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On Short Notice, Finally Planted Trees Again

The plan for this week’s personal post was clearly to write about the marathon, but then again the non-personal one should have been the review for The Purring Quest and that didn’t happen either, so I guess it’s little surprise that this post isn’t about the maraton. The reason for it is more surprising, however, since I was sure that another planting season was going to pass without being able to plant trees, the e-mails from the two NGOs whose tree planting events I attended in recent years again specifying that they’ll only accept people who can provide their own transportation, but when I received a reminder from one of the NGOs that people could still sign up for their November 13 event, on Thursday, I replied, first to say that while the subject correctly mentioned November 13, the actual text said November 6, but also adding that it’s rather strange for an environmental NGO to urge people to drive to an environmental event. And Friday I received a reply, stating that they do offer transportation, a bus picking up those who can’t get to the location on their own Saturday morning, at 8:15 AM, from Victory Square. And there was indeed an option in the form that had to be filled in order to sign up, stating that you needed transportation, but since the e-mail clearly stated that the event was “exclusively” for those who can provide their own transportation, and there was absolutely no mention of a bus anywhere else either, I assumed that anyone selecting that would get rejected.

The thing is that my plan for Friday was to run, the second time this week, since the weather is likely to get worse, and that wasn’t exactly a good idea if I meant to plant trees the following day, and had to leave in the morning and therefore get pretty much no sleep either. In addition, the message received after I filled that form, which I did before leaving to run, stated that the required antigen test had to be done at one of the locations of a certain center, not before the event, as I had assumed, so I had to go there that evening as well. But I stuck to the plan, so I first ran, which is a matter for another post, and after getting back I clicked the link I had been sent and selected the location I wanted to get tested at, then had the few little pieces that were still edible of a quince which had gone really bad and went out again at 7:15 PM. And in fact my initial plan did include going out again that evening, but to buy a few things, and the testing center was in another direction. There was a Penny on the way though, so I meant to at least get the things I meant to get from there on the way back.
Well, that seemed in doubt after reaching the center I had selected, at 7:40 PM… Only to be told that the system was down and asked to return in half an hour or so, to see whether it had recovered. With stores needing to close at 9 PM, that was time I didn’t want to lose, but had no other options, so I crossed to the Mega Image from that area and wandered around for a while, considering getting a discounted cake but deciding against it after being unable to find its actual price, not wanting to add another interaction in order to ask, and returned after some 25 minutes, finding a few others in line. And it was some ten more minutes until the forms were completed, since after my turn came, they didn’t find my name on the list provided to them by the NGO, likely because I had filled that form so recently, so they had to contact someone from there to confirm that I was among those they’ll cover the cost of testing for. And some ten more minutes passed while waiting to actually go in, the person ahead of the one ahead of me taking quite a while for some reason. But at least that was the end of it and I was out moments later, a little after 8:30 PM, being told to wait for the result by e-mail and SMS.
Then I rushed to Penny, grabbing just the frozen peas, since I couldn’t find green onions, and then found I even had time to also check the next Mega Image, grabbing a bagel and being out just before 9 PM despite waiting for quite a while behind a guy buying a lot of stuff. Then, after getting back at 9:15 PM, I ate that bagel, with added jam, showered, also removing the scabs from my elbow and knee, which are another matter for another post, and then made mamaliga, adding a little butter, two eggs and, very unusually, dad’s green beans, so they won’t get thrown away, since he had left them in the fridge until he said they were at the limit, close to spoiling, and still preferred to make himself something else that day as well. The result was too much food and also rather watery, and I also ate it too late considering when I had to get up, but that had also been part of the plan for that day and I continued to stick to it. Then I also shaved and managed to get in bed at 4:15 AM… Only to get up to pee again after only some 20 minutes, if even that. Somehow did fall asleep after that, but very briefly, peeing again at 5:10 AM. And dad got back soon after that, the cats also obviously started meowing, and my chances of getting any more sleep seemed slim to none. I might have napped for just a few more minutes though.

Either way, it was a few minutes before 6 AM when I checked the time and got up, the alarm being set to ring at 6 AM. There was no time to take a crap, which was going to be a problem, but the more immediate one was that need to still pee so often after the mamaliga and salad. And removing those scabs, the one on my knee in particular, hadn’t been the best idea either, so I quickly put some bandages in those places again, and also did a partial backup, since there’s no UPS to protect my computer these days, that whole thing remaining yet another matter for another post. Adding all of that to filling and signing the required forms, which dad had printed at work, to how slow I am in general and to the fact that I hadn’t exactly gotten anything ready before going to bed, and in fact hadn’t even really been certain of what I wanted to take or even wear, meant that it was close to 7:45 AM when I finally went out the door, when the plan had been to preferably leave at 7:30 AM, and 7:40 AM at the very latest.
I did have dad’s metro card, and that was the first time I used the metro after deciding to avoid any public transportation last March, for safety, and I mostly jogged there, but that didn’t help me in the least, since I then waited for some six minutes and was getting really worried by the time it came. After all, we had been told to be there ten minutes before leaving, so at 8:05 AM, and at that point I was starting to wonder whether I’ll even make it by 8:15 AM or end up missing the bus if they’ll stick to the schedule, especially since I no longer remembered which exit I had to use in order to be closer to that parking lot. But I furiously worked my brain on the way and managed to figure it out, so I came out where I wanted and could also cross quickly, just in time to see the others get in the bus. So I ran, apologizing when I reached the group’s coordinator and asking whether I was late, but after she asked for my name and had a look at my certificate she said they were still waiting for a few others, so at least I wasn’t the last one, though it was 8:10 AM when I got on the bus. And quite a few more minutes passed until two others calmly walked up, drinking what I guess was coffee. By then I had started considering asking whether I could rush to pee one more time, if we were going to wait any longer, since I obviously hadn’t taken the time to do so before exiting the metro station and a trip lasting close to one hour sounded like it could be quite a problem. But, even if somebody seemed to still be missing after those two arrived, the coordinator made a call and then told the driver that we could leave, so I just hoped I was going to make it.
And, even if the bus left a little after 8:20 AM and the trip took 45 minutes, I didn’t just make it, but actually only needed to go once, a little before noon, though the situation was really desperate at that point. But I’m getting ahead of myself, so let me get back to the proper order of things and say that, after we got there, a little more time was taken by the formalities, five or six needing to fill and sign the forms there, not having done so ahead of time… And apparently I had also forgotten to sign one of the papers, so I was called to do so. And I also took off the sweater and that thing worn on my neck as I sort of stood around, being probably among the last to go up and receive the kit, since I couldn’t quite get myself to do so.
When I did finally get myself to ask for a kit, the guy saw I was wearing the hat received from them two years ago and didn’t give me another, but insisted to give me another one of those things that can be worn on the neck or to some extent also on the head, if the cord is pulled tight, since at that point I was no longer wearing that one received from that other NGO, two weeks after that last tree planting event organized by this NGO that I attended. I tried to refuse it while struggling to get myself to say that I’d have actually wanted another hat instead, but could do neither, so I ended up with another one of those and remained with a single winter hat with the exception of the one knitted by Andra. And also ended up with another one of those thin blue vests, not even remembering to try to give it back at the end, even though the one received from that other NGO that last time has been hanging in the kitchen these past two years, and I definitely have no use for it. Either way, also received another bottle, but it’s smaller and the quality seems worse than that of the one received from them the previous time, and it was also given full of water, but I never touched that water and just poured it out after getting back here. On the other hand, I wasn’t offered gloves, so I reached for a pair, but when the guy noticed that he said I needed a smaller one, and it seems he was right, since the ones I was given seemed to be the right size. Tea and coffee were also offered, but I didn’t take any.
I was just about to go to the toilet when, at 9:25 AM, we were asked to gather around to listen to a few things. And then there was no more time to go, since right after those speeches we walked the short distance to the start of the area where we were to plant the trees, were shown the proper way to plant and, just after 9:45 AM, were told to make teams of two and start working… And also that two people should plant about 50 trees in the three hours we had for that first shift, the participants having been split into two groups, with others, who really had to get there on their own, supposed to arrive and start after we’ll finish. But, lacking a teammate, I was obviously at a loss before I could even start, just standing around for a moment. But since nobody approached to ask me whether I wanted to team up, I started haltingly walking along the line of people starting to work, first spotting one of the girls who had been on the bus and asking whether she had a teammate, since she seemed alone at the time. But she said she did have one, so I took a few more steps and saw a guy who had started working despite being alone and, after taking another moment to have a really good look and make sure I didn’t miss a possible teammate, asked whether he needed one and he said he did, so I could also get to work. And, seeing as, while not that strong, he was bigger than me, I didn’t feel too bad for pointing out that I lack strength, have a hard time digging and do much better if I’m in a team where that’s not my task.
Didn’t directly ask him to keep digging, but I’m sure he got the message and the fact that, after having started to dig on his own, he then started passing me the shovel and we took turns even if I was struggling with those first few holes, meant that he wasn’t willing to do more. So I also said that I’d be very happy if we’ll get to 30 trees and he seemed to agree, and when at 10:30, so after just about 45 minutes, we had nine, that estimate seemed quite accurate, considering the fact that we assumed we’ll get slower as we’ll tire and it’ll get warmer. However, what ended up happening was quite the opposite, since it then got cloudy and colder, remaining so from then on, and the ground also became softer and the grass and roots much less of a problem, so digging became much easier and my teammate kept at it for a while, digging several holes and saying he was starting to enjoy it while I couldn’t even keep up with him when I just had to plant the saplings. And the situation was quite similar, just the other way around, when we did switch again. It stopped being so easy for a moment, so he struggled a little with a hole and then I struggled more with one, but otherwise I saw how easy it was as well and could dig without problems.
During the first part of our shift, we talked a fair bit, with me likely saying more than my teammate did, which was odd but at least meant I felt quite comfortable. But I was obviously even more comfortable when digging was much easier and we just got our heads down and kept working, mostly silently. What was uncomfortable was that I had a fair bit of gas and obviously had to hold it in, which also increased the pressure in the other, more troubling, way as well, since I hadn’t been able to go in the morning. And then I of course also had to pee more and more, but just as that was approaching an unbearable level and I was wondering how to say I had to take a break for it, and whether I’ll be able to just take care of that without the other as well, since I was starting to get cramps but really didn’t want to have to use the sort of toilets available there for that, it was my back that was the first to actually make me stop. That pain sometimes caused by that bone spur, radiating from my chest to my throat and mouth, suddenly appeared as I was planting saplings while my teammate was again digging, and I wasn’t able to sort it out while continuing to work, so when it became too bad I stood up and tried to rather gently snap my back for a while. I had limited success, but tried to work a bit more, until the total level of pain and discomfort caused by this and those pressing needs became really unbearable.
At that point I probably rather suddenly stood up again, said I had to make a pit stop and pretty much marched away, across the field, through the line of bushes separating it from the area where the gathering place was and straight to the toilets that were some way away from it. Then, after peeing and also releasing some of that gas, I made my way to that gathering area, to grab two packs of biscuits, my teammate having mentioned wanting to look for something to eat as well. What was strange, and troubling, was that, while at previous events of this sort there had been a way to wash hands, now when something like that would have been even more needed I could only see bottles of disinfectant, so I had to make do with using one of those and then returned to the planting area, handing one of the packs to my teammate and eating the other, doing my best to not touch the biscuits with my hands.
According to the schedule we had been sent, the first shift was supposed to work until noon, but it was also supposed to start at 9 AM and we had been 45 minutes late for that, so if you also add the fact that we were supposed to be given a sandwich and left to eat and drink for a while after we’ll finish working, it came as no surprise when the coordinator for the group arriving by bus, who was helping with the row next to ours at that point, said that the bus was going to leave around 2 PM. But my teammate hadn’t arrived with it, and after going back to count how many we had planted and saying 34, and asking whether I was all right, to which I replied that I was fine and had just needed that pit stop, it was he who surprised me by saying that in that case his job there was done and left. Since it was 12:05 PM, I guess he meant to stick to the initial schedule, probably having other things to do.
So I was left on my own, but it was still easy to dig and, trusting his count, set my mind on planting six more, to get to 40. And I was doing that when the guy who I guess was the forester tasked to help us came to also ask whether I was all right and to tell me to just leave the shovel after the last sapling I’ll plant when I’ll want to stop, so the second shift will know where to continue from, also saying that the bus was going to leave around 2 PM but I could stop whenever I wanted when I said I came on the bus and was obviously going to leave whenever it will. And those from the second shift did stick to the initial schedule, since they were supposed to start at 12:30 PM and had gathered for the brief training just as I was finishing with those six saplings and went back to count… Only to find that I had 39, meaning that there had been 33 when my teammate left. It’s possible that I missed one, maybe the really small one I know we planted, but I counted twice, looking even more carefully on the way back, and the result was the same, so I planted one more, then left the shovel as I had been told and, at 12:40 PM, made my way back to the gathering area.
Had considered working until 1 PM, but on the one hand the next “milestone” would have been 45 and I didn’t think I’ll be able to plant five more in 20 minutes, and on the other I couldn’t spot any of the others from the bus when I looked around when I stopped, and that impression was proven correct after I took the sandwich, since as I was eating it I heard the coordinator say that just two were still missing. So I said that in that case it seems the bus will leave before 2 PM after all and she said yes, since everyone seems to want to leave. And those last two, who in fact were the same two who were the last to arrive in the morning, also came moments later, and after a little more time spent waiting for one who had decided to check out the nearby park, we were told to head to the bus, so I had to hurry to finish that sandwich and didn’t just forget to try to leave the vest, but even forgot the dirty gloves in my pockets, instead rushing to grab a tea, putting a teabag in a cup of cold water since I couldn’t spot the hot water and couldn’t get myself to ask where it was, and another pack of biscuits. And I drank that “tea” while following another guy to the bus, with only those last two and the coordinator behind us. Also opened the biscuits on the way and started eating when I got to the bus, but with everyone else already in I actually ate them after getting in the bus as well, putting my mask back on after I was done.
Either way, the coordinator didn’t come with us on the way back, telling the driver that the same 13 people were on and to just leave us back at Victory Square. And, speaking of the 13 people, the bus had 20 seats, including the driver’s and the one at the door, so if you also add the coordinator, it means there were a maximum of 18 seats available, and preferably 17, and if someone failed to show up, as it seemed in the morning, it means that the number of people saying that they needed transportation had been close to the maximum they had allowed for.

Don’t have the exact time, but it was around 2 PM when we got off the bus, and then I went to get two more pizzas from that place that’s close to Victory Square, to use the last of the points I had on that card. I checked even the night before and it still didn’t say that they were about to expire, but I wasn’t going to push my luck even more, seeing as they’re supposed to be valid for one year, were charged on November 20 last year and should have in fact expired last December, even the fact that they were added to dad’s physical card at all being the result of them working something out for me at that point because I didn’t have their app, the amount I had won for doing that survey normally requiring it in order to be used. There’s still a small amount left, the points which dad had gathered the few times he had used that card, which had expired by the time I contacted them for that other matter and which they also added back at that time, or in fact two days later, but the pizzas I got added up to exactly what was left from what I had won and couldn’t find another combination I wanted that’d get closer to the full amount and didn’t care to go over it and pay the difference, which would have also raised the question of leaving a tip, so I left that there, and if it’ll expire then so be it.
Getting to what actually happened while I was there, the experience was rather unpleasant. The person who should be at the door wasn’t there when I walked in, but another waiter came to ask what I wanted pretty much as soon as I opened a menu, so I told him, and also that I meant to pay with that card, but also said that I was going to have another look and he seemed to ignore that, quickly walking away with the card, just when another waiter also came and I told him I had already ordered. Though I’m not quite certain, I think he smirked at that, but it was when the one who should be at the door got back that things became really awkward, since I was slowly making my way to the bathroom, meaning to pee again and also wash a little, being quite aware of how I looked, when she “intercepted” me, asked rather incredulously whether I wanted to sit at a table and when I said I had ordered to go she asked me to wait outside or by the door. It did strike me that nobody had even asked to see my certificate, which should be required to even enter such a place, but I just said that I knew I looked rather odd and had just returned from planting trees, to which she made no other comment. It did seem like she wanted to say something else when I stood just by the door, pretty much in front of her, but I didn’t want to go outside and that was the other option I had been given, after all, so I just told her that I was first waiting for the card to be returned and then mostly looked outside while I waited, and she didn’t actually say anything else. And that waiter didn’t return my card first, as it had happened when I went there after the marathon, so we both waited awkwardly until he came with the pizzas. But at least that didn’t take long and he made a point of being particularly polite.
That still left me needing to pee and wash, but I was using the metro, so I got to Obor quickly enough for the situation to not be that desperate just yet, allowing me to first check that Auchan and grab some trash bags, leaving my backpack in a cabinet but taking the pizzas with me when I went in, since they didn’t fit. Then I passed through the market, having a quick look through a part of it and finding someone with cheap green onions, but deciding to leave that for later and making my way to that Carrefour. Once there, I used two cabinets to store everything, since the only way to make both the pizzas and the backpack fit in one would have been to put the backpack on top and I obviously didn’t want to do that, then rushed to the toilet before going in. And the only interesting thing I found were cheap eggs, so I checked the whole pile one by one and found exactly ten with code one that weren’t cracked, those being the only thing I bought.
Then I also went to that Kaufland, finding a lane for those going straight to the hypermarket and another for the rest, someone scanning the certificates of those using this second one, which hadn’t been the case before. The issue is that you must use this second lane to put things in the cabinets or go to the bathroom, and when the guard saw me juggling pizzas and a bag of eggs while trying to get my certificate out he waved me through, though after putting everything in a cabinet I made a point of showing him the certificate before going in. Just got a cabbage and some onions though, then I believe I went to the bathroom again, though I think I went, albeit just to wash my hands, before going in as well. Either way, I then also got the last salt and poppy pretzel they had at that place that’s also there and left, the guy who gave it to me just taking the receipt and throwing it away as soon as it was printed.
Decided to give up on the green onions when I again passed through the market, but didn’t also give up on another cake from that place I found across the road. I was wondering whether it was still open, since it hadn’t been after the marathon, but it’d have been strange for them to close when they just recently opened, so I went to have another look and did find them there. Still didn’t get a receipt, and admittedly a sign asks customers to ask for one, which might imply that they won’t give it automatically, though they obviously should. But they don’t even have a sign with the place’s name, nor did they completely take down the one of the exchange office that used to be there, so I asked what the name was and was told something, and that they’ll put up a sign soon.
After that, I got back on the metro and got back here, walking in at 5:20 PM. Then I threw what I had on me into the washing machine, though I forgot about the things that were in the backpack, ate the remaining quince, took a bath, hung the laundry to dry, and eventually made the salad, having it alongside one of the pizzas for dinner. No, I didn’t have the cake that evening, because I was quite down, feeling that I hadn’t pulled my weight during the event and had attended mainly to check that box again, for my own benefit, and much less for a cause, so I set my mind on cleaning the stove top two days later, if dad will remove it again, having the cake and the second pizza then, because that sort of effort was going to make me feel that I deserved a reward.

This is by far the most I’ve “cheated” with a post so far. To post an unfinished post before midnight and add the rest later isn’t unusual, but that normally happens when I can’t quite finish it by midnight, so what’s added later is a matter of lines, or at most a few paragraphs. This time, however, it was just a first part that got posted Sunday evening, before midnight, then I added some more before going to bed that night, then some more Monday afternoon, yet another part a few hours later, and finished it before going to bed that night, so in the early hours of Tuesday. Really doesn’t seem right, but didn’t want to split it, and didn’t have slots left for that anyway. But yes, since I’m writing this in the early hours of Tuesday, just before going to bed, I’ll add that I did wash that stove top this evening, and just now had that second pizza. But, of course, as so many others, that’s a matter for yet another post I have no idea when or if I’ll get to write…


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