Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cruise Control

So, I've definitely been phoning it in these past few weeks.

I have been faithfully volunteering, but I haven't done a great job of documenting it in the blog. In fact, as much as I like my project, it's been a tough month and I am looking forward to April.

Feeling like this also makes me feel like a big load of crap. I'm nearly finished with my project, so why has it made me feel drained? I'm wondering if the gray skies are making me care less, or perhaps I'm just overwhelmed with side projects. Maybe it's laziness?

Regardless, I need to share what I've been up to.

Nearly three weeks ago, the headlines (including the OP) screamed "Snowpocalypse." Even though the storm was pretty minor, I knew that most places would be closed, making it hard for me to get my volunteering quota filled.

So, last week, I took on two gigs to make up for it. But, I only worked about four hours total. Lame.

I went to Gleaners, which I love, to help sort through big bins to distribute a variety of food and other items. This was a new experience, because I had never seen what corporations donate. Besides some odd items, such as Speedo swim goggles, Christmas lights and purses, personal items like condoms, lotions and nail polish were all part of the mix.

I popped in before work and and volunteered for about an hour and a half. I loved it. I don't have to make small talk, I get some exercise, and quite frankly, the staff members are probably some of the best people to work with. They make it easy -- almost too easy, because I was a half-hour late for work. Don't worry OP editors, I worked late to make it up for it.

On Saturday, I drove to Fenton for the Polar Bear Plunge. I had contemplated diving into the icy water myself (the money goes toward the Special Olympics of Michigan), but I realized that if I got sick, I was going to really be in trouble. Besides, I've taken on Lake Superior in early April. I have nothing to prove.

But did have fun on the sidelines -- albeit the soggy mess of water that kept creeping toward the onlookers. Seniors and teens alike dressed in hula skirts, polar bear masks and even an appearance from Cousin Eddie from "National Lampoons Christmas Vacation," replete with bathrobe, stogy and the RV hose, jumped.

My job for the day was to document the happenings and shoot video, which I did. And I e-mailed it to the event coordinator, but the e-mail keeps bouncing back. So, now my presence feels even more negligible. Instead, a huge thank you should go out to Walgreen's, who sent more than forty volunteers to help out.

More polar plunges are taking place this weekend. Check them out here. The funds raised really do make a difference to the athletes taking part in the games.

For this week, I still need to volunteer. I think I will be headed back to Gleaners tomorrow morning since I am taking an impromptu trip north this weekend. I need something convenient. But, hopefully, for the rest of my experiment in philanthropy, I will be more engaged. There are still so many places I haven't helped out at yet, and I am running out of time.

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