Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Making headway in the man cave...

AKA my inner child is awaking again and getting my life back :-)

As I said before, since Heather passed away, I have lost most of my drive to go into my shop and build things...

 It has sat pretty well unused, gathering stuff and dust :-(

I have been trying here and there to motivate myself, but too many distractions took over my limited attention span...

Life is getting back to normal around me, I have a new girlfriend, Jean, and a whole new "family branch" that came with it. Rudy fell in love with Jean also, and just love all the attention he gets from the grandpeanuts :-)

At some of my friends request, I also became a Rotarian International member in our local service club. Because Jean drive a school bus, her grand kids goes to Annapolis East Elementary School (AEES) and we work in a local Food Bank, I became aware of the plight of the AEES's cafeteria to remain open.  A few years ago, all the school cafeterias stopped being funded thru the School boards districts. Those that remained opened had to become self reliant, since they had no budget.

They also introduced legislation that mandated giving nutrition a higher profile. Deep fryer were banned from school cafeterias, and lot of junk foods and pop removed also. Perhaps they went a little bit overboard too fast with their good intentions, but most cafeterias simply closed instead of trying to stay alive in this climate.

So why should we care if that cafeteria was to close, like so many more?
Were we live in Nova Scotia, the economy is not booming, traditionaly farming and fishing, there is a large population of seniors (many retired) and low income
family. That translate into lots of malnourished children.

Years ago, having recognized the importance of nutrition on children education performance, they implemented a School breakfast program, were every child is
able to get a good start on the day by having a breakfast. Largely supported thru corporate donations and individual volunters and funding.

But it is apparent to a few of us, that if a child comes to school hungry, he is probably not packing much of a lunch if any...
Having the school cafeteria open, enables the school staff to "buy" them lunch. "No ones goes hungry" is our battle cry ...
If a kid forgot or does not have a lunch, we will make sure he eats.
On Thursday we have pizza day, it is amazing the number of kids who forgot their lunch that day :-)

But being not funded, they have to operate without a loss by "borrowing" from the school budget and hope to be able to pay it back. Of course you still have to provides healthy, inexpensive meals options ($4), that the kids will eat (biggest challenge). Oh, and you could use some new equipment, but cannot afford it.

This is where I comes in with my bright ideas Tm :-)
I am an old Master Warrant Officer retired, trying to find some purpose back in my life. Troubleshooting and turning around underperforming units is what I did for a living, so this should be a good fit for me...

I first got them to gave me a list of needed equipment, reviewed it with them and then prioritized it. Could not wait for local service clubs to mobilize for my cause and get funding, so took it upon myself to get the required stuff (using my tool budget :-), then challenged them to help me.  Yeah, that worked, beyond my expectations :-)

Delivered the needed equipment

Then added a little surprise. Kids love popcorn snacks

My next phase, as plotted on my Excel spread sheet (heh, I am an old MWO that is what I do :-), was to observed them work and figured out ways for improvements. Hence the popcorn machine, doing it by small bags in the microwave is not very efficient if you ask me...

I got them secured funding from both the Middleton's Lions and Rotary clubs,
found source of donated food supplies from farms enterprises and grocery stores.

The extras, I donated to the food bank were I work

Now working on getting them proper training from local chefs, have a few lined up already, and challenging local College's culinary programs to run a small competition to find good healthty meals options that the kids would eat.

My lunch program is well on its way to becomes self sufficient and community supported. Once completed, I want to implement that formula across the school board and the province...

While all of this was going on, I also started experimenting in our backyard with gardening in a compact footprint.
Jean grew up on a nursery, she is at home in a greenhouse, hence why all the landscaping / gardening related posts you saw of late.

Pretty happy with our results, next would be to implement such a garden at the school. I want to get the kids involved with growing the food to set them early  on a path of self sufficiency. Hopefully their new found enthousiasm with food will influence their parents.

During that phase came across many resource persons willing to help. With their help we are getting involved in salvaging the greenhouse at the old school (now a museum) to set up community based gardening and to supply my lunch school program, the local food bank and a community Soup program we are in the process of establishing.

Yeah, I managed to get myself really busy... and as a bonus less people are going hungry around me. Life is good, again. Time to face my shop with a different eye...

My first order of business was to gathered all the tools spreaded pretty well everywhere there was a flat surface to be on downstairs...

There you go, pretty well all accounted for except for... and... but, yah

Ok well, they are still coming out of the woodworks :-)

And with that done, I can now start to make some room in my long neglected hand tool shop down into the inner sanctum...

Also have a few projects to finish in there...

Bob, ready to smell the saw dust and plane shavings again...


  1. Hi Bob

    Glad to read such a great post!
    Good to hear that you have found some energy though such a noble thing as helping organizing school lunch.

    I agree fully on the idea that if a child is hungry when he/she gets to school, they will most likely not have packed a lunch, and they will also not be very motivated for sitting still in the classroom and pay attention.

    Nutrition is incredibly important, especially for children having to grow and grow smarter all the time.

    Continuous good luck with the cafeteria project.

  2. Hi Jonas
    Thanks for your support of my bright ideas :-)
    Indeed, nutrition is really important for young kids, hence why im concentrating on elementary school for now, but I did not forgot the remainders, their turn will come also :-)

    Women and kids are our future, without women no kids, without kids no future. Never understood why some countries have yet to figured this out??

    Educating women and NOT turning your kids into child soldiers, is a better way to ensure your future in my humble opinion...
    I am hoping by spreading my bright ideas around the world, that I may influence others to get involved in similar fashion.

    Bob, the big dreamer at heart

  3. Try not to bark orders at the civilians. And wow, on that pile of tools you have to work through.

  4. He He Ralph, you have no idea how many times I whishes I just could bark orders, it would be so much more eficient :-)

    Which pile of tool? Oh, that one! Yeah I expect it will. In my defense they just happened to followed me home... somehow

    Bob, who...Squirrel (tool)

  5. Good stuff, Bob. The world could use some more motivated people like you.

    By my count, you have about 49 marking gauges, 25 block planes and 37 chisels. It's a good start.

  6. Great post. It's got me thinking that maybe I should get off my ass and be more creative in finding ways to help the people around me.

  7. Thanks Matt
    Well let see about your counts, I just happened to updated my files :-)
    22 marking gauge, 21 block planes and 52 chisels. You were off slightly. But dont worry I can fix that... :-)

    Bob, the jester

  8. Thanks. You GO Paul... There is always people in need of help around you...Do what you can to help

    Bob, proud of his friend