Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Survived Being An "Outage Widow" Again

If you are wondering what an "outage widow" is, let me explain. My husband works at a nuclear power plant. Every 18 months or so they have to refuel one of the units (there are two) where he works. They take out some of the spent fuel rods and put in new ones. They do lots and lots of needed maintance. When they do this they shut down the plant totally. With the plant shut down it's not making any electicity so the company loses money. We are talking major bucks every day!! Thus they want to work as quickly as possible. Which means the workers have to work long hard hours...12 1/2 to 13 hours 6 days a day for a little over a month. When you work that long all you do is eat, sleep and work. So, the term "outage widow" was born to describe what it's like to be left behind while your husband works long hard hours, sometimes even graveyard shift. Nothing gets done around the home that the man would ordinarily do. Decisions that need to be made together are not made because they are too tired to think. But, we survived and we should only have one more outage to endure before he retires!! Whoopee!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Just Amazing

As many of you know, I am currently serving as Church service missionary for the Family History Department of the LDS Church. I serve out of my home using my computer and telephone to help the patrons who either phone or e-mail questions. I have taken on a new assignment last month, that of teaching other missionaries how to answer questions regarding several of the products the Church supports, ie: Personal Ancestal File, Family Search Internet, Resource Files, etc. The classes are one hour each for three days, then I do what is called a "Check Your Performance" with each missionary. The CYP shows that they are proficient in helping patrons, kind of like a test, but more gentle. We use a tool that allows one user to see the computer screen of the other user. Thus we can watch as they go through the steps needed to assist others. We see what is happening on their computer screen while talking to them on the telephone.

Last week Elder Jarvis was in my class. He lives in Arizona and I'm in California. We have never meet in person. However, we worked some on the Family Tree Project and he was a great help for other missionaries also working in that area. As we began the CYP, Elder Jarvis, explained to me that he didn't have the use of his arms, and that I would be hearing him talk to his computer to give it commands. He said I would understand as he went along. He proceeded to tell his computer to "wake up", he would say certain numbers that would make his curser move to a different area on the computer. When he was done with a task he would tell the computer to "sleep" and then we could talk about what task he just completed. It was just amazing to see him operate his computer in this way. I was in awe not only what computer technology can do to help someone today but in the tenacity that I know it takes to learn that skill. I think it's wonderful that Elder Jarvis can serve a mission despite the challenges he faces in life. It was just a very touching humbling experience for me.
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