Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Birthday to Remember

Wow, what a day. I've had almost 24 hours to recover and honestly, I'm still a little tired. I'm not sure where to begin, so I guess I'll start at the end, that's always a good place. At around 7 pm I stood just outside the church sanctuary with a platter of mini-cupcakes and tried to guess how many people were affected by my acts of kindness and I could not come up with an answer. And that, to me was a good number.

Please be prepared for a rather lengthy post as I recap the 33 Acts of Kindness.

At  7 am Eric, Lyndsay, Peanut and I arrived at a local coffee shop. I unloaded a few things from my trunk as Eric carried in a case of water from his. Inside I dropped off half a dozen pumpkin chai muffins, some apples, an orange and three bananas for the Enid Runner's Club. They were excited, though I do question their sanity as it was 16 degrees and they were out running. Next I gave a similar gift to the two hard working baristas and bought a $25 gift card and asked them to use it until it ran out. They gave me my coffee for free since it was my birthday. Peanut dropped off our 3 pairs of shoes plus a pair that YogaTeacherLibrarian had given to me to drop off for her, in the Soles 4 Souls donation box. With the first four acts of kindness down we sat and enjoyed a cup of coffee, a visit from a friend that came to drop off shoes too, and prepared ourselves for the bitter cold day ahead.

Our second stop was at one of the four fire stations Enid has where we gave them some donuts. I picked the one closest to my house because if I'm ever in trouble they will be the ones to come rescue me. The fire station has three firefighters at all times. They have 10 twelve hour shifts a month we were told. The first guy we met gave us a quick tour of the fire station. If you haven't ever done that I recommend you do so. It was a fun experience.

The third trip was one of our collective favorites. Just down the street from the fire station is a Laundromat. I have never used it but that doesn't mean that at some point in my life I won't need to. Nickel had give me $26 worth of quarters earlier that week so I armed my mini army with $2 of quarters each and we went inside to hand them out. The first lady I spoke to didn't really want to take my quarters at first but I explained that for my birthday I was giving instead of getting and it would really make my day if she would take my little gift. She did and so did the other 7 people in the Laundromat. Every single person in that place had a big smile on their face as we left and we felt great about it!

Next we donated clothes and moved on to the post office. Inside I took my box that was full to the brim of books, snacks, a magazine and a card for a US Soldier. I have no idea who will get my box, when they will get my box, or if they'll even like anything in my box (but I did put two kinds of girl scout cookies in there so maybe whoever it will like at least one of those), but I hope they do. I also sent my nieces and nephews some Valentines and candy that I'm sure they need. And then I mailed a few cards to some really cool kids that I know. I want them to know just how awesome I think they are. I don't think kids in general hear that enough.

By 9:30 am we had the first 10 acts of kindness down, but the rest of the day wouldn't pass as quickly. We set off from the Post Office and met up with RebornGirl at the nursing home her uncle currently lives in. We took him some cookies made with Splenda and told him to share with his friends. If there are any left that is. I also gave the nursing home a large print copy of The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It is an amazing book that I'm sure any of the residents that like to read would enjoy reading. RebornGirl also went with us to Leonardo's Discovery Warehouse where she donated some costumes her daughter had outgrown and I made a small cash donation.

Our next resting stop was Public Library. We gave the wonderful librarians hard at work a plateful of cookies that Lyndsay had made. Then gave a homeless man that comes to the library frequently a game of UNO. He likes to play cards, is good with math, and is small enough for him to carry around in his bag. He was really excited. I wish we would've had time to play a game with him but he was busy using his computer time. The final act of kindness there was simply taping 5 quarters to the vending machine so that someone got a free soda!

Here's where the day turned complicated. The next two locations I had planned out were closed on the weekends. Or at least their offices were. One was the YWCA and the other a boys home. So we took some cookies to the Enid Police Department and the cook staff at one of the local hospitals. At the hospital we asked our cookie recipient if she knew of anyone that needed flowers. After a moment's thought she directed us to the 5th floor south's nursing station. There we met a Nurses' Aide that had recently lost her brother. We gave her a small bouquet of flowers. She seemed pleased but she still had sad eyes. Maybe she's sick of flowers. I don't know.

We ate lunch at Chilis and afterward we gave the waiter a big tip and I bought a $20 gift card. As we were leaving I handed the gift card to woman who had just sat down wit her two kids. She was flabbergasted that a total stranger would just hand her a gift card to use for lunch. That was another one of my favorite gifts of the day.

We took about 50 Valentines and a bag of Smarties to the skating rink where one of my friends work. She agreed to put the Valentines and candy in the shoes of the kids so that they picked them up as they were leaving. I hope some of those kids smiled.

You know how crazy Walmart is on a Saturday? Well we went there anyway. I wanted to take one or two shopping carts back to the store because they were everywhere all over the lot. Peanut and Lyndsay got a little carried away and were trying to push about 12 back to the store. They got as far as the front door when two Walmart associates stopped them and said they'd get in trouble if the girls pushed them in. I think what they meant was they'd get in trouble by being shown up by two girls (one of which is 11 years old). Then, since the Homeless Ministries is closed on the weekends I bought some oral hygiene care products that I will drop off sometime during the week. And since Walmart is crazy I let another customer go ahead of me in line. The guy checking us out that I was insane and more so once I told him I was doing 33 nice things today. Oh well, can't please everyone.

After all that we were thirsty again so we stopped at a Sonic. In Enid, the Sonics have drive thrus as well as the pull up and park spots. We went through the drive through and while paying for our drinks I also paid for the car behind me. It was happy hour and they had only ordered two drinks, it was a little over two bucks, but they saved two bucks! Then we took the hard workers at EMS our last batch of cookies.

After that we took a little break. Eric had left us after lunch to go practice with the bands he was playing with this weekend and I dropped Lyndsay back off at her mom's house so she could play with her nephews. Peanut and I went home and I managed to take about a 33 minute nap.

At 5:30 Peanut and I met back up with Lyndsay (Eric was there too but he was busy getting ready to play in the worship band). The three of us greeted the attendees and gave them their weekly bulletin. Peanut passed out carnations to the women and I handed the kids Valentines. I gave both Lyndsay and Eric thank you cards with little gifts inside and I also gave the Nursery worker who takes care of Baby  Butter when he doesn't sleep through church and the Children's pastor and his wife a little card and gift as well.

My final act of kindness, as you know from the start of the blog, was handing out mini-cupcakes after church. Lyndsay and I both took a door and so did LibrarianFriend (she made the cupcakes AND took off the little papers before hand). As people exited I told them it was my birthday and asked if they wanted a little bit of birthday cake. We gave the kids cupcakes too of course as their parents went and fetched them.

The day was long but it was worth it. It was, by far the most memerable birthday of my life and out did last year's crappy birthday by a long shot! Will I ever do this again? Probably not just like this. I do think everyone should do something like this at least once in their life because it is a truly amazing experience and I will gladly help anyone that wants to tackle something like this themselves. But I probably will make giving a part of my birthday ritual. We'll see what next year brings.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

The Itinerary

I've had a few friends ask me about my itinerary for the Saturday's 33 Acts of Kindness. Here's where we're going to be starting at 7am and ending around 7pm:

Fire Station on North Grand
Suds Yer Duds on North Grand
Hope Outreach
Post Office
Highland Park Manor
Sequoyah Enterprise
Lunch--unknown location at this time
Enid First Assembly

Several of these are just going to be quick 10 minute or less drop offs. Others will be more time consuming. And most have more than one act of kindness associated with it. Further details will be provided the day of the event.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Getting Things Ready

With my birthday just a week away I'm trying to get a good start on the things I know I can have done before the busy day. Today I spent part of the day getting my valentines ready to go in the mail. Which reminds me, I need to get one address from my mom. Note to self....

I wrote out some cards to a couple of kids I know telling them that I think they're pretty awesome and to keep up the good work. I still have lots to do though. One of places we're going is the skating rink and I need about a hundred valentines ready to go into the shoes of these unknown to me children. It's a little thing, but a valentine and a piece of candy when they pick up their shoes might bring a smile to their faces. Candy usually works that way for me at least.

There are still plenty of things I need to do between now and then though. I need to clean out the closets and gather outgrown shoes and clothes for Soles for Souls and Hope Outreach.  And then there's the baking, but I'm saving that for the 10th so that everything will be good and fresh. And finally there are some phone calls to make. I'm exhausted already thinking about it, but it's going to be so worth it!