Sunday, May 10, 2015

Back to work!

Attention paranoid people and any investigators from a company that's not giving me any money anyway.  I am not working.  Nobody's paying me I'm not receiving any compensation.

A little over seven years ago my wife and I did the math and we realized we can still pay our bills if I left my dead-end job.  It was getting kind of ridiculous to make not so much money just to take it home and give it to someone to watch my children.  I should've done it the day they were born but I waited till they were eight.
Getting 10,000 cups filled at 5 am

I never really thought about labels but I became a stay at home dad.  I was even interviewed for a few times be people who like talking about labels.  I just googled myself and found this very inaccurate article.  and here is an accurate quote that I don't remember giving, A Japanese reporter took me out to lunch because there is no word for stay-at-home dad in Japan.

Watching the Marathon in my rearview mirror
But I wasn't a stay at home dad for long.  I really enjoyed filling up my date with volunteering.  I really enjoyed chaperoning class trips. But I drew the line when the principal asked me to chaperone the trip that my kids weren't even going on.  I also would just hang out in school to be an extra adult in the school yard during recess.  

I also started helping out a lot more with my running club.  I started taking the lead in organizing races.  I found that the only thing more fun than running a race was running a race, was organizing a race.  Since I had some time on my hands and a medium amount of organizational skills I took leadership of the summer evening race series that had usually 25 or 50 people running and I brought it up to 200 people.  I gave it a slogan.  "Tell your friends but tell them not to tell their friends, we don't want this getting too big."  This week I helped design the new course for this race.  Were not making the race bigger for the sake of making it bigger but everyone who comes is good I have a really good time.

Then something unexpected happened.  My phone rang and two different guys called me with in a few months and said," I hear you know how to organize races that make money, can we have lunch?"  Yeah, people wanted to pay me to do what I was doing for free and really enjoying.  This sounded fun.
The cameras love me

I really really enjoyed my job.  So many times I would pause and just look at the sky and say "Damm, I'm getting paid to do this".  What could be more fun than spending a weekday in a quiet park with a bicycle and figuring out where the starting line and.finish line should be.  I would get to decide where the best place would be to have the post race party.  And then be back there a week later and seeing people enjoying themselves there.  On more than a few occasions I would set up the while markers before the race and then get back to the starting line just in time to pick up a bullhorn and say things like, "don't bother avoiding the first puddle because you can avoid the next five."

I once helped organize a race on Governors Island, right next to the Statue of Liberty.   After being lead bike and then riding the course for two or three more times to make sure everyone found their way back to the finish I remember taking a one minute break and getting off my bike and just looking at the Statue of Liberty and appreciating the fact that I was getting paid at that very moment.  The staff all came over on an early ferry and we got to watch the sunrise from the boat.  But at the end of the event I didn't want to go back to Manhattan with my bike, so I took the Brooklyn ferry.  Before I went home I bought a chicken and rice from a street guy and then took a nap under a tree.  When I woke up there was a whole family who had just run the race a few feet away and the mom looked over at me and said," I hope my kids didn't disturb you know how hard you work today."  I felt famous.

Back about the time I started getting paid to help with races two people who I knew because their kids were on the same track team with my kids will organizing a race to raise money for the local PTAs.  The event was small and the race management was kind of a mess.  So I said to them I don't how much are paying that guy to organize your race but I think I can do a better job and I'll do it for free. "You're hired.",  Said my friend who I didn't know at the time was my City Councilman. 

This is fun
 I'm really proud of the work that I've done and help bring this race from something small the something that helped raise a lot of money for a lot of schools.  I'm also really happy to see people having a good time at this race.  That means a lot to me.  Last year I missed it because I was in intensive care.  Last week I did something I hadn't done any year.  I got in a car so I can go to a planning meeting.  This morning I got to that race.   It felt really good to be out there again.  Organizing volunteers and having them place cones and just the right places so that our participants (kids) didn't step into an active bike lane.

I'm feeling pretty good right now.  I think it's because I like being thanked for the help I do as opposed to thinking people for helping me.


I can still help





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