Day 281 – Rose Parade Day One

I am a volunteer.  I drive 14 hours to volunteer my time to a worthwhile effort.  I give my money and time to make this little part of the world happen.  I will put in a 40+ hour work week to make sure that everything is ready at the right time.  I work as hard as anyone in the building for the entire time I am there.  I AM A VOLUNTEER!

I love volunteering, I hate complaining, but…just this once, I’m gonna bitch a little bit.  I want to focus this bitch because it doesn’t apply to everyone involved in this effort, no, it only applies to a single float.

We showed up for a shift at the Rose Palace yesterday, an experience that was completely positive last year.  We loved it.  The float we were assigned to today had a male crew chief and his daughter running the show.  This particular float is a representation of a volunteer organization, so I thought that would be cool.  I’ve run a lot of projects in my day, not always perfectly, but I know a lot about getting people to buy in to the work to be done.  These people obviously haven’t had the same experiences.  They didn’t bother to acknowledge the volunteers, they complained a lot about how the work was being done, they didn’t demonstrate the tasks well, by the sixth hour in to the shift, we defected.  I had had enough.  Anytime someone yells across the room at me, “Hey lady” – I’m moving on.  So, while what we did was good, I’m not going back to that float.

In fact, we moved down to our favorite crew chief, Jen, and we swept floors for her.  At least it was appreciated.

The Rose Parade is a great experience overall, especially if you show up early in the week.  You can see the floats at their naked best and watch them progress from day to day.  The last day when the flowers are added just changes everything.  We are at the Rose Palace all this week, there are nine floats in residence.  Many of them so completely elaborate you have to applaud the designers.  The Lion’s Club float is an architectural wonder, it represents everything from the Sydney Opera House to the Eiffel Tower.  The Nurse’s Float (a new one this year) is beautiful with animals of all forms on it.  The mama deer is my favorite, although Haley was partial to the turtles, big surprise there.

There are thousands of tasks to do, all of a small nature, every little task adds to the bigger picture.  At the Rose Palace, there are no small tasks, just small people.  We spent the first half of our night making 2” diameter curlicues from dried corn silk.  These curlicues were then added to a giant size teddy bear to form his face.  I’ve added photos so you can see the progression.  That’s kind of how everything works around here.  You start with a simple material, and then you chop it, or trim it, or cut it or twirl it.  Then you glue it to a part of the float.  Every part of the float that is visible must be covered with a natural material.  It’s really very impressive, I can’t wait to go back today, I just know that I will ask not to be assigned to that “one” float.

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