Friday, February 14, 2014

deed #5

in sticking with the painting theme from deed #4, this one involves paint and love. seems appropriate given this lovely holiday.

when Mr. B and I first moved to Colorado, we lived in a town called Loveland, which is known as the Sweetheart City. we have since moved to a much smaller town a few miles outside, but Loveland will always have a special place in my heart - too cliché?

this holiday is a big deal to the city. in fact, they have a valentine program that has been around for over 40 years. during the month of February, the streets of Loveland are lined with hundreds of wooden hearts - each personalized with a sweet message for a loved one. anyone in the community can purchase a heart with their own message for $45. the messages are different every year so the Thompson Valley Rotary Club and Honor Society gather all of the messages and spend several evenings painting in preparation to "heart" the city.

i am not in the rotary club nor was i ever in the honor society, but i volunteered to be a painter anyway and they accepted. well the rotary members did, the teenage honor society members took awhile to warm up too. i forgot how intimidating juniors and seniors are. in fact, i felt like an old woman in comparison. thankfully i had a nice gentleman show me the ropes of this process. i thought i would be walking in, sitting at a table and hand painting a message on a heart - seems simple right? wrong! let's start with the fact that the hearts are nearly 3 ft big. they look MUCH smaller when they are hanging on a street pole. and the heart team doesn't work in a classroom like i had envisioned. they work in a warehouse and have several stations throughout. one for stenciling and taping, one for rolling paint, and the other for freehand paint. i spent most of my time at the stenciling station, trying to make friends with the intimidating teenagers.

by the end of the evening, i had gone from being the non-cool-27-year-old-marrried-woman to being the admired-27-year-old-friend. at least that's what i told myself after answering 15 questions about my diamond ring, my husband, what i studied in college, the latest updates on greys anatomy, and my honest thoughts about nursing school.

i spent about 1.5 hours with the heart team and by the end, they offered to have me back next year. i plan on it. the hearts went up last weekend and i spent about 20 minutes on Wednesday driving around trying to find the hearts i stenciled - unfortunately, i haven't seen them yet. but i still have a lot of looking to do. there are over 240 hearts scattered throughout the city.

it felt good being part of a project that the Loveland community is so proud of.

happy day of love to you and the ones you love. Mr B and i will be having a picnic on our living room floor, icing heart cookies, sipping wine and maybe slow dancing to a little Frank Sinatra (if i can get him drunk enough).

ps. Perhaps an idea for next year: Loveland has a "Valentine Re-Mailing Program" that you can all participate in. All you have to do is seal your Valentine Card and mail it to Loveland. From there, it will be hand-stamped with a Valentine's verse and then forwarded it on to the intended receiver. I tried to volunteer to be a stamper, but there's a wait list for that one!

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