For the last six months I have made an effort to find ways to help my community by giving back my time. This is particularly helpful to me especially when I start hearing those violin sounds in my head “…Poor me……poor me….nobody is helping me clean, cook or take care of my house…everyone in my family is too busy, so I have to do everything by myself…”
These thoughts get pretty loud sometimes, but I have found that doing something for others is a perfect way to feel better and give back to the community. That’s why I volunteer.
Since September 2010, I volunteer 2 hours a week at the Westbank Community Library. Mostly, I check in books and put them away. If someone has reserved a book, I find it on the shelf and put it on the reserve shelf. I lucked out when I joined up and got the best ever shift working with some ladies that have become good friends.
One of these ladies has been volunteering since the “library was built” she says. “They built this place around me….I have been here that long!” She is a wonderful lady and an inspiration to us all! She has so much energy and vitality. She is down to earth and honest. I strive to be just like her in 30 years!
Another volunteer opportunity I have started helping with is Austin Meals on Wheels
I have not committed to being a regular driver, but I am a “fill-in”. When someone can’t make it on a particular route, they call me around 8AM that morning and ask if I am available. This way, if I have an appointment with a client or am busy in any way, I can say “no” and they move on to the next volunteer on the list.
Sometimes I am available, and I say “yes” and I have never regretted giving this small amount of time. It literally only takes about 2 hours of my day. I pick up the meals and they give me a list of around 5-10 recipients. I deliver the lunches and then get on with the rest of my day. It is that easy. There are some perks to this experience. I get some smiles and thank you’s from some very nice people and I feel I have in a small way helped them have a better day.
So, if you are feeling a little down, or just have some extra time to give back, there are plenty of opportunities around the community to help. From my experience, you will be glad you did, and you will meet new people along the way.
Get out there and get started! Here is a link where you can find some volunteer opportunities to get involved and give back.
As I was suffering with allergies last month, praying the medicine would work, and wishing I could at least start to half-breath again, I took respite on my living room sofa and laid there for a while, like a zombie, staring at my ceiling, meditating and trying to will my sinuses into operation.
As I did so, I made an odd observation. “This is one of the nicest popcorn ceilings I’ve ever seen!”, I thought. I continued examining the ceiling, from corner to corner. Not a blemish, stain or evidence of previous repair or patchwork anywhere. No discoloration around the A/C vents. No defects at all. The popcorn ceilings in my house are, in a word, pristine. Not bad for a late-1970s ranch-style home that’s spent over half its life as a rental.
Many home owners scrape their popcorn ceilings (aka Acoustic Ceilings). If you hire someone to do it, it costs roughly $1.00 per square foot to remove and re-texture, depending on various factors such as the ceiling height, the type of paint that’s been applied to to ceilings, and whether it has asbestos (as much popcorn did up until the 1970s).
When we list homes in Austin with popcorn ceilings, and seek feedback from Realtors who show the home, we’ll often hear “the buyers didn’t like the popcorn ceilings”. Often, a listing in 1970s Austin neighborhoods will boast of the popcorn removal. In our Austin MLS right now, there are comments in listings that say (actual quotes):
… popcorn removal & paint 2007
… NO popcorn here
… ceiling popcorn removed
… owners have gone through the trouble to remove the popcorn ceilings
… NO POPCORN ceilings
People hate popcorn ceilings. But as I look at my own vintage 1978 popcorn ceilings, and how perfect they are, I wonder what all the fuss is about.