Saturday, May 19, 2007

Pushing the limits

It's been over a week since I posted. I am not sure that I really
should now as I am TIRED and a bit discouraged, yet not.

The biggest thing is the push for Andrew's Eagle. It would not be so
bad if the main character cared half as much as I do, but, shall we
say a lot of encouragement is needed. We now have 3 short days to
finish. It has been an exhausting few days of hope and despair.

Andrew's Eagle project went pretty well.

The first day of distributing flyers was a bit rocky. First, the
delay of doing a flag ceremony for the Virginia Tech tragedy. The
flag is still hanging limply on it's staff at half mast. Day and
night, Unlit. The Bishop who likes to instigate these flag
ceremonies apparently does not know that the flag should only be flown
at night if lit and I do not think ever plans or arranges bringing in
the flag. Not that a flag ceremony is at all a bad idea! After the
flag ceremony was "meal planning" for the weekend's overnighter and
yard sale. Using the term "planning" somewhat loosely. Eventually,
Andrew organized the troop into teams and assigned them distribution
areas. The younger Scouts were mildly unruly and inattentive, as
usual. One of the things the Eagle candidate can learn is to
appreciate what his leaders put up with. Ice cream sandwiches at the
end of the evening.

Since we didn't get all the territory covered, Andrew asked the Scouts
to come back the next evening. Typically and thankfully, it was our
core older Scouts who showed up. They got to right to work. They were
fun and high-spirited, but they did the job. Sweet and Salty bars.

The following week, the whole troop collected books and books and
books. As well as stuffed animals, games, and some toys and sports
stuff. It started out a bit slowly. As the boys walked past house
after house without any donations, (and it happened with each team, I
think), spirits sagged. But then, a donation! and another. There
were 4 or 5 teams of boys, each with a car (and adult driver - duh).
Every car came back LOADED. I couldn't see out any of my windows.
There was barely room for me.

Next day, Young Men's activity was sorting, counting and boxing. Over
500 National Geographic - especially requested ; ) . Another 500 or
so dictionaries, encyclopedias and other reference type books.
Hundreds of picture books, literature books, and books for older teens
and adults. Boxes and boxes and boxes!

Scoutmaster Pena drove Andrew and the donations to Books for the
Barrios in Concord - was that on Miriam's birthday? I think. I am
glad that he did. I would have loved to have done it or gone along,
but one can't have everything. More books are coming in. I may yet
get my chance.

Getting the project done opened the way for the real challenge of
getting an Eagle. PAPERWORK. The project write-up and Eagle
application. Rare is the boy who eagerly launches into all that.
Andrew has not been that rare boy. Gentle reminders fall unheeded.
Swift kicks work somewhat better, Sometimes repeated doses are

Meeting with the curmudgeonly District Advancement Chair produce
progress thoroughly irrigated by tears. Mostly mine, but not only.
DAC is tough love.

Lost (or never received ) blue cards, sloppy record keeping by past
troop advancement chairs, missing documents. I took 4 hours dock time
from work to go to Council office with Andrew today to look for
documentation we neither had at home nor in the Scout closet. NOT
THERE. A lecture from the DAC on bad record keeping - never mind that
the gaps or poorly kept troop records are from when I was in a
completely different calling. I broke down crying in the council
office more than once, pulled it back together, hit another wall and
crumbled again. Not pretty.

The DAC, who was also at the office then, frustrated both of us as he
tried to tell me without saying it outright that if the Troop Chair
could update Andrew's records on-line and get them printed in the
Council office, it would be acceptable documentation. One reason it
took so long to penetrate my dense, discouraged brain (besides the
lack of sleep staying up half the night before helping Andrew with his
project book) was that also the night before while Andrew and I were
meeting with the DAC, I thought I had asked if that record would stand
and he said that we needed other documentation. At long last, I
updated his records using their computer. By the time I had that done
DAC had left.

He called me at home to make sure I understood, to let me know he
didn't want to hurt me, and to assure me that he didn't intend to let
a boy suffer because of adult mistakes.

There is still the matter of a merit badge for which we have the
advancement record , but not the blue card. He wanted us to track
down the merit badge counselor. We have not been able to identify him
for sure. We think it is one of our Bishop's Counselors, but he has
been incommunicado. I know that for my one shining Eagle (my good
friend who honored me as his mentor) we were able to dummy up blue
cards based on advancement reports. DAC is waiting until all other
avenues are closed before giving us the go ahead on that.

Andrew has 4 letters of recommendation in hand - 2 Bishop's counselors
(one who is also a brother-in-law), a sister and me. 3 letters are
required. We are hoping for more - especially the Scoutmaster who said
he MIGHT have time to write one Sunday and the Bishop.

It has become Saturday. I got the whole E minus whatever thing messed
up. Monday is the deadline. The end is near - however it comes out.
Andrew is struggling with application requirement #6 "Attach to this
application a statement of your ambitions and life purpose and a
listing of positions held in your religious institution, school, camp,
community, or other organizations during which you demonstrated
leadership skills. Include honors and awards received during this
service". I dare not retire to my chamber as he is prone to get tired
and discouraged and quit.

He needs to get DAC's approval on his project book and application. A
Board of Review must be put together. Does the Board have to sit
before his birthday??? I think so, but I am not absolutely sure.
Maybe the paperwork just has to be accepted.

Not much other news.

The former Mr. Cotton has lain 5 eggs last time I counted. I have
only removed 1 which was obviously past its prime. I haven't had
time or energy to worry about her mothering problems.

I have been trying to start work a few minutes early and staying after
work half an hour each day to try to earn time for when we visit for
Acadia's baptism. I will be burning 16 hours, but not eligible for
vacation time until August. I had 5 1/2 hours. Now I have 1 1/2. If
he gets his Eagle it will be worth it. When Seminary ends, I can
start work earlier to earn time.

Work has been busy. Fun with checks. For 2 1/2 days we didn't have a
check printer. I prepared batches of checks to print and stacked them
up. Finally the check printer was repaired or replaced. Now the new
check signer is ruining a few checks every batch. So I have to key in
a reversal for those checks and key in a replacement. One person's
check has been ruined twice so far. Also fun with fielding phone
calls. There has been a rash of calls either asking why we haven't
paid - then I have to research to find out if we have or not, relay
the information, and request copies of canceled checks. In one case
we found that a multi-thousand dollar check had been cashed by the
wrong vendor. I am waiting for my super to come back from doing
training (on the Orange Coast, poor thing) to find out what we do with
that mess. - or asking why we did pay them - which usually takes brief
research. One day I am not sure I did one other thing but answer
calls. The phone just wouldn't stop.

My beginning Financial Accounting Class the State sponsored is O-VER.
HOO-RAH! I should have a solid A - even though I really do not "get"
it. Done for the summer! Breathe. Then I, along with most of my
classmate/coworkers are signed up for the next one in the fall. Try
not to think about it.

Joseph is also done with his classes. One was done a few weeks ago -
it was a half term class. A's in both, I think. Way to go, Joe! I
think he is planning on a class this summer. He is thinking about
trying to mow lawns to earn money. Good, Even community college
strains the budget!

Andrew and Ben are getting ready to wind up their school year. Andrew
will be in a strange spot for him. High School over! Eagle won or
lost, but behind him. Time to make choices and decisions. I hope he
gets a part-time job. There is an arborist who brings a pair of
huskies to the dog park. Andrew loves trees. I think Andrew should
talk to the tree doctor. Transportation might be a big problem,

Ben plans on getting working on his Eagle this summer. He is trying
to figure out how to get the documentation for a merit badge or two
and his early ranks. He was counting the merit badges he needs to
earn. Ben is a good self-starter and he also has the benefit of
learning by watching. Ben still is very chivalrous toward me. He
wants to spare me, as well as himself, another ordeal like Andrew's.

Andrew has finished his rough draft. Tomorrow he will write it nicely. Now we go to bed!


  1. Wow... Thanks for the "heads up"! My 2nd oldest just "Crossed Over" from Weblos to Boy Scouts this year. He is motivated to get his Eagle Scout as our next door neighbor is an Eagle, and is always talking it up to him.

    It sounds like a little extra effort on my part NOW will result in less headache and stress LATER.

    Thanks for the heads up on this!

    Good luck to your "soon to be" Eagle Scout!

  2. As soon as the Eagle stuff is done, we need Andrew to decide if he is going to have his license by the time you come here. We are still not sure if we can get it fixed, but we're definitely not going to try unless you can take it.

  3. Good luck to you and Andrew....I hope it all comes together in time. He has done remarkable service, developed many survival/leadership skills (those are practically the same thing!), and learned how to jump through a never-ending series of hoops! (And we all know that YOU have done every bit as much, too!!)

    Yay for nearing the end of the school year - we don't have anyone graduating this year, but they do advance to another school. Middle school here includes 9th grade - strange. Kent's seniors are getting very restless, they get out a week earlier than the rest and he will be very glad!

    Hope Ms. Cotton is staying healthy - does she sit on the eggs, or are they duds? My dad had a pet goose "Elmer" who had to be renamed "Elmira" for the same reason.