Monday, December 21, 2009

Project Merry Christmas Part 1: The Best Way to Spread Chrtistmas Cheer...

The rest of December was marked by the preparation for and the execution of Project Merry Christmas. PMC is organized by the ministerial association and hands out food vouchers and toys to those who need it. The school age kids are covered by the local schools while we end up covering the rest including the home schooled kids and those people that fall through the cracks. The Farm pools the various donations, sorts them according to age groups, and then sets them up at the Lions Club so that people can "shop" for what they want. There was a lot to be done before all this went down.

We had an "off week" scheduled between Wright State and PMC but as my subtly placed quotes indicate, we were pretty busy. We spent a lot of the time at the clothing pantry (what else is new?) to try and get some of that ridiculous pile under control. It was a pretty bitterly cold on one of the days we worked there but we soldiered through it...naturally to find out later that there is in fact heat in the building. Typical. On one of the other days that we worked at the clothing pantry, I got the opportunity to work construction. It was good because it gave me an opportunity to work with the guys one last time before Christmas break. It was a lot of fun even though it was pretty cold and snowing throughout the day.

Speaking of cold, we had an interesting experience regarding the Farm's heating system. Our staff house is normally heated via heat pump. It essentially takes the heat from the air outside and pumps it into the house. It works fantastically as long as there is heat in the air to pump inside. However, once there are a few cold days in a row and all the residual heat is eliminated from the surrounding air, it turns into a dastardly air conditioning unit. When we did finally get a cold front that settled in, we did actually take the proper steps to head off the problem and we turned off the pump. Apparently, something happened with the pump because when I woke up the next morning it was 47 FREAKING DEGREES IN OUR HOUSE. I could literally feel myself getting sick. We scrambled to correct the situation. And by correct the situation, I mean we piled a myriad of heavy objects on the various vents throughout our house. We went to Church extra early Sunday morning just so that we could warm up. Eventually we talked to Dave, the Emperor of People's Self Help Housing, and were able to shut off the dreaded pump. If there was a story that typefied our time as Farm Managers, this would definitely be in the nomination envelope.

We should have known there would be a problem when this guy installed the heat pump

The off week was also when the Farm was officially turned into a Christmas Factory. We began what turned into a never ending cookie making whirlwind as we prepared gifts for those we delivered food boxes to, the people we worked with, and (most hilariously) Bossman. That last one came about as a result of pure boredom and a flash of creativity. We went back to the childhood tradition of leaving your shoes out on the evening of St. Nicholas and decided to make a middle-of-the-night expedition to Bossman's to drop off our present. It was complete with our incognito, black US Census Hats. As with most things involving us, we made quite a scene to the point that we were stopped by one of his neighbors that happened to work for the sheriff's office. Guess it looked a little shady to have people sneaking around at midnight and dropping off random boxes on people's doorsteps. Oops.

We also had the first of our many, many Christmas carolings. On Wednesday night the local churches got together and held The Ecumenical Church Walk. It started at the courthouse in town and then went to three local churches where we heard presentations on the history of each building. We did our part by caroling for the procession as they entered each building. It was made more challenging (though possibly more enjoyable for those witnessing our caroling) by the gale-like winds, which at times drowned out our voices. It was capped off with a cookies and treats reception that was downright delicious.

Thursday night we went to a concert benefitting the food pantry. It was a great night of music and entertainment. We even got introduced on stage as Glenmary Farm Managers, which was exciting. We helped out with collecting donations, which we found out later totaled a couple thousand dollars! After that, Friday was spent resting up and getting ready for the impending Project Week.

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