Mandatory “It’s Spooky Season” Post

I will be the first in my house to take out all of the Halloween and Fall decorations because I simply love this season! The cooler weather, the different colored leaves, and the perfect excuse to wear a long black hooded cape for no particular reason all make me so happy!

This October, I am most looking forward to bonfires in my backyard, as well as baking all the Halloween-themed cookies I can! I’ve signed myself and my fiancé up for a local ghost tour next weekend. It’s a fact that people rarely explore the area they live in, so I thought I would start getting to know mine.

I’ve also joined a local book club that happens to be spooky-themed. I figured it would be good for me to get out of the house sometimes, and books and fellow book-lovers seemed like a valid reason. The book this month is Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. We shall see how I enjoy it.

I’ve decided to take a break from fostering this month because I am dog-sitting for both friends and family, so I won’t have much extra time to dedicate to taking care of other dogs. I will spend a portion of my free time in October cleaning up my yard and organizing the inside of our house because it’s getting a little chaotic. I will also try to spend a little more time doing outdoor activities since the weather will be more agreeable.

Next post, maybe there will be photos of some fun cookies to share!

Camping Adventures!

On Sunday, at 7:30PM, my fiancé and I made a last minute decision to go on the camping trip we planned one month ago. Earlier in the morning on Sunday we decided we were not going to be going because the weather forecast showed nothing but rain, but then it got to be later in the day and the rain had disappeared. I didn’t want $26 dollars and our smores supplies to go to waste, so we drove up to Red top Mountain and spent the night.

We pitched the tent in the dark, my flashlight died, we roasted weenies, burned marshmallows (okay, that was just me), and we woke up to a beautiful autumn view on Lake Altoona. I forgot how much I enjoy camping and we will definitely be doing this again, but maybe with friends! Camping is such a cheap and rewarding leisure activity; it is also a nice way to unwind if you feel you’ve been spending too much time around technology, work, and the general stressors in life.

Rain, Rain, Rain

It has been raining for one week straight. Bleh.

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This past week was our first week on the job. The team took turns rotating the different jobs (greeter, screener, preparer, and quality reviewer). I screened individuals when they walked in for the first hour or so on day one, and then actually prepared taxes the rest of the time.

We worked at 2 malls, 3 libraries, and then one CM and I worked for 4 hours at the local Deaf Connect  location. Taxes are not as difficult as they are made out to be. It all looks and sounds very intimidating, but once you get used to all the forms and the system you’re using, it’s quite simple.

One frustrating thing that we are running into, however, is that each site screens differently and keeps different things at the end of the preparation process. For example, most all places keep the intake sheet, but there is one place that requires us to give it back to the taxpayer. Two locations require us to keep the W-2 forms (people normally come with 2-4 copies of them anyway) and the other 2 locations said to give them back. So, you see, it’s confusing as we mentally shift to whatever the certain site we happen to be at wants.

United Way as an organization and as our sponsor has been fantastic. They constantly ask for our feedback and how things are going; this hasn’t always been the case in previous projects. Additionally, all but one site treated us like adults, so that was nice. Oftentimes, NCCC teams are seen as high school students [when the reality is that many have already graduated college]. This hinders the amount of work we are allowed to do sometimes and generally makes the work less fun for us.

Anyway, today is groceries and laundry day for me. I say “for me” because I prefer to do it solo. I take this time as “me time” and it’s nice to just get out and only have to worry about me. My team leaves their laundry outside of their rooms and I throw it in the van. While the laundry dries for an hour, I go to Walmart. When I return from my journey, they grab their laundry and help with the groceries. We generally throw the laundry on the big ping pong table and have a sorting/folding party.

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