I mentioned in the last post that my back was in trouble. In fact, I could hardly walk let alone lift and carry. By Sunday afternoon I had loosened it enough to get around at church, then after church I received a blessing from Elders Petersen and Hawkins. Monday morning we took the last toilet seat out to the Helsingborg (hel'sing-bory) and I was much better, but still hobbling a little. Tuesday we inspected the apartments in Lund and I was able to get down to the floor to make repairs and inspect bed legs.
The real work began on Wednesday and continued through Friday. That is when we had to begin hauling out items, repairing areas in the apartment and cleaning top to bottom. By then, however,I was almost completely off the sympathy list. I still have a little pain when I have been sitting in one position for a long time, but I am completely able to lift, carry, reach and work late. Thanks to a couple of elders who were close to the Spirit when pronouncing the blessing and to Olivia and Sisters Hansen and Hunter who were in the room to lend their faith.
So here are the details.
We always give the missionaries a P day to prepare for our inspection visit. So Monday we planned to do some of the work that would be needed on the apartment. However, it was necessary to take some items back out to the Helsingborg area. Because Elders Berlin and Bird knew we were coming, they asked if we could do a favor for them. It seems that they have been doing some family history work and discovered that they both have ancestors from the same tiny village not far from where they are laboring. They asked if we would be willing to give them a ride to the church in Bosarp where their ancestors were likely christened and possibly buried. We were happy to accommodate, of course. Not only were these missionaries worth the trip, but it gave us a little break and a chance to see more of the countryside.
|Elders Berlin and Bird happy with|
their new toilet seat. Now they can
go with confidence that they won't
|The church in Bosarp|
|There were family names in the|
churchyard, but nothing dating back
as far as when their ancestors would
have been buried there.
|In the churchyard beside the church|
Tuesday we conducted the inspections of the last apartments in the area with the exception of Växjö (vek'wuh) which had to be done as we left to return to Stockholm. These last apartments were in the city of Lund where we were staying and where we would be working for the rest of the week. We found the missionaries were well prepared for our visit and that they, like so many others we have met, had problems that could have been addressed, but they just remain so busy that they either work around them or just live with them without giving them much thought. We replaced light bulbs, for instance, making the apartments more habitable. Elders Ellis and Olson had a bed with a broken slat making the middle bow. Elder Mitchell repaired it before he and Sister Mitchell left the area, but the slat broke in a different area anyway rendering it beyond repair. Luckily, we needed to find a home for the bed we were using, so it worked out well for us and them.
Beds for couples are made up of two twin-sized beds joined together with a larger mattress spread across them, so when we took the mattress off, we had two beds to put somewhere.
Sisters Hall and Huxtable had the cleanest apartment in the land, I think. They both like a clean, tidy home and it showed. We did a couple of minor repairs, but for the most part, they needed little. They will have a third companion, so some things would be needed, such as the other bed. For obvious reasons, we were happy when they volunteered to help us clean the apartment we would be returning to the landlord.
|We found that this bed was repaired|
but the repair didn't hold. Luckily,
we had a bed we needed to take
out of the apartment we vacated
to replace this one.
|Elders Ellis and Olson. We forgot to get their picture when we inspected|
their apartment. This was taken at the apartment we had to vacate a few
days later. See below.
|Sisters Hustable and Hall had an exceptional apartment.|
|This chair had a broken back, but|
some glue and a couple of screws
and it was good again.
Wednesday, the work began in earnest. Olivia thought it was good idea to get a picture of all the clutter when we emptied the cupboards and before I had changed from PJs for the day. I had a similar pile of stuff in the office where I spent most of the morning. There was more dust and cobwebs than any other place we have cleaned. It is not that the couples who stayed there over the years failed to clean, it is just that there were tall cabinets, nooks and crannies, furniture that sat low to the floor and the like.
Under the kitchen sink was evidence of sewer rats. They had chewed a large hole in the drain pipe and made a toilet of the cupboard below. We cleaned that out before doing anything else, then just kept the door closed after that. The owner came on Sunday and was not surprised by what we told him and what he found when he inspected.
I am quite certain that there was a meeting of the spider league after we finished cleaning to declare a state of emergency. We found webs and spiders in areas you would never expect. This was especially true in the basement where webs hung from the low ceilings, walls, behind bookcases, corners windows, above and below lights, etc. Sisters Hansen and Hunter sent several to spider heaven when they did some cleaning there, but on Thursday and Friday, I made sure dozens more joined them.
Wednesday, the sisters from Malmö and Lund came to help clean. Thursday the elders from Malmö and Lund came to help move the heavy furniture out.
|We had started to take items out of the closets and cupboards|
and assemble them in some order.
|Sister Hunter working on dust and cobwebs|
|Sister Hansen has to stand on a chair|
to eat dinner 😊 but she worked non-stop
including dusting and cleaning the
|Sister Hall working on the kitchen cabinet|
|Sister Huxtable went right to work. It is obvious |
that she has done this kind of thing before.
|The Wednesday crew:Sisters Huxtable, Hall, Hunter and Hansen.|
I didn't realize until writing this that their name are an alliteration.
|We loaded them down with treasures to take back to their apartment with them. These sisters had to take it all on the bus with them back|
It was an inspiring hour with the entire mission attending. Several of the missionaries who had been here last Christmas told about some of the things they did to maximize the program using social media and personal contacting with the cards. Some of the ideas from last year sparked even more creativity. We are going to commit to it again this year, but pay better attention to the calendar that goes with the program.
Of course, not having the elders in the morning meant that all the heavy moving had to be done within just a couple of hours in the afternoon. Olivia and I had already hauled off several loads of items to the second hand store and to the återvinning (oater veen' ing - what we would call the dump, but much more organized and clean than what we are used to in the US). The missionaries were very protective of my back, so we did much of this without their knowledge. Still, there were some very heavy items in the basement that had to go around corners, through narrow doors and up a narrow, steep staircase. I was perfectly happy to have them do the heavy lifting in those cases.
|This sofa reclines in every section,|
so at first we thought it could not
be taken apart.
|After trying in vain to get it through the doorway and up the stairs we brought it back in and turned it upside down. Elder Hawkins noticed that there were separate sections attached to the rail|
|With Brother Girhammar's help and my supervision 😎, we|
detached one section and left two attached.. Elders Hawkins and Olson then maneuvered it through the door
|Up the stairs and out to the trailer.|
|Elders Olson and Ellis then got the single section up the stairs|
and out to the trailer
|Elder Olson then went back down to|
assist Elder Ellis
|With Elder Petersen supervising, Elders Ellis and Radford prepare|
to lift it into the trailer
|Team effort got it in|
|Elders Radford and Petersen prepare to carry out the hutch|
|Around the railing and out the door|
|Elder Olson and Elder Anthon (in his $2 hat) take out some|
|Including this elliptical trainer|
We had informed the bishops in Lund and Malmö that this furniture was available if they knew of anyone in their wards who could use it. Neither responded until the very last moment when the bishop of the Lund ward replied that he may know of someone who could use it. To our happy surprise, the Girhammars (yir' hahmar) showed up with a car and trailer. We have met with them several times before and are quite fond of this faithful couple. It turns out that their son is getting married and could use the furniture. We were happy about that because we love this family so much and because it is very high quality furniture. It would have been sad to just drop it off at the second hand store.
|Sister Girhammar and her daughter, Maria help load the trailer|
|Brother Girhammar with his wife, daughter and elders load the trailer|
|Elder Anthon and a pumpkin photo bomb Maria and Sister Girhammar|
with her prize deer head candle holder
|The Thursday crew: Elders Radford, Anthon, Olson, Petersen,|
Brother and Sister Girhammar and Maria. Absent are Elders
Hawkins, Ellis and I who were delivering beds. Olivia took
Ever the optimist, Olivia was certain that with all the help we got on Wednesday and Thursday we would be finished by no later than 2:00 on Friday. She set an appointment to inspect the Växjö apartment on our way home to Stockholm at 4:30. It is a 2 1/2 hour drive from Lund. Of course, we didn't finish until after 4:00, so we arranged to meet them at their apartment at 6:30 which meant that they would have to reschedule a lesson that was set for 7:00. They did it willingly to accommodate us. I had cannibalized the bed legs from the Lund bed that we had tossed, because I knew Elder Barney had trouble with his bed legs. It was a good thing I did because one leg had pulled out entirely and another was bending inward. I had to reverse a bolt to make it work, but finally it did. If anyone from my old law office is reading this they are shaking their heads and saying, "That's Brad. It may not be pretty, but he will find a way to make it work!"
|It was a momentous occasion to close|
and lock the door on this apartment
|In Växjö we met Elder Barney with|
his Julbock (Christmas goat) made of
wheat or oat straw.
|Elder Simmons was with Elder Barney. Elder McCarl was on|
splits with Elder Simmons' companion
We had not eaten anything since breakfast, so at 7:45 we found a tiny Mexican restaurant in town. It was quite authentic as the proprietor was born in Mexico of a Swedish father and Mexican mother. She was proud of her chips and salsa as well as the special dishes. It was a touch of home, to be sure.
We then hit the road for the trip back home. We arrived at our apartment at about 1:40 AM and were in bed at about 2:30. Saturday we unloaded the van, put up a set of shelves to put some of the items into and prepared for the adult session of stake conference. It was stake conference on Sunday, as well. The theme of both sessions was the Book of Mormon and the temple. The stake president, President Haugman, served his mission in Utah. Part of the time he was on the Navajo reservation, miles away from civilization. There in a hogan he told an older woman and her family about the Book of Mormon. She stoically informed him that the story of Jesus coming to her ancestors was a story passed down generation after generation. It wasn't until much later that the people identified the god who visited them as Christ, but to her it was obvious. She and her family received the missionaries and joined the Church, cherishing the Book of Mormon.
It was nice to visit Lund and attend church in Malmö, but it was wonderful to be back where we consider our home to be. We were happy to see many of our friends from the Uppsala Ward and catch up with all that is happening there. Our friend Torsten will be traveling to the US on Tuesday. He will be gone about 10 days, if I got the story straight. We were happy to see Elsa who came with Gabriel. We were able to greet the missionaries from the ward, as well. We made plans for the Thanksgiving Day celebration with them and Elsa (who has never tasted pumpkin pie). Tim, our ward mission leader who is half American, is also coming.
We are enjoying a day of resting (?), cleaning our apartment, and preparing for a meal tonight where we will honor the missionaries who are returning home tomorrow. Olivia is cooking pumpkin and butternut squash to make pies for Thursday. We had our first snow in our neighborhood, and Christmas music is filling our little apartment. It is a joyous time. We wish you all the joys associated with this season of the year!