Thursday, October 31, 2013

Day 31

Today I went out of my way to ask other people about themselves.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Day 29

Today I told an old mentor how much he helped me long ago.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Day 28

Today I thanked the health care workers I came in contact with. They have a tough job, knowingly and willingly exposing themselves to sick people on a regular basis.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Day 27

Today I found a way to get my wife something she's wanted for a long time.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Day 26

Today I made a small donation to First in Families of North Carolina. FIFNC is a grassroots family support initiative founded by families looking for new ways to provide and receive support.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Day 25

Today I volunteered to mentor some new co-workers whenever possible. They're new to doing this kind of work and the learning curve is not easy. I don't that I'm a natural-born teacher, but hopefully I can help a little.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Day 24

Today while checking out at the pet store, I donated to the store's charity fund, which supports animal adoption, spaying/neutering programs, and animal welfare.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Day 23

Today I gave a donation to someone fundraising for adoption and foster care. It's always handy when the opportunities fall into my lap (...which is the opposite of how most people feel when they run across someone asking for money, myself included a lot of times).


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Day 22

Today I bought some random stranger something from the vending machine.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Day 21

Today I provided dessert and rolls at a previously coordinated dinner for the residents of the Inter-Faith Council's Project HomeStart shelter.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Day 19

Today I helped jump-start a stranger's car. It seems like there should be a story here, but you know, dead battery, parking lot, jumper cables... I guess the good thing was I was excited when he asked for help, because it meant I could cross today off my list. Some days it's hard to come up with ideas or find opportunities. Not today.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Day 18

Today I brought in chocolate chip cookies for my co-workers. Some of them were out of the office, so I didn't want to do something especially perishable. I figured cookies would still be good after the weekend.

I also volunteered to help out as often as I could on our Cub Scout overnight camping trip - hauling water, fetching food for the grill, cleaning up, etc.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Day 17

Today I volunteered for our PTA's Fall Festival. I'll be working the Scarecrow Lasso (whatever that is!)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Day 15

Today I made a point of saying "thank you" to as many people as I could for as many things as I could. I don't think it amounted to as many people as I had hoped, but hopefully it made some tiny difference.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Day 14

Today I made a donation to the Malala Fund.

“I think of it often and imagine the scene clearly. Even if they come to kill me, I will tell them what they are trying to do is wrong, that education is our basic right.”
– Malala Yousafzai


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Day 13

Today I donated to a local animal rescue organization. (I forgot to catch the name.) They had some adorable dogs and cats available outside the pet store where we were buying crickets for E5's pet frogs. I guess having E5 with me made them think we were there for a pet because we were approached on the way in and again on the way out about adopting. The dog sitting on its backside like a person and the cat burrowing under it's blanket and then popping out and pouncing were two of our favorites. We're not in the market for any new additions at home though.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Day 12

Sadly, I was unable to run in the Autism 5k today. I did everything in my power to make it happen, but my job managed to foil my plans. I'll spare you the details, but I was less than thrilled with that turn of events. Maybe one day this week while I'm at work, I'll go down to the workout room and run a 5k on the treadmill instead of working. That seems like a fair trade. They still owe me a t-shirt though.

Anyway, today I made a donation to Barbells for Boobs to help my friend Eva reach her fundraising goal.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Day 11

When I'm stressed, I fall into old bad habits. I've had a lot of those lately. The one I indulged in this morning was hitting the fast food drive-through for breakfast. I must be an emotional eater. I really need to cut that out for a lot of reasons. But not today.

My random act of kindness was to buy breakfast for the person behind me.

I wasn't there to see the driver's reaction of course, but I got a very sweet smile from the lady who took my money. And my stress level went down a notch or two...

And just a reminder, if you want to make a last minute donation to my 5k run tomorrow morning, you can do so here:

Remember, for each donation, no matter how small, I will add one day to the end of my 43 Good Days.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Day 10

Today I volunteered to help our Cub Scout den organize a meal for the local women's shelter. We'll provide the meal, serve it, and clean up afterwards.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Day 9

This week has been stressful at work In fact, I haven't had a weekend all to myself since August, and this weekend is the culmination of a big project. I'm a bit burned out by it all and I'll be glad when it's over.

As such, some of my "acts of kindness" are better than others. Today was not one of those days. Today my act of kindness was to bite my tongue.

I took my daughter to "Adaptive Aquatics" - swim classes for kids with autism, Down's Syndrome and other disabilities. She loves it. Only when I got there, they didn't have her on the list. When I signed her up, they said she was already enrolled.

Frustrated, but channeling my kinder, gentler self, I got my own suit on and took her in the pool myself. She was a bit annoyed or confused why she didn't get to play with the nice lady instead of her dumb old dad, but we made it through.

When it was time to go, we headed for the two "family changing rooms". These tend to be in higher demand around Adaptive Aquatics, and both were in use when we got to them. So we just stood there, waiting patiently, dripping dry.

As it turns out, one of the family changing rooms was being used by someone (an individual, not a family) taking a 20-minute shower. The other changing room was actually being used by a family, but when they came out, another family cut ahead of us to use it.

Rather than taking these people to task for being such inconsiderate jerks, I let it go. I figured, you know, I have no idea what these other people were thinking, but maybe they had good reasons. Who knows what challenges they are facing in their own lives? I spent my time making up stories and imagining scenarios about why this person really did need to use the family changing room alone for a long shower, or why the other family really did need to cut ahead of us. (Great creative writing exercise.)

Some days are better than others...


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Day 8

Today I thanked another parent who I haven't seen in a while for helping me out several times last year with Cub Scout activities.

My instant karma reward? I met another parent who has faced some of the same (rather specific) struggles that we've gone through in our family. She's got a great support network that she's willing to share with us. Good times!

It's always great to find you're not alone with certain things. While the nature of the struggles we have in common are pretty specific, I'm going to have to be a little vague out here in internet land.

Double Bonus: The donation I made on Day 49 last year was for a service dog, and the family just got word about what dog they're getting and when. So happy for them! I remember how exciting it was when we found out about our service dog.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Day 7

Today I stopped by the grocery store on the way home and picked up some stuff for the homeless man by the exit ramp. I got some breakfast bars, a box of raisins, some nuts, a pop-top can of chili, a pack of gum, and some baby wipes. I hope it helped a little.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Day 6

Before I get to today's activities, I want to let you know that next weekend I'll be participating in the Triangle Run/Walk for Autism. I'll be running in a 5k race (which I always forget to train for), and this will be the only time during this project where I'll ask for donations. In fact, for every donation received, I will extend this project by one day.
Thank you in advance.

Today I helped raise money for my son's Cub Scout Pack. We spent three hours outside of a local hardware chain politely asking people to buy overpriced popcorn. I say "we" but really I let my son do most of the work. He's a much better salesman than I am. His polite, soft-spoken approach an shaggy hair and adorable uniform won him more than a few sales and donations. I was very proud of him for stepping out of his comfort zone and trying his best. And people kept coming up to me and telling me how nice he was, or how they weren't going to buy anything but after talking to him they couldn't resist.

After we were done we stuck around and loaded all the remaining popcorn into another leader's vehicle, took down and packed up the canopy, along with the table, chairs, signs, etc.

Of course now my son's within $50 of a big sales goal that comes with a cool reward for him, so I suspect I'm going to have to find somewhere to take him door-to-door to give him a shot at it. (I said I wouldn't ask for any more monetary contributions, but if by chance you'd be interested in some Cub Scout popcorn, let us know...)


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Day 5

Today I surprised my kid by taking him to Radio Shack to get him an Elenco 130-in-one "electronic playground." He's developed a strong interest in electronics and circuits, and I'm hoping this helps him learn all about resistors, transistors, capacitors, diodes, transformers, volts, amps, and ohms.

We read the first chapter of the instruction book together before he started doing anything, but it didn't take him long to start modifying the plans in the book to wire up his own novel creations.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Day 4

Today, on my commute home, there was a horrendous traffic jam. Both sides of the interstate were backed up pretty badly. I was thankful that I wasn't heading east today though because the other side was backed up for at least nine miles. Today I let people go ahead of me as often as I could.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Day 3

Today I bought lunch for an old co-worker who I hadn't seen in a while. I'm not entirely sure this counts, since I was merely returning the favor from the last time we had lunch... and besides, I already counted buying somebody a meal and we're only three days in. I didn't get a chance to do anything cooler today though, so this will have to do it for today.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Day 2

This is one that I've been wanting to do for a while.

Today I made a donation to the Kyle Bell Memorial Food Pantry in Lake County, Ohio.

Kyle was the brother of my longtime friend Kim. Kyle passed away unexpectedly last February at age 37.

I know Kyle was loved deeply, and by many. I think it's an outstanding tribute to name something in his honor that will help so many people in need.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Day 1

Last year I had a lot of fun with my 42 Good Days blog. We'd had been going through a rough patch, so I decided to take matters into my own hands and shift the focus from my own challenges to those of others. And you know what? It worked. I felt better. Good things happened. People were made to smile, and laugh. Tiny differences were made, from my own neighborhood all the way to other continents. 

This summer we found ourselves in some even more challenging circumstances. Without going into a lot of personal details, I have to say that August was one of the most stressful months I can remember for me and my family. And since last year's 42 good days, we've had to deal with wonderful things like the broken cars, broken glass, broken electronics, rotten floorboards, mold in the garage, job difficulties, attorneys, multiple government bureaucracies, money problems, family problems, kid problems, a missing kid, and the Internal Revenue Service.

We're getting things back to normal now -- at least normal for us -- but I still want to get that good feeling back.

So for the next 43 days, I'll be going out of my way to do something nice for someone else at least once every day. And 43 days from now is November 13th, which is World Kindness Day.

Today, I bought dinner for one of our daughter's care providers. Our daughter is 10 years old and has severe autism. Despite trying to get it for a long time, we've only had this service available to us for the past month, and it's really made a difference already. It's not an easy job looking after Amelia, and I know the pay is not great, so I'm always looking for ways to show our appreciation.