Friday, August 24, 2007

Nocturnal Rounds

This last fast Sunday we and the Shannon family fasted (among other things) that there would be more money for Avram to go to Oxford. A week later a brother in the ward called and asked if some people in the family could help with paper deliveries for nine days. He's a distributor over 16 carriers, one of whom is an Indian family who do 7 routes by themselves, as well as being his on call people. Unfortunately for him, they went to India for nine days, and so he needed some extra help, because he couldn't cover the extra himself. So as of last Friday we became Newsies, with some special twists; the paper routes are in Arlington and Crystal City, right next to Washington DC (an hour and 5-15 minutes away), and all the papers need to be delivered by Six am.

The typical morning begins at 1:00 am, when we rise as nocturnal creatures and travel to Mike's (the brother in the ward) house, where we follow him the hour and fifteen minutes to our routes; all apartment buildings. We arrive at around 2:40 to 3:00 am, and then deliver until 6:00 (on light days), and drive home. All in all, a very long day, or should I specify morning, because of course Avram and I are still working during the day; Avram for seven hours, and I for three hours.

Next time I fast for money, I'm going to specify easy, preferably free money. Just kidding; I'm glad we're having this opportunity to get more money for England, and it's certainly an interesting experience. Every day I have a new thought to share.

First are the buildings; Our biggest building, Crystal Towers, Avram says remind him of DT; the long hallways, the dingy lights, even the name, and of course what DT experience would be complete without the kids. That's right; the first two days, when it was the weekend, many of the residents were coming at all hours, and they all looked in their mid twenties, and mostly naked. Not even attractive, interesting minimal clothing, just boring and ugly no clothes, like one who was wearing a lime green halter top with white daisy dukes that were puffy, and white high heels. If I were going to dress like the world, I'd at least look good while doing it. It was a shock to me to realize that they probably are all my age, that if I had chosen a different path route, I could be "young and hip," whereas currently I feel almost middle aged, with a child; the older people usually move outside of the immediate DC area if they can afford it. Either that, or they move to swanky condos, like another building of ours, called The Representative, complete with an all-marble lobby and flag pole. Nowhere but DC would you find a building named that!

Also, we've had some exposure to the law. Two days ago Mike was pulled over, because the cop thought he was drunk driving. A car pulled in front of him on the freeway, then slowed down to 45 miles an hour, so Mike was looking around to see if he could pass him (he didn't get a ticket or anything. I've always considered what to do if I'm in a caravan with another car, and they get pulled over. Do I pull over with them, and risk more wrath of the law {assuming it's wrath that's pulled them over because of some great wrongdoing} or do I keep on going, abandoning the caravaning for distant safety, but also abandoning my fellow man in need? Sadly, I abandoned him, and kept on driving. At the time, I thought he was going to get pulled over for speeding, and as I was following him, would have been culprit as well. I felt like the main character in 1984, when he tells them to let the girl have the rat torture, instead of himself. Sure, I evaded the threat, but at the cost of my own humanity? I think too much.)

Then yesterday morning outside of one of our buildings at about 4:00 am we saw five parked police cars. I fleetingly hoped this meant we wouldn't be able to deliver any of the papers, but unfortunately it wasn't to be so. As I delivered my respective floors I didn't even give it much thought until I finished, and Luke (who's come and helped most of the nights) told me that when he came out of the stairs at level 12 there were three policemen standing there with gloves and handcuffs, who looked very surprised to see him. They asked him who he was, and then told him that there was no one there, and he shouldn't bother, so he left the entire floor twelve. It remains unclear if they meant the entire floor, or just the one apartment that they were standing in front of, but he left the whole floor. I'm really curious what was going on, but haven't found any news items on it yet. How funny, we turn to the printed word to discover things we've seen first person.

Avram and I have also struggled with not getting lost on the way home. We have no problems once we're on the freeway, but we haven't always been able to find the freeway. Once we were following the signs, and such, and went to far on the road, and suddenly couldn't turn either to the right or the left, but had to go straight -- right into the Pentagon parking lot! Once there, we couldn't even get out the way we had come in, and so we went out another road, one which no one was on. In the DC area at six in the morning on a weekday, this is a very bad sign. There are a million cars everywhere, and if we saw no one on that road, then we probably didn't want to be on it either. Finally we got on the freeway, but it wasn't the right one, and so we were travelling in the wrong direction at 65 mph. I had a burst of inspiration, and got off at Reagon airport (it's like, two minutes down the road from where we got on; it's right in the middle of the city), and from there there were many signs for all sorts of freeways, including the one we wanted. So we finally got going the right direction, and because in the meantime it had gotten light, we even saw the Arlington Cemetary off of the freeway on the way home. I felt like I was sightseeing in a nutshell.

It's taken me two days to write this post; it's now Saturday afternoon, and only one more morning remains of delivery. By now I feel comfortable in our early rounds, and although I'm suffering from a perennial lack of sleep, I almost feel I could again someday be a newspaper carrier. Almost.

Heavenly Father works fast in our behalf; we have this nine day job, and then yesterday we were filling out visas, and it turns out the total cost of all three of our visas are $636, only slightly more what we'll be making after tithing and gas from this job (It's a $1,000 total, but Luke gets his share). So we've even already spent the money we're earning, for the good of England. And I tell you, for over $600 dollars to merely enter the country, it had better be good.


  1. Well now you can add newspaper delivery onto both ends of jobs you have held. Wow! Such hours and you've had to do all the driving? I'm glad you've been able to stay awake though it all. Will call you soon. Love you.

  2. Seema like everybody has to try delivering things like newspapers or pizzas or phone books at least once (I've done all three) before discovering that they're THE PITS. Welcome to the club!

  3. ouch.. didnt know it was that much to get a pasport. I thought halley had told me it was more like a hundred a person. Well now that i know its so much I dont think I will ever be going out of this country! not that I could afford the airfair anyways...

    I cant imagine the week you had with those hours. good thing you have grandparents to help in the day so you can maybe sleep... or at least rest on the couch.

    It is funny how when you pray for things heavenly father doesnt always answer our prayers the way we think he should. but on the bright side at least it was a quick answer! Sometimes you can pray for something for years before its answered.

  4. afterthought.... grandma has lots of money. have you thought of asking if she could help with the oxford fund? I always feel too embarassed to ask for money, but hey maybe she would be willing. if you want the next time I talk to her I could drop some hints about how you need money for oxford and all...

  5. Hooray for fun and excitement in the lives of paperboys and you just that the worst thing they had to do was learn he "Newsies" dances an songs