Sunday, January 23, 2011

Free Time wrap up. A moving experience.

For the first time in over 20 days, I took yesterday off from the blogging.

But tonight I feel the need to do a bit of a recap on the wrap-up of my Free Time experiment that took place on Friday.


I asked a few people to help, let some other people know they could help if they wanted to, and I went from there.

I'd figured we'd need a while to pack up all the stuff in Englewood and drive it over to our destination in Aurora. Chantrice had access to her apartment at 3 pm. It seemed logical to meet at the storage area at 1:30, load up, drive down and be in Aurora by 3.

Anyone who knows me understands that I'm chronically early to everything, and Friday was no exception.

My friend Cara came over a bit before 1. She, Mr. Fab and I left for the storage area, each in our respective vehicles, at 1:10. My kids met us there right on time, and Mr. Fab's friend Jeff was there by the time we got to the unit.

So far so good. The 1:30 part was perfect.

As you can see from the photo, Logan was enjoying himself. Everything went swimmingly well. Worthy of happy jazz hands.

It took approximately 15 minutes to load up all the stuff. Ahead of schedule isn't a bad thing.

So we headed to Aurora in a clumsy vehicular parade. We located our destination, and we were about 30 minutes early. Big surprise, the being early. It's a curse.

But Chuck was there, waiting to help. Chuck has a very low-key, very helpful, very what-can-I-do loving presence. Chuck is the husband of a friend of mine from work, who chose to help with this project during his free time.

Sue from work arrived as well. She's one of the most giving, participatory people I know. And she also assumed the role of photographer. I'm glad she brought her camera, because I completely forgot that mine was in my back pocket.


At this point, we have Connor, Kirk, Jeff, me, Sue and Chuck, just waiting around. Logan and Cara took a trip during this unexpected free time to chase down some pastries at a Mexican bakery that was close by.

I'm so grateful for Cara. So is Logan. I don't think we tell her enough.


Eventually, Chantrice, Myasia and Michelle arrived. Eventually, we got access to Chantrice's new apartment.

Then, it became a moving experience.

Everyone unloaded with a beautiful symmetry. It was a barn-raising moment.

Then Corey from channel 9 arrived.

Game on. The filming began.

She was somewhat disappointed that we'd moved as much as we had, because she and Woody, her cameraman, wanted to capture it all on film. But some choice shots were taken of the freakishly heavy sofa sleeper being lugged up three flights of stairs. Woody got some tape of the mattress and box spring. The table assembly. The arrangement of stuff.

Corey interviewed Chantrice. Corey interviewed me.

I hope they got my good side.

Once the heavy lifting was over, some folks stayed. Most folks left, understandably, to their next thing. We'd created a generous, giving, loving flash mob of furniture movement.

Just as I was about to leave, Deanna from work arrived to give Chantrice a bit of her generosity.

I don't think Deanna knows how cool she is, how much she mattered on Friday. But I do.

And then it was time for me to go home.

It all started at 1:30 pm, and it was all done by 4:30 pm.

So much happened in three hours.

Regardless of what happens past this point, those three hours were so worth it. To see people react so selflessly, so enthusiastically - for someone they hadn't even met - made me feel so good about the essential nature of people. This entire project brought more to me than it took away.

To be honest, it took nothing away from me.

This Free Time project did nothing but provide warm additions to my already toasty world. I have an increased belief in the intrinsic good that exists in people. The selflessness. The willingness. Friday was beautiful. Not because of what I did or because of what other people lifted or because of what someone received.

It was beautiful because it was proven that it was possible.

All the graceful giving, all the mindful receiving.

All free, save for free time, gas and my storage space score.

I think this free time experiment was worth it.


  1. Wow, I was so touched when I saw this story on 9news tonight. I was in Chantrice's situation 16 years ago and believe it or not strangers came to my rescue. Because of my experience, I in turn like to help those in need regardless if I know them or not.

    Thank you for sharing. And, by the way, I've shared the 9news story on my Facebook page to pass it on to others.

  2. Thank you SO MUCH!! I don't know how you found my blog, but I'm glad you did. You made my evening.

  3. God bless you Mary!

  4. OH I watched it tonight! I'm so happy you are the badass awesome giving loving person you are, Mary. I'm glad your experiment was such a success.

  5. Ah, woooops. That was Margot, sorry!

  6. I'd like to get in touch with you as I have items that I would like to donate. They are items that might make a home feel more 'homey' - accents, phones, dinner ware etc. Please contact me and I can arrange to get all of this to you. What a wonderful thing you are doing. Melissa