Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Peek into my Week

I spent part of last Friday learning how to enter food pantry applicants' information into the computer. This was also my first time using a laptop, (I had to ask how to open it. LOL) so it was a double-learning experience. I’ve been thinking about getting a laptop so I’m glad to be able to use one.

The back room was almost empty early Friday but it filled up quickly. That’s the room where donations are taken in and stored until we can sort them, hanging or folding the clothes, and deciding to keep or toss the knick-knacks and other things. You might wonder why we would throw things out but you wouldn’t if you could see some of the things people drop off – dirty and torn clothing, worn out pots and pans, stained and melted plastics, things with parts missing. Even though there is a BIG sign out front that says "No Dumping", people drop off things when we're closed, too, even when it's raining. We no longer take TVs of any size and we don't have room for larger items like furniture or appliances. Our dumpster is pretty full every week and we fill a straight truck with bags of unwanted clothing every 2 weeks. The clothing is recycled and the Center gets paid a small fee per pound. We do, of course, get wonderful donations also. Sometimes people even give brand new clothing with tags still on them. We get nice things that don’t sell at garage sales or when people die and the family is disposing of things. Right now we’re getting generous donations of fresh produce and we give it away on a first-come basis. I love going to work and seeing what’s new each week.

People donate magazines to the Center and we resell them for a dime each. Someone brought in a couple of grocery sacks last week and I went through them to make sure there was nothing inappropriate (Playboy, etc.). Most of them had the label cut off so I noticed when 2 didn’t. I got a good chuckle when I saw they were addressed to “Allison Wonderland’ and ‘Rhoda Horsy.’ I wonder how long it took the person to come up with those names.
My garden is winding down. The peas have been gone for weeks and I just finished pulling all the onions. The tomato plants, while still having a few tomatoes on them, look like heck. All the lower leaves have died and fallen off. I was told this was caused by a magnesium deficiency and to add Epsom salts to the soil but I didn’t do it. I had enough extra tomatoes to can a little bit of juice. I’m still picking enough green beans to have them twice a week and I have green peppers and carrots. I’m always glad to have the fresh veggies but I’m also glad when the season is over. It was a good experience using the planter boxes and now I have some ideas to improve them next year.
Our big family reunion is coming up Monday, Labor Day. My mother had 11 children in her family and I had 33 first cousins and too many second, third, and fourth cousins to count. There are only Mom, 2 of her sisters, and 1 brother alive now, 3 here in central Iowa and one in Montana. The cousins are spread out across the entire U.S. from Florida to California and everywhere in between. We’re having a potluck at a local city park and I hope we have a good turnout. People seem to drift away once the older adults on their branch are gone.
Jim did most of the mowing Saturday but I finished on Monday. The garage floor is cracking and shifting and it’s affected the doors, one of which is automatic and the other manual. My car is parked in the automatic side and the mowers, carts, etc. are on the other side. Since the only side door is next to my car, it’s easier to open the big door on that side and then raise the other door to get the mower out. Well, on Monday, the automatic door didn’t want to go back down. It would go so far and then was catching on something. It ended up bending the top of the aluminum door when it tried to close! You can imagine how panicked I felt thinking the door was ruined, wondering if I’d have to park my car outside, how we were going to close the door to protect things from getting stolen, etc. I hated to even tell Jim about it when he got home. He was able to figure out where it was hitting in the tracks and we adjusted it. Then we worked on straightening the door. We had to undo the arm that connected it to the track because even the connector was bent a little. Thank goodness we were able to get everything working again.

Nowhere on our property is very level and both the house and garage are built where the ground slopes away on 3 sides. Add to this the problem of moles (or gophers) digging everywhere and the ground just isn’t very stabile. This has led to problems with the basement floor, walls, and stairway and the garage floor, all which are expensive to fix.

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