Involuntary Servitude

Guess what?  As a test to my commitment to a calm, focused Advent season, today was pick up day for the poinsettia dance team fundraiser–otherwise known as the perfect storm of holiday cheer and high blood pressure inducement.

Long-term readers may remember my experience during last spring’s flower pickup.  If you’ve recently arrived here in Suburbia thanks to NaBloPoMo, take a minute to read it. It will help the rest of this make sense.

There’s good news and bad news regarding this evening’s pickup.  The good news?  I did not shed a tear nor raise my voice the entire time.  The bad news?  I had plenty of opportunity to do so in the two and a half hours I spent in the old visitors’ locker room under the stadium (which, for the record, still smells though it is no longer in use.)

As I’ve learned is par for the course, we did not get details of the pickup time or location until last night at around 9:30 p.m.  At that time, all families who sold poinsettias received instructions to show up at 3:00 p.m.  I responded that I had a meeting that could not be changed and that I would be there as soon as I could.

The response?  Silence.  Again, not unusual.

When I complained to my officemates about the ongoing dance team fundraiser issues, my assistant volunteered to go over and help with the delivery and pick up process since it was directly across from my office.  I accepted, officially becoming the mother who sent her secretary instead of showing up for something herself.  I. Did. Not. Care.

And all would have gone fine, excepting the ruination of my reputation, if not for the fact that the delivery truck was over two hours late.  My assistant texted me in the meeting after waiting a while, and I told her to go back to the office.  My meeting ended in plenty of time for me to watch as the semi tried to back up and into the drop off area. 

And despite my hanging out in the office to finish up some additional details, I still arrived (along with DD1 who had the misfortune of needing a ride home from cross country practice) in plenty of time to help with the unloading and sorting.

It soon became apparent that my colleague, the husband of my friend who died recently, was not coming to pick up his forty-six poinsettias.  The reason?  He hadn’t checked his home email for the late-night message with the details, and the group hadn’t added his work email to the distribution list in place of his wife’s account.  I called him and got voicemail.

We considered leaving the flowers where they were since he has access to the building.  All was well until it was pointed out that without heat during the night, they’d likely freeze.  Just as we were figuring out our next move, he called me back.  I hung around to help him get some of the flowers to his house and to ensure that no one made snide comments to him.  Adapting to being the single parent of three girls with plenty of extracurricular activities is no easy task, especially if one of the activities involves a chronic lack of communication about volunteer expectations.

The best part of this whole experience?  I did the math and realized that once I excluded my own purchases (home decoration and gifts for Soccer Boy’s teachers and my office staff), I made a whopping $25.97 for my efforts. 

Why don’t I ever learn?

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