Thursday, May 14, 2009

Another Tale from the Parsonage and...

Let's talk about furniture...

Part of the salary package for a lot of pastors is a partially furnished house. By partially I mean usually there should be dresser drawers for each bedroom, a full guest bed and a living room set. The house should also have a fully functioning dish washer, washing machine, dryer and refrigerator. This is done because pastor's move around a lot and can't afford to buy furniture to match each new house. Plus we only get limited funds to move and those funds don't cover moving an entire houseful of furniture.

But here's the fun part, for some reason a lot of parsonages are filled with hand-me down or donated furniture And I don't mean the good, gently used stuff, I mean the worst of the worst stuff that should only be found in a trash dump. I kid you not, the parsonage we live in now has a 30 year old mattress. I try not to think about it when we have company visit because it is what we have been given. We have had dotted swiss furniture that was supposed to be white but had become completely stained and disgusting over the years. We have been given broken recliners, tables with a bent leg, and the world's most disgusting smelling couch. We've also had things donated to the parsonage only to be taken back several months later because the people changed their mind.

But all of these things are nothing compared to a 50-year old stove. And I say stove because at our former parsonage that is exactly how old our stove was when we moved in. Have you ever seen a 50 year old stove? Have you ever tried to COOK on a 50 year old stove? I had one working burner and had to guess at what temperament the stove might be in when I tried to cook. Sometimes it would cook hot, sometimes it would get to 250 degrees and cry Uncle. I just never knew.

It was so bad that I would walk across our backyard to the church fellowship hall and use the oven over there, which was stupid on my part, because when I asked the church to furnish a new stove...well, they said I should just keep on walking. I finally got a new stove when I brought something to a fellowship dinner that I had tried to cook in our oven and then proclaimed loudly to visitors that it was the best I could do with what I had. I'm not sure they enjoyed the raw chicken and I really embarassed the committee.

One more thing, Hubby always changes the locks when we move into a new house. You never know who has a key to your house, so many church people feel they are entitled to a key. There's a famous story that goes around my Hubby's pastor friends. One of the pastors was living in a parsonage next to a church member. He always felt that when he came home after being gone that someone had been in his house, but he could never prove it. He could never prove it, that is, until he exited completely naked from a shower to find his next door congregant going through the drawers in his bedroom. The woman handed over her key right then and walked out without saying a word. True story.

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