The garage called to say the Elks' car is repaired and ready for pick-up. Elks came to get Brent and they went down to the garage and got their car back - so now we have our car back and the Elks' car is looking really nice. Maria brought little Gisele down for her dose of medicine again - Giseles' Dad had bought new runners for her and she had to run really fast for me!! She's only three, but she has those folk tied around her little finger for sure! It was a fairly quiet day - a good day for catch-up. Later the Assistants came by - they needed to borrow the dolly to help one of our members move to a new place. I haven't said much about the weather lately as it has been cooling off a bit and we are loving it. Brent just read that this July was the hottest on record since they began keeping records in 1897 and the average during July was 37.7C. Today, it was 27C. and that felt very nice.
Thursday, 30 August 2012
It looks like we'll be getting another missionary couple soon. President is excited about that as we really need them. He came over to the office to do some work and we talked about the kangaroo court for the Mowers. Brent had produced a list of "charges" during the night when he couldn't sleep and President added some ideas of his own!!! Later, we had a visit from Maria, Gisele etc so I (the doctor) could oversee another administration of medicine for Gisele. She gave less trouble with it today and she looks a bit better :) I made up a new form today and learned a few new things about inserting tables and check boxes!! Every little bit helps!
Wednesday, 29 August 2012
Elders Elks and Maxwell had to meet with Pres. Freestone this morning at the Mission Home, so their wives came here to the Mission Office and offered me some help. I put them to work in reorganizing the cupboard where we store "Pass-along cards" that missionaries and members hand out to people. It looks fantastic now and we had a fun time working together on it. Elders E. & M. were back here after an hour or so, as the President had that training meeting with those four "new" elders and their trainers - so, all six of us started to throw around ideas for the get-together for the Mowers, who are leaving at the end of September. I think I said somewhere that we were thinking of a roast or a kangaroo court - it looks like it will be a kangaroo court - appropriately so, as E. Mower was a judge before coming on his mission. We had tons of fun with hilarious suggestions being offered at a rapid pace! I think it will be good. Maria and Gisele and her mom surprised me with a knock on the door and a request that I play doctor - this in an effort to get Gisele to take her medicine!!! There they were - armed with medicine and spoon and water to wash it down and some little gummy treats to make it all better!! It was quite the production - Maria sure loves her little granddaughter - she certainly is a cutie. Brent had another experience regarding the process to get that car repaired. He took the car in and they are going to do the repairs, but, they gave him a form which they "stamped." It then had to be translated so we can understand it, then filled out and "stamped" by us and and then taken to the police station to be "stamped" (which only verifies that Brent's signature is indeed Brent's signature) and then taken back to the garage so that they can request payment from the insurance company!!!
Tuesday, 28 August 2012
It's Prep day, but Brent is already at work, helping to get one of the Elks' car in for repairs - the one that Brent was driving when the motor cyclist ran into him - yes, that was in April and it has taken this long for the insurance company and others to get their act together!!! also, President is coming to the office, needing our help. Brent came back here with Elder Elks, who is now without a car for the rest of the week and has a full schedule to accomplish this week and so, we let him have ours which leaves us having to share the President's car when necessary. It'll work out. The two Thessaloniki elders arrived to attend the training meeting tomorrow. All missionaries do their letters home etc. on Mondays and to this point these elders had not done theirs, so they did that here and after, the assistants ordered in pizza. Brent and I had eaten earlier, and so, another round of food was being consumed - not me though! One of our computers has not been connected to the internet for the last while and so Brent and Elder S. made a real effort to see what the problem was. After running a diagnostic process, it appeared that the computer needed it's IP address entered??? Davey says that should be automatic! We were having trouble finding where to do that and I thought I had the IP address, but found out it was just a password. We'll try again later.
Monday, 27 August 2012
Meetings were better attended today - people are starting to return from holidays. There were 25 in attendance and the lessons and talks were excellent. Pres. & Sis. Freestone cam to Halandri today also, but President had to leave early to go to Acropoli for extra meetings and interviews, so we brought Sis. Freestone home and invited her to eat with us. We had sweet & sour meatballs with basmati rice and she insisted that she provide green beans. It was a lovely restful dinner and we were just finishing up when Pres. F. came home a little earlier than expected and so he ate with us. Maria brought down to us a plate of moussaka that she had made - it was really good. We are going to miss her - she returns to South Africa early in September.
Saturday, 25 August 2012
We woke up to a very strong smell of smoke!We could see a huge continuous cloud of smoke drifting over us from the north. Falling from the cloud was what looked like grey cornflakes and also, pine needles, still perfect in shape, but black and they would disintegrate as soon as you touched them. We went to do our grocery shopping at 8am and when we reached the store, we could see the fire only about miles down the road and you could see the flames. On lady said that the fire had been set as it was reported that at 4am, a black car left the area and five small explosions were heard at that time - the time the fire started! We suspect some houses went up in flames - a lot homes are built right in the forests and they don't clear the trees. Brent went to sweep up the ash off the back "deck" (it's marble) and this thing moved and scared the wits out of him - so he got his camera and below is the critter - a big green praying mantis!
Maria's god-daughter was here visiting. Her fiancee is an electrical engineer and he is interested in the oil & gas industry, so Rania wanted to learn all she could from Brent about that in Canada so she could pass it on to him . He spent about an hour with her on that and also touched on employment tips when applying for a job. Rania is such a cutie. A landlord from one of the elders' apartments called complaining about the dirty apartment. We hardly ever get calls like that and we just had a presentation at the last training meeting regarding cleanliness and health - which included apartments! We didn't tell Pres. F. - just passed it on the couple in charge of apartments. I think Pres. would tear a strip off them! We'll give them a chance to improve. We had our couples' evening at the Mission Home and it was a great evening. After eats and some visiting we saw a movie about a young Polish woman, who under cover of working with social services in the war, rescued 2,400 Jewish children. In spite of the somber theme it was very moving and we really liked it.
Friday, 24 August 2012
I got up late! I don't do that very often as it seems to affect my whole day. President came over and worked here the whole day, which is rare. His work was going fine until he started entering items on the google calendar on his lap-top and it wasn't showing up on my calendar. I am OK working with the calendar until something goes wrong and then I don't know how to fix things!! So I wasn't much help to him. He had entered a lot of flights on the calendar and colored them purple and after a lot of fiddling on his part, he got them to show up on my calendar, but they were colored green!!!! We never did solve that puzzle before he went home around 6PM! It was 95C. today.
Sis. Freestone called early - the couples are getting together at the Mission Home again on Friday night and we all bring something towards the supper. She asked us to do a veg. so we'll do carrots julienne. President came over later to do a label. An hour later, he still hadn't been able to accomplish it. First, the computer acted up and when he finally got the label ready to print, that wouldn't work. He was fit to be tied! He questioned us as to how often we run into these kind of problems with the computer and printer and upon learning the answer was "All the time!" he took action. We have often bemoaned the many hours we have lost because of these problems, but we thought it was just part of the job. Apparently not, and we might get some help with some better equipment - either repaired or new. One of the other couples needed kiwis and strawberries for their dessert for Friday night and couldn't find any in their area. We knew our store had them and offered to pick them up. As we were leaving Maria (our landlady) appeared and asked if she could come with us. It is really fun and interesting to go shopping with her - she's such a happy soul, she's always on the go and you can learn such a lot from her. We continue to have trouble with the church's finance program. Brent tried to pay the rents for the missionary apartments and they were rejected. Just about every week they are down for short periods, doing fixes and upgrades - however, they got it sorted out quickly for him. We couldn't think what to have for supper tonight and I said, jokingly, how about sardines? Brent went for it!!!
Well, I took the very last tablespoon of my fiber supplement this morning (a must for my digestive system). We had ordered more but it hadn't arrived. However, when Brent went to the post office to pick up the mail, the package was there!!! I was sooo grateful. Brent went to the airport to pick up the Assistants and brought them back here. Later, we got a big delivery of Books of Mormon - 16 heavy boxes! It was lucky that it was meeting day as we had lots help to carry them in! Lunch was good. Because the couples have been providing so much food lately, we made an executive decision and ordered in pizzas. We made a Greek salad and a fruit salad to go with that plus the sheet cake and ice-cream
Thursday, 23 August 2012
We went to the airport to pick up Pres. & Sis. Freestone. It was good to have them back. Brent had to take the van in for body repairs - finally. Pres. F. followed him down so that he could drive him back - but - both vehicles came back!!! The girl at the desk had called Brent to bring the van in without checking to see if the parts were in!!! They won't be in until Sept. Since it was "prep-day" I did the washing and cleaned out some cupboards. I had ordered some Metrin (the cleansers and lotions I use) at the end of July and they finally came today. Apparently they reached Greece customs about 8th August and have been there ever since! Probably it had much to do with the Greek penchant to take off for July and August. However, we were charged 85.67 euros! I felt like asking it that was for storage, but refrained. It was for taxes. I made a sheet cake for tomorrows meeting day - it was not my recipe, but it seemed to go over OK. Pres. & Sis. Freestone invited us for supper. We had a lovely time and we also watched "Second-Hand Lions" which was hilarious.
We gave our talks at Acropoli and didn't stay for the remainder of the meetings, but headed right over to Halandri so we could take the missionaries' mail to them (most of their mail is picked up at the post office by Brent). Ioannis was there today and we had a great visit with him - he still hasn't got a job. Still not many others there. We had a nice afternoon - watched a couple of episodes of "American Ride" and after supper we watched "Music and the Spoken Word" followed by President Monson's birthday celebration. It was great! - lots of his favorite song from Broadway musicals.
Shopping day - which we did early. Later, we were surprised by a delivery of a parcel - ON SATURDAY!! I think that's the first time we've ever received any mail on Saturday!! It was a birthday parcel for Brent. Two of the items were little stuffed and sewn dogs that Lauryn made - they are so cute. Grandpa has his stuck on his computer and he calls him his computer guard dog! Pretty well all of the day was devoted to preparing our talks for tomorrow which we are assigned to do each month. This time I had a really hard go of it - just couldn't seem to get it together, but I finally finished it before supper with fingers crossed that it was going to be alright!!
Hurray! Brent actually retrieved his Greek Driver's License today after about five months of trying. Another busy day, but we were invited to Maxwell's for supper. They didn't know that it had been Brent's birthday the day before, so in our minds anyway it was a substitute celebration. They are from Northern Ireland and have lovely accents - I could listen to them all day - plus they are just the nicest people. Among other things she served a wonderful basmati rice dish which was seasoned with mint and parsley, but the best thing was trifle - oh boy! was that ever good - we haven't had a good trifle in ages!
Brent's birthday today. We didn't do anything too different, but did buy a wonderful dessert - it had a shortbread base and it had fruit (kiwis, strawberries and pineapple) arranged all over a creamy filling, with a glaze poured over that. Needless to say - it was great - otherwise just a normal day with Brent getting one of the cars in for service.
We drove Pres. & Sis. Freestone, plus the Assistants to the airport to go to Cyprus. Elks had a huge job to do today - that of moving furniture out of the Alexandras apartment which is being closed. They had the help of two good strong healthy elders. It was a hot day and when they came back here to drop off some of the items, they were all dripping with perspiration and at least one of them was "aromatic." They went back for another load and when they got back here it was around 5pm. We thought it would be a great idea to order in pizza - but - today was Assumption Day and it is one of the biggest holy days in the Greek Orthodox church. Everything is shut down including take-out places - however, they opened around 6pm - 7pm. Elks knew that the one near their house opened at 5pm, so we all went over there (Elders included) and took the pizzas to Elks place. We had a fun evening.
We headed down to the Acropoli Branch, armed with potato salad and drinks for 20 persons. As you all know, Brent hates driving downtown, but, with more than half the population of Athens on holidays, it was a very pleasant drive.The meeting was good and the lunch was basically wraps and salads and desserts - it was all yummy!
A friend made a comment that she didn't know what was happening as I hadn't written in my blog lately and I thought that I had written up to last Sunday, but now I see what she meant because it was the Sunday before that that I last wrote!! There is so much to do - the time is just whizzing by and Brent and I are constantly asking each other what day is it!
This was the day that we got e-mails and Skypes from home regarding the major hail storm they had in Calgary, with some hail-stones about 2-1/2in. in diameter. Haven't heard if our house was damaged yet - but we did see a video of a huge highway traffic sign getting blown down during the storm, which video made it onto CNN! It was spectacular. Our dear South African landlady heard our tale of woe regarding the lack of fry pans in Greece. She fished out one that she had brought from South Africa years ago and gave it to us. She is the nicest person. Brent and I were assigned to do potato salad for the big training meeting tomorrow at Acropoli Branch, so tonight, we boiled up eggs and potatoes tonight for it.
Sunday, 12 August 2012
I told one of the poorer members last week that I would get him some sheets and he called this morning - oooops! I had forgotten to get them. I felt bad. We were up early making food for "pot-luck" Sunday. We made penne pasta salad, Greek salad, and chips and (store bought) chocolate loaf cake. You never know how many will come, although we guessed that we wouldn't have many - but you have to allow for the maximum anyway! Actually, there were two missionary couples and us, and the one challenged lady (but she didn't stay) and the 1st counsellor, who didn't stay either. He is with the US embassy and came in jeans and sports shirt with ID tags because he was called in to work at 3 am on an emergency. One of their guys committed suicide on the compound and this brother was part of the investigating team. They had a couple of hours off early today while they waited for personal to arrive from the States - so he was able to come for a short while to meetings. Meetings were good and the "pot-luck" was really fun with it just being the six of us. It was just like we were on an outing together!
Our substitute cleaning lady came today with her niece Yovita, who also helped clean. Miracle of miracles - Brenda's parcel came today and it only took four days to get here! It's wonderful to get stuff from home. We went to a baptism at Halandri today - it was very nice. The fellow was French speaking so the service was in French and English this time. Right after, we were supposed to go to the airport to pick up the Assts. - but we didn't have to hurry away because the plane was half an hour late. Once again we had fun watching people at the airport! It was really cloudy this afternoon and when we got back from the airport, about 7:30 pm, the temp. was 26C. - I don't think we've seen that temp. since early May!! - boy! did that feel good.
We've been on our mission 10 months today!
Brent got a call from the Area PFR re getting money to pay utility bills. Some fellow is supposed to be paying these bills, but he's only been putting down 500 euros against these a/cs here and there for the last while - just enough so that the company won't shut us down! Now he is AWOL! Interesting!
Pres. F. cam over to finish up that report and to get a new key for the new outer-front-door that Maria is installing. This door is a high-security type with metal pins that engage the frame and of the lock side it has seven bolts. Six are near the door knob and lock and the other one is down near the bottom of the door. Jani would be impressed! Brent and I had an errand and they were still working on this door when we got back!! Mid afternoon, Maria's son, wife and grandchild arrived. For a half hour before they arrived, she had been pacing up and down - she was so excited!
Here is the new door -
I have caught up on most of my "behind items." Feels good! Other than that, I dealt with the usual "spotty" things that come up, demanding immediate attention and Pres. F. came to get help on a report he was trying to do - suddenly, in the middle of that, he realized he was going to be late for a meeting and so he dashed off to that, saying he'd be back by 6 pm. At 9 pm, he still wasn't back. He hit an unexpected problem - apparently there is another young person with a psychiatric illness to deal with!
Meeting Day! My assignment was potato salad - others brought sloppy joes and buns, fruit, and key-lime "pie" (in squares). It was very yummy. The travel office in Germany has been very busy - they have successfully made good bookings at good prices for all those missionaries traveling home up to the first part of January. Gremlins are at work again in our office!! I was trying, in my Google calendar, to invite one of the new missionaries to share the calendar. I lost the whole calendar! After trying LOTS of things, I decided I'd have to start re-entering things from a hard copy I had. I would fill in an event, but when I clicked on "save" - it wouldn't do it! Northing appeared on the calendar. I kept trying different things and finally, for whatever reason, I got it to work. Not only that, I got the whole calendar back!!! The other thing is President's iPhone - when he is here, for no reason, whether the phone is in his pocket or just on the desk, it will ring my land-line!! Haven't solved that one yet! It's 40C.today - Pheew!
Went to the airport to pick up Pres. & Sis. F. There were two flights from USA come in at the same time as their flight and there were loads of people waiting and loads of people coming through the gate - it was a zoo and clearing customs and baggage took them half an hour longer that usual. On the way home, we picked up President's car - we had it in for oil change and plugs replaced. Later, we had a Skype about Raz winning ribbons, a medal and a trophy at a dog show at Spruce Meadows - Good dog, Raz!
Thursday, 9 August 2012
Hardly anyone at meetings today. I guess this what is going to be the "norm" for summer here. The Elks came for dinner and we had a lot of fun - they are on our same wave-length!! Just before they left to go home, Maria stopped in, so she met the Elks. Since they are both from the Johannesburg area they had a lot in common and had much to talk about. Actually, Maria had much to talk about - she's amazing - all you have to do is get her started and then sit back and smile and nod and enjoy! - she is such a hoot.
Wednesday, 8 August 2012
Maria's at it again! I mentioned that she was putting in a new shower - that she had workmen drilling and blasting (well, not quite) but they sure created a lot of dust. Then, this morning, she had a big sucker truck come and clean out the drain sumps. She also had one guy going around cleaning out all the outside lamps!!! That lady really knows how to get things moving! We have had a couple of nice visits with her and as well as being amazing, she is a really sweet soul. I’m of the opinion that if you want a job done – call Maria! We went grocery shopping with her today as well and we found it really fun to see everything through her eyes. You learn a lot as she interacts with her fellow Greeks - you can tell what some of their mannerisms mean and even listening to them, I figure we could pick up the language a lot easier if we went around with her for a couple of weeks. One of the jobs the Elks have is to inspect and care for the missionary apts. Today they had to go to Ikea and purchase replacement items for just about all the pats. in Athens so we went with them. They knew pretty well what they were going to get - they just had to choose the right sizes of saucepans and frying pans - cutting boards and shower curtains. Some of the apts. were poorly equipped and also, not very clean. So the "apt. police" were cracking the whip. We had to get two quilts for the bunk bedroom here in our digs too. It was fun just being with them. We invited them here for dinner tomorrow.
Monday, 6 August 2012
We drove Pres. & Sis. to the airport this afternoon. We were just about back to the office when we received a phone call from Pres. F. - he left his GPS in the glove box and asked us to race back to try and get it to him. It would be touch-and-go, but he thought we could make it. When we were about halfway there, he phoned again to see how far away we were and upon establishing that, he decided to forget it as they had just been called to board their aircraft! We turned around and were once again, almost home when we received another phone call saying that there was a delivery man at the office trying to make a delivery. Now this was peculiar as the elder who was calling was not at the office and had received a call from the delivery people - so someone must have given them his number - we still don't know who that was - anyway we sent the message back that we were about 5 minutes away. When we got to the office, they had gone. It did work out OK though, because they came back about a half hour later, so that was good. Then we get another phone call from Pres. F. to say that the plane had been delayed for half an hour !!!! - so we could have given him the GPS after all!!! It was a crazy afternoon. We received an email from the Church travel dept. asking for "return travel requests" for all missionaries going home between now and mid-January. I guess they have to get their bookings in early over the holiday season or they miss out.
Maria brought to our attention that the windows to the missionary apartment downstairs were in need of cleaning!! Brent worked on that this morning - luckily we had another "mild" day which made the job more tolerable. So, when you do a "good deed" you sometimes are rewarded and maybe that's what happened today because Sis. Freestone came over with cake for us! It was awesome! I think it was banana spice cake with cream cheese plus powdered sugar frosting and Brent's piece was plain, but my piece was loaded with pecan nuts! It was soooo yummy! She knows I love nuts but can't often have them because of Brent's allergy!! Maria is so nice and it's really cute how she gets us all involved in her work - she needed a larger bracket for something and so, as Brent had to go to the store anyway, he was able to get her bracket. She is a "working fool" - I wish I had her energy. This is all in preparation for her son, daughter-in-law and grandchild coming to visit - she even had a new shower installed. Of course, we are getting our office work done - but Maria and her goings on are pretty interesting.
Saturday, 4 August 2012
Where is the time going - August already! We had another lovely "cool" day - kind of cloudy with wind and 31C again. A fairly quiet day - we didn't have to go anywhere and so we just pushed along with our office work - a nice "catch-up" day! We were wishing that we could see some of the Olympics on-line, but it would appear that the TV stations have the rights all sewn up!
Another "Meeting Day" and surprise, surprise - we had a gorgeous cool day - the temperature only got to 31C!!!!!! Whoever would have thought we'd get excited about a 31C temperature? The food was great today. Sis. Freestone made a Chicken Noodle salad which had some very different (but nice) spices and greens in it, and others brought fruit, apple squares, ice-cream and french bread - Yum! In addition to that, Pres. F. arrived early in the day with two boxes of fancy croissants! The tradition continues - "it takes 10 to have a meeting - one to conduct - one to take the minutes and 8 to do the food!" Later, Pres. F. help me clean out a huge batch of files. I had already gone through them, but there was a lot of stuff that I didn't know if we should keep or not. He was a whiz! - no faltering with him - a quick look - a quick decision - and it was gone and done! I loved it!
We spent part of our Prep Day with the Elks. This afternoon we met them at "The Mall." They hadn't been there before and were curious to see it, so we went with them. As it was a very hot day, we thought that would be a pleasantly cool place to go! Wrong! We could tell that each store was nice and cool, but in the mall walkways on four different levels there didn't seem to be any AC - just what filtered out from the shops!!! Part of handling the austerity problem, I suppose. Anyway we had fun looking at all these familiar stores - Tommy Hilfiger, Addidas, Marks & Spencer, Levi's, Colors of Benetton, Clarks' Shoes - and dozens more that are in malls all over the world including Calgary. The top level was mostly food court area - they had KFC and "Haagen Dazs" is big over here - and they have a place called "Goodies" that sells pretty good burgers. We got some slurpees and fries and the men had burgers. We had a fun time.
Pres. & Sis Freestone were over here early to swap cars with us. Our smaller car is much easier to park down at Acropoli Branch. There were only 17 people at our branch today!! It was just an uneventful Sunday with Brent napping and me catching up on the blog . We had a request to provide a contact for someone wanting to go to Jordan. We found out that there is a District there with five branches in the Amman area - who would have known!