Friday, June 08, 2007

Resting in Christ

Its a bright, hot day.
The warmest we've seen.
The clay sand sizzles and small froggies cling
to their little mudholes, their creeks and the reeds.
But a bright cleansing sun is what the soil needs.
It kills off the fungus, reduces the pests.
As long as the AC runs, we'll be careful and rest.

Rest isn't always content, unless with Christ it is spent.
The mind rattles the cages of whys, ifs, hows, whens -
then battles in stages of what- to- do- then.

In peace, Christ comes to us and settles the flames,
takes over our worries, takes on our blames.
In peace we can rest in His holy name.

*slaps at the rhyming bug that's been chasing her around all day*

How about an update?

On the home front - Becka & I are still busy with our deadline. Starting to look like the second date is more likely. Happily we have a few volunteers for beta testing. Hope my efforts won't require too much checking or reworking. I'll need a few more renders before I can get too much further & find out. Meantime, Becka's little movies are adorable! Thanks to her talented efforts, our game is looking every bit as good as we'd hoped.

One of the things that has added a little delay was the last hospital run. I thought they weren't going to start until July, but we got a call the week before asking us to turn up Tuesday- Wednesday and get Tom checked again. The test(s) on Tom seem to go okay, and were easy enough on him, but we won't officially have the results for a while yet, most likely. That will be another week or two. The trip itself went okay, though we didn't sleep much while there & we're still kinda rebounding from that. Got a few pictures in the area, but not as many as I'd planned. People are remarkably shy about having their picture taken downtown. Made me wonder if they'd had some kind of trouble with it?

and we've confirmed that our mail is unreliable again after a second set of statements was requested & also failed to arrive. Then the bank tells us that one of them was actually marked 'returned to sender.' When questioned the local office not only refused to admit they had anything to do with it, but laid claim to an efficient regular daily delivery time that was 1-4 hours earlier than what we've actually seen with our own eyes this week (and most every other week). Its so sad, its laughable. We were not actively accusing them of misconduct, since it was possible for a local idiot to have stolen the mail (and even written on one before throwing back in a box) but why add such a blatantly wrong announcement? Pretty brazen, eh?


Now, I had already taken steps to deal with unreliable mail from many years back. At one point, store sale fliers & ministry mags were arriving as much as three months late, but it had gotten better for quite awhile. This is the second proof in comparatively recent memory in a long time that things have gone south again. A friend's package last Christmas arrived badly damaged, with one ceramic present smashed in the middle, but still apparently sealed. Couldn't tell for certain if it had been opened at that point but we were already suspicious because my Mom & DD caught the delivery person trying to set it against the door on the stoop and sneak away. Since our door opens outward it would have been impossible to have opened the door without knocking it down if they had not made the person come back and hand it to them...and it already rattled. Sounded broken. A label declared it had arrived in bad condition. [The post office supervisor insisted it came off the truck that way.] While a lot of the paper was ripped and places had clearly been taped over, my friend and I had this fun thing of reusing good mailing boxes over and over. Since all the presents seemed to be accounted for one way or another, and the shards could have caused the rips, we couldn't be sure. Then a week or so later a card from the same person arrived separately in the mailbox - without a postage stamp or mark. She confirmed it had been sent inside the box. There is no way it would have been passed all the way from her state to mine without a stamp or postage mark...and when this was pointed out, they denied delivering it. [All other Christmas deliveries we knew about arrived in good time & in good shape.]

Until then - the mail had seemed to be running just fine for several years. Even now most mags, small packages, and trivial ads still seem to be arriving on time, but then we noticed that some mailed statements seemed to be going missing over the last months. Since this has happened before and we couldn't be sure then they weren't being stolen from the box, all our accounts have a long had a watch on them - just in case. All accounts have alternate ways for me to contact the company etc. All friends & family have long ago been alerted to make sure they use UPS when possible, delivery confirmation &/or insurance when its not practical. Now several more companies have a notation in their files about missing mail to customers in this area(As I said before, we're not the only ones). Just what do they think this will get them? More major chain expansions in the area? Good reports to their bosses? You know, if they catch whoever is doing this, it'll be a federal offense!

No, they are mostly hurting themselves now. Service has been so bad some years that it became a standing joke. Its not just us either. A guy who was standing in the line with us when asking about alternatives announced that he had found his business mail laying on their open counter when it should have been in his post box, county govt mail missing from his post box, and more. They didn't blush, apologize, or explain. They ignored him. Another small business told us they found a special order they had gotten for us last winter - which seemed to be lost for a week - had been sent to the wrong address. It was marked for their business addy, but went to the business owner's private address anyway - while he was out of town. Since then they have also gone to using mostly UPS.

The truism that's gone round the county for years is that we have the best services in the third world. Power, cable, & phone upgrades also lagged behind the times until recent years. Some still lag. Basic services like trash pickup, water, and sewer lines still only serve in certain areas (mostly the new subdivisions) while the taxes are high everywhere. County permits, codes, county services...I don't think there's a single service run by locals that I haven't heard accused of stupid behavior. Not all accusations are true, of course, but not all are false. Many current chains are running their support services outside the county now. I don't blame them!

People openly talk about moving on away from here as soon as they get ahead in the world. They do too. [Most of the county's current growth has been from outsiders moving from the cities into the new developments. Even there, turnover is high.] Its been noted [with some bitterness] that many people who made it big while living here moved away as soon as possible, keeping the county from gaining socially/politically from their achievements. Sadly, they refuse to face why. There are some very nice people here & the land itself is beautiful BUT they also have entirely too many people 'in the system' who grew up believing that you only do your job right for people you like, people in your set, and feel free to make things extra difficult for anyone you've heard slandered. They still love to gossip 'round here so you can just imagine how many folks have had good reason to complain to the big chains about local service & how many shop or preferentially get inspectors, repairmen etc from across the river (in one direction or another). Small businesses open and close after only a year or two all the time. Some because they weren't good, some because they weren't the 'right' people. Some because not enough people knew they were good before they had to give up. & The outsiders commuting to the cities usually have their favorites in town.

As long as prejudicial 'picking' remains a county preoccupation, they can count on it that their reputation won't get any better. What people don't realize when they pull garbage on consumers is that most you-can't-prove-it 'covers' involve claiming incompetence or ignorance. Care to guess what most people in the state think the locals in this area are like? yeah. exactly. They can self-affirm each other until they are blue in the face, but nothing will change until they repent of the petty persecutions that seem to define this place.

I read in one of their history books that when this place was only accessible by ferry, 'community leaders' would assign people to check out anyone who got off the boat. If they liked them, they'd be escorted into the area hotels or a friendly home and offered realty deals & work incentives. If they didn't seem like the 'right kind of people,' they'd be urged to leave rather quickly. The word would be passed around that no one had better befriend them. Do you understand who those 'leaders' were? Do you understand why it was wrong to welcome only people who seemed to be like themselves? I did. I also understood then why my in-laws looked good to them at first, and what prejudice barriers they tripped over after they'd moved in. History always has its children in the present...

On a brighter note, I've finally gotten most of the new Doctor Who series recorded. A chance conversation with a friend online renewed my interest just in time to catch a number of them in marathon reruns on the tv on a couple of different channels. My Mom & DD kept an eye on getting them for me even while I was away. I am enjoying watching them with the earphones on etc (as Tom doesn't like them particularly) I still find the whole feel of the new series to be markedly darker & less friendly than the classic series, which I still prefer, but the new Doctor still fascinates me. Its definitely not for whole families now, especially not the little kiddlies, but they aren't selling it as though it were - so that's not too bad. The channels that show it (Sci-Fi, BBC-Am) both tend toward even darker fare. Dr Who is the lightest, closest thing to family fare programming that they have. Kinda a light in their darkness from the top of that little blue box. :-)

So today - I am enjoying my new treats and consciously putting our current concerns back on Christ's altar and waiting on Him to make the next move. He is promising to deal with the goofiness that wants to rear its ugly head. I know God won't disappoint me. He has held us up for a long time now and His promise is that He will continue to protect us. The future will get better yet. One day I will see much better places than this. One day my neighbors will be the best folks ever. Chosen by God Himself!

2 comments:

David said...

My friend,

I had quite forgotten that Becka and you were working on a game! I am glad to hear it is progressing well for y'all. And that Tom seems to be keeping up well too - God grant it that the test results only confirm this. I may not post often, but I am always glad to read updates from you. And I understand now a bit better what you meant about your horrible postal system - it's real; how awful!

Hope you're enjoying summer and adventures in the Tardis.

Grace and peace to you and yours,

--David (Martsen)

Shushan said...

Thanks for the kind words :)

& the commiseration. I don't usually mention this stuff but I am truly fed to the gills with the yahoo antics.

So back to the better stuff we can thank God for!

Believe it or not, David. This is actually a different one than the big adventure we mentioned to you.

We're trying out a new engine & designed a smaller game to see how well it works for our plans.

& yes, I am very much enjoying the new Dr Who journeys. ^_^

Hope you have a great summer!