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i can't wait to see dad in a hairnet.

this is one of the first things i heard after waking. one of my kids said it to another one of my kids. the first thing i thought was, why am i going to be wearing a hairnet?

then i remembered our evening plans included an outing to some world food bank where we would be prepping boxes of food to be sent overseas. this would be my family's seventh year of doing it. it would be my first. but now that i'm self-employed and have a bit more governance over my schedule, i could join in. when the hairnet came up, i told my kids that once the organizers saw my gorgeous locks there is no way they would ask me to cover them up. to this, anthony (11) said, using that logic i should maybe have to wear a hairnet all the time, everywhere i go. chortling, alex (14) wondered aloud if they made hairnets that covered your whole body. welcome to life as a father of multiple fast-tounged boys who enjoy besting their father in battles of wit.

bella (16) views unique volunteering opportunities like this how most kids might think of a thousand dollar shopping spree at the mall or getting backstage passes with their best friend to their favorite band. she's a mighty curious human in this regard. but i'm mighty thankful that my daughter's hobby and passion in life is philanthropy and not being an it-girl (what our family calls the cool and popular crowd). i think to say that because i've run into a few it-girls recently and every time i'm walking away i close my eyes to say a private thank-you to whatever natural-force allowed me to side-step that sort of vapidity on a full-time basis.

once we were suited up (and hair-netted—i received no magical exclusion) i learned that there is a competition of sorts at hand. mainly, how many boxes can your table complete. not everyone chooses to engage in this best-fest, but some do. last year, a bella-run table set some sort of record. as you would guess, bella came in bent to best her prior mark.

a few notes about this event. it is strangely a kinda hard ticket to get. once you arrive you see it has a this-is-the-place-to-be vibe (on a friday night at that) and when marty first went to sign up, the tables were already sold out. but she did her wriggling and wrangling she is known for and landed the family not just a spot but a full table. with the extra spots she invited her best friend's family (and who we do our long-summer camping trips with). the day after she registered, the woman who runs the organization called the house (yes, like called the home phone). she said she was thrilled to see bella's name cross her desk. she then asked how long bella would be staying. as per usual, bella would be running multiple tables and spanning numerous shifts. for example, in addition to going with the family she also recruits kids from the high school to participate in a special teen-only event. the woman said she would like bella to eat with the organization staff during the break. she apologized that she couldn't feed our whole group but said that she could definitely feed bella.

i don't think our family/friend-table set any records that evening but we put in a respectable-enough showing. bella's school group though worked for more than three hours in the evening shift and was (1) the last table working and (2) made 483 boxes of meals destined for overseas dinner tables. each box holds 36 meals for a grand total of 17,388 meals. not shabby for a three hour effort.

in all, the orginization made more 500,000 boxed family meals. it's nice to learn your community can pull together and put a dent in things every now and again. it's less nice to learn i look as ridiculous in a hairnet as you'd think i might look in a hairnet.




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