Category Archives: fundraising

The Show Must Go On

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The Show Must Go On

A couple of years ago I thought – Wouldn’t it be fun to host a variety show to raise some money for the school district. I’m not sure what part of my brain thought I could pull this off but other people encouraged me and the idea moved forward.

Suddenly I’m working as a PR person, casting director and stage manager. Let’s be clear, I am not remotely qualified for any of those jobs and yet, there we were. I had two things going for me – the President of the Ed Fund (Prez) and the School District Superintendent (SI). Without their help it would have been a complete disaster. Even with their help, we barely averted a catastrophe.

Prez and I spent a lot of time hosting auditions and just figuring the whole thing out. Neither one of us did anything like this before and it required a significant amount of sweat equity. About two months before the show we decided to get a professional jazz quartet to be our headliner. The cost would be divided among four volunteers.

Things were starting to fall into place, press releases were sent out, a coherent schedule was coming together and ticket sales were brisk. About a week before the show we were informed we couldn’t have full use of the stage and the jazz quartet got another gig that night. Dafug?!

We got the stage cleared and shifted the schedule around to have the quartet open instead of close the show. Ok, we got this. We held rehearsal two days before the show and it was a complete disaster. The acts showed up at random times, the sound guys were having technical difficulties, total chaos ensued. I really thought this would end poorly with some expert level public humiliation.

We trudged forward. The next night Prez and I worked with the sound guys to get the order of the show finalized with lights and sound. We stayed until midnight to make sure everything was set for the next day. By the way, the sound guys were two high school students who were also donating their time. I can’t even tell you how much respect I have for their work ethic. We bribed them with food, rides and gift cards. The show would not go on without them.

The day of the show was finally here. I went to my daughter’s basketball game in the morning and was talking with a good friend of mine, another mom in the district. She asked if I was nervous. I told her that I was a little, but at that point we had done everything we could to make it a success so I just hoped for the best.

Our Superintendent was going to emcee the show with a member of the faculty. Two hours before the show he got a text saying that the other gentleman could not attend because he fell down the stairs that morning. I requested proof of the injuries. I saw a photo, sure enough the guy was busted up. I tucked that one away in case I need to get get out of some future event. I’ve got three sets of stairs in my house, it could happen.

We decided to have the show again the following year. It was easier than the first year because we had some idea of what we were doing. We were better organized, a little more confident and things were going smoother than the first show.

The show is held in the high school auditorium. We are guests of the school and need to respect the rules of use. There is an elevated stage and two pianos on each side of the area in front (not on) the stage. Last year I had a parent insist that one of the pianos be moved for his son’s act.

Stage Dad: Excuse me, who is in charge of this show?

SC: I guess that would be me and Prez.

Stage Dad: We need to move that piano to the stage.

SC: I’m sorry, we can’t do that. It’s stationary, trying to move it would be risky and would likely put it out of tune.

Stage Dad: No this is unacceptable it has to be moved! No offense but I’m going to need to speak with someone higher up.

SC: Oh you mean the person who signs my checks? Sure, oh wait a minute…I forgot I don’t get paid. You can discuss it with the Superintendent.

This year will be our third event and I won’t even be there. In true cringe fashion, I realized I had a date conflict while sitting in a recent event planning meeting. I was looking at a flyer for the show and my brain was trying to sort out why the date seemed familiar, oh that’s right I will be out of town. Keep in mind I helped pick the date of the show, yay me! We tried to change the date but the auditorium isn’t available so I guess I’ll miss it (no stairs required).

 

 

*Featured Image Sketch by Lisa McMillen http://www.cicalisadesigns.com/

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No Good Deed…

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No Good Deed…

“What happens in the barn – stays in the barn.” So the bad karaoke and overtly sexual dancing with another district mom shouldn’t come back to haunt me. Except that everyone in this Wonder Bread town has a smartphone. Well at least we raised some money “for the children”.

Planning an event is a solid pain in the ass. People suck, even the well-meaning helpers can be a drag when they get on board at the last minute. A do-gooder can instantly transform into a ne’er do-well if the timing is off.

Sheila lets me know the night before the event that she wants to donate a scarf to the silent auction. She also wants a ticket to the event that’s been sold out for weeks. Sure Sheila, we’re like besties (we rarely speak). The donation had a high-end price tag, but was likely made by a malnourished 11-year old Chinese factory worker.

Via Facebook Messenger she describes her donation, requests plastic wrap, and starts to tell me that her father is driving her to get her car because (enough already Sheila), just give me the address so I can pick it up.

I finally get the address Saturday morning. I drive there after a rigorous cardio class. Let me just mention that I sweat like a teen boy on a South African track team so I’m a bit of a mess when I get there. I’m in urgent need of a shower and I do not want to socialize.

A driveway that is the stuff of nightmares greets me. It’s anorexic and is flanked with rock walls that ache to destroy my car. I put that thought on the back burner as I run in to grab the donation in all its plastic-wrapped glory.

Her daughter meets me at the open door and skips off to tell her mother I’m here. “Oh I can just grab it if she’s busy.” This was my lame attempt at getting out of there fast. “I’ll be down in a minute” a voice floats down from above. Sheila appears 5 awkward minutes later.

It took me a bit to realize what was happening, probably because I had four hours worth of things to do in a two-hour window. I was going through my mental checklist when Sheila started pitching for the multi-level marketing company that drapes her in ugly overpriced scarves. She’s describing the snob appeal of the brand while I’m standing in sweaty gym clothes I purchased at Target and Marshalls. My entire outfit including my sneakers cost less than that fucking scarf.

“You meet so many interesting people,” Sheila drawls as I instantly flashback to Bugs Bunny giving Gossamer a manicure. “I’m sure you do”, I reply as my eyes begin to glaze.

 

My brain shuts off whenever I come in contact with cults. Fight or flight kicked in, I picked up the basket and made a beeline for the door. I got to my car only to realize I would scratch the shit out of it if I attempted to back up.

Paint job be damned, I needed to get out. I started the car with Sheila still going through her spiel from her front door “If I sell $400. worth by midnight I get entered into a contest for a trip to England!” as I feverishly try and back up my car.

“How exciting!” I reply, while frantically turning my wheel in alternating opposite directions with 6-inch bouts of progress with steering that can only be described as desperate. I was starting to sweat as Sheila drones on endlessly about how the owner of the company is just like us – “She just turned fifty, lives on an island, adopted twelve kids and travels on a private jet”. So similar, I think to myself, except I’m not fifty, bitch.

“Oh let me back up for you – no one else can back out of here,” Sheila suggests. “OK” I reluctantly agree.

Sheila backs up my car, which has an interior that resembles a contender for a Superfund site. At this point, I don’t care if Sheila knows I’m a car slob, I just want to leave.

“Bye Sheila thanks for the basket and for backing me out. See you tonight” I smile and wave. Then I notice a newly lit dashboard indicator and it takes every ounce of restraint not to say “WTAF” out loud.

Sheila wasn’t the only donor to give me a hard time. A non-donor who pretended to be a donor also harassed me. Stay with me, this one is special.

I got into a Facebook fight with a local guy who sells jams. I know it sounds ridiculous but this guy has been caustic since day one. A few months ago we had a vendor event. I was doing promotions on Facebook for it when I get a “why wasn’t I invited” in the comments from this guy. I never heard his name before but I responded politely, gave him the details and he joined the event. He donated a total of $3 to the non-profit. He only donated that because someone donated their change in front of me.

I let it go. I liked his jam related posts and we have some mutual local business friends that collaborate with him. Great, I support local businesses. Then in August things went off the rails. He posted a question, I answered. Things spiraled from there.

I logged off and went to bed and soon after, he started a shit storm on my personal Facebook page. Some of my friends defended me and took screen shots of the whole sordid affair. Most of the offensive comments were deleted by the next morning. Just some traces of a rough night with people messaging me the details. Several acquaintances were demanding a boycott of his business. I held them off. Then I unfriended him from my personal account because I don’t need the drama.

A month later he’s at it again. This time he makes comments on the non-profit Facebook page that I manage, stating he wants to donate to the auction. He posts his desire to donate publicly but doesn’t respond to private messages. He then comments on other pages, acting like he wanted to help but I was unresponsive. Total asshole.

Here’s the funny part – my husband loves this fucking jam. The one he likes reminds him of childhood summers spent in Italy. How can I deprive him of that? I can’t. But I don’t want to order this stuff online and have Jam Man see my name on the order – he’ll probably poison the jar. And I definitely do not want him to have my home address.

So in an ironic twist, filed under things you do for love, I am driving all over three towns looking for this stupid jam. I bought another variety at one store a few days ago and my husband gave it the thumbs down. I go back two days later to search for the beloved flavor and they don’t have it. Damn it.

This morning my husband sends me a text “good jam” – meaning please get me the stuff that reminds me of childhood summers spent in Italy. My first response was “You’re on your own dude, Jam Man was at it again yesterday.” Then I found it at a local business. So yes I bought the stupid jam because I love my husband more than I dislike the Jam Man. And in a final twist that can only be described as insulting….my husband thought the latest batch was just “meh”. No good deed goes unpunished.