Monday, May 16
Some days are like that, even in Australia
Have you ever read the book, "Alexander's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day?" If you haven't, go out and get it and read it. If you have, you will totally understand why I am referencing the book in this blog.
As our trip rapidly approaches, we have experienced the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. In the book Alexander has a horrible day with a string of events that just doesn't go his way... at all. From not getting a pair of shoes he liked to "accidentally" calling Australia on his Dad's phone, he just had one of those days. The book puts humor to the fact that things don't always go as you wanted or hoped, and that you just have to accept the fact that some days are just like that... even in Australia, where Alexander wants to move to in the book. Well, let me share with you our version of the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
I have been working daily for the past 3 weeks on the art work for our t-shirts, rain jackets, and water bottles. Emails and art work has been going back and forth as I worked to polish and perfect what I wanted on all of the stuff. I received orders, sizes, colors, and things where just clipping along beautifully, until it was time to actually place the order and "run with it." This past Thursday, when I placed the order and finalized everything, I received an email from the print company that the water bottle we had picked out was out of stock and would not be available until September. They had searched and could not find a suitable replacement. Great news 3 weeks before we are supposed to leave. So 24 hours of searching and calling finally found a 32 ounce bottle similar to the one we wanted and the order was placed... now we are playing a waiting game to see if everything will come in by May 27th so I will have enough time to mail everything out to team leaders.
Over a week ago Daniel Chavez contacted Minor Perez and I asked for money so that he could go ahead and pay for some of the things that he needed do to get ready for our trip to Costa Rica. He needed money for the hotel in Buenos Aires, money for the bus rentals... money to buy food and to rent a house for a week for all of the extra workers coming in. He needed to pay for the TV and radio advertisements he did for the campaign, money to buy paint and brushes for the service projects. No problem. Minor and I calculated the amount, Daniel sent us his bank information, and I went to my bank to wire the money. No problem. I wired about $11,000 to Costa Rica that very day. The bank confirmed the wire went through and was in the National Bank of Costa Rica. The next day we receive information that Daniel could not withdraw the money because it was more than $10,000 and that his account had been frozen. The bank thought it looked a bit suspicious. It took almost a week before Daniel could convince the bank that we were a mission group and not drug runners!
Got an email from Steve Schneider from Mobile asking for contact information for Tim in New Orleans so he can make arrangements to take his boxes of supplies over to New Orleans to the container going out from there. I gave Steve Tim's email address and received a copy from Steve contacting Tim. I also received a copy of Tim's email response asking Steve to call him because there has been a change in plans. Tim is now taking all of my supplies, along with his, to Melbourne to ship out because only 1 container is now going instead of 2. Steve now has to take his stuff to Melbourne instead of New Orleans before the 20th so that it can make it on the container. I then receive an email from Gayle stating that Steve's truck broke down on the way to Melbourne and is having all kinds of trouble getting his stuff to her.
Ken Haab called me last night. He was contacted by American Airlines stating that anyone who purchased an airline ticket after February 1st cannot check 2 bags on the flight for free but will have to pay $30 for the 2nd bag. By the time I got off the phone with Ken I realized I wasn't even surprised, and that I must now just go ahead and change my name to Alexander. Maybe I could go by Alex, or even Al. However, anyone who helps me organize trips, and is a veteran to all of this knows that this happens all the time. It isn't even a trip without stuff like this happening. These are the bumps in the road, the hiccups along the way, that you deal with as you prepare for a trip like ours. After all, in the book Alexander gets upset over lots of things. He doesn't get a prize in his box of cereal, but he does get cereal. He doesn't get fancy tennis shoes, but he does get shoes. Alexander got what he needed, not necessarily what he wanted. And the same thing will be true for us as we get ready for this trip.
This doesn't mean we don't keep planning. It doesn't mean we don't try to plan the work and then work the plan. Quite the opposite. The only way to make a trip like ours run smoothly is to set due dates, plan schedules, and implement them. When a bump comes along, you deal with it and continue on your way. You adjust, fix, or solve the problem at hand and go on. I have used the analogy of a duck swimming on a pond. From the surface you see a duck swimming on the top of the water of the pond, gliding along with such beauty and grace. The duck looks so calm and he does everything with such little effort from your view point. What you don't see is what is going on under the water. Those little webbed feet are busy at work keeping the duck balanced and on course so that up top everything looks so smooth and perfect. Just know as you get ready to go on your trip, many people are busy at work getting everything done so that our trip will run as smoothly as possible.
So, we are coming down the home stretch. Remember, all money in the form of checks MUST, MUST, MUST be in my possession by May 28th (11 days from today!!!). Any money after that date has to be cash and cash cannot be sent in the mail. After May 28th any remaining balance has to be paid in cash in Costa Rica or Honduras, depending on which team you are on. Photocopies of passports are due now. We MUST have photocopies of ALL passports before we leave the country. Margaret will be giving me an updated list of things that are missing from everyone and I will be passing that information on ASAP. Time is beginning to run out and the stress level is rising. due dates are rapidly approaching and the pressure is on. Everyone has to do their part to make this trip go smoothly. Don't be the bump in the road or the hiccup that we have to deal with here. Do your part so that we can do ours.
Let me know if you have any questions. My excitement for the trips is blended with stress and concern but one thing is for sure, we are about 3 weeks away from launching out for Central America!!!!! Can you believe it? After all of this time we are just about there. The count down clocks on the blog says it all... ready or not, here we go! Hasta luego me amigos, Dios te bendiga!