What Do You Do All Day?
(or "Stop Me Before I Volunteer Again")

The Blog

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Back to Blogging (or Stop Me Before I Vounteer Again)

I need to get back in the habit of some sort of daily writing. So it seems to make sense to start with writing about what I'm doing with myself these days. By design, I'm not doing video production any more...but I'm actually busier than I've ever been, doing all sorts of volunteer, school and community work. At the moment, I'm involved in projects at one church, two schools, our neighborhood association, and a larger Neighborhood Council...as well as the never-ending projects associated with owning two older houses, and plans for a new business venture that combines many of the above interests. Here's what's currently on my plate:

Church -- I've been the church's webmaster for 12 years now, and we're currently in the process of completely re-vamping our website and other communications materials. We recently finished interviewing key stakeholders about what they'd like a new website to be able to do for them, and collecting all that information into a master wish list. Now I have to start building a site map and front page that our designer can use to start creating the new "look and feel." I'm picturing several walls plastered with Post-it Notes for the next couple of weeks. (And some time investigating electronic site mapping tools.) Also need to finish monthly updates (started yesterday) to the old website and start catching up on some older updates that never got done when they should have.

Neighborhood School -- I'm the chair person of the School Site Council, secretary of the PTA, chairperson of the semi-annual Book Fair, captain of the annual Big Sunday event, and all-around miscellaneous volunteer. On the to-do list right now are minutes for the PTA board, PTA membership, School Site Council and Local School Leadership committee. Also need to nail down details for this year's Big Sunday project (what area are we going to paint this year?) And figure out spring Book Fair scheduling -- the school wants it to start the day after spring break, but the book company isn't going to want to deliver books a week early and I may not be able to get into the school over the break to set things up. I've also been wanting to organize an e-waste collection fundraiser, continue with ongoing garden work, and find some grants to help the school over the ever-widening budget gaps. The biggest project, though, is getting a "Friends of..." booster group started, which will help with major fundraising. Before we can start that, though, I need to organize a presentation for school parents, which will help explain to them what such a group is and does, and how it will benefit the school. I also want to write to the school district to start trying to break down some walls that are standing in the way of two other projects I'd like to get off the ground: development of a school/community park in a large area (now just open asphalt) at one end of the school property...and a small weekly certified farmer's market in one of the school's large parking lots. Also, the annual budgeting cycle is starting up, and I need to attend a training session next week on re-writing the school's Single Plan for Student Achievement (which is a major document that drives the budget development).

Son's School -- I'm the co-chair of the Grantwriting committee and will be volunteering with the spring Book Fair in March. Right now, I've got four major grants to investigate and write Letters of Inquiry for, as well as helping out with another application that just popped up yesterday (with a March 1 deadline) and updating our committee's grant "hot list."

Neighborhood Association -- A local restaurant is in the middle of the application process for a new Conditional Use Permit, which many neighbors oppose. We're trying to set up a neighborhood meeting with the restaurant owners, and I have letters to write and submit. Also need to chase down one last neighbor signature for a speed hump petition that we thought was finalized months ago, but turns out is one signature short.

Neighborhood Council -- I'm the Board Secretary (and, at the moment, de facto Treasurer), as well as secretary of the Land Use Committee and a member of the Outreach Committee. There's an Outreach meeting tomorrow, for which I need to pull together a lot of information, as well as a bunch of financial documents for the official Treasurer to sign (since he'll also be at the meeting), review latest comps for our new website, and provide feedback to the designer. Then there's a Board agenda that needs to be finalized and posted on Friday, which requires a lot of follow-up work from our last meeting (phone calls, e-mails, letter writing, etc), as well as the usual contacts and organizational tasks involved in planning the next meeting.

Old House We Live In -- We're planning a big garage remodel and have (after four years) finally been told that yes, we do have to file an application for a variance to build as high as we want to, so now I have to fill out the application, pay the variance fee, and get a petition signed by about 6 nearby neighbors saying they're OK with the project. Also need to paint our upstairs living room baseboards, since we just had the floors refinished, and I can't put the room back together until that last messy chore is done. And then I have to re-program the sprinkler system because we just had the broken controller replaced. Kitchen counter tops and butcher blocks also need oiling.

Old House We Don't Live In -- Need to get back to the guy who's going to be doing our kitchen remodel and let him know that yes, even though he hasn't heard from us in months, we still want to do the project this spring or summer (and figure out exactly when that will be).

New Business Venture -- Meeting with my partner this morning. Coming up with ideas for our next steps (and, yes, that means more things to write). Also need to get help with a technical glitch that's holding up some other steps. Hope to be ready to give a sneak peak to a potential investor soon.

So that's the short list. How much progress can I make today?

posted by Elizabeth 8:02 AM

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