08 February 2016

Crazy ideas about us

Post-game recovery
If you've ever been inside an LDS meetinghouse / chapel and tried to use the free Wifi, you'll know that descriptors like "lightning fast" or "strong reliable signal" do not apply.  Ever. No matter what building you are in. Whoever sourced the service left that out of the RFP (allegedly). So it should come as no surprise when I tell you that we are now in week three of bizarre issues with the server through which TMFKATB sends his weekly emails. For instance, the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML got his weekly letter right before 2PM our time when he sent it. I, who was included in that same group, got it three hours later. I got a couple of pictures in an email and she, also included in the same group, has yet to get them. I know it's not us because I forwarded that picture email to her while using the most craptastic WiFi on the planet (gracias, Amtrak) and she got it instantly. But I digress...

Server foolishness notwithstanding, TMFKATB served up another good, reassuring letter this Monday. He's busy, so he's a little more tired than he'd like to be. He's ready for winter to end, saying "I am so ready for short sleeves!" (Thanks, Sipowicz - let's just say I'm not a fan of short sleeves and ties.) He also mentioned for the first time something that happens to almost every Mormon missionary in the course of a mission and that was coming up against anti-Mormons. Given that he's serving in the belly of the beast as it were, or Mormon Mecca, it's not unsurprising that there is some virulent opposition to the Church. While he spent no time on the details, he said this, "People...have some crazy ideas about us." He seemed pretty non-plussed by it all, taking it in stride and content to stay focused on the happiness he is found during the course of his missionary service. That seemed a pretty reasonable response to me.

Crazy ideas about the way people believe abound. Just ask a Muslim. What a world it would be if we truly let people practice their faith without prejudice. What a world it would be if we didn't have preconceived (and wrong) notions about a faith different from our own. I don't claim to be a perfect member of my faith. I can assure you I am not. I really do hope that as I've shared the mission experiences of TMFKATB that we've been able to dispel some of the 'crazy' that's out there about our faith.

07 February 2016

Taking One for the Team

There are times, in any relationship, where give and take is a must. It can't always be one person's way. That gets old in no time. For example, you're a couple and you've got one television in your bedroom. Is it fair that only one person control the remote, thus only allowing steady stream of Premier League games and three blithering idiots yammering on about cars? Nor would it be fair if the only thing coming across angsty dramas about the greatest city in the world, Chicago? Of course not. Fortunately, that is why the DVR and streaming media was invented. Relationships around the world saved!

But what about the questions of what movie you're going to see? Sometimes you don't want to wait for it to hit your (LEGAL) media platform of choice. You want to see that movie at the theater. You want to see it, but your beloved, eh, not so much. So you know what you do? You take one for the team. Such was the case last night with a little movie called "Hail, Caesar!" If you've read anything here, I'll give you two guesses as to who wanted to see it and who would up taking one for the team. If you're uncertain, you'll remember that I have given my wife the moniker "Stunningly Patient" here. Still wondering who? Yeah, I didn't think so.

I'll sum it up like this. For me, this was a fun Coen Brothers movie. Was it fun in the sense of "Raising Arizona?" Nope, but it made me laugh. Was it sharply written like the nearly perfect "Fargo" or "True Grit?" Indeed. Was it sly like "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"I thought it was. Look, it was an homage to the big "picture" films of the 50's. And watching Frances McDormand (barely recognizable) get nearly choked out by a film projector was a site to behold. I had a good time. The stunningly patient and mighty fine SML? Well, let's just say she got a good nap. She indeed took one for the team.

As we drove home, she simply said, before I could say it I might add, "The next Nicholas Sparks movie. Yeah, you're going to it with me." Knowing it would be silly to argue, I simply added, "That's fair. And you know what, I won't even complain once during the movie. I'll sit there silently. Everyone wins!" Suffice to say, I will be happily taking one for the team. Sooner than I want probably, because I just realized there's a new movie of his out now. It's called "The Choice." I think it's safe to say that if I could exercise my right to choose, I would choose to opt out of this one.

However, I shall not. I will take the sage advice from those Keep Calm people:

Keep Calm 
Take One for the Team

Curse you, Mr. Sparks. Curse, you.

03 February 2016

What could possibly go wrong?

Nothing could possibly go wrong here.
The last two weeks have been fraught with technical challenges for TMFKATB and our email exchanges. One, they are not turning up until later in the afternoon and two, it looks like he is not going some of our responses to his letters, nor us his. So that's not been cool. As a result, I was on a train into the City this past Monday by the time his email started rolling in. As I've noted before, the Blogger app and I are not friends so I wasn't going to try and post while I was in the City. Hence, the delay in getting this week's letter posted.

His letter was short on detail, which was kind of frustrating, given the current technical brouhaha we're encountering. That said, it was evident that he's really enjoying the leadership opportunity he's been given. He and his companion are working hard and he's positive in his attitude. They had to give a family they'd just started teaching to another set of missionaries when they discovered that the family lived outside their assigned teaching area. That can be a real drag but rules are rules. His take on it was this: 'Sometimes we reap and sometimes we sow!'

One of the pictures he included, which is the one that leads this post, made me laugh. What could possibly go wrong here? I think it's safe to say that neither is a skilled barber and yet here is TMFKATB getting a free haircut. From the sequence of the other pictures, it's really hard to tell if there was a before and after. But again, what could go wrong?

I know what could go wrong. I lived it. When a Peruvian lady tells you she went to finest school of barbering in all of Lima and she can cut your hair, just say no. Learn from my mistakes. Because I said yes to that offer thirty years ago when I was a missionary. Red Flag #1 - the fact that she cut my hair in the courtyard of her apartment complex on Miami Beach. Red Flag #2 - the fact that she didn't use a single mirror. Red Flag #3 - the fact that she uttered a Spanish curse word that I couldn't understand about midway through the hack cut. Red Flag #4 - the fact that she left the top completely untouched, leaving me with a modified 'Flock of Seagulls Go On A Mission' (it was 1986, people) look. Upon return to our apartment, I went to wash my hair and discovered why she'd left it long. It was to cover the multiple bald spots she'd left on the side of my head. Seriously. Um...thanks. My only recourse was to shave my head (professionally!) into a crew cut. No good came from it. None. You've seen how I look with a hat on. It's exponentially worse with a crew cut.

Let's not speak of it again.

27 January 2016

A little late but it's my bad

Chillin' or chilled? He looks cold to me.
I totally own the fact that this week's update from TMFKATB is completely my fault. I was in a snowy, slushy (not to be confused with the famed Slushie, but gross, dirty, shoe destroying, melting snow slushy) Manhattan from Monday afternoon until this evening and I have yet to master the art of blogging to the standard upon which you all have become accustomed via the Blogger app on my iPhone. It gives me fits, I'm telling you, fits. I did try but the formatting was hideous, so I voted no.

As for this week's brief letter, it was a week of #firstworldproblems, Mormon missionary style for TMFKATB and his companion. They got snowed on (Utah winter = snow). Then their car died on a snowy morning. Then they got a free meal at Brazilian churrascaria. They stayed busy and had some successful teaching sessions. Like I said, tough week.

I love getting these letters. While they'll never be recognized for their detail-rich writing, each week brings a picture of these two years of service that is uniquely his. It's great to see him maturing, but I love that his personality still roars through each week. As I've said before, it makes me happy. That's all I need right now.