Thursday, March 19, 2020

Week 31: ER Special Delivery

These are some surreal times. Just when I think I have a handle on my thoughts and feelings about COVID-19 and all of the closings, cancelled activities and vacations, and social-distancing, some anxiety sneaks in and I need to take a minute to refocus and relax.

But do you know who doesn't have much time for processing their feelings? Those on the front lines taking care of the rest of us.

I've spent a good chunk of time brainstorming what I could do for those working in the hospitals near me this past weekend. And while I'm not sure cookies scream "THANK YOU FOR YOUR SACRIFICES AND LITERALLY SAVING LIVES EVERY DAY" but it's all I could come up with on such short notice (can you believe how quickly this has escalated?!).

And so Saturday, I drove to the two ERs near my home and dropped off a note with some cookies (not homemade, because, pandemic).

Now, before you all run into your nearest ER with armloads of baked goods, let me tell you how I did it, because I'm taking my role in the flattening of the curve quite seriously.

I located a police officer outside the hospital and gave the cookies to him to deliver, therefore keeping myself free from exposure and ensuring I didn't pass the virus onto anyone else.

Don't feel comfortable with that? Maybe in a few weeks, when the virus is under control and everyone is out of harm's way, we could all drop off goodies as a post-community-saving show of gratitude.

Until then, keep these front line warriors in your thoughts and prayers!

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Week 30: KC Chicken Rescue

I've been a proud chicken mother for a few years now, my small flock provides my family with fresh eggs and loads of opportunities for learning experiences, increased responsibility for my kids, and lots of laughs (chickens are goofy animals that are super entertaining to watch)!

But fun fact: Only one person in our family really loves eggs. Sure, I use them for baking once a week and a couple of us enjoy scrambled eggs or french toast from time to time, but the fact is, we don't go through too many (we love to give them to neighbors and friends though!).

Unlike me, my friend Jodi lives on an active farm with a large flock that they rely on for egg production. So when one of their sweet girls stopped laying, she asked if I'd take her off their hands so she wouldn't have to be useful to them in another way, if you know what I mean.

And so, this week, in the parking lot of my gym where she handed her off to me, I established the Kindness Countdown Chicken Rescue. ;)

Because chickens can be quite vicious with one another, we are still in the process of introducing her to our flock. She spends her nights in a large dog kennel separate from the other girls, and her days either in the divided run or under supervised free-range visits.

I'm happy to report that after a few rough days, today went much smoother and they're becoming more accustomed to one another.

I predict their integration will arrive soon thanks to the increased free-range time they'll be allowed compliments of our coronavirus-induced social distancing (AKA: we're all home to keep an eye on them).

She's such a sweet girl and we're thrilled to have adopted her! Welcome to the family, Blair!

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Week 29: Climbing High for Deep Breaths

Have you heard of Fight For Air Climb fundraisers hosted by the American Lung Association

They're large group climbs up very tall buildings that raise money to help make a positive impact on lung health in our country.

The events are near and dear to my heart for both the money raised to help fight lung disease and  because of the very high climbs.

As a teen, I watched my grandma suffer from emphysema and the complications that arose as a result (one of the many reasons I have never tried smoking). Losing her love, the incredibly pure and unconditional kind grandparents are capable of, was heart-breaking and life-changing. 

As the daughter of a (now-retired) fire captain, when I heard the news of the first plane crashing on 9/11, my heart went out to the firefighters, knowing the elevators would be out, knowing they had to climb the stairs in full gear to do what they do best: help those in need. And then the other plane crashed. And then they all came tumbling down. 

At each Fight For Air Climb, you'll see both families climbing in memory or honor of loved ones impacted by lung disease and emergency personnel climbing in their full gear in memory of their fallen brothers and sisters. 

This is the 4th year I've participated in the Milwaukee event and I was once again touched by each and every one of the thousands of participants. The energy is incredible, the people are so kind, and the money raised is amazing!

Before being cleared to climb the 47 flights (1,034 steps) of the US Bank building in Milwaukee, each participant needs to raise a minimum of $200. I'm proud to say the total raised this year was over $635,000! And I'd also like to take a moment to thank everyone who donated to help me climb: THANK YOU!!!

I finished the climb in just under 13 minutes this year, no where near my personal best of 10:31, but it's what I expected going in without any training. I'm dealing with some health issues and went into the climb knowing I'd allow myself a few minor breaks to catch my breath and let my heart rate slow - I'm not always so kind to myself in competitively timed situations, and I didn't like it one bit. ;)

But I made it to the top, took in the amazing views and swapped picture-taking time with some of the people I chatted with while waiting for our group to start (Hi, Dawn!), and then the coolest thing happened: I ran into a group of young firefighters from my dad's old department!

They invited me over for a cup of coffee in their new station, "We have an espresso machine now!" they proudly bragged. I'll definitely be taking them up on the offer!

It was a great event, run as smoothly as ever, and left all of us climbers looking forward to doing it again next year! Come join us!

Monday, March 2, 2020

Week 28: Dollar Tree Scavenger Hunt

My favorite part of performing the Kindness Countdown activities is doing them alongside my kids...and this week was no exception!

We headed to our local Dollar Tree store armed with a stack of singles and a roll of painters tape, and set up our very own scavenger hunt!

I gave each kid a handful of pre-taped dollars and let them go wild. 

They hid dollars behind dog toys and under pet water dishes.

They thought of home repair projects (because our 1880s home has a continuous cycle of them) and taped some near the construction items. - Can we take a minute to acknowledge how amazing it is that you can get a handsaw for $1?!

The kids thought of their little cousin and taped a dollar near the baby/toddler items.

And they excitedly looked at the new summer toy options and left a couple of dollars behind.

They left dollars sticking out of books, behind picture frames, and taped to packs of pencils. They placed one under a plate and another behind some Matchbox cars.

Oh, the fun we had! We were giddy walking out to the car, imagining the lucky recipients finding the bills hidden around the store, once again proving it is more fun to give than to receive!