Where have I been, you might wonder. I almost wonder myself.
This week I started a new "job". After probably 30 hours of work, I have earned all of $86! Hopefully things will "look up" in the near future, and I'll make a bit more. What I am doing is talking to Korean people on the phone as their "English tutor". It is rather interesting; I can feel that I am doing a "good" thing - there are opportunities to make someone's day better. But it is a bit of a strain to listen to foreign speakers, and when the student is not available, of course, I don't get paid. Since there are only so many hours in a day, I am trying to do this instead of sleep. 5-7 a.m. How miserable is that? Still. Think Russia!. Theoretically I get $2 per ten-minute class. If I am ever "booked" solid, and the students are actually home and waiting to do the lesson, this might turn out to be the way to afford the trip. We shall see. Meanwhile, the stress and strain to learn all the ends and outs of the reporting and record-keeping has been [I admit it] more trouble than it is worth. (Particularly since I was required to get internet access at home, and that already cost us a significant amount.)
My OTHER wonderful "go-to-Russia" job, is really by way of getting the boys to earn their own tickets. Maxim has been more and more anxious to go to Russia, now that he's discovered his cultural identity. Sergei, of course wants to visit his sister. But, as we all know, these tickets don't come cheaply. SO.... we are doing a newspaper route. Fortunately, it is one of those "shopper" papers - mostly coupons - but it is just a once-a-week thing.
The irony of our doing this is that several years ago Sergei and I did a route together for 5-6 months. When we quit it, I experienced a really unique phenomenon. I realized that I had never in my life felt so profoundly, actively, joyfully grateful for anything as that we weren't "doing the paper" any longer. I'd wake up on Sunday and when the realization washed over me that I didn't have to get up and run through the cold dark, with ink-stained hands, I'd just feel this marvelous glow. I'd end up driving down one of the streets where we'd delivered and a feeling of well-being and release would flow through my body. I couldn't help but smile - I didn't have to do the paper! I didn't have to do the paper!!! So, why - why am I once again "doing the paper?" Super-good question.
Well, one nice thing is that with four boys, rather than just one, I figured that this time all I'll have to do is sit in the car and tell them which houses get the paper, and which to skip. Also, instead of the forced march into early morning darkness on the one morning of the week that most cries out for a lie-in, we get to pick the papers up on Saturday afternoon and deliver when whenever we want, so long as it is before noon.
The first week was tremendously fun and easy. Well. Sort of. Everyone in good spirits. The following week was not bad, though it was pouring rain. Last week was a bit more of a struggle. Ilya had to carry the weight of the "foreman" as he is a diligent worker. Maxim, too, is a go-getter but he has been on Beaver Island with some friends for two weeks. He was sorely missed! But a more difficult challenge was that my van was in the shop, and I could tell that my husband's Bronco was overheating, so we had to park the car and - yes, all of us - do the route on foot.
This week, during the bagging process on the porch, Ilya took offense at something Zhen did and refused to work any longer. Sergei took the approach that if Ilya wasn't working, he certainly wasn't going to - he'd gotten a hellish sunburn the day before, and there was no doubt he was in great discomfort. So Ilya and Sergei went ill-temperedly on their way, leaving me and Zhen.
I refused to fight [much] about it and headed out with Zhen who can be a vigorous little worker....but 400 some papers got to be a bit daunting. We went back and picked up Anastasia and the two of them did their thing for another couple of hours. But Anastasia offended Zhen somehow [snooty remarks about his speed, I seem to recall] and he threw in the towel. So did I at that point, and Anastasia and I finished up on Sunday morning by ourselves.
Well, when our $50 arrives, I know who is not getting their share this week! Does all that disharmony, time and effort sound worth $50? No, I don't think so either. But REMEMBER MOSCOW!