artphoto by splunge
artphoto by TheophileEscargot
artphoto by Kronos_to_Earth
artphoto by ethylene





Mecha Wiki

Metachat Eye


IRC Channels



Comment Feed:


18 December 2006

Morning in Ohio [More:]Due still being slightly on UK time, I've been getting up early. I'm having a lovely time. I hope all is well with you.
Things are busy here preparing for the holidays. We had a tree-trimming party on Saturday with Diane's grandchildren. We all made stuff (I made my famous vegetable soup) and the kids ate too many cookies and bounced off the walls. The tree looks lovely, and so it should. My job was to untangle a huge box of lights - ten sets each of white and coloured lights that were in a complete mess. It took me the best part of two hours.

Yesterday was an early church service (8am) and then I met up with Marie, George's other sister, and her husband. They live in Columbus, so we went up there, to the Firefighters4Kids warehouse. Tom and Marie have volunteered there for years. Tom puts the bicycles together and Marie helps out wherever she'd needed.

Yesterday we found ourselves bagging up toys for the "Girls 3-5 yrs" group. All the toys have been donated and are brand new, mostly old stock from Big Lots, Target, etc., as well as donations from individuals.

We would take a large Big Lots plastic bag and into each one put a doll, a game, a plush toy and two other toys (such as a My Little Pony or something - there was tons of choice). They also get a 'big toy' too, one that's too large to go into a box.

The bicycles were a dilemma. They used to give them boxed, but the families couldn't put them together. So now they are ready-assembled (by Tom and his team) but for families with little transport, they are hard to get home, so they are given to one-child families, or families who have one older child and a baby. Also, they don't have as many bikes, so it wouldn't be fair to give one family, say, four bikes, and then run out for the other families with one or two kids.

When there was just four of us left on that section, we got bad news. Three huge wheeled cages were brought round, full of bags of toys. They were toys that hadn't been distributed the previous year and the guys said they'd got wet and would all have to be checked and the ruined toys thrown away. And they were Girls 3-5.

The bags were tipped out on the floor and there were hundreds of them! The two women we were working with said they would do three each and then they would have to go shopping. Wow, thanks!

And, as if by magic, all the women on the Girls 6-10 section next to us who were just about finished disappeared!

Anyway, once Marie and I started looking at the bags, we found that hardly any of the toys, a handful, were wet, most of them were just cold, so we just rebagged them or, where the bags were fine, just re-tied them.

It was hard work. I don't have kids or have any contact with kids, so I am out of the loop on kids' toys. Some people were throwing the first things they could lay their hands on into the bags. But Marie and I put some thought into our bags. If we found a little tutu, we'd look for a tiara/shoes/jewelry set to go with it. If we found doll's clothes, we'd look for the right doll to wear them.

And we found a HUGE crate of the most gorgeous dark chocolate brown soft and squishy teddy bears, so all our girls will be getting one of those too. We tended to be on the over-generous side, and if the bag looked a little light, we'd add a couple more things. All our kids will have a lovely gift bag. I just wish I could be there to see some of their faces when they open them. Maybe there'll be a report on NBC4, which sponsors the event.

It was a lot of fun. There was great cameraderie, great food (people brought in food and there was a kitchen set up) and lots of laughs. I wish we did something like that in the UK, I'll have to find out, I really enjoyed it. When we finished the last bag out of that huge pile, there was a great sense of accomplishment.

The one disappointment : as an incentive to get me to come along, Marie promised me calendar firefighters. She tricked me. Unless the calendars they appeared on were from the early 70s.
posted by essexjan 18 December | 07:24
"too large to go into a box."

That's "bag"
posted by essexjan 18 December | 07:38
That sounds wonderful ej! Send some of the extra toys up here, I heard on the Ottawa news that they're having a shortage :( (at least I think it was Ottawa).
posted by LunaticFringe 18 December | 08:20
Nice story to start my day. What a good writer you are. It sounds like a great Christmas holiday.
posted by theora55 18 December | 08:46
What a wonderful way to embrace the season and the giving spirit. Happy Christmas to You, Diane and the family from saf and me.
posted by krix 18 December | 10:39
Sounds lovely, ej... y'all certainly spread a lot of holiday joy this year... such a mitzvah (blessing)... all the best to you and yours this holiday season!
posted by Pips 18 December | 11:07
Good on ya, Jan!

Ohio Meetup!? Where are you in OH?
posted by shane 18 December | 11:46
I'm in Southern Ohio, but a meetup is going to be difficult because I don't drive when I'm here so am dependent on people to take me around, but, as well as that, I am already here, there and everywhere seeing people and have something on just about every day between now and 28 Dec when I come home.

But next time I will set aside some time for the Columbus bunnies and we will have a meetup, for sure.
posted by essexjan 18 December | 16:05
krix: Diane sends her love to you and saf too. As do I.
posted by essexjan 18 December | 16:06
What a wonderful holiday story, jan. And I'm so happy for you that George's family is your family, too.
posted by deborah 18 December | 17:33
That's a great story, and a wonderful memory for you, too. Bless George's family for absorbing you in, such a great fit for all of you! I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday!
posted by redvixen 18 December | 20:34
Metachat, hope me raise my rates! || Happy Christmas*, Bunnies.