Sabbatical Volunteer Work

One of the surprises of my sabbatical leave has been the number of opportunities for community service have come my way.  Normally, every weekday, many evenings and weekends are so occupied by academic and production-related duties that in a normal spring, it is simply not possible to take advantage of these opportunities.

Not so this semester.  With no academic or production-related conflicts, I have been able to engage in several volunteer and community service activities.

Many of these have come my way through my wife who assumed responsibility of a local High School library (she is a trained teacher/librarian) last fall.  Since there were several issues that she was having trouble coordinating with the persons who were presumably available through the school and since the tasks were within my technical ability and since I come with tools, she coerced me into lending a hand.

Over the course of several days I repaired 6o or so wooden chairs.  Some only required tightening of existing screws.  However, many had sheered-off  or stripped-out screws that required re-filling over-large pilot holes, repositioning screws,  and other minor woodworking.

The administration at my wife’s school is working on creating summer storage for all the text books that are checked out at the beginning of each semester to students who require them for their classes and in creating an additional teaching computer-lab.  To that end, all of the stacks (shelves of books) needed to be moved from the mezzanine of the library to the main level.  Consequently, I spent a day moving 7′ long x 4′ high x 20″wide  shelves to their new locations.  This entailed maneuvering them single-handedly (on a dolly and with a student helper to hold doors) through an adjacent classroom through 2 lever-latching doors, through a double-fire door, through a single lever-latch fire-door to the elevator, into, down one level, and out of the elevator, through another double-fire door and through the double-doors of the library.  Thank heavens for the refrigerator dolly that my step-father-in-law left when he moved out!

My wife also asked me to create and install a 4′ x 4′ chalkboard behind her circulation desk. A half-sheet of  1/4″ hardboard and some chalkboard paint and it was done.  I didn’t have room in the library to create it there, so I did the work at home.  The hardest part was getting the chalk-board to the school.  It wouldn’t fit in any of our vehicles, so I had to strap it to the rack on my roof.  My wife was less appreciative than I expected.  It might have something to do with the fact that after I installed it I inaugurated the chalk-board with the legend “Print is Dead!  Egon Spengler–Ghostbusters”

I also had the unbelievable opportunity to chaperone a formal dance at a local high school a few weeks ago.  Enough said!

I am scheduled at a future date to run sound for a belly dance workshop and performance that my wife’s dance troupe will host at a local vineyard.  Tough work, but somebody’s got to do it!

The highlight of my volunteer activity this semester is the opportunity to chaperone my son’s band trip in the coming week.  We are taking about 12 adults and 140 students on a week-long bus trip to Orlando so that they can march in front of  the Disney World Electric Light Parade one evening.  I am told that it is a 26-hour bus ride in 3 busses and that I  will be one of three adult males among the chaperones.

This blog will experience a 3-week hiatus while I conduct this last activity, followed immediately by a road trip to Long Beach for the USITT convention.  In that interval I will have spotty internet accessibility (and sometimes precious little time to blog on the topic of Theatrical Lighting).  In the meantime, expect some off-topic blogs that I created and scheduled for publication.

That’s enough for now! Have fun!  Be safe!



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