Sunday, January 25, 2009


I've been wanting to follow up on my earlier post about volunteering throughout the year, and not just at the holidays. Unfortunately, I haven't had much to post about. Tsk, tsk. I had plans to post about...but it turns out I am an idiot.

Here's what I had done so far: I decided that I wanted to do pet therapy visits with Rosie at least once a quarter. In between, I intended to volunteer with the Humane Society and find out about local assistance for the homeless. So I wrote "Pet Therapy" on January, April, July and October. February is for information gathering and hopefully a first volunteer session with Second Harvest or Loaves and Fishes. March will be for the Humane Society, and then hopefully I'll just rotate through the rest of the year. At the very least.

So far, so good. Of course, I left my first pet therapy visit to the last possible one of the month, January 24th. To make myself feel committed to it, I emailed our organizer a few days ahead to tell her "We'll be there Sunday!" Saturday morning, I logged onto my email to find this message: "That's today; our next visit is Feb. 1." Of course, I was still in my pajamas, and the visit had started half an hour before. So, suffice it to say, my Year of Volunteer is not starting out so well.

For those unfamiliar with this activity, therapy dogs are certified (we're with Therapy Dogs International) to visit various medical and community institutions for emotional therapy purposes. Essentially, we bring the dogs around to patients' rooms to give them a few minutes to pet and/or talk to the dogs and their handlers. Usually I take Rosie to nearby nursing and medical rehab homes with a greyhound rescue group. It's kind of funny to see her with them--five or six tall, thin dogs with short coats in various combinations of white, brown and gray, and a short black puffball who loves to walk right under their bellies to check out the next dog.

So it looks like I'm already a month behind. Unless you count my recent moment of insanity last Thursday night. I went to the annual meeting of our homeowners' association, since I hadn't made it to the other two since we moved in. I just had a few questions and a suggestion, and was curious to see how many people were really involved enough to come to the meeting. (About 20, as it turns out--out of 158 houses.) I left the meeting as one of two new officers elected to the board.

Oh my God! It's a three-year term! I can't even keep my lawn mowed regularly, and now I'm on the board of the HOA? Am I nuts???

Heh heh...I don't know. I was very impressed with most of the board members; they're intent on keeping things low key and low-cost. I didn't know that our meager $120 annual fee had been much higher. It was lowered about five years ago, mostly due to the board taking over from a paid third-party management company. I am ex post facto grateful to them.

I'm not entirely sure what responsibilities are about to come my way, beyond sort-of monthly meetings. But during Thursday's meeting I had asked enough questions to make myself an obviously involved resident, and I had already met two of the board members. They seemed to want me to volunteer. What the heck, I thought, I don't have kids. Who's got more time than I?

Of course, Miss Chef was working the night of the meeting, and I just had to stay up to check in with her--to see if I was nuts. She was a bit shocked when I told her what I'd done. Then she said, "I guess I should've been expecting it." (I'm not sure what she meant by that, but I wasn't brave enough to ask!) And of course she said, "As long as I don't have to have anything to do with it..." Thanks, hon. Just you wait.

So that's what I've done so far: missed a pet therapy session and jumped into unknown waters. Plus...I've blogged about it twice. And I have regular readers now. Which means, I'd better follow up! Only then can I make the rest of you feel guilty enough to maybe find some time to do your own volunteering. Which I expect you all to write about. Got it?

Okay then. I'll catch you next month, and let you know if my calendar skills have improved.

I'd like to thank Alix at Casa Hice for awarding me the Butterfly blog award. I'll post my followup in the next few days. You know me...reflections take time. :)


  1. You will do that HOA Board marvelous good with your smarts, insight and talent, so please don't hesitate to serve. I served as Director of Architectural Review for our Homeowner Association Board of Directors for two years. Our community of 547 homesites was being developed from the ground up - so you can imagine the magnitude of work getting fences and pools and landscaping plans approved. I learned a lot but it was a big thankless job that spawned many headches. Your commitment seems a little more intimate and manageable - plus you have the benefit of a neighborhood that is mature and hopefully will just need monitoring rather than reinventing. It's a great way to network and broaden your professional horizons. What position on the board will you fill?

  2. Don't know; it's kinda weird. You elect people to the board, and then the board meets to decide positions among themselves. I'm hoping for Secretary. Unless there's a Snack Mistress position...


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