netcurmudgeon (netcurmudgeon) wrote,

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This volunteering thing...

Will really make you sweat

I spent the morning (actually, well unto almost one) one the Rt. 17 medians. It's an interesting job being project co-chair when neither you nor your co-chair are plant people. My role sometimes seems like Norm Abrams from This Old House -- I just walk around asking experts what they're doing (and pointing volunteers at them).

The anatomy of a work day on the medians ... You start with cones. Several dozen 36" tall orange traffic cones. You don't realize it when you're whizzing by in a car, but these suckers are heavy; something like 5-7 lbs. apiece, which isn't much for one, but adds up quick when you have a stack of six, eight, or twelve of them. Every seven steps you drop a cone. Make it every three or four steps at the intersection; you need a tighter spacing there. The result is that both the North and South islands are pretty much ringed with cones.

As the volunteers start to arrive you need to get them signed in and into an orange vest. Some people (ahem, Dad) are hopeless safety vest scofflaws.

Then comes all that work business. The good thing about the medians is that the family business is right there, so you don't have to remember every single tool you might need on the first trip. It gives you a staging area, and a place for the volunteers to park. The bad thing is that, even with a couple of experts on hand, I still feel like I mostly don't know what people should be doing. It's hectic enough that I almost forgot to stop and smell the bark mulch. One of the really rewarding things about the work is that you get a lot of instantaneous positive feedback from people passing by in their cars. Many folks will say something when they're stopped at the light, or they'll toot and wave.

And at the end, once the volunteers have cleared out, and you have stowed all the tools, you pick up all the cones. I have a pattern the works pretty well (from the nursery, swing North to get those cones, across the median, South through the intersection to the South median, pick up those cones, then North to the nursery). They always seem heavier at the end of the morning. :-)

And for my next trick, I will emulate a motionless lump on the couch.
Tags: gpip

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