Sunday, November 25, 2007

And they're off!

It's Thanksgiving weekend, and now that the turkeys have been cooked and become an endless stream of leftovers, the Christmas shopping season is officially on. I don't know how many of you actually go out shopping this weekend, but I did. I have memories from when I was a kid of going to stores in the wee hours of the morning to be among to crowd at the door when the store opened, and somehow I feel a draw to the excitement of the crowds. I went to Target and Best Buy, arguably two of the crazier places to be on "Black Friday," but it wasn't about buying lots of great deals - it was just about browsing while I had the opportunity and chuckling at the madness going on around me. I get a kick out of it! Trouble and I got to just hang out and look at some of the fun things that have come out lately (like the Atari flashback - very fun to think back on old times playing those stupide games) and try to come up with ideas for good gifts for people. We try to watch the commercialism this time of year, and instead find gifts that mean something or are at least useful rather than just more knick knacks that people don't need.

I got the spend the day with Trouble and other friends, which was really nice. Last year at this time Trouble was overseas and I was having a hard time. I've always loved "the holiday season" but on your own it feels very different. I still had good friends around who made things much better (and I got to take part in their crazy family dinner - hee hee), but this year I was very thankful to have Trouble with me. We kept it quiet and didn't go overboard on the feast, but still had a fairly traditional American meal. It was just nice. And shopping on Black Friday seemed to fit in with that, as long as we kept things in check. We were only out for about an hour (while our dog was at the vet getting her latest check up on her cancer treatments), and then we spent the evening playing games with good friends. I was very satisfied and think it's because I got to do a little of everything - moderation is the key. :)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Pitbull vs. Poodle

This week at work has just been strange. Yesterday I got to fill out my first incedent report when one of my volunteers called to tell he'd been bitten by a dog at one of our worksites a couple of days prior. Why was he calling 2 days later you ask? Good question! Animal control and his doctor wanted to know as well!

Here's the story:
Our volunteer was working on our "green" house project and there is a pitbull who lives nextdoor. The dog was outside on a leash staked into the ground, but the leash is long enough that the dog can actually come onto our property. While the volunteer was working he got too close to the dog and the dig bit him in the calf. It wasn't a bad bite, but did break the skin. He didn't want to make a big deal of it, so the site supervisor cleaned it out with antiseptic and put a bandage over it and both continued to work the rest of the day and never told anyone else what happened. The volunteer has a dr friend, who he told about the bite, and the dr recommended he get it looked at and that he should probably get a tetanus shot and make sure the dog was up to date on its vaccines (especially rabies). He waited a day before calling his dr to get a tetanus shot and his dr told him he legally had to report to dog bite, so he called us to let us know what happened and to see if we could find out if the dog had gotten its shots. This falls to me to take care of - yippee. I got the incedent report form, started filling it out and notified my boss and our executive director of the situation. I then went out to the site to get a statement from the site supervisor and let him know that we were making a formal report, including calling animal control. The phone call with animal control wasn't fun - sitting on hold for 5 minutes before talking to anyone, then getting lectured for not making a report within 24 hours of the bite, then not knowing the exact address where the dog lived (you'd think they could figue it out when i told them one house south of ____ (the address of our site). Animal control was supposed to go pick up the dog yesterday, and I don't think I want to know what happens to it after that. I also doubt this is going to help the relationship with the dog's owner, who already doesn't like the construction noise around her house everyday.

It did start an interesting conversation around our office though, about dogs, owners, breeds, and animal control. There have been a lot of stories around KC lately about pitbulls and reports of their "vicious" behavior. Is this a breed quality or just the cause of bad owners who intentionally make them that way? Perhaps a bit of both? Several towns around have banned pit bulls in city limits and Kansas City, MO talked about following suit but there are a lot of people who own pitbulls in this city and they petitioned the city council, etc. and got a deal. No new pit bulls are allowed in city but current owners can keep their as long as they follow city code about numbers of dogs on a property, getting them licensed, etc. I don't know if this dog followed those code or not - I heard it was less than a year old and hadn't had its shots, but I have not actually seen the dog for myself or talked to its owner. At this point, it's all out of my hands. The reports have been made to the appropriate people and we have the paper trail to cover ourselves should anything else go down. I wonder, though, if this would have been as big a deal if it was a little poodle instead of a pit bull. Of course, I'm partial to poodles since I got bit by one when I had a paper route as a kid, but generally poodles are well liked dogs and pits are not. Do you think it would be different? Our volunteer didn't want to make a big deal about the whole thing - and the dog owner certainly didn't want her dog to be taken away - so does the city have a place to come in like they did?? I personally think they should have made her shorten the leash and keep the dog on HER property, and make her get the dog its shots and licensed (perhaps paying a penalty for not doing so before) but getting her dog removed seems a bit harsh. Am I crazy? What do you think?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Taking a breather

Hello blog world - it's been too long! I've missed my Friday Fives and seeing what everyone else is up to. This is just a brief post to let everyone know that I'm alive and missing you. Working at Habitat has been, and continues to be, a great experience. I've learned a lot about the organization, Kansas City, the neighborhoods around our office, and just general insight into non-profit work. It's very rewarding, yet at times frustrating and always busy. It seems there is always more work to be done than there is time or people to do it. I like it that way though.

Tonight is our annual "Celebration of Giving" - an appreciation dinner and awards banquet for our volunteers and donors. Some Habitat affiliates have a big fancy gala to raise money, but our affiliate in KC does this dinner at no charge to the attendees. I don't know what that means as far as our income for the year, but I think it's really cool that we do something like this. Volunteering is something that I've always enjoyed doing, but it usually just gets done and that's that. I like that we send out invitations to the people who volunteer with us to let them know that we appreciate what they do for us. We honestly couldn't function without people pitching in at all levels (something else I love about this organization)! I'm up to my eyeballs in decorations, programs, table tents, tshirts, etc for this event tonight, and feel like I haven't been able to think about much else for the last couple of weeks (after we've been planning it for months). Since this is my first time going to this event, I'm looking forward to experiencing the evening and will be very glad to have it done. Trouble's even going to get to come with me, which is always fun (and most of my coworkers haven't met her yet - so this could be interesting)! Hope you all have a great weekend!