Wednesday, August 5, 2009

National Night Out and how I prepared for it

This day began like many others, up at dark 30, coffee, then laundry, trash to the curb, water the garden, pick veggies, then off to shower.

I only have time for a tiny bit of art today, so while it's still cool in the studio, I plug in the iron, smooth out some gold foil candy wrappers, then iron them to a stabilizer (Wonder Under).

I hand write thank you messages to all the businesses I called in hopes that they would donate something I could pass out as "door prizes."

It was now time to go pick everything up. The first place was a neighborhood restaurant called "Neighbors." You can see the hand written message I wrote to the owner, which reads: "Chuck, Thanks for the coupon and for your continued support of North Riverside (the neighborhood I live in)." I wrote similar notes to Subway and McDonald's. Neighbors gave me a $20.00 gift certificate, which I planned to use as the grand prize.

Subway was next on the list, but they were really busy, so I didn't bother taking a photo. After all, who doesn't know what a Subway looks like. They gave me coupons for two free 6" subs.

Next it was off to McDonald's and one of their corporate office buildings. This place is beautiful and doesn't begin to hint that the temperature outside is now nearing 100 F.

Inside the three tiered fountain and lush greenery make me think what an awesome place this would be to work.

Can you imagine sitting here on your lunch break, facing the fountain and all the lush greenery? Nothing like the factory I used to work in!!! McDonald's provided us with coupons for free cones and french fries. I hope I win one of the fries coupons. Although I don't care for McDonald's, I have always loved their fries.

Back home, I dealt with the now dry laundry, fixed my three plates of veggies for the party, transferred the dip I made into a "fancy" container, and finished the get-to-know-your-neighbors questionnaire. Some of the questions were "Who has a fishy mailbox?" since one family's mailbox is in the shape of a fish, and "Who has a driveway on two sides of their house?" It was intended to make people aware of their neighborhood. The persons with the best two responses would get the Subway coupons.

My next task, seemingly easy as pie, took forever. I sharpened 16 brand new pencils. For some reason, this easy task took FOREVER. I have to learn how to use my pencil sharpener, I guess. Can you tell I hardly ever worked in an office?
Right before the party was to begin, I went to Starbucks. They donated a container of coffee. Not French Roast, but not tooooooooo bad. And they threw in more stirrer sticks than I'll be able to use this year!!

Back at Sally's I began unloading the things I brought, then remembered to take a photo.

Even though it's nice and shady in her yard, the temperature is still in the 90s. I'm hot as hades, so after helping her set up, I went home and took another quick shower, then forgot to bring my camera back to the party. It was just as well, since things got hectic with meeting people, the police stopping by, as well as some of our elected officials out to garner votes.

After the finger food was devoured, games were played, and most people packed up and went home, Sally, Donna, and I sat around talking. It's a wonderful thing we did, because we had more visitors in store for us. It was at this point I remembered my camera and went home to get it.
It's too bad the kids were all gone by the time the fire truck and CSIs came around. I had so much fun with them. There were two CSI trucks, since they had been called to a burglary earlier in the evening. In fact, one of the officers showed me the photos she took on her camera. We had a wonderful time talking about DNA testing, etc. For Wichita, KS, the average time it takes to process DNA is six months, but when the Crime Lab was testing DNA in the BTK (bind, torture, kill serial killer later learned to be Dennis Radar) case, it only took four hours, which is the time it actually takes to run DNA (unlike in the movies or on TV).

Gotta love the fire fighters. They turned on their sirens, lights, and honked their horns, after having a cup of coffee and cupcakes with us.

I think I was more of a kid than anyone, jumping for joy when the sirens went off.

The two crime scene investigators stuck around, also enjoying some of the food left from the party.

Later they posed for me.

One of the officers showed me the back of her "uniform." And contrary to TV, they do not carry firearms. The other gal said "we don't kill the evidence, we only shoot it."

They even took time to pose with us. Donna is on the left (she is 79) and Sally is on the far right. They are both still wearing their "name tags" I made from masking tape.

I had a wonderful time talking to these gals and they sure knew their stuff. The one on the left has a degree in Criminal Justice, the one on the right has one in Anthropology.

They were fun to talk to and seemed to love the attention, too. I think it's because they normally take photos of others, and no one takes photos of them.

Sally was enjoying the evening now that everyone had gone home and she could relax.

One more cup of coffee for the road.

And it was now time for them to climb into their Crime Scene vans and head out. By now it was nearly 9 pm and still not dark. However, it didn't take long since the sun was nearly to the horizon when I shot this photo. By the time we got everything put away, it was well after dark and nearly 10. I was pooped, but had some very fond and wonderful memories of this day.

Did you have a National Night Out party in your neighborhood? If not, consider organizing one next year. It's always held the first Tuesday in August. You know, the hottest day of the year!

5 thoughtful remarks:

Halle said...

We did! It was a good time. That's a great idea to get door prizes and donations from local businesses.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...


I've always called on local businesses when North Riverside has any neighborhood event, such as our annual neighborhood clean-up, river bank clean-up, and working in our neighborhood's two parks. You would be surprised how willing most places are to give, but be aware that some places require you to go to their corporate offices (such as McDonald's) and some require you to request anywhere from two to four weeks ahead, so they can get approval from corporate offices that are not in your town. This is especially true of banks and lumber yards in my neighborhood.

Kim said...

What a wonderful idea! I would have loved to come to something like this in the local area. What a hoot, all the fun arrived late in the day! Congrats to all who pulled together!

~*~Magpie's Nest said...

What a lot of fun, you certainly did a lot to make it extra special! I am a little kid when it comes to things like this, too bad the kiddies were already gone!

Dianne said...

wow--you worked so hard, glad you got to visit with the csi gals...sounds like the evening was a success!