I had some dreams ... they were klowns in my koffee.

(With apologies to Carly Simon)

This is my journey through job transition from a toxic environment to a better life. Join me for a few thoughts and a few laughs along the way.
What are "klowns in my koffee"? They are the factors large and small that make you less than you are. A "klown" can be a grossly incompetent boss,
a short-sighted policy or a moronic coworker. They won't kill you, at least not immediately, but they abrade the soul
as you scrape past them to get through the day. Sometimes it's best to dump them out of the cup.


Day 347 - Origami Mommy

Daily Kup (My Life Folding on the Dotted Line)
Late winter is a parade of one school or organization project after another. This isn't a complaint. We made a conscious choice to volunteer for these organizations. "We" isn't exactly truthful. "I" chose or demurred or got suckered into many of these; Mr. T is merely stuck in the sidecar and planning to bolt at the next stoplight.

The next project for which we had weeks to prepare is the school Imagination Fair. Since we have weeks to prepare, we like to make it more interesting by waiting to start the project on the night before it is due. The Imagination Fair is the evolutionary descendant of the old Science Fair. The scope has been expanded to include just about anything that a kid wishes to submit. These projects are more fun in the anticipation than in the implementation; the night before, we try to imagine the project being done.

There are trends in projects. There are always carnations with the separated stems stuck in two different vials of colored water, a potato clock, and collages about countries where grandparents conveniently visited and sent back souvenirs. The most popular projects involve giving out food samples.

At every Imagination Fair I've attended, there is a six-foot-tall roller coaster made of 5000 pieces of K'nex. The sign says that this project was made by a kindergartner. The child is nowhere to be seen but a beaming dad is always standing there, vibrating slightly from the aftereffects of staying up all night to drink coffee and snap little plastic pieces together.

From observing the projects, kindergartners are pretty clever. They submit very elaborate projects with smooth, professional lines and electrification. By fifth or sixth grade, parents have given up the dream of really early Harvard entrance. Older kids glue two rows sugar cubes to a piece of cardboard and write "Alamo" across the front in crayon.

We decided to create an origami display this year. How hard could it be? It's just paper. Easy to do in one night, right? We bought one of those foam triptychs for a painted backdrop showing the different environments of our imagined herd of origami animals. Our kit even had dotted lines on the patterned paper and a tiny sheet of non-English directions with a lot of arrows.

Princess Potatohead promptly fell asleep and was down for the count except for a brief lucid period when she made a butterfly and then dozed off.

Attila the Son and I tried mightily but the secrets of making a frog eluded us even though we watched the DVD slowly and repeatedly. Ditto the walrus, polar bear and turtle. Even the ubiquitous crane proved to be beyond our skills as we watched the lightening hands of our DVD instructor, a man who must deal blackjack in his spare time.

The dotted lines didn't help. There were extras. In some print shop in Japan, they are dancing and chanting, "Serves you right for World War II."

In the end, it was late and we used our imaginations. I grabbed a bowl that my son had glued tissue on in the first grade. It's only purpose in our house currently is to hide money from birthday cards that I take away from the kids before they've written thank you notes. We plopped a lump of Play-dough in the bottom of the bowl (after removing and re-hiding the birthday money) and taped our few simple origami animals to bamboo skewers. After arranging our impaled zoo, I observed, "I imagine that this will be good enough."

Good to the Last Drop

Dudley, want to do some good in the world? Here are three very different sites to start on the path. Next time you are questioned about your excessive computer usage, you can respond, "I am not just playing a computer game. I am getting donations of rice for those in need."

The Giraffe Heroes Project - An inspiring and information-filled site for the organization whose motto is: To foster the citizen courage and know-how that are essential to a just, ethical and compassionate world.

Free Rice - Answer multiple choice questions about English vocabulary or other topics. The World Food Programme donates 10grains of rice to the world's hungry for every right answer. Learn the names of famous painting while feeding people. A true win-win.

Create the Good - The AARP has created a site to let you find volunteer opportunities in your area by simply entering a zip code. The opportunities range from very short to longer-term commitments. Even though the site is managed by the AARP, there are no age restrictions. After all, 60 is the new 40, and 40 is the new 25, and 21 is now an embryonic stage.


Kim Barron said...

After loaning you the origami book? What did your previous post say about I'll be there? Heck, I probably could have taught you how to fold a crane over the phone considering how many of them I did while on the phone waiting for people to do something or waiting for my ocmputer to do something.

Burning Khrome said...

I thought of you many times as little fingers struggled with paper. Plan B was to sort through the yet unpacked boxes from my old office, find one of your cranes from the several that I know I had on shelves, and autopsy it.

Do you make cranes at your new job or was that a Porkus-only event?

Kim Barron said...

I do make some at the new job. But nearly as many. I don't have to wait for JD Edwards to run the report, and I don't spend nearly the time on hold and placing orders every day. But it is still a good activity for conference calls when you have to pay attention but aren't taking notes or looking something up.
Well, and I'm not nearly as frequently (an greatly) annoyed as at Porkus.

Burning Khrome said...

I always admired your ability to leverage little snippets of time (and paper) and create something special.

Kim Barron said...

Or is it more that I can't sit still that long? Origami and knitting are great for people that fidget a lot.

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