It has been quite a long time since I posted. I have two excuses.
First, my knitting has kind of hit a bump in the row. I finished the shawl and started on a couple of projects that are coming along at a snail’s pace. I’ll have more on those later. (One of them has to be done by a week from Wednesday, so I MUST have a finished object soon!)
Second, I’ve been so darn busy!
I spent the summer working to help my new boss get things together before the start of the new school year. There were quite a few things that the superintendent had ordered her to “fix!” and, since she worked through the summer to start the process, I figured that helping her was the least I could do. So I spent a great deal of the summer creating vector maps of the school grounds and building.
Then I had to return to work full time. I thought I was busy before, but wow! I’m really running now! Part of the rush is just the normal school things. Part of it has been helping set up new staff members who were hired to accommodate a last-minute growth in our school population. And part of it has been helping a mostly-new office staff get organized. Work has been crazy, but it’s been nice to really focus on helping to make the school a well-oiled machine again. Teachers are starting to smile because they can concentrate on the students, and, with the exception of a few PITB co-workers, things are much happier than last year.
And then there’s a new activity for Little Grump and me. Back in June, Little Grump told me that she was really disappointed that she hadn’t done anything important with her summer so far, and she asked if it would be possible to volunteer at the local animal shelter. She had asked this multiple times since she was about seven years old, so this wasn’t exactly a surprise. While in past years, I’d said, “maybe when you’re older,” this time I said, “Let’s look into it.” She was about to turn sixteen, and, in my book, when a teenager says that they want to be involved in their community, the last thing you want to do is discourage them!
So we went to the animal shelter and picked up an application. At this shelter, a child must be escorted by an adult in order to volunteer. I’m sure it has something to do with insurance and possible legal issues, but it meant that I had to volunteer too. I’m already busy, but I felt that it was important enough to the Little Grump to inconvenience myself a little.
We were approved to volunteer in late July and have been going back almost every week since.
Here she is volunteering today. Every week is a bit of an adventure. We mostly work in the cat adoption area. She cuddles the kitties (and occasionally a puppy, chicken, rabbit, or guinea pig) while I clean their cages, change their water, and feed them. We also work out on the floor on occasion, trying to get people interested in adopting these animals.
At times, it’s a little heart-breaking. Today, as we entered the shelter, we saw a family dropping off their family pooch. One of the children was screaming for his daddy not to leave their pet their. I thought Little Grump was going to start crying too. Heck… I thought I was going to start crying, and I’m about as mean and tough as you can get! Unfortunately, this scene is pretty common these days. Lots of people are deciding that they can no longer afford to feed their pets AND their families. Given the choice, Rover or Kitty will lose every time. As it should be. It stinks because there are no winners.
Not all of the stories are sad. The little dog that Little Grump is holding has already been adopted. I really hope the kitten will be adopted as soon as it’s old enough to be put on display. It’s awesome to help an animal find a new home and to see the delight that the new owners have in their new family member.
Along the way, we’ve learned quite a bit. One thing that we didn’t know is how much the shelter really depends on donations. There are obvious things that cost lots of money (mainly animal food and kitty litter), but then there are other things that don’t cost so much. Our shelter really needs newspapers, old towels, and paper towels, and they love to see people walk in with a bag of supplies. One donation won’t go a long way, but every bit helps!
As for Little Grump? She’s over the moon! I think she is enjoying volunteering even more than she thought that she would (and she really, really thought that she would like it). Today, she got to help with a Girl Scout tour and to train some new volunteers. Seeing her in action makes me very proud. Sixteen… She’s growing into a fine woman!