Monday, April 30, 2007

Nice Timing

Five more sleeps until we get on the plane and...

I have a cold.

That's right, in a act of pure, wilful defiance my normally iron-clad immune system has gone on strike and let the children's colds come screaming in.

I don't think I can handle any more grapefruit juice, Advil, exposure to Kleenex, sniffling etc... Really, it's getting old. Considering when I do get colds they hang around for three to four days and this one's been really stuck on for a day and a half, I should be feeling great by Thursday. However, if my immune system doesn't pull it together, the two of us are going to be having a serious talk.

On the upside, if I still have a cold when I get on the plane, at least I can infect 200 or so other people. Misery loves company. Right?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

It's A Great Problem to Have

We never dreamed it would get this big.

Tonight we counted the bundles and put the boxes on a bathroom scale. To date we have 12,730 pencils weighing in at 150lbs -coincidentally the maximum weight in extra baggage I can take.

Do you know how much room in an average sized house 12,730 pencils takes up? It's 127 bundles of 100 pencils each. Each bundles weighs about 19 oz. 100 pencils is about what the average sized adult can successfully brace against their body with one hand - ensuring that they don't move to fast lest those 100 pencils break free and skitter across the floor just as you try to wrap an elastic band around them. Also, when the elastic band inevitably breaks as you wind it for a third time, it's really hard to control those 100 pencils. So far I've been smacked in the eye, the lip, the cheek, the wrist and the knee by snapping elastic bands.

Five and 1/2-year-olds really like opening packages of pencils. Two and 1/2-year-olds really, really like spreading pencil packaging throughout the house. Seven and 1/2 year-old Rottweilers have absolutely no interest in pencils or packaging. If it's supper time for said dog & they are being ignored, then they really care about pencils and packaging and will do their level-headed best to sit in the middle of the controlled piles and wiggle them into chaos while whining and barking.

12,730 pencils generated a surprisingly small amount of waste. It didn't quite fill a blue box with paper once the boxes were collapsed. Plastic waste was less that three grocery bags full. Unfortunately the plastic used in pencil packaging is not recyclable.

So that's behind the scenes with Kaden's incredibly successful "Kids Helping Kids" pencil project. Many, many people need to be thanked. Mom and Dad for bringing in all the BC pencils. Kaden's cousin Jessica for her shoebox full of cool stuff. The Wards for their usual amazing level of support for everything we do. Shan's Dad Merv for pencils, errands and general assistance. My brother and his wife. Shan's sister and her husband. Meghan and Deet. Nat. Sean and Katy. Charla and Matt for harassing their co-workers. G.W. Smith school for kicking things off and letting the media in. The Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School Environment Club for collecting 2075 pencils and $271 in cash. Sue and the rest of the staff and students at St. Martin de Porres Elementary for collecting over 2300 pencils & cash. Shannon's co-workers. My co-workers. Sherry and Jerry Hedlund & Grand Central Stichin' for 630 pencils today. Our Mayor's Mom! Colin from the City Rec Department who made the first cash donation - $20. Jeff Stokoe & Leo Pare from the Advocate. CHTV & CTV news. And many many other people & groups, both close friends and complete strangers who helped with this either through cash donations or through pencils. If I didn't list your name it's only because I'm exhausted not ungrateful. And of course, my four GSE team mates who will be helping deliver these to kids who really need them.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Birthday Presents

Among the things to do before I leave lies the job of "buy the kids' birthday presents". Yes, I officially lose the Father of the Year award as I'll be gone for both kids birthdays.

Kaden's lobbying pretty hard for a skateboard.

And Ainsley, the last time I asked what she'd like for her birthday, thought she might like to have a doughnut. I did remind her that a doughnut is a snack and probably not a great birthday present. Her next choice? A carrot. And you just know that she won't be pleased if we get her a carrot even though she explicitly asked for one. Three-year-old just don't have that kind of a sense of humour.

Oh and we did wills today. As is "This is the last will and testament of... being of sound mind etc..." There's a depressing way to spend 40 minutes with a lawyer. However, it does check one of the most important things of the list so, I feel better.

Next up, still need to find pants. I know, it doesn't quite have the same gravitas as The Will. However, I'm considerably more stressed out by this one.

10 more sleeps.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Not Africa Related At All

Seriously this is not an Africa post. This is simply an excuse to do this:


I am resisting all Flames & golf course related jokes I know. It's all in the pursuit of good karma because Vancouver could be sharing the links with Calgary in under two weeks if things go poorly. Wouldn't it be ironic if after all the years of missed playoffs, playoff chokes, two final round losses this year Vancouver went all the way.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Ten Work Days Left

So, there are ten work days left until we climb on the plane and fly from Calgary to London, London to Doha, Qatar, Doha to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Thanks to everybody who helped make getting to Africa possible. You are (in no particular order), the Ward family, the entire Waskasoo Park Interpretive Program staff, Rotary International District 5360, anybody who's helping Shannon while I'm gone, my folks and of course Shannon, Kaden & Ainsley. If the'dy once said "Don't go", I wouldn't have gone. But they didn't, they've been amazing. Thank you.

So, to keep you all up to speed, I along with four team members from Central Alberta, am spending May 5 - June 19 in East Africa; specifically Tanzania and Uganda. We're travelling under the Group Study Exchange program, sponsored by the Rotary Foundation.

There's still a bunch to do both at home and at work so this first post is deliberately short.