While I can, I will

One of my original goals when I left teaching to take some time off to be a stay-at-home mom was to volunteer more. Volunteering at my sons' school was accomplished easily enough, but adding a second day to the animal shelter didn't come quite as easy.  

It took me a year to add a shift at the shelter, but I finally did this week. In addition to my usual Sundays in the call center, I am now the newest member of the boutique staff.  Apparently, after helping this department at one of the annual events, it was evident that I have a knack for spending other people's money - I mean a knack for sales.

I suppose there were a few reasons it took me a year to arrange a second shift. I didn't particularly want another day of answering phones. I was also hesitant to work with the dogs directly, probably because of the heat (I'm a wimp) and the residual anxiety left from the time a doberman almost tore my shoulder out of its socket. This occurred at a different rescue center under unusual circumstances, but it has left me a bit gun shy. And, although I visit the cats regularly, working directly with them would lead to me taking them all home, cementing my reputation as the crazy cat lady. So finding my niche took me a while - obviously.

But, here I am, a year later and I think the boutique is going to suit me well. I am a people-person and love the face-to-face contact with the public. I also have this weird fascination with price scanners and get to fulfill one of my childhood pastimes of playing store.  Also, there is a whole different vibe over in this building, one of hope.  I get to see the happy animals - the ones either visiting the clinic to get their vaccines or the animals that have been adopted and are on their way home!

The call center, where I've been on Sundays for over two years, is located in what I call "the pit of despair." It is in the intake building where all the animals are brought after being picked up as strays or when being surrendered by their people (Notice I kept my opinion of said "people" to myself?).  The animals are scared and confused, often depressed. So, yes, it is nice to volunteer in the boutique where I get to help pets pick out new toys, bowls and beds that they'll be able to call their own.

Yesterday was my first official day in this new capacity and it was spent mainly re-stocking shelves and getting all the Halloween merchandise on display. It was a mere four-hour shift.  What is that? Like part-time hours? And thank goodness!! By the time I left and ran some errands and got into car line at school to pick up my sons, I was positively exhausted.  Plus, we had a soccer game that night so tending to my exhaustion was going to have to wait.

However, putting all this bitching and moaning aside, I really enjoyed my new venture.  One of the highlights of my day was meeting an old colleague who, now retired (man, we're all getting old), had just started volunteering at the shelter herself.  It was just really good to be out of the house and doing something I love. I am also volunteering two days at my sons' school this week, so I need to be careful not to spread myself too thin.  I have to remind myself it is all about balance.  This blog is important to me and I need to make sure I leave time for it. Plus, I am currently tutoring one student and collaborating with the occasional author on their newest novel - all this in addition to the normal care of my family and the household. So, yeah, my days and weeks are full.

All-in-all this year of transition has had its ups and downs, but I am forcing myself out there slowly, but surely. In the meantime, there was one little kitten in the window yesterday that caught my eye.......I must remain strong!


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