This weekend was the 2nd Annual NWA Mini Grand Prix. Which – in case you missed it – means that grown men (and women) had the chance to pay (donate!) thousands of dollars for the opportunity to drive an overgrown go-cart 35 mph around a track set up in the mall parking lot. All in the name of raising money for underserved children's charities in Northwest Arkansas via Saatchi & Saatchi X and The C.A.R.E. Initiative.
It also means lots of volunteers and many, many hours of work. I was the Volunteer Coordinator for the event this year and I spent most of Friday and Saturday at the mall. Friday morning, bright and early, I had every intention of checking everyone in, handing out volunteer t-shirts, donuts and coffee before heading back to the office for a few hours. But there was more work than we had people – so I stayed to lend a hand. Ugh. The task Friday morning? Unload TWO tractor trailers FULL of tires, transfer said tires to flatbed trailers, unload the tires onto the track – lining both sides, then tie all the tires together with twine. I quickly lost count of how many trips we made back and forth to load up with more tires.
3 hours and 2500 tires later, I was hot and sweaty and headed back to the office. Stupid tires. I spent the afternoon catching up on email and making several trips back and forth to the track for various needs and errands before it was time to head home, change clothes and head BACK to the track for the "Prix" Party and Silent Auction Friday night.
Saturday morning, I decided to take Colt with me down to the track to check in the volunteers for the day — I had a sneaking suspicion he might enjoy the cars… So we distributed coffee, donuts and t-shirts before spending the morning checking out the cars and the excitement. This kid would have been out in the middle of the track if I'd let him. But he was content enough to watch for awhile before spending some energy elsewhere. Oddly enough, the very same inflatables that had entertained us during Razorback Fan Day last weekend were at the Grand Prix! So Colt found a pretty girl (my friend and coworker Amanda) and we all headed into the big boy inflatable obstacle course. (The one that was overrun with "big kids" during Fan Day. For good reason.)
I tried to go with him and couldn't keep up! This kid is a straight-up monkey. He scaled the walls of that thing and made it look easy. While Mama was limping behind trying not to fall on her face. We finally made it to the end and slid down the tallest slide EVER. I had to psych myself up for it while Colt coulda gone head first.
I managed to steal a few hours midday to go get a MUCH needed haircut. And ended up getting put to work! Here I am cutting my hairdresser's hair! All I did was trim the back, and I assured her I had NO idea what I was doing — but there you have it. Random Photo of the Week.
Then – I thought I was done. I had lined up a group of volunteers to help tear down the track after the race so I headed home to take a nap. Only to receive a phone call at 2:30 that there weren't nearly enough people at the track for clean up so — I headed back to the mall. And back to the miserable tires.
For the record, loading the tires on Saturday afternoon was ten times worse than UNloading the tires had been on Friday morning. We piled load after load onto the flatbed trailers, unloaded them assembly line style into the tractor trailers – and went back for more. And more. And more. I have never been that filthy dirty. I was wearing gloves, but after nearly four hours – you couldn't even tell. We were all covered head to toe. I spent the rest of the weekend cleaning tire gunk out from under my fingernails. And from every hole in my head.
You can't tell very well from this picture, but I am standing on top of a 6 or 8-foot pile of tires on top of a flatbed trailer. I am forcing that smile. And I can't remember if this was before or after I wasn't paying attention and let the flatbed full of tires roll right over my right foot.
There were about twelve of us that stayed and finished the job and we spent most of the afternoon daydreaming about who we could convince to do this lovely job NEXT year. You know, like residents of the Washington County Jail. And there were more than a couple of moments that I stopped, mid-tire toss, and thought — This. THIS is why I went to college.
Consider this your personal invitation to my pity party.