Thursday, 28 June 2007

The Five Days from Hell, Revisited

Last weekend I ran two fundraisers, a booth at a local fair and a Strawberry Supper at my local hall. I also had two sets of house guests and the Health Centre's Annual General Meeting on Tuesday. Whew!

It doesn't seem as if it has been a week since I posted the Thirteen Things list -- Saturday through Tuesday passed in a blur. Friday I collected three flats and eight quart baskets of strawberries (picked by volunteers, thanks be!) and got signs and rosters ready for Sunday. I spent Saturday selling books and fruit kabobs from the Health Centre booth, picked up my cousin, our house guest, from the train, packed up the booth, fed and entertained her, remade the aspic which had not jelled and muttered imprecations. Sunday was Strawberry Supper day. I hauled the food and my poor cousin off to the Hall at an unreasonalby early hour and we cleaned strawberries all morning. Solo, because my roster got messed up, and I had to send one of my stalwart workers off to get the bread, which I had forgotten.

At noon the workers started swarming in and we were almost ready when the bus tour arrived, twenty minutes early. When they came in, the people waiting to eat followed them and we started flinging the food out. We had a steady stream of diners for the first hour, a bit of a break and another busy period. At the end of this second rush we realized that we were getting low on berries, went looking for the last big bowl and found, to my horror, that the rapidly emptying one in the dining area was the last one. Oh, rats! Oh dear! The last twenty diners had to be content with cake and melon. I was mortified, as our Hall has the reputation of never running out of food. No one asked for their money back, than goodness. We had planned for 200 people and we got 190, approximately. But we let people serve their own strawberries and that was a mistake. Next time I will put a guard on the berry bowls.

My cleanup crew did me proud and I staggered home to entertain my cousin. I put her on the train Monday morning, shopped for my groceries on the way home and frantically redid the guest room linens. I was almost ready when the second set of house guests arrived. Cathy was good enough to help me get the materials ready for the AGM, and we had fun with that.

Tuesday morning we packed up and took off, towing our brand new boat, for the Rideau Canal system, as the purpose of Gary and Cathy's visit was to be shown the nearest section of the system -- the Rideau Lake chain. We keep the boat here and launch it from one of the locks. We did that, piled our lunch and gear aboard, and prepared to go. There was water in the stern, however, which puzzled us. A passing boat's driver asked us if we needed a plug, but JG was convinced he had put it in. We went out toward the lake but when JG tried to speed up, the boat would not go up on the step and it was wallowing a lot. Cathy pointed out that the water was now above her ankles. We turned on the bilge pump and water started pouring out.

We quickly motored back to the quay, JG backed the trailer into the slip and we pulled the boat up the ramp, fearing that we had a split weld or some other catastrophe. Water poured out of the drain hole. There are two identical drain holes. One drains the live well and the other is the hull drain. The plug was in the live well drain. While we were relieved that the boat was sound, JG was more than a little bit embarrassed.

As all this had taken some time, our trip from lower Rideau Lake up to Westport was somewhat shortened and we ended up by having to speed for home, as I had to pick up flowers, get dressed in my best and be at the pre AGM meeting by 5:30. I arrived at 5:31, just in time to hear the Chair complaining that there was no quorum. 'Your quorum is running down the hall', someone remarked. I didn't get much supper.

We had the AGM, I gave my speeches. I think. By this time I was a bit stunned. I got elected Chair for the 07/08 year, and I crawled home by about 9:30 to find the crew assembled on the screen porch sipping cold drinks and counting fireflies. Yesterday we went for brunch to a local pancake house and our guests left from there to go home. By the time we got home, I was a complete zombie. I counted the money from the Supper and this morning, when JG recounted it, he found a lot of errors. However, we still have a really good take, in spite of my mistaking loonies for twonies, and I think the workers will be pleased. We are 4/5ths of the way to our goal of $500,000, having begun the campaign in September '06 and I don't think that's too bad.

As much as I am complaining, it was all a lot of fun. Once we figured out what was wrong with our brand new boat.


  1. Having read all that, now I need a nap!

  2. Yeah, me too. You make me tired.

    This is retirement? No thanks, I think I'll stick to working. :)

  3. Yeah, guess who spent most of Wednesday draped over a chair, snoring slightly. Thank goodness it doesn't happen often!