What a Day: Helping Placentia with its to-do list

I talk a lot about how much I love Placentia, but sometimes I get frustrated.

I am one person, with a busy lifestyle. Even when I can carve out time to be helpful, what could I do to make Placentia better?

It’s not like the city has a “to-do” list for me to consult.

Usually, I donate to a cause, either with money or with goods. This year, two things collided in my world: the urge to clean and an invitation to help during Love Placentia Day.

Love Placentia is part of the OC United organization’s “United for Cities,” a one-day event across multiple cities where volunteers sign up to make a difference where they live. This year, it’s on April 29.

Tasks range from working on parks, to decorating the library, to handing out water. The point of the day seems like a perfect match for citizens who want to help, but need someone to point them in the right direction.

Citizens like me.

I was so excited to see the invitation to be part of the day, I signed up with the first person who asked for volunteers. Sheila Jordan is in charge of cleaning up Kraemer Park, and asked if anyone wanted to help.

I raised my hand immediately.

After the excitement had worn off, I thought about what I’d signed up to do. Cleaning up a park would be a lot of digging and planting and moving heavy objects. Sheila even sent an email asking us to bring our own gloves and gardening tools.

Here’s the thing: I love gardening, but it doesn’t love me. Mostly, it’s my skin’s fault. I am so pale, I sometimes wonder why I thought it would be a good idea to move to southern California. Every day, I slather myself with sunscreen, even in the winter. And every day, some stranger tells me, “You’d better put on sunscreen, you’re going to burn.”

Each time, I’m tempted to look at my arms and scream, “Oh, no! When did my skin turn so white?” But I don’t because I try to be nice to people.

Not only do I burn easily, my skin is sensitive to plants. A morning…

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