Sunday, January 27, 2008

"Hot" Merchandise

Last Sunday, when Mandy, Maya, Katie and I went to our regular church service, we walked into a very chilly building. Seems the oil tank to the church furnace had gone dry. This morning, the head of the church's property committee, who is in charge of overseeing all things like that for the building, announced at the beginning of the service a report about how it happened that we ran out of oil.

They have the church on an automatic delivery program through one of the fuel suppliers in this area and, having dealt with that company myself for many years, I know their methods of predicting fuel usage are usually very reliable. So, when the Property Committee man ordered more fuel and explained to the supplier that we'd run out, they started checking into how this could have happened. According to the fuel supplier's records of our usage last year and the temperatures then compared to the temperatures, etc this winter, our usage had been charting so that they were anticipating that we would need fuel two days after we actually ran out. But then, the oil company started checking into some other records of our usage and determined that this year, the temperatures and our day-to-day charted usage should have put us at a point that we should only have used roughly half the amount of oil as we had used last year over the same period. This set them to looking into if there were other problems -perhaps a slow leak or some faulty equipment or some such but everything all checked out fine and dandy - just that the church had used 500 gallons more fuel that we had last year and the guy at the oil company informed the property manager it appears that apparently over the past so many weeks since the tank had been filled, someone has been slipping in behind the church and helping themselves to the church's oil!

Now that, to me, really takes nerve to steal oil from a church! I can understand the plight of probably a lot of folks around here what with the fuel oil prices and all that, and also, our church has often tried to be very generous wherever and whenever possible to people known to be having some rough patches, financially, by helping folks out with a little extra money here and there for fuel emergencies and such but to just come and steal roughly 500 gallons of fuel - which is what the fuel company approximates we should have had on hand last week, well, that is really nerve to end all.

The upshot of all that mess now is that they are going to have the cap for the fuel tank fixed so that it is under lock and key now. How sad isn't it that even churches are becoming the victims in the rising fuel cost mess this country is in today.

After church today, the congregation held their annual meeting in which all the various committees and organizations within the church gave their report on what services they'd done over the year, what their financial status is, their plans too for the coming year. The meeting also involved electing another female member of the congregation to the Church Council too. This was necessitated because one woman member of the council had served the maximum amount of terms allowed within a set time span so we had to choose another woman to replace her then on the Council.

As I had left the booklets with copies of all these reports and financial statements in the car in our hurry to get in to the building before the service started, as soon as the service ended, Mandy had run out to the car to grab those papers for us to peruse during the meeting. Right after she left her seat, a lady sitting across the aisle from me came over to me and asked me if I would be interested and willing to serve on Council again. I had served a term on Council many years ago -back when Mandy and my son were both pre-schoolers and though I had enjoyed doing that, I stepped down after one term because of work commitments I had then. I told her that my circumstances now - never know from one day to the next how I'm going to feel, if I can move around enough to be able to get out regularly to attend the meetings, so I would not want to do that now. However, I mentioned to her that I had been going to talk to Mandy about maybe going on the Council since she wants to find ways to do more for the church if possible and I really believe if she were to do this, it would be a very good experience for her in many ways - to see, to learn, how the inner workings of the church operate and such.

My friend asked if I thought Mandy would do it and I told her I thought she probably would but I would ask her as soon as she came back in from the car. My friend then said well, if she will, I will nominate her and if she won't, then I am going to nominate YOU so be prepared. I talked about it to Mandy when she came back and sat down and she decided that she would be willing to do this.

When the Council President, Ernie, got to the place in the schedule to fill this vacancy and asked for nominations, my friend did nominate Mandy. Then a neighbor of ours nominated another lady, very good church worker too she is, so we had to cast votes then to determine who would be the incoming council representative. Ballots cast and counted and another member of council presented the outcome to Ernie, the Council President. He then announced that Mandy had been elected to serve a term on the Council and welcomed her into that position.

After doing that, he then stood there, kind of scratching his head and said "You know, I hate to say this but I just don't know who this Amanda Wagner is." Now, keep in mind Ernie has known all three of my kids practically forever - especially Clate and Mandy - as he has been a member of the parish since shortly before they were born so I know he knows them but apparently the name just wasn't registering with him then.

Well, when he said that, Mandy was sitting beside me and happened to have her head down looking for something in her purse but when she heard him say that, she sat straight up - I mean almost like a soldier coming to attention and blurted out loud "What? You say you don't know ME?"

When Ernie heard that he turned to see who was speaking and when he did and realized it was my daughter Amanda, things clicked on then in his mind - he just didn't recognize her by her married name! He laughed and said "You? Yes, I guess I do KNOW you now don't I?"

It was a neat comic relief moment in what usually is a very serious setting there and everyone had a good laugh over the whole thing ya know.

After we got home from services, Mandy was getting ready to go shopping this afternoon over in State College with her best friend. Her friend though was going to have to take her younger son, Matthew, who is about 15 months old with her and Mandy had already figured she no doubt would have to take Maya with her too - to keep peace for everyone involved that is.

However, over the past two days of Maya's playing in the living room and scattering toys hither, thither and yon and not being made to clean up before going to bed, Mandy told her if she wanted to go shopping with Mommy and Nancy and Matthew today, she would have to first clean up all her toys and get them put away because if she didn't do that, then she would have to stay home with Grammy.

So initially Maya did agree that she would do this but as I think probably all four-year-olds are wont to do, she kept procrastinating about actually doing any "picking up" stuff. So Mandy was after her then, trying to prod her a bit here and there to get busy or if not, she would be left at home.

She reminded Maya about a little song Maya has learned in preschool - "Clean up, clean up, everybody clean up" is how it starts and Mandy kept saying "Clean up, Maya, clean up. Just like the song."

Then I interjected by singing the first line only I changed the words a bit -"Clean up, Clean up, Maya has to clean up" and when I sang it that way, Maya stopped dead in her tracks, turned and looked at me and said "NO! It's 'Clean up, clean up. EVERYBODY clean up." And I do mean she really emphasized that part of the "EVERYBODY" -not just Maya doing it! Too funny isn't it though how kids can grasp so much of some things -when it is convenient for them to do so anyway!

Eventually -with a little help from Mandy - she did get her toys all picked up, the room cleaned up and away they went to go shopping. Maya is becoming quite the "shopping queen" too -gonna be just like her Aunt Carrie, I'm afraid!

Bill had some vehicles he had to go work on so that left Kurtis and Gram here all alone - to our own devices. Kurtis opted to sleep and Grammy had already decided on what she was going to fix for supper so I got started and made a batch of Swedish Limpa Rye bread (4 loaves) and I also made a big pot of homemade Potato Soup -ala a recipe I read last night in the blog post of one of my favorite blog spots - "This Eclectic Life" by Shelley Tucker.

The bread came out very good and so did the soup! Everyone said it was very tasty so if you're hungry for some good old Potato Chowder, then go check out Shelly's blog post titled "Potato Chowder" and print off her recipe there for that stuff. Pretty tasty soup, even if I must say so myself here! Try it, bet you'll like it too!

And that pretty much sums up how my day went today.

How was your day by the way? Report in now, give the details, will ya please?


molly gras said...

It's so funny that you had a bit of an extended church day as well. Ours was an annual church banquet, usually held at the end of January, with the obligatory congregation picture to be taken (all 60+ members and fussy babies thrown in for added drama). Needless to say, I had to endure an aggravating exchange due to Sunday School manning issues (again!) and had to witness an older member's hissy fit due to control issues.

Why some people can't grasp the concept of the Golden Rule is beyond me -- especially at church!

Oh well, to be human is to be imperfect, I guess.

Cheers to you and yours!

Paula said...

Congrats to Mandy for her council position!
Boy, potato soup and homemade bread sound wonderful! I spent my whole weekend with my head tucked in a paint can so we had pigs in blankets and tater tots for dinner. (my 15 year old requested them and they weren't too bad!)

Dianne said...

I'll add my congrats to Mandy - who is Mandy again? ;)

How desperate must someone be to steal oil from a church - sad.

and kudos to Maya for emphasizing that "everyone" must clean up LOL

Celebration of Life said...

Just dropped in to say hello. Thanks for visiting my blog! I enjoyed your post today and it reminded me of what my Grandfather used to say: "Desperate people do desperate things."

Many years ago when I was a single mother raising two small children on my own without any help of child support or State assistance, my car would run out of gas about once a month because I didn't have any money to fill it up. I would put a dollar in here and a dollar in there just to keep it going until payday. The very last time it happened, I called my preacher and he came with a can of gas and got me to the gas station. While he was filling my tank he said, "You know, it is just as easy to drive off of the top side of your tank as the bottom." He was right, I never let the tank get below half full again. It is the same as in our Spiritual lives. It is better to run off the top than the bottom.
The person who stole the fuel from your church is running on the bottom half. He needs a spiritual boost to top off so he will never run dry again. I will pray that he will get his Spiritual boost and do what is right by your Church.

Suldog said...

Thanks much for stopping by over at my place, and for the kind words. I surely do appreciate them. I'll be back.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I see we both have the 'Cheer Me Up Award'!

Gledwood said...

My day was quite tolerable thankyouverymuch...

lovverly blog you have here... found you via LIME's... great stuff...

take care!


Anonymous said...

How crazy that someone would steal oil from a church, but, I guess I'm not all that surprised. I used to work at our church/school and all the employees had to be warned eventually to lock up their purses and valuables and to not leave their vehicles unlocked. It seems it was all too easy for people wandering through the church & school parking lot to simply come into the building, without being questioned, and help themselves to whatever wasn't nailed down.

Congrats to Mandy!

Diva's Thoughts said...

Who would steal from a church? That is LOW!!!

Jeff B said...

I couldn't help but think that the person who stole the oil is probably nice and warm now, but if he doesn't change his ways he's going to be downright HOT in the afterlife!

A.Bananna said...

I came here from celebration of lifes blog.

I think that it is so sad that someone would do that to a church. It is happening everywhere though. It is so sad.

May the Lord bless you this week!

Lee said...

jeni, Thank you for stopping by my place. Your nice words were appreciated. You've got an interesting place here. I should visit more often.


Smalltown RN said...

Well congrats to Mandy for her position on council...and what about Miss Maya...gosh she is coming a long ways isn't must be such a joy to watch her develope...

Now about the stealing of somebody must be hard up...but then when you look at it that way...we assume it's a hardship case...what if it's someone stealing it to use it for something not so worthy as heating their home? Oh I know I shouldn't let my mind go there...but that is just all so unfortunate....cheers my friend...

... Paige said...

I'm sure they reasoned it all out in their heads and hearts; after all what is a church for but the provide to the needy. They most likely didn't give a thought to those even more less fortunate then themselves.
But I suppose alls well that ends well and now that y'all know the oil tank can be locked up.
Great news and happenings for Mandy. Pat her on the back for me.

david mcmahon said...

Jeni, it's always such a privilege to drop in here. Your writing is like a feast - many courses, each distinct and well crafted.

When you're ready to write a book, just let me know ...

Barb said...

I had to rush right over when I read on someone's blog that you have CABLE INTERNET now!!! *Doing the happy dance* :)

Linda said...

Checking in ...

I went to work on Sunday and answered a few 911 calls and dispatched a few ambulances and then came home at 11:00 at night and went back in on Monday morning at 7:00 to do it all over again for another 16 hours.


Jo Beaufoix said...

Great post. Sounds like you have a really busy life. And I love the name Maya. Glad David pointed you out. :D

The Shack said...

I can't think of anything much lower than stealing from a church!