U138: Unplanned

Despite my tendency to plan, ah - make-a-(green)plan, this week is turning out to be an unplanned frenzy of activity, preparation, bonding and responsibilities. It started Sunday night when I was writing our park newsletter and I realized it was the 2 year anniversary of our young manager couple. They have been a force of nature in bringing about change in this mobile home park and I wanted to acknowledge them in some public way.

I contacted one of the park veteran residents and tossed out the idea of an informal gathering by the pool, under the pine trees on May 31st to toast the couple at sunset. I sensed his reaction was going for the complicated planning model of BBQ menu planning - ah . . . visions of paper products. I am thinking some drinks and a few nibbles. I talked up simple, spontaneous - no costs, etc. By late afternoon on Monday he called and asked me to go pick up one of those giant greeting cards for everyone to sign. I made agreement noises into the phone and decided on another plan of action. Note: We also adjusted schedule to May 30th so managers would be available.

We had a big picture frame donated anonymously some weeks ago. I have been puzzled about best use for this oversized frame. It then came to me that it would be perfect for a collage of all of the homes in our park. Unplanned leap into the project on Monday meant grabbing another neighbor and tearing around the park snapping photographs. Along the way we found a tenant needing a photo of her refrigerator and help putting it on Craig's List. I advised another neighbor in a fence design we are all excited about building. It was a full day of interactions and tasks.

Remember, I am the hermit who has reluctantly pushed myself out into the community - for my own good. I am pretty good at this and that has always been a bit baffling to me. Why is it so easy for me to be gregarious and act as a facilitator when my heart and soul long for solitude? It has never made much rational sense, so I must arbitrarily push myself into community and also close myself off regularly.

After about 9 hours of designing on AutoCAD the collage of 40 pictures, interacting with people to let them know of the secret plans (with a cover story of a going away party for another), photographing every home, getting photos transferred into my system, formatting / cropping each to 2.5 x 4.5 and creating a .pdf for printing . . . I was done for a day.

Then my co-planner had major printer problems that took several days to get me finished pictures. All day yesterday meant my hanging around searching for neighbors before work, at lunch breaks, coming home from work and a few early this morning. I finally have a majority of the photos signed on the photograph faces. Now I just need to decoupage them to the poster board and mount this to the frame before this evening. No problem. Oh yes, I also want to design a salutation to attach to the collage - by floating the letters in front. I promise I will photograph this for the blog.

Unplanned, but massive time allocated to this endeavor. Again, the interactions with the community and my closest neighbors are the biggest chunk of my time and I have learned a great deal of wonderful things, the underpinnings to people's lives. I understand the kind of forces being addressed within different people's lives around me.

Last, but not least is the unplanned time I have spent with my son's cat. Yes, I am cat sitting with my son's big, gorgeous black cat Taz. Taz used to live with me, so we are very close. I hadn't planned on being the caretaker while my son was visiting family in Nebraska, but he asked me the day before he left. The first night I'd come by in the evening to feed the cat and didn't check back until noon the next day.

Poor thing was so frantic he'd thrown up a few places. I was so unhappy to have left him to himself. I decided I needed to hang out and reassure him. So, after doing some early afternoon errands I looked in a few times and by evening I was there for the night. Taz was on my lap and hung with me all night long. I need to get over there again and just hang out while I assemble this project. I am not really a pet person, but Taz has my heart. He is an old friend.

One full week filled with unplanned loving and sharing. Good for the soul, bad for the do list. It will work out.


Ecogeek said...

I totally identify with your gregarious facilitation and need for solitude. One of the things it was most helpful for me to realize about myself is that, despite my dramatic flair and love of an audience, I'm basically an introvert, and going into an extrovert's profession: teaching (6 shows a day, five days a week!). The way I manage this is by jealously guarding my down time. I get kind of nutty if I don't have at least 20 minutes a day by myself in the quiet. Sounds like you've come to a similar conclusion.

katecontinued said...

Absolutely, although years of living alone mean much more than a 20 minute minimum. I have also compared notes with my peers who say that after getting older the solitary need increases.

I have grown more contemplative and I am less impatient. No clue if this is a function of age, temperament, environment, no more smoking or what.

Teaching would be tough because each and every day, week, month you must be 'on.' Hats off to you.