartment to load the suitcase, blowup bed, bedding, etc. we needed—still with the engine running at about 2 o'clock. I thought how long can it be before Sister Chadwick is finished at the doctors and we can head out. Well is seems that it can be long. 3:30 she tested me that she was still in the waiting room. Finally, she gets home at just before 6.

Off to Tifton. Supper and then we get to the apartment in Tifton at 9 PM. The keys we have don't fit the lock. There are three, all different. None work. Call the Tifton Elders. None of their keys work. We find a Hampton Inn. NO VACANCY. They send us to to a nearby Comfort Inn. We finally get to bed about 11.

Tuesday, 21 June 2017

Today was zone conference in Macon but Sister Chadwick and I had medical appointments which went over long and so we only made it in time for lunch. The Relief Society in the various stakes put on lunch for the missionaries when they meet for zone conferences or other conferences. It's usually sandwiches and salad. Today's sandwiches were homemade ham and cheese sliders. They were good.

Monday, 20 June 2017

Quiet day in the office. Talk to Elder Weston, one of the APs (assistant to the President) about his plans. He's leaving next week. He hopes to go to Weber State College and study nursing with the goal of becoming a nurse anesthetist. In addition to a BS, he will have to get a masters degree. At least one school he's investigated requires total commitment, i.e., no outside work while going to school. Tough choice. Either you're wealthy or you go into debt. We encouraged him to think about letting the military pay.

Sunday, 19 June 2017

Back and forth to Forsyth: First to church at 10, then take the Forsyth elders to the stake center in Macon to interview two prospective converts who are scheduled to be baptized next Saturday (Elder Lovell is the district leader and interviews all converts before baptism.), take the two elders home for lunch, (Pasta salad, kielbasa, corn-on-the-cob, baked crookneck squash, and burnt sugar pie), back to Forsyth to take the missionaries home, and, finally, back home at 4:45.

Saturday, 18 June 2017

On the other hand (See Friday's blog.), we have good success finding things for missionary apartments at garage sales. Today we found an good quality dresser, which we'll constantly being asked for, at a home that the family was moving out of. The cost: $20.00 US. One drawer needs gluing but that's an easy fix. The quality is much better than a new dresser at Walmart or some other discount retailer.

Every time I've put the phone down today and gone to the other end of the house to do something, the phone rings. Cell phones just don't ring long enough. I never make it to the phone in time and have to call someone back. And, at least on my Android phone, there doesn't seem to be a way to lengthen the time it rings. Bummer. We're tied to these devices whether we like it or not.

My first memory of phones was in Rocky Ridge north of Fort Collins, CO. It was a party line with six or so homes on one line. Each home has it own distinct ring and you could listen into your neighbors call if you were careful not to breath into the receiver. Of course, they could listen to your call too so had to be careful what you said for fear you would make an announcement for the whole town to hear about.

Friday, 17 June 2017

We keep an eye out for places where we might get things for the missionary apartments. Things that are simultaneously inexpensive and of reasonably good quality. We saw an ad for The Warehouse in Warner Robins about 20 miles south of Macon so we thought we would check it out. The trip was a failure. Lots of stuff but not much that we would want to put into a missionary apartment.

Thursday, 16 June 2017

Trash and Goodwill day. I unloaded the trailer from yesterday's trip and then took a load to the dump. Imagine, if you can, the looks I get from people when I show up at the dump in a white shirt and tie to throw out beat-up desks and old chairs. I also took a small load of stuff to Goodwill.

Wednesday, 15 June 2017

Today we put the final cleaning touches on the sister apartment in Grovetown, delivered a few items to missionaries in the Augusta area and in Statesboro.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

I think it about time to talk about gnats. Late spring is gnat season especially below the fall line in Georgia. (If you don't know what the fall line is, here is a link to the Wikipedia description.) When there isn't much of a breeze, these tiny monsters buzz around you head and try to get in your nose or ears. Why I don't know but it is irritating to the extreme. They don't bite or sting, just buzz around. The environment below the fall line is particularly favorable for gnats but as you to to higher elevation above the fall line they are less of a problem. Because Macon is on the fall line, the problem is moderate, some day good, i.e., not many gnats, some days bad.

We had a piece of liver and some leftover rice so I made matsalattico. Haven't done that for decades. The recipe is here.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Today was an office day. I've been building a data base of all the information we have on each apartment. I'm hoping that with it I can write reports and print descriptions of the apartments and mission districts. I've been reading the leases. Checking all the information that has been assembled over the last seven to eight years. The mission has been in some apartments as long as ten years. For the most part, landlords love us because we pay on time and missionaries rarely cause any problems, certainly nothing serious just silly stuff you'd expect from 18 to 21 year old young men.

So I'm working on apartment #32 in Americus, GA. We've been paying $650.00 per month but in the lease the figure is $649.00. Moreover the most recent lease is dated to end in 2013. So I'm thinking maybe there is something amiss. I call the landlord and speak to a young lady. The lease is fine. It went to month-by-month in 2013 which is fine with them and fine with us. Then I ask her about the $650/$649 thing. She says, "Yes, you have a $45 credit. Just pay us $604 for July and we'll be fine." OK! For 45 months we been paying $1 extra and nobody noticed. Let me see—that's three months shy of four years since the lease was up. Not a lot but it will help pay the $168 bill we got today for finding out that the AC unit in another apartment wasn't working because no one thought to change the filter and we're required to change the filter by that lease. (Not all leases are like that. Some don't specify, some require the landlord to change the filters.) That was $7 for the new filter and $161 to discover that the filter was the problem and put it in. I think I'll become an AC technician when I grow up.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

We arranged to pick up the Forsyth missionaries and any investigators for stake conference and then feed them lunch. We ended up with four missionaries, a recent, blind convert and two of her granddaughters, and two other men. Except for Amber who wouldn't eat the lasagna, everyone had an enjoyable time.

The granddaughters, Amber and Hannah, are preteens. They thought Sister Chadwick and I were twins. They slipped their flan to their grandmother so that I wouldn't feel bad about them not eating it.

Sister Chadwick has commented and I agreed, the talks at sacrament meetings and conference are excellent—well thought out, well prepared, and delivered with conviction. The youth speaker and the stake primary president talks today were particularly good. Carol Cutchen's, the stake primary president, topic was "Who am I." ("HF" is Heavenly Father, "CTR" is choice the right.) She gave examples and stories from the scriptures of individuals who knew they were the children of God and lived their lives accordingly.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

So there's this tourist trap kind of place we pass when we go to Forsyth and we had a few minutes before picking up the missionaries for the Saturday evening session of the Macon Stake conference so we stopped. It has a wrecked airplane, lots of antique tractors and cars rusting into oblivion. What made it all worthwhile was a small sign with a chicken on it and these words: "I dream of a world where chickens can cross the road without everyone questioning their motives."

Friday, 9 June 2017

Elder Major, one of the assistants to the president, came into the office today and got to talking about his after-mission plans. His family raises cattle in northern Utah and he hopes to follow the family tradition. His already has six cows and a small amount of capital. He plans to build his herd while he's in school, find a wife who will be supportive and willing to be work and get started with a small herd on a couple hundred acres. He hopes in thirty years to have 1000 acres and 200 head of cattle and sell young breeding stock.

On of the great things about being among this young elders and sisters is to get to know them and hear their plans and aspirations.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

I get exercise. Consider this: I loaded two dryers and a washing machine onto the trailer on Saturday. Monday through Wednesday, I took those three working appliances off the trailer and replace them with three nonworking appliances. Today I took the three nonworking appliances off the trailer to deliver them to an appliance repair company. This doesn't count the miscellaneous mattresses, tables, bookcases, and chairs that were companions to the appliances—many of which had to be moved on and off the trailer to get the appliances on and off.

Then yesterday we got back to discovery a package waiting for us at the mission office. There was a tape label on it that read, "Caution, Heavy Package Over 70 lbs." This I drug from the office to the car and from the car to the apartment. It took two hours to assemble the new walking machine for Sister Chadwick. I get exercise.

Tuesday and Wednesday, 6 and 7 June 2017

With Monday afternoon, travel days. We delivered beds, washing machines, dryers, office chairs, etc. from Beaufort and Parris Island and Aiken, SC to Augusta, GA.

On Tuesday evening we had supper with Brother and Sister Wilson, the military relations missionaries in Parris Island. At their apartment complex there were mushrooms growing up out of th pavement. The largest mushrooms I have ever seen (If you don't know, I've been a amateur mycologist for 40+ years so I've seen a lot of mushrooms.):

You can tell compared to the curb, how big they are. When I first saw them, I thought someone had thrown out some pillows.

Monday, 5 June 2017

The Cunninghams in Hinesville invited us to join them for their P-day activity. (P-day is preparation day, most of the mission has P-day on Monday to do their laundry, shop, etc. The office staff has P-day on Saturday.) Their P-day activity was a visit to the Midway Museum in Midway, GA. The museum is next door to a Congregational church with history back to the mid-1700s. The docent who gave us a tour has a sister who is a member of the church and her nephews had served missions. She gave a 90-minute lecture on local history and then showed us the church.

Just a couple of facts and then some pictures: The Union general, Kilpatrick, was in the area in 1864 for six weeks, used the cemetery for a corral and the cattle ate all of the wooden grave markers, and used the church for a slaughter house. Now the pictures:

The exterior and interior of the church.

The cemetery includes the grave of Danial Stewart died May 27, 1829 at the age of 70. He was a brigadier general in the Revolutionary War and the great grandfather of Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president of the USA. Fort Stewart army base in Georgia is named for him.

Later addendum: I mentioned that the docent at the museum said her sister was a Mormon and her nephews had served missions. Sister Cunningham had brought along a Book of Mormon which we all signed. At the end of the tour, Sister Cunningham thanked the docent and gave her the book. She said, "Thank you, you know my sister has never offered me one."

Sunday, 3 June 2017

Going to Forsyth for church reminded me to comment about the current crop of flowering trees. The mimosa grow wild here in Georgia. I had only seen them in yards in the Northeast. The crepe myrtle has started blooming, mostly pink and white. They are a favorite of landscapers. Sometime they are severely pruned, down to just a couple of sticks really and other times allowed to grow as large as possible. Here is a single flower. Notice that each crepy petal is on a stem:

The southern magnolia is also a favorite. It grows to be very large and is often used a shade tree. They flower starting around here in May and have been blooming for a couple of weeks. They aren't like the earlier magnolias that have a short blooming season and stop. The southern magnolia has several flower which peak while other are starting and fading. The flower is about the size of a small plate and have a very pleasant sweet fruity odor.

We're feeling kind of detached from the Forsyth group in spite of going to church there. We're only there on Sundays except when we go to a furniture salesroom that has used furniture from hotels that is both reasonable quality and CHEAP. We do have a home teaching route and have got to know some of the people but it's some 17 miles away and we don't have much interaction with them.

I think I mentioned Tom Ridgeway who tuned the piano for me. He is an amazing pianoist. He has a light touch with great feeling. He gave Sister Goff a CD with his testimony and 14 songs and said, "Make as many copies as you'd like. Here are his renditions of Danny Boy: danny_boy and Amazing Grace: amazing_grace

Saturday, 2 June 2017

A "Load the Trailer" day: Two mattresses, one box spring, a table, a desk, two chairs, four office chairs, two end tables, vacuums, fans, shower curtains, light bulbs, skillets, etc.

Friday, 2 June 2017

An office day. Paper work and prep for going to Savannah and Augusta next week.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

I'm paying the price for go up and down the stairs in Auburn. My calves are so sore I have difficulty walking.

Got a couple of pictures while traveling. First some mushrooms in the lawn at Cash Liquidators:

Then an interesting juxtaposition of services: