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The Living Without Series

This is a series of posts that I wrote back in 2006 on living with less stuff. Check them out: liv011Living #2liv031liv04

Coal Creek Farm on Facebook

The Chicken Doctor


The Architect


The Big Event

Part of my job is to plan a spring event that showcases the school for any prospective new families.  We bring in a speaker for the day and organize a program with our students.

The school is too small to host the event, so we borrow space from local churches.  Last Thursday, I started my morning off at one of the churches setting up chairs and tables for the evening event.

We set up tables to display some of the student’s work. This is the third grade project on invertebrates.  I think.  I called it, The Scary-Creepy-Crawly Project or Things That Make Me Scream or GET IT OFF ME!  I should totally teach third grade.

The centipede project belongs to a very quiet, tall, lanky, freckle-faced, blond-headed third grader that fretted over this project endlessly until the very moment it was delivered to his teacher.  He was concerned about the proper pictures and the spacing of the cards.  He would not stop asking his mother if she had bought the white marker yet.  He did not think it was funny when his mother asked if he wanted to include the picture she found of a man holding a giant plastic centipede that appeared to be eating the man.  He took this project very, very, very, very seriously.  His mother on the other hand…did not.  It’s good that the child takes his education seriously.  The mother is pretty certain that the teacher does not believe the third grader did this project by himself and that he had a lot of help from the mother, you know, the one that did not take this project seriously.  The teacher only knows the professional side of the mom and it’s best that way.  The mother is passing off all future projects of this sort to the father of the quiet, tall, lanky, freckle-faced, blond-headed boy, because the father is the adult version of that little boy and if they put their brains together, who knows what will show up at school. My guess would be something overly complicated and precisely measured in which the mother would be extremely irritated by how long it took them to measure everything.

These plant things were something the 7th graders did to model the parts and pieces and bits and stuff  of the plant.  Every time I looked at this one I started singing, “SUDDENLY SEYMOUR!!!” I should totally teach 7th grade.


My trusty sidekick, Sledge, was there to help set up and ensure that I didn’t forget anything and to listen to me sing.  He’s very helpful during these events. He’s usually two steps ahead of me…even though he questions every decision I make, still very helpful…irritating, but helpful.

After we were done setting up for the big event, I took Sledge back to school and I drove across town to another church to set up for a lunch and workshop we were hosting for our teachers and area youth workers.  The school hosted a speaker that trains adults to become mentors to kids.  If you have a child that is part of the Millennial generation, you would have loved listening to him. Here’s what I learned: burn all the computer games it’s damaging our kids’ brains.  Okay, there was a lot more, but that one point pretty much branded itself on my eyeball and now I’m totally freaking out every time one of my boys asks to play a game on my phone.  “NO!  NO!  You are already BRAIN DAMAGED!!!”  The speaker talked a lot about how our brains engage when we are doing meaningful work and in turn it gives us pleasure so Work=Pleasure and conversely how the brain goes dim when we look for instant pleasure ie; addictions, drugs, gambling, pornography….VIDEO GAMES!!! Some doctors don’t know if it’s possible to undo the damage that gaming does to a child’s brain, especially if they are very young.

Let’s spend more time reading with our kids and playing outside and telling them to go throw a stick or pet the dog.  Unplug.

Okay, back to the event planning.


Preparing the lunch were all the pregnant ladies.  No, I’m just kidding.  But, aren’t they cute?  I looked in the kitchen and all I saw were bellies.  They both offered to take their shoes off and pose barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen for me. They are both baking their 4th baby, I totally should have taken them up on that photo op.

I know why they volunteered to help, because they got to eat!  Yeah, those ladies are smart.


And not at all camera shy.  I love these women. They showed up early, stayed late, made a fabulous lunch, and made all our guests feel comfortable and well fed.


I’m certain at the end of the day they went home exhausted.  I’m so glad they laughed and ate and had a good time throughout their work.  I never heard one complaint from this team of wonderful women.  They make my job easy.

Out in the hallway sat these two, peacefully watching Veggie Tales.  I must have zoomed through this hallway a dozen times and I didn’t notice them until I was about to leave.  I took a second to watch them, sweetly silhouetted in the hallway.

Look!  Another room with empty chairs!!!  How exciting!  Really, April, your posts are riveting.  Please show me another picture of a room filled with empty, padded chairs!!!

This is the room where we hosted the workshop.  I moved a lot of heavy wooden pews out of the room where the lunch was held, but thankfully, these chairs were already set up and ready to go. I greatly admire the pastor of this church, he always volunteers to help us with our events and is so encouraging.  I get the most thorough, well written emails from him.  I always make sure I hit the spell check before I respond.

While I was getting all the lunch preparations squared away, Sledge was back at the school making last minute edits on the videos being shown at the evening event.

Let’s pause for a moment and look at that poster on the wall that has the giant eyeball.  Last year, in an attempt to make his office look more like a…more like a…more like a…uh, maybe I should say in an attempt to make his office look LESS like a closet, Sledge hung up that poster he found.  It hangs above the KU basketball schedule.  When I walked in the day after he’d hung those posters he thought I would say, “Wow!  This looks great!” instead I said, “That poster looks like a Maybelline ad.”  Sledge didn’t know me very well then, he wasn’t sure if he should leave it or take it down. It’s still there and I doubt it will move. I still think it looks like a Maybelline ad.

Remember when I told you one of Sledge’s responsibilities is to make sure I don’t forget anything?  Yeah, what do you think he’s holding in his hand?  Could that be my phone? Why yes it is.  And where am I?  Not in that office that’s for sure.

“Gah….that woman.  Of all the days to forget her phone!”

After he ran out to the parking lot and watched me drive off without looking back at him holding my phone in the air….he got in his car.

His car that still has his childhood toys prominently on display.  He drove across town where I was setting up the lunch.  He came in with a big smile on his face, quietly handed me the phone and turned to leave.  “Did you drive back here just to give me my phone?”  Yes, yes he did.  And with that  gesture he knew I couldn’t yell at him for the rest of the day and possibly for the rest of the school year. I’m sure glad he’s got my back during the big events.

This is the last time we’ll do a big event though, because he’s going back to school next year. I might shed a tear, or two, or three…okay, I might cry a river and name it Sledge.  He will be missed and he has ginormous shoes to fill….literally, they’re huge! I know. I’m hilarious, no one has ever used a big shoe joke. I’m not only hilarious, but incredibly original.  Please, somebody, acknowledge my wit!


Look who showed up being all cute!  It’s Sprint, my partner in Development Directions, or something like that. She is my perfect opposite in so many ways. She paints her nails, I wouldn’t dare. She wears tailored jackets and suits and sensible shoes, I would rather die.  She loves to play sports and watch sports and pays someone to plant flowers, I can’t even fathom the pain I would feel if I didn’t plant flowers every year. She likes full bred little dogs with a good pedigree that fit in a bag, give me a mutt that likes to wallow with the pigs. She loves the business end of our job and I love the creative end.  She doesn’t watch movies….WHAT?!!!  It’s hard to believe we get along so well, but we do.  She’s much sweeter than me, sarcasm is often lost on her, that’s probably the secret of our relationship. I love working with her, she stays out of my stuff and I stay out of hers.


The End.  No really, that’s it.  The day was successful.  Then Clay took this picture of me pooping out a blue and white cardboard box. It’s a trick I’ve learned that’s very helpful on the job….never know when you might need a box.  Sorry. The End, for real this time.

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