Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Plumbing Adventure

Monday, July 11, 2011 10:14 AM

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Yet again, what a week!

Okay, so the week started out fairly normal...and then Tuesday hit. Sometimes I feel it's appropriate to pray and ask for a more boring life ha ha. Tuesday was one of those days. (In fact it started a series of days like that.) During companionship study, it sounded like a cat was being strangled in our bathroom. Our washing machine is in the bathroom and we had it running. We figured something had happened to it/because of it to cause that noise. No such luck. When we finally went to see what happened, we wished it was just a dead cat. You know the good old "Ox in the mire" situation? Well, take that and times it by 1000! Instead of a strangled cat in our laundry, we've got a literal mire. Our plumbing spazzed out and our bathtub was full of sewer water! (and quite a bit of "not just sewer water") =P Holy gross!!!! But it gets "better." Our toilet was full of loveliness as well. No matter what we did, we couldn't get it to go back down. Through some weird phone calls -a couple to a doctor's office (on accident) we finally got out landlord to come look at things. Rather quickly assessing the situation (speed is essential to get out of that smell as fast as possible) he left with our number and said he's call someone. Next problem -that "someone" wouldn't call us until Thursday.  And this someone wasn't even a plumber. In France, apparently you can't just call a plumber. You first call someone who assesses the problem and then he calls and schedules the plumber. But at least someone was doing something. We really appreciated that.

I was SO grateful for our district and zone leaders Wednesday night. We'd spent ALL day trying to fix this ever so charming problem to no avail. I talked to the zone leaders about it (just venting) when they called for some statistics. I then needed to talk to our district leaders for some reason - I can't remember why any more. They are just hilarious. They finally got Sister Rowley and I laughing at the whole situation. We were finally able to not just be stressing about it. It just got to that point where we couldn't do anything about it. So we might as well laugh. AND THEN by the time I was off the phone with them the zone leaders were calling back. They had called the assistants, who then called the president and things were being put into the works to help us out. I just love my district. They are just wonderful!

Oh on this ever so stressful day, Sister Rowley and I were at the church for a few minutes. As we went to walk home, which is a bit over 2 kilometers away, we found a burned cd sitting on the side of the road. I kicked it ahead of me. Then Sister Rowley did the same. We kicked that cd almost all the way home before it finally broke in half. ha ha Yup...We basically invented "kicking a rock 2.0" ha ha ;) (There you go. Most random experience of the week ha ha)
On Thursday, we had interviews and met our new president, his wife and their two daughter for the first time. I love the Poznanski's! Sister Poznanski is adorable, but very classy and dignified about it. They're just so sweet. They'll be great! It was rather interesting though having EVERYTHING in French. I'm just glad I wasn't bleu for that. I'm pretty sure I would have missed everything. And they did a great training. SO glad I know enough French to have been able to follow what they taught.

Only down side to interviews: our continuing lack of a shower situation. The first time we met our president and we couldn't even take a real shower first. Gross! Not okay with not even attempting to get cleaned up first, I took all the extra towels we have and spread them out on the floor of our study room, filled up three little pots (they were the biggest we have) with hot water and....took a "shower." We shaved and everything ha ha. We then washed our hair in the kitchen sink. The kitchen sink is a bit gross in its our way though. So we put a mixing bowl in the sink and washed our hair in that. Silly though it may have been at times, ha ha bless you Mom for so firmly cementing the idea of a spit bath in my head with your ritual "morning constitutional" at girls camp each year. I'll have you know, it works in France too! ;)

And God bless McDonalds for being the wonderful American institution that it is! Even in France where public bathrooms don't exist, McDonalds is too American not to have one. And with our apartment being only 97 steps (yes we counted) from our front door, it's been a life saver. But Sister Rowley has now picked up the habit of carrying toilet paper in her bag after McDonald's ran out and no one would refill it ha ha.

I can't help but wonder, if our missions prepare us for the rest of our lives, are Sister Rowley and I being trained to be homeless?

Friday brought good news: the plumbers finally came! Bad news: they looked in our bathroom for about half a second, then went into the basement, came straight back up, told us there's a problem with the building, not just the apartment and they'd have to call someone. As they walked out we asked for a time idea.

We then trekked across town to take a shower at a member's home. I'm grateful she let us do that, but I feel so much like I'm stepping on toes showing up at someone's home to use their shower...

Later than afternoon we got a call from our land lord. He said someone will be out to try and fix it on Tuesday at 8:30 (almost a week later!) He was absolutely insistent that we be there. He we SO worried we wouldn't be. ha ha Come on Frère, we don't have a toilet or a shower AND our apartment smells like a sewer treatment plant. Pretty sure we want this problem cleared up more than you do. ha ha We'll be there! ;)

I called up the office elders and -being wonderful as they are- they went right to work to find us a hotel. We had multiple rendez-vous the rest of night, but I had to get this worked out with them. So as we were watching "The Testaments" with Christian and Maëva, I had to keep leaving the talk to the elders as they looked at google earth trying to describe the locations of multiple hotels and I did my best to figure out the cardinal directions in this city in my head ha ha. Oh dear. But great news: at about 11 that night we finally got to check into the hotel! And now we have a toilet AND a shower! Hooray!!! I never realized how blessed you can feel to just have those two things ha ha. Saturday, with nothing nearly as dramatic or stressful as Philomene's baptism occurring, (thank heavens!) Christian and Maëva got baptized!!! This ward is just stellar. They just are so wonderful. There were quite a few people who, despite the length of the drive, came to the chapel in Lille (we don't have a font in our ward house) to support the two of them. And they were all so very willing to help with food, talks, prayers, etc. And for all intents and purposes, it went VERY smoothly. =)

Sunday was a fantastic day. Because of the awkward location of our hotel in relation to the church and our apartment, we got permission to eat breakfast at the hotel. Holy cow! French hotels may be lacking ion a lot of little extras that we have in American hotels, but they destroy our continental breakfast! That was the most impressive hotel breakfast spread I have ever seen! Well done France.

At church Christian "bore his testimony" in sacrament meeting. He was so nervous. He'd written out what he wanted to say. It was like an acceptance speech mixed with a prayer. ha ha But he did a good job all the same. And Maëva got confirmed. Next will be her mom in two weeks! =)

AND Anbu (back in Paris Lilas) got baptized yesterday!!!!!! I'm sad I couldn't be there, but I'm SO happy for him. I talked to Sister Williams about it. It sounds like it was just wonderful. The whole service was in English. Anbu asked Sister Williams to give one of the talks. She told us a bit about it. She said, "Anbu, I remember when I first met you and I asked you how you felt about Jesus, and you said three words I'll never forget, 'I know Jesus.'" She continued telling him that if he stays on this path he's chosen, one day when he returns home, Jesus will take him in His arms and say, "I know you too." Isn't that beautiful?! It's really sounds like everything was just great and he was super happy. =)

But it gets even better. While they were taking pictures Philomene said she needed a picture with him, because, since he got baptized after her, he is her brother now. Ha ha I love Africans' idea of family. (That and I love Philomene. ha ha)

Also yesterday was "America Day" in Valenciennes! They had a set up near our church with tee pees, a horse and buggy set up, and they even had red checkered table clothes! ha ha Apparently in Valenciennes, their idea of America is deeply founded in the old west ha ha.

Well, sorry for quite easily the grosses email I've sent home ha ha, but...that's been our week. ha ha Good news is, the work keeps progressing. We were even able to have three rendez-vous over the phone the day the plumbing died and we couldn't leave the apartment!

Have a wonderful week! I love you!