For the past several years, February means only one thing to me ... no, not Groundhog Day ... the Action Division Valentine's Dance. It's our biggest fundraiser of the year and we work on it for months and months beforehand. This year's dance was last night - here's how I experienced it ...
... the mother of all colds hit me the week before the dance, kept me out of work for two days, even kept me from making necessary phone calls because I lost my voice! Friday evening I hung out on the couch feeling wretched and wondering if I would really be OK for the dance. But praise God for cold medicine and adrenaline - I made it through the whole day without falling over (although I came close to not surviving the polka).
... I got to be in charge of beer, wine, and bartenders for the dance, despite the fact that normally I drink neither beer nor wine. Here's me at Belmont Beverage a week before the dance: "OK, I need to order five cases of wine, they told me to get Oak Vineyard ..." "I'm sorry miss, we don't have that brand, is there another that would be OK?" ... "I don't know ... I don't know anything about wine ..." Fortunately Citywide Liquor had what we needed, no questions asked. Meanwhile, one of the highlights of the bartender-recruiting experience was finding out that Rob and Suzanne and Tony and Nancy love to bartend! They acted like I was doing them a favor by asking them to spend half of the dance behind the bar. Praise God for people whose gifts and interests match our needs ...
... working with the Action kids is fun. During food prep yesterday morning I saw Patrick slicing a pepper slowly and awkwardly and went over to show him how to do it properly (I taught my brother how to do this too, a few years ago) and it was cute to see how relieved he was to see there was an easier way of doing it. Meanwhile Ben is an aspiring chef and volunteered to make several cheesecakes for the dance ... he hung in the doorway and watched as a few of us sampled a small piece, and was clearly quite pleased when we all oohed and aahed over how yummy it was. Calla reminded me of Monk, the obsessive compulsive detective, as she meticulously laid out lovely patterns of crackers on red plates.
... I wanted to dance and by golly, I danced. I ran back and forth between the kitchen and the dance all evening, trying not to slack off on work OR miss too much of the fun, so every time I was on a break I was not shy about asking (OK, telling) the guys to dance with me. I may have been a little too forward. Lately, in a lot of ways, I have been realizing how pushy I can be ... is pushy the right word? Maybe assertive ... maybe overly assertive ... in any case, later on in the dance I put my assertive personality to better use when I directed the guys to dance with the other girls. Some of the gals were standing around wanting to dance and the guys were standing around chatting. And honestly, you can chat anytime but how often do you have a live fifteen-piece band to dance to? So, "Dan, you need to go dance with Emily. Kyle, go get Beka. Justin, let's see, who needs to dance ..." And then stood back and watched, satisfied, as my gentlemanly friends took care of the ladies.
... and lots of people had a great time dancing so we renewed our late-summer discussion of how can we get out to dance more? Although most of hadn't danced since September, we were pretty good at remembering the she-goes, the he-goes, and the belt-loop, although the cuddle and the dishrag were a bit more difficult. Well, with my assertive personality you can be sure I'll get us dancing again soon, somehow, somewhere.
... I kind of forgot to eat dinner. I honestly don't know how I managed to work and dance from 6 PM until 1 AM on nothing but a latte and one bite of cheesecake, especially while fighting this killer cold. I am truly sincerely astounded.
... at the end of the dance everyone in Action gathered in the Oak Room and Matt told us that the fun really begins with cleanup. Oddly enough, it was true :) I had actually remembered to bring a stereo to liven up the kitchen atmosphere so we all packed leftovers and washed dishes while singing "Do you believe in magic, in a young girl's heart ..." Well personally I didn't sing because that would have given me a coughing fit, but it was fun all the same. One of the highlights of the entire evening was looking at the clean, empty kitchen and marveling at all the work we'd managed to do in there. I moved on to other odd jobs like rolling up long strips of red ribbon and just had a ball watching the high-schoolers get goofier and goofier as it got later and later. But they're a hard-working bunch and the dance that had taken several days to set up came down in two hours. Praise God.
... and then I slept until 11 AM. Praise God.