Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Thursday, January 3, 2013

When a plan comes together.

"It worked? That was too easy?"
One of the common things we hear from volunteers at the end of Christmas Day Dinner is how the dinner ran like a "well oiled machine."  This has been true of this latest dinner, perhaps even more than others.  On the night we set up we have sheets of paper with jobs for volunteers written down and we organise people referring to these. It is a strange feel that surprises me each time. You begin with a Church building and adjoining hall. Within at the most two hours it looks like a banquet hall with decorations, tables beautifully laid out and a nice feel to it. There is bedlam for about an hour and a half with people going in all directions. Then seemingly quite suddenly it all comes together and people go "Wow! Did we do that?" 
On the day itself the volunteers arrive, the meat arrives, the vegetables, we have people in cars going around the city picking up guests and suddenly its all go. Singing happens, guest singers while chips and drinks are shared. Meat cut up and first course served. More singing and second course, gifts, left overs distributed, people transported home, pack up tables and clean up. Done! "Did we do that?" "There were no real stuff ups? That was amazing!" Of course behind the scenes there are years of experience and lessons from past stuff ups. There is a whole lot of planning and communication gone on. We talk with people cooking the food. We talk together about what needs to be done when. We talk with firefighters coming to help. I send a letter out to prospective volunteers and have a conversation with most on the phone. We sweat drops of blood planning the transport arrangements. We phone people before hand. There have been sleepless nights stewing on possibilities, making lists and seeking answers. The thing works like a well oiled machine, because all sorts of people are working and planning before hand and are alert to the glitches and getting things sorted as they happen. But as I sink into a chair at home with a stubby, I have a big internal grin, "It worked! It worked as it should, as we planned! - YES!"
"Ha! See I did it!"
The reason this post is happening is because another plan came to fruition. We needed a letterbox for Phoenix Lodge. On New Years Eve I looked for one at the hardware store, but was not satisfied. I found sheets of plywood and began to visualise a letterbox, how to construct it, and how to attach it to the fence. I bought one sheet of plywood, constructed the letterbox and the number to go onto the fence. I had just a three inch by one inch little bit of plywood left over! I painted it with old primer and old paint we had. I then set about dreaming how to attach it to the fence. I had it all worked out in my mind as I loaded the tools in the car this morning. Tonight after work at 5 p.m. as I drove to Phoenix Lodge I worried that it might not work.  I was concerned that the 50 minutes I had before I picked up my wife might not be long enough. I measured and cut a hole in the fence, with the right tool - it worked as I had visualised it. I attached the letterbox, screwed it on with the screws I had brought. I attached the number, and packed up. In the process I had talked to three different people but the job was still done and dusted in twenty minutes! Everything went as planned. I would have liked it to be a little bit neater, but it went so smoothly that as I put the last tool back in the car I wanted to jump up and down, punch the air and scream, "Yes! I did it! For just $6!" Of course they might well lock me up if I got seen doing that, so I decided to blog instead. 
It's a divine feeling... 
In the myth of the creation of the world at the end of the sixth day of creation it reads; "God saw everything he had made, and indeed, it was very good." I love that line!
It is a great feeling when a plan comes together and goes well. It is one of the real joys of life... don't you agree?

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