Sometimes living here is hard. I often think about the stuff we deal with on a weekly or daily basis and wonder how we manage and know that the things I dealt with back in Canada paled in comparison on the stress test. I would get worked up about all sorts of things that I can now see were very minor, but I didn’t have anything else to get upset about so I focused my attention and energy on them.
Chris has already shared the events of the theft and how we had to deal with it. That’s been a big issue this week, but sadly not the only issue that we’ve had on our plates.
This week was tile week. We were pretty excited about it. Last Thursday Chris phoned the store to let them know he would come Monday morning to get the tiles and pick up the installer. He arrived as scheduled to find out that nothing had been done to prepare for the pick up so he wasted 2 hours waiting for them to get themselves organized and things loaded. The main installer decided he would just send one of the other guys to scout things out and they would return on Tuesday to start work. On the way home Chris bumped another truck while being stuck in traffic because the guy was driving poorly and Chris didn’t realize he was as close as he was. The guy ended up getting all freaky weird on the highway and it resulted in both of them driving to the next police station and letting the police deal with it. Reports were written but needed to be filed in Port in the next 72 hours, which meant another, unplanned trip into Port for Chris.
Tuesday morning our guys unloaded the tile. I had looked at them on Monday and thought that they looked darker than what we had ordered, but because I wasn’t there when they were picked up and couldn’t compare colors to the showroom samples, and because it had been a month since we ordered I kind of shrugged it off. The installers arrived and got to work. Chris had gone back in to Port to run errands and go pick up our visitors from the airport. One of our board members, his two kids, niece and a family friend were all coming to spend a few days with us. Monday night we had found out about the lids going missing so I had to have a meeting with the workers to let them know what was going on etc. Not fun. Tuesday night everything went down with finding out who was stealing from us. I was on edge because both Chris and Jan Filip had left to go deal with things and I was left at the mission with our guests and trying to act calm when I felt anything but. I eventually went to bed but laid there wondering what was going on and just waiting for Chris to come home, which didn’t happen until close to midnight. Not much sleep was had for either of us that night.
Wednesday Chris headed back to Port to deal with the accident report and a couple other things. Our visitors were occupied, and the tile was going in. Things progressed at a good rate and it was a decent day.
Thursday morning the tile installers told us that they didn’t have enough tile. We knew something was off because we had ordered more than we knew we needed, just to account for breakage etc. Chris called the store and talked to the owner, who told him that it was our mistake and that they had loaded all the tiles. Chris asked how many tiles were in each square meter and I went up with three of our workers and counted every single tile on premises. We were still short. Chris called back and the guy told him that Chris should have asked the delivery men how many square meters they loaded before he left. I called back and asked how many tiles were in each crate that we received because Chris knew how many he had returned. The owner didn’t know but went to do some research and eventually called Chris back to tell him that they in fact did have another 3 square meters there. I was already planning on driving in the next morning to take our visitors to Port so it just made sense to stop by and pick things up.
On the way to Port I realized we needed gas. There was none at the main gas station in Cabaret (yes, it’s very normal for stations here to not have gas or diesel at all) so I went up the road and pulled in at the next station, one that we never go to for various reasons. The main reason is that it’s built on a hill and it’s difficult to maneuver. I wasn’t sure I had enough gas to get to town so I pulled in and pulled up to the top of the lot where I wouldn’t be blocking traffic pulling away from the pumps. It was busy. I realized the diesel was at the lower pumps and that I would have to back up and pull in when the truck there pulled out. I did a quick mirror check and started backing up only to hear a thump. I pulled forward and got out. With being parked on a hill, at a bit of an angle, and having poor visibility because of the sea of heads and luggage I didn’t see the guy that had parked in my blind spot right behind me.
The thoughts running through my head…
“I just dented the van..again. With a board member in it.” (See, I’ve dented the van before. Twice actually. In the last three months. All of them have been stupid, stupid situations. You can imagine my frustration with the situation just because of that fact.)
“I don’t know if I can deal with a guy trying to make this as frustrating as possible right now with all these people in my car. I just don’t know if I have it in me.”
“I just dented the van again.”
So I get out and brace myself for a big long discussion with the other driver. I walk to the back of the van, he meets me there and we asses the damage. I have a nice, BIG dent in the trunk door. It still opens. He looks at his bumper, which already had scrapes on it, looks at my van and says, “It’s fine. Don’t worry about it.”
“Are you kidding me? Really? It’s fine?”
I thanked him profusely, we piled back in the van and I decided we would just keep going and pray that we had enough to get us to a gas station in Port. We did, thankfully.
After I dropped everyone off at the guest house I went to the tile store to deal with the issue at hand. The owner told me to go up the shop and get the last three meters. I go up and am told that there are only 1.5 sq. meters. I go back down to talk to the owner and express my frustration about the fact that we placed an order and that they don’t actually have all of the tiles we ordered. Tiles they had to manufacture to fill the order. He apologizes and we decide to take the rest of the tiles that are there and get a matching solid to fill the rest of the order. By that point I just wanted something to take back with me to finish the job. When we realized we might be short we asked the installers to leave the storage room just in case something like this happened. As I walked through the showroom to the back again I glanced at the display rack and realized I had been right about the colors being off. Grrr.
Last night I woke up because I was having dreams about Olivia eating tile grout and tiles like they were crackers. Once I was awake I stewed in bed thinking about the whole thing and how disappointing and frustrating it had been after we had hope that for once, maybe just once, things would be handled professionally. I should mention that the floors look great and we love them, but we also know that it’s not what we ordered and that they didn’t in fact make all of the tiles we had purchased. I’m trying to bond with the floor but that stuff is still nagging in my brain.
I was awake a long time and my mind wandered a lot and I got more and more worked up. I went between thinking about floor tiles and bashing up the van. I eventually realized that I was upset about things that I had no control over now and that I was just wasting energy. I know that when we’re stressed out it’s easy to dwell on things like that and I tried to make a choice to move on. I’m still annoyed but am dealing.
This afternoon one of our employees came by to let us know that people are hearing that the guy who bailed on his motorcycle and hit Chris about a month or so ago is talking about how he’s going to “get” Chris. We think he’s just all talk because it would be pretty stupid to go saying things like that and then follow through. I mean, talk about shooting yourself in the foot. It just felt like the icing on the cake.
As Chris and I were talking this afternoon and I let some tears fall to relieve the stress I pointed out the fact that these things always seem to heap on when things are going well. We’ve gotten better at dealing with them, but they are still difficult and it’s hard to push through each day when you feel like there is so much resting on your shoulders. We know that we need to press on and take things one day at a time and we ask that you hold up our family, the mission and all of our staff in prayer. We desperately need it right now. It’s so easy to burn out in moments like this. Pray for safety, peace and that the worries and stressors will dissipate.