Last Tuesday was my first day with Amor Ministries. Everyone seems really great and I am very excited about my work environment. My time with Amor will be interesting in that it is starting kind of slow but will ramp up very quickly. Last week was a celebration week with Amor. The spring and summer are extremely busy times for the ministry and a lot of work gets done. As a result, they choose a week between these seasons to allow a day for fellowshipping followed by a couple of days off. Consequently, Tuesday was an orientation day, Wednesday a celebration day and I had Thursday and Friday off. Not to worry though, later this week I will assist in leading a group down to Mexico through the weekend (See what I mean by starting slow and picking up fast?). As it turned out, I really needed those two days off to get myself ready to work with Amor.
I Can Forget Critical Things With Alarming Frequency
Below you will find two photos. If you look closely, you can find something wrong in both of them. If you can find what's wrong with each picture, you can then find what these pictures have in common. Hint: It is the pervasive theme of this post.
(This is a bike wheel)
(The problem with this picture is not the sour look on my face . . . I wear that quite often)
In the first picture, the problem may be a little bit harder to see. Although it was difficult to get an adequate camera angle to show it, you may notice a significant bend in the rim of the bike wheel you see above. This is not the circular bend that all wheels have, but more of a sideways bend that wheels should not have. I have arbitrarily decided that I will show you the incident that led to this bent wheel in comic form.
As you can see (or maybe not, since my drawings are equivalent to a three year old's finger painting), the short story is that in my haste to leave Moab for Lake Tahoe, I did not adequately lock my bike down to my roof rack, resulting in some battle scars on the Subie and a bent wheel and chainring on my bike. All told, I was very fortunate that I locked the fork mount and it did it's job, otherwise I would have been picking up scraps of carbon, aluminum and steel off I-70. The car is dented, but will be fine, and I've got my friends at Haymarket Bicycles trying to find a cheap solution to my bike damage. Side note: If you live in Northern Virginia and need anything bike related, visit Haymarket Bicycles. These are good guys that love to put people on bikes and then put them back on bikes after bone headed mistakes.
Now refer back to the second photo I provided. If you have not figured out what is wrong with it yet, I will give you a hint. My start date with Amor, for whom I will be traveling back and forth over the US/Mexico border, was May 11. If you still can not see what is wrong, look at the expiration date of my passport. May 9. Two days before I started with Amor Ministries. I don't need to explain that I was busy leading up to my start date with Amor. I have communicated that plenty. That said, throughout my preparation it somehow escaped me that my passport would be expired by the time I got to Amor.
On my first day, I sat in a conference room and one of our internship coordinators requested all of my required identification. I confidently slid my passport and driver's license her way. She looked at them briefly and responded by saying, "Is this correct that your passport is expired?" As she handed the passport back to me and it slowly dawned on me that this very important detail had slipped my attention, I am sure I put my hands on my head and looked much like I did in the third panel of the comic above.
As soon as our meeting ended, I went to work trying to find out how quickly I could renew my passport. As it turns out, there is a way to have a new passport processed immediately, it merely requires you to pay nearly double the standard passport fee and drive to one of very few national passport offices. Fortunately, one of these offices is in Los Angeles, just a couple of hours north of San Diego. I quickly went about taking the first available appointment at this office which would be at 7:00 a.m. on Friday. I was afforded some relief through making this appointment, but was still concerned as to whether my passport would be processed the same day I applied for it. Since I needed to travel to Mexico on Monday. Additionally, there was one more issue that would affect my trip up to L.A.
Tires Wear Down Very Quickly When You Overload Your Car and Drive 3,600 Miles
Prior to my departure from Virginia, I made sure that my car was in good shape to make the trip. I had an alignment issue that had caused some premature wear on my tires. Two tires had to be replaced and the mechanics estimated that the other two had a remaining life of about 5,000 miles. Given this information, I had two replaced and left the other two on, planning to replace them some time after the end of my trip across the country. What I did not take into account was that putting as many things as I could into the car and driving it across the country would drastically reduce the 5,000 mile estimate. By the time I got into San Diego, the rubber on those two tires was showing signs that it would soon pull apart. This meant that I needed to find two new tires that matched the ones I already had in my car somewhere in or around San Diego before I drove to L.A. Within an hour or so of starting my search I found a chain that could have the tires shipped to a store close by on Wednesday. I was able to drop my car off that night and pick it up with my 17's wrapped in some fresh Falkens the following afternoon.
I Get By With A Little Help
People have been coming through for me repeatedly throughout this experience. My trip to L.A. was no exception. My new roommate, Andrew, immediately recognized that it was going to be tough to get to L.A. from San Diego for my meeting in the early morning. His parents live just a few miles south of my destination, so he put in a call with them and I drove to their house Thursday night. Rather than having a two hour drive that would turn into a three or four hour drive with traffic in the morning, I just had a quick 25 minute trip. I am very thankful that they were able to lend me a bed for the night. The next morning, getting my passport went off without a hitch. I had some free time, so I used it to visit the J. Paul Getty Museum, which Andrew's parents had told me about the previous evening. The museum was amazing, I only wish I could have had more time to spend there. The 118 mile trip home took me roughly 3.5 hours due to traffic, but I was very thankful to have my passport and to have had the days off to straighten out this issue. For the rest of the weekend, I took it pretty easy. Even today I am pretty worn out from the travel and all the new stimulii. My aunt and uncle, who live in San Diego, did invite me to spend some time with them and their girls, which I was very thankful for. I did some stuff with them but otherwise hung around the house.
(Just one of the amazing buildings and some beautiful foliage at the Getty Museum)
(Central Garden at Getty)
Things are working out pretty well. Even when I make a little mistake or have a barrier thrown in my way, there is always an opportunity for it to be torn down. I guess the old phrase that when God shuts a door he opens up a window is often true. I'm thinking this week I'd just like walk out the door rather than jump from the second story.