It’s Monday. That means some of my patented Weekend Notes are in order!

Service Hours

M, C, and I went to a local food pantry to volunteer Saturday so they could earn some service hours. They were sent to man the produce table, while I spent the first two hours running the door where people waited to have their eligibility status checked.

Upon check-in, people received a paper ticket with a number and then waited in the lobby. I ran the ticker that showed what numbers could come up and get in line. Then I checked to make sure people were in the right spot before they went into the office for verification. Simple, right? Well it was, it’s just as with any line, people would get anxious and begin lining up before their number had been posted. Some people complained about that. Others would try to barge in line because they had, say, 150 and 210 was on the ticker. I did my best to be gentle with folks, telling them to please go to the end of the line, they will get through just fine. There were a number of people who did not speak English well, and they were sometimes a challenge.[1] A couple people asked me to straight up throw people out of line. I wasn’t doing that, I wasn’t going to yell at folks who were getting in line early. It was a cold, December morning, no one in line wanted to be there. I was polite and friendly to everyone and asked people to be patient. It was way more stressful than I expected, but I was thankful most of the people were indeed understanding of the process and I had some nice conversations with a few people in my two hours at the door.

Once the crowd died down they released me and I joined the girls. They had an interesting job. The entire pantry is set up like a grocery store and the clients are allowed to “shop” for their food. For most areas there is a steady supply of bread, cereal, whatever, and they make their selection. The produce table M and C were at, though, was a feast or famine table. Workers in the back would bring a big rack of produce up, the girls would set it out, and it would disappear quickly. Then they’d sit around for 10–15 minutes until another cart came out.

Both girls had worked with me at another food pantry before, so they were aware of both the service the organization provides and why people are there shopping. I wish they had a job that would have kept them busy the entire time rather than sitting and waiting, but it was still a good experience. It’s an extremely humbling experience. This is one of several food pantries in Indy and it was packed. I reminded the girls of that, and that a lot of people who need food assistance aren’t able to visit these pantries.

M has to earn half of her 15 service hours at one place, so we will likely be back again as she earned 4.5 hours Saturday.

We laughed at how a couple people asked the girls if they were twins. They certainly have some similar facial features, but they’ve never really looked much alike.

I also got in a lengthy discussion with one of the regular workers about the state of politics, our society, and the world in general. He was a very nice, smart, thoughtful man and our politics mostly lined up. But he was also really into conspiracies. I’m kind of looking forward to being an old guy who believes in the strangest possible explanation for things. Hell, there are plenty of people in this country right now who are way younger than me and believe in things that have no factual basis, so I really don’t have to wait I guess!

College Football

I napped through much of the Big 12 game, which was the most entertaining of the conference championship games. I’m kind of shocked that Baylor hung in until the end, especially since they were down to their third-string QB in the second half. I was not shocked that their third-string QB, who is a freshman, looks better than any quarterback KU has had since Todd Reesing left. Jeez…

Wisconsin got a lot of us excited in the first half and then laid a big turd in the second half of the Big Ten game.

The final CFP rankings made sense. I honestly think there’s a top three this year and Oklahoma, or Baylor or Georgia had they won do not belong in the playoff. Let Ohio State and Clemson play for the right to meet LSU in the title game. I’m a big LSU fan for the next month. I don’t think OU has much of a chance and hate the other two schools. Although I am pulling for Ohio State in their semifinal because I’m sick of Dabo Swinney’s whining.

Family Christmas Gift

Our washing machine died last Monday. It looks like either the bearings or transmission was failing, as I found water and transmission fluid on the floor after I did a load Monday. I scheduled a service visit but after doing some research learned that the likely repair, if possible, would run us at least $400. Since every big box hardware store had huge sales last week and most washers/dryers were 30%-plus off, we bit the bullet and purchased a new set, which was delivered Sunday. The old ones really weren’t all that old, maybe seven years. But these new ones are sooooo much quieter. After a cycle with Maytag appliances and a number of issues, we’re back with LG, who we had used previously and had no issues with. Hope these work out as well.

NFL Sunday

Man, the game of the year in New Orleans, I guess, with the 49ers pulling out a last-second win over the Saints. I did see the last 90 seconds, which were pretty eventful. But I missed most of the game because the Colts and Buccaneers were putting on a low-key great game in Tampa. That game was filled with great plays and back-and-forth scoring, like the game in New Orleans. It was also played very much how you would expect a game between two mediocre teams to be played. There were so many mind-blowingly bad plays by both teams. The Colts forced four turnovers yet somehow still looked utterly lost on defense most of the day. It kind of summed up this year’s Colts team. The potential is there, but they constantly shoot themselves in the foot. And now I’ve officially won my bet that they will not win 10 games this year.

  1. Mostly Spanish speakers, but there were several people who looked and sounded like they were from West Africa, a few Middle Eastern people, and a few Asian people.  ↩