Showing posts with label service. Show all posts
Showing posts with label service. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

One Time Was Plenty

         A couple of weeks ago, Jenna came home with a form for parents interested in volunteering for an upcoming field trip.  She begged me to please fill it out and I did. The next morning, after returning home from leaving her at school, I thought better of it.  The volunteers needed to be downtown at 8:15.  Even if we caught an earlier bus, I wouldn’t be able to get downtown at the allotted time.

         At first I tried to make arrangements to car pool with another student in her class.  But that didn’t pan out, and we actually ended up having Roland drop us off at her school at 6:30 in the morning, but I had to leave for the bus stop while it was still dark.  I felt bad about leaving her.  I felt worse when I arrived and discovered that there appeared to be more children than adults.  I should have taken Jenna downtown with me – but she wanted to go to school first.

         As it turned out, I think I could have taken Jenna on our regular route and arrived minutes before the class did and still felt as prepared as I had having arrived an hour before the class so that I could receive “training”.  I don’t think I was adequately trained until an hour after the students arrived.  I think the minimum amount of volunteers needed is 20.  I don't even think we had 16.

         JA City and Biztown are programs designed to help students experience real life.  In this case it was fifth graders given the opportunity to run businesses and balance checkbooks and make purchases.  It was our job as volunteers to see that they were doing it correctly.

         Fortunately, Linda, who was assigned to be CEO of Alphagraphics (where I was assigned to assist) took charge and really tackled her assignment.  The two who were assigned to be salesman failed in listening skills and tried to tackle raising money themselves rather than working as a team.

         Jenna had been assigned as a Chief Financial Officer, which gave her the experience of cutting checks for paying bills and printing employee paychecks.  The CFO on my team was absent and another girl was pulled out of one store and placed in ours.  She wasn’t given a choice in the matter and the change had been quite stressful for her.  I credit our CEO for taking our newly positioned didn’t-want-to-be CFO under her wing and actually changing Kelli’s tears into smiles and enjoyment.  

         In addition to the banks and business of product, the JA city also had a mayor (one of Jenna’s classmates) and a city council.  There were screens on every wall to watch broadcast news and advertisement (also represented by the students.  Even the camera crew were 5th grade students)

         I know I’m not getting out all the words I need to explain this program accurately and here are a couple of videos that may give my reader more insight.  This one also a cartoon map of the city – a rough estimate anyway.

         Jenna and I had not gone downtown together, but we got permission for me to take her directly home instead of having to return to the school.  Good thing.  I would have not made it to the school when the bell rang to dismiss.
         I think it’s an awesome thing that this program exists and that children are given the opportunity to experience a small piece of adulthood – or responsibility.  Some actually not pleasant, unfortunately.

         My poor Jenna could shop at the cash only store (there was only one) but had to hurry as she had spent most of her break in line at the bank.  The deposit was always less than eight dollars and the most cash they could keep was 2.00 – the only amount she could spend as her account was somehow screwed up showing a zero balance – which was actually not the case, as she hadn’t spent anything.  Unfortunately there are many adults who have to deal with that in real life.

         I think overall it was a good experience for all involved, but it’s not something I wish to do again.  I am happy for it’s existence however.  I think it’s a neat program.  I just personally don’t wish to do it again.

         Neither one of us was able to get an ID card that was on promotion at Alphagraphic (the business where I had been assigned) and so I came home and made my own.  I actually like mine better.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Loaded Paintbrushes and the Rest of the Story

After we had purchased the house
Roland put the boys to work
painting the trim red.
That was seven years ago.
Time to paint again.

Randy needs money
and Roland puts all three boys to work
and says he’ll pay them 100 dollars each
as soon as the work is done.
The instructions are fairly simple: 
Everything that is red needs to be painted over in green,
everything that’s white needs to be repainted white.

Biff was the first to show.
He works graveyard and comes
straight from his job
though two weeks ago
I think he went to the gym before coming here

Roland had to work that day
and so I had told Tony that he could be in charge
I didn’t want Randy to be in charge
because most of the time
he doesn’t even know what he’s doing
as he has managed to disappear
each time Roland taught the boys a trade

Randy appears to be genuine about helping
or at least that was the case two weeks ago
But he loaded the paintbrush
so that it dripped onto the cement below.
I know that’s not how Roland taught him
but listening has never been his greatest skill.
I am so grateful that he hadn’t tried painting Jenna’s room
Otherwise she’d have blue splotches all over her floor
not to mention we would have run out of paint
before all of the walls were finished
We put Randy in charge of moving the lawn.

All three boys showed up the week before last.
When Tony and Biff both took off
Randy continued to work
and may have finished
except for we ran out of green
Of course none of us were here last week
as Jenna had her 5K.  
That was the first morning
since Tony’s been married
that I remember him showing up on time.

Roland wants the job done ASAP
It’s taking too long.
He hired some other people to finish the job.
They didn’t finish.
They said they’ll be back on Monday.
Roland wants the job done NOW
so yesterday  Biff and Tony showed up
(Randy is out of town)
More got done.
It isn’t finished though.
There is more red trim to paint green
Jenna’s old room needed painting as well

After Biff and Tony left for the day
Roland recruited me to help him paint
We put a light beige over the pink
in Jenna’s old room.
The wall came out a light tan.
I like the color.

After the room looked finished
(though there are still a lot of flaws)
Roland took the bed apart 
and leaned it against the wall.
He then drilled a hole into the floor
and went under the house
to change the cable.

There was a time in my life
when I had gone spelunking
with a large group
and actually had fun
exploring the cave

It wasn’t until just before our exit
that I became freaked
at the very idea of the closure
and the "what if"s.
I have not been underground since.

Roland’s not at all fazed by the crawl space
but I am definitely having problems about it.
So he was in the crawl space and I was
over the hole that he drilled.
He could hear me. 
I could not hear him enough to
understand what he was saying to me
so I sent Jenna to stand over the crawlspace
and translate what Roland saying.

She hung upside down as she watched him.
The cables were too short and he and Jenna went to the store
to pick up a longer cable.

I tried to take a nap while they were gone
but my body was so sore that
I couldn’t relax.
I’ve never been eighty.
I’ve seen some 80 year olds who are quite healthy
and move like they’re twenty.
But I’ve seen more who seem hunched over
and have trouble walking
as though they are experiencing a shooting pain
with every step.
That is how I feel –
like the misshapen 80 year old
and every part of me hurts
even went I’m not moving

I couldn’t sleep
and so I turned on the television
to see if that might help
I flipped around until I landed on the BYU station
announcement is made that
Granite Flats first episode is coming up next”
I hadn’t ever seen it. 
I started watching it although
I figured Roland and Jenna would return
before the program ended
and I still would not see it.

The doorbell rang
and I got up to answer the door.
Roland and Jenna were standing there with several packages
half of which were food
I helped them unload their bags.
When I returned to the other room,
the TV had been turned off

Roland returned to the crawl space
and we threaded the cable through.
He then moved in the computer from one room
We hooked up and moved the desk
from the bedroom
Hard work
Both of us were tired.
Both of us were sore.
My mind was the only thing NOT sore
as it kept of thinking of things
I wanted to post.
I’m still sore.
When I got out of bed this morning,
I walked slower
and less gracefully than
Frankenstein’s Monster.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Pantry Fairy Strikes Again

     When Roland and I lived in Kearns, we spent time volunteering at the pasta plant.  We once purchased a very large order while there.  A mammoth order actually – which was good, because it carried us through several years of hardship.

     I think it was just right after Christmas when we passed out the remaining pasta to our boys.  Within a week I found a huge box of food had been left at our door step.  No note.  No hint of who may have left it.

I didn’t know if the church was taking up a collection and Roland had given our address as a drop off – but it was on Sunday when I found it – meaning whoever dropped it off was a lot faster getting home from church than we were.  It was odd.  And so I actually started taking things out to sort them into groups.
It was an odd assortment really.  Bags of pasta.  A variety of canned goods.  A box of two pack muffins and some tasteless marshmallow twists.  I didn’t know if they were intended for us or if it was the wrong house or if the stuff was really any good.  It was though someone had raided their own pantry – oh, perhaps it was from one of our next door neighbors.  Because the box of muffins came with information given in Spanish, I thought perhaps it was our neighbor to the west who had cleaned out her pantry.


Neither neighbor said anything about the box.  I think it was only a month later when we were hit again.  Also on a Sunday.  We had survived the last food without getting sick.  But I still questioned the safety of the food, or who it was from.  When I found pudding from the bishops store house I figured it wasn’t from anybody on our street – unless it was from the couple on the corner but I really didn’t believe it was from them.  Oh, my word.

The most likely candidate I would have considered right away was Frank and Marie.  But they had moved out of our ward and are living in another county.  I think they’ve encountered more financial struggles than we have, actually. They had lived in a double-wide trailer when they first moved to West Valley.  Monthly payments became a burden and they moved from their double wide to a single.  When they moved they’d given us an assortment of food – much like what was in the box. 

When they moved a second time, it was just easier for them to part with their food than to pack it.  I don’t think we got all of it, but they did include us in the division of their storage.  Funny how I received a phone call as I was going through the storage.  It was Frank and Marie.  I asked if they had left the food.  They wanted to keep it anonymous.  They knew that we had had struggles.  They don’t know we actually seem to be out from under it now.  I don’t know if they found themselves in a similar situation.

Jenna and I were both home when the pantry fairy hit again.  This time it included Easter candy.  I’m certain that they had Jenna in mind – for they love her. Roland was certain that someone keeps leaving the goods at the wrong house.  I once again explained that I had talked to Frank and Marie and told him why I thought it was them.  How kind of them to willingly drive from Ogden to West Valley.  I sent them a note to thank the pantry fairy should they ever see him/her. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

What Awesome Dedication

Last night I attended a birthday party for the RS.  The dinner wasn’t scheduled until 6:30, but I could tell by the decorations and the presentation that there were some on the committee that must have started setting up at 5:00.  And then they stayed to clean up afterwards.  I KNOW more time was dedicated to the  entire set-up/clean-up-process than was for the event itself.  I have felt much admiration for these sisters – but especially on nights like last night.  What a lot of hoop-lah and truly admirable devotion!

Shortly after Roland and I moved into our current ward, I was asked to be on the activities committee.  It was a short lived calling as the entire committee changed hands just four months later.  But I don’t recall devoting so much time.  But then our RS pres at the time was a Superwoman who somehow has enjoyed the challenge of doing it all with little or no delegation.  She cooked and baked and multi-tasked – or so it seemed.  And the food she prepared was (still is) great.  In all honesty, my favorite part about being on the committee was having the opportunity of bringing home leftovers.

Last night I stayed late.  Pitched in a little bit but not near as much as I probably should have.  Roland was in the nursery with several children – the most children I have seen at an RS activity nursery (or one of the few).  He ended up being the only leader.  Fortunately for him most of the kids were older and could look out for themselves as well as the few little ones who were there.   

He stayed to take down tables as I visited with those few stragglers that remained.  I think we took more leftovers home last night than I had ever taken home when I had served in that position.  Among were the remainders of an orange chiffon salad – which had actually been my favorite part of the meal.  Guess Roland will be taking some of that with him to work.

Thank you all people who are so diligent in their callings and fulfill their assignments to the fullest.  May we all have such dedication.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

One of Us Has to Wait in the Snow

What goes around comes around.  I thought about that when Alley’s mom offered not only to drive us to Jenna’s school, but pick her up as well.  When I was driving I had stopped to pick up Jorge and his mom whenever I would see them walking to church.  I was also willing to drive them to other destinations as needed. I’ve given rides to various people for various reasons.  I actually haven’t had a problem with it so I don’t know why I’m having such an issue at the receiving end. 

Alley’s mom is a really good driver – unfortunately not all drivers are that careful behind the wheel.  If she were to get in an accident because she was out shuttling Jenna and me around, I would be quite bothered by it.  But I didn’t want to discourage her or take away from her act of kindness.  The last time she picked Jenna up from school, her own children nearly beat her home.

Jenna, who usually considers herself late for school if she hasn’t crossed the playground at least 30 minutes before school starts, would rather take the bus than be to school fifteen minutes before we would normally board the bus.  But I’m not always thrilled with the idea of having to return to the bus stop to wait in the freezing cold either.  And so we made a compromise.

Alley’s brother normally takes the bus to the junior high but during the cold months and elements, their mom has been dropping him off and has offered to take Jenna the rest of the way to her school as Vantanna really isn’t that far from Dwight Jr. High.

But as I mentioned in this post Alley’s school let’s out only five or ten minutes after Jenna’s and though they return to the neighborhood by way of school bus, the timing is not always convenient from my point of view.  I think she needs to be home for their return – though I do appreciate her willingness and have accepted her offer – I still am having a hard time with it.

Jenna, who also likes to dawdle (which I have mentioned here and here and probably another number of places) has been good about crossing the field on time.  But I think she is more bothered about crossing the field immediately after school than she is at arriving early.  And so we made a compromise
We will ride with Alley’s mom in the morning and I will return for her by bus in the afternoon.  Roland hasn’t been coming home on time the last few nights and so I’m not worried about having his dinner ready (whenever I do, he’s late; whenever I don’t, he’s home on time – I can’t win)

I’m grateful to those people who serve others and assistance and genuine concern and kindness.
This morning I handed a card to Alley’s mom to thank her and let her know about the compromise between me and Jenna.  I am comfortable with it.  I hope that she is too.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Hello Welfare Square


I like Welfare Square.  It's inviting.  The atmosphere is pleasant.  The structure is appealing.

 Last year I tried fitting the cannery into my schedule – volunteering once a week or twice a month.  I’d work from 11:00 to 2:30 – fit great into my schedule as I was free to drop Jenna off in the morning and get home before she was dropped off. 

The hours have changed.  Now is 11:30 to 3:00 and Jenna is no longer getting dropped but I have to go and pick her up.   Going from the cannery to her school in twenty minutes is really pushing it (especially now that the construction is starting it’s way into monopolizing the road).  So I will have to find another method for volunteer hours.

I prefer the consistency of the dairy, pasta plant and cannery as opposed to the inconsistency of the storehouse or the DI – though I have had some fun jobs at the  DI (Deseret Industries) I’ve also wasted trips driving to designated locations (I’m actually not close to any of it) and have recently learned that I’ll need a work order from my bishop in order to volunteer at DI.  But I want to feel useful – not something mundane.  I can do that at home.

Jenna’s school is testing these next two weeks and then they will play until school lets out – so I haven’t been putting in much time at the school either.  And as I’m no longer on a set schedule with mom I feel like I can give more of my time – well this month anyway.  I’ve never done much with volunteer work while Jenna’s home for the summer.  Maybe I’ll just wait until school starts back up again before I start in with my pathetic dedication.

visit Welfare square at:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

volunteers needed and fundraisers

I’ve done volunteer work for the PTO and the PTA. I have never served on the board or chaired a committee. I’ve been approached three different times to volunteer/head the fundraiser.  Oh, no.  I hate fundraisers.  How could I possibly be in charge of something I loathe so much?

The first school that my daughter attended seemed to get a lot of support for the PTA involvement.  The PTA president had asked me if I would volunteer one or two days a week to make copies for various teachers.  As I was already coming in once a week to assist with the preschool and kindergarten teachers – one or two extra hours in the copy room didn’t seem like a big deal.

In that first school all of the paper was kept in the room behind the office along with the copy machines.  We were asked to record how much paper was being used and for what teachers. 

I never made copies at Jenna’s second school.  I volunteered to help out her teacher once a week - but I have no idea how the copy system worked there or where the copier(s) was/were located.  Had only gone to one PTA meeting in which I was asked if I would like to be the PTA teacher for the following year.  Were they serious? It was my first meeting at that particular school.  The only reason that anything was said in English is because I was present and so somebody translated for me.  I think a bilingual PTA president would have been more practical.  But PTA support in that school was less than pathetic.

Making copies in this current school is different from the first – each teacher is responsible for his or her own paper.  In first grade I would forget and get to the copier and realize I would have to go back to the classroom for paper.  The PTO seemed to have a lot more support in the first two years (in which Jenna attended) than it does now.  I still make copies for teachers but have actually not been involved a whole lot with the PTO until recently.

I haven’t participated actively for almost an entire year because of other pressing matters (namely mom’s dementia) and so just came back to the PTO meeting and I have gotten involved. Ironically my participation at present has to do with the fundraiser.

Jenna likes the idea of  “selling” and is quite competitive when it comes to prizes – or at least she was.  We don’t live in the greatest financially conditioned neighborhood.  Everybody’s struggling just to make ends meet and as the children in the neighborhood attend a tremendous amount of schools, it is not possible to support every single school – and who needs all those “worthless” trinkets anyway?  Or wrapping paper three times the price that one would pay in the store?  Or one dollar chocolate bites? Or expensive cookie dough that actually doesn’t taste all that superior?

Jenna had sold two tubs of cookie dough and two cookie scoopers our first year here.  Of course she was the only one in kindergarten that sold which earned her a price – and they had cool prizes here – way more cool than her first school.  But Roland would have to sell them all in order to get the prize that he truly wanted.  Jenna was happy with the soundmaker keychain. 

Last year there was the option: If you don’t want to buy, you can still donate, and your child would still get his ducks and a ticket for the drawing.  Jenna never did receive her ducks.  And she only got one ticket.  She did beat the odds however.  Her one ticket is the one that was drawn and she received the I-pod Shuffler that had motivated many of the children to go out and sell.  Funny thing, I think she would have rather had the plastic ducks on key chains.

I really like the fundraiser this year and did contribute money wise – but not for the prizes to be won.  This time instead of selling worthless and expensive crap (in which the PTO/PTA receives only a small percentage) why not just skip to the incentive?

This year prizes were donated: scooters, a bike, a summer fun set (includes hula hoop, ball, paddles, bubbles, a kite, etc.) a night at the Hampton (not that the kids care, but the donors might) an I-Pod, an I-Home, gift cards to Lowes or Costco, a Furby, a baby doll (that appeals to our first grade and kindergartners) amoung others.  Five dollars will get you one ticket to enter the drawing of your choice – each additional five dollars will get you two more additional tickets.

I thought Jenna would really want a scooter, but she’d rather have the ball.  So we have tickets in both the scooter drawing and the summer fun set.  And there will still be prizes left that aren’t in the drawing (such as cheesecake and extra kites)

Unfortunately it hasn’t been well advertised or the parents just aren’t getting it, or something.  We haven’t been as busy as we’d like or had the support we would hope to see.  But there haven’t been a lot in the way of volunteers either.  I don’t know why.  Nor do I understand why there isn’t a bigger priority on education or extra curricular learning that the funds aren’t automatically made available. 

I am so grateful for those who take the time to educate our children and for those volunteers who support growth.  I’m grateful to those who are creative enough to come up with great ideas like this one.  I hope it fans out for everybody involved. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Easing My Way Into Yet, Another Routine

          When Jenna was in the first grade, I would drop her off before school started.  Often I would park and walk around the adjoining neighborhoods.  Sometimes I would go to the temple and sometimes I would remain at the school and offer my assistance.  I made copies for Jenna’s teacher once a week.

Before school let out I would return for her – though she and her friend Isaac were always the last two across the field.  It didn’t bother me if she dawdled.  I would just assume NOT deal with school traffic.  When she was attending first grade I was usually the only car left by the time she arrived to the parking lot.
          I had a similar routine for the first six weeks of second grade.  And then she gave her name and number to a classmate who happens to live in our same zip code.  His mother and father both work a graveyard shift and don’t return to their house until after school has started.  So his grandma would take Don to school – if she was up.  Apparently grandma was not reliable.

          So when Don’s mom read our address, she called me to see if we could car pool.  If it was okay, I would drop them off and she would pick them up.  That would be great!  I was not an avid clock watcher and had actually missed a few days with picking Jenna up on time. 

Don’s mom was grateful to count on more reliable transportation for Don – and I was equally excited about not having to watch the clock.  And as we live further north of the school, I have always believed that I am getting the better end of the bargain.

          In October of 2011, we got our dog, Highness.  Two or three times a week I would allow Highness to ride in the car with us and after I dropped off the kids, Highness and I would take a walk. I would still go to the temple, put in volunteer work, help out at the school and visit my mom in addition to my household duties and spending time at the computer. 

          Even at the beginning of 2012 I remember walking the dog, attending the temple – though it wasn’t as often.  Nor were my services to the school.  I started spending more time with mom.  I stopped taking Highness with me when I dropped the kids off at school.  My routine was slowly changing.  When Corey went out of town, I was forced to put myself on a schedule. 

          My niece and her husband had moved into mom’s basement.  She teaches and he goes to school.  He created a site for each of us to know who would be with mom during what hours so that she would never be alone. Unfortuneatly there were a few gaps when she was by herself.

          So by the time third grade started, I was dropping off the kids and driving to moms – sometimes to the cannery.  I don’t think I had gone to the temple since one time in summer.  My routine had come to rallying around mom.  I had even stopped going to the cannery after a while.  On those days that I wasn’t with mom, I was looking into many different communities that offered assisted living.  And we needed one with memory care.

          Now we don’t have to be on a specific schedule about seeing mom – though it is nice that we still communicate and keep in touch about making plans.  For instance, Sunny had decided it would be good to take mom on an outing – away from her new home.  She contacted each of us to make sure it wouldn’t interfere with our own plans.

          I attempted to start another routine.  Last Tuesday I went to the temple for the first time in probably five months.  I hadn’t been to the Jordan River Temple since it had been remodeled. There somehow seemed to be more space and an ornate elegance that invited all that is sacred and holy. I felt like a stranger – almost as though I didn’t belong. 

          That was my only attempt – to start a routine.  Haven’t built myself a routine either last week or this week.  I haven’t even been out to see mom as regularly as I had planned. Mother Nature has interfered. But perhaps it’s best for her.  Perhaps she can make a better adjustment with being where she is.  I don’t know.