Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear SHADE

Day 141  
“I hate to do this,” I interrupt, “but is there any way we can skip to the last page of requests?  I have to be in Mrs. Rooks’ class in ten minutes.”  I add the last part in hopes people will take pity on me and move it along. 

A dozen sets of eyes turn my way. 

“And talk about the request you care about?” starts the meeting’s moderator.  


For the last 60 minutes, we’ve been sitting around a conference table tucked in a back corner of the school offices talking about how to divvy up $11,000 from the PTO for special projects.  

Each of us come with our own agenda.  Some want the committee to spend $1750 on an all-school speaker on nutrition, others want an assortment of classroom books and shelves.  I want nearly half of the entire budget to build a permanent shade structure for the playground. 

Shoot, if you’re not going to aim high, why bother to take the shot?  

My friend Gina nailed it when she said I was always fighting for some cause.  First the tree house.  Now the playground.  Before that it was breast cancer and before that, I don’t know, but it was something. 

I don’t set out to wave the flag but for better or worse, that’s how I am.  I want to be the majorette twirling the baton with the boom-boom beat of the marching band banging out the orders to GET...IT...DONE. 

We all turn to the last page of our packets to look at my request.  I have pictures.  I have multiple quotes.  I’ve spoken with city and school officials.  Bring it. 

“Does anyone have any concerns?”  This is the last chance to voice and address concerns before the vote. 

“I know some school that had one and it only lasted two years,” asks one. 

This doesn’t deter me.  When I worked for the Lt. Governor as her speechwriter, she trained me to have answers to any question.  As a former prosecutor, she could be brutal in her cross-examination.  I learned to prepare.  For battle.  I’m ready. 

“These shades have a ten-year limited warranty.  That’s the same as the playground equipment we have.  The fabric can withstand winds up to 90 miles per hour and sustain weight of five pounds.”  Next? 

“Aren’t there zoning issues?  I don’t think the city will approve this,” asks another. 

Hello?  Can you say tree house?  After our two-month battle to save our tree house this fall and our appearance in front of the zoning board to apply for a variance, I am so well versed in current zoning that I’m on a first name basis with the city planner. 

“I’ve talked with the city, sent them the quotes, sent them copies of the plans and arranged for the city planner to mark where in the playground it can be installed that adheres to current zoning.” 

Play ball! 

There’s more back and forth and a request to talk to three references but it passes.  It helps that I’ve convinced two friends Jamie and Christy to come for moral support and to vote in a block.  (If I could I would thank them by giving them those two hours back, but alas, no.)

I thank the group and stamp down a grin until I reach the hallway where I skip down the hall and pump my fist in the air.  We did it!  

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