Mar 222015

There is this Cupertino Education Endowment Foundation. I didn’t really know much about them, except that they do school fundraisers. Sometimes we goto particular restaurants or grocery stores during the year and money gets kicked back to the Cupertino schools. They have a party every year. Casino themes, Hawaiian themes – all interesting to me, keeping me curious about going but we have never gone.

This year though, I noticed that Sal’s teacher won the teacher of the year award. Which was the tipping point. Strangely enough, in conversations with Sal’s Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers, they didn’t find me bringing up this reason to be as amusing as I did…

We got the tickets not really knowing what we were in for. Some folks we talked to brought up the prospect of spending the evening dining with bureaucrats and fundraisers. Which I hadn’t really considered, but by then, the tickets were bought. And right after we got our seat assignments, I ran into a teacher selling bead necklaces, to be part of a “heads or tails” game to win a dinner. Maybe there was something to that hustling perspective. But the teacher hadn’t really sold many. Thinking that it’s for the kids, I told him we’re in for a couple of necklaces.

A few food tasting stations and wine tasting sessions later, I see him again. And we’re still his most recent sale. So I buy some more, to share. And while we’re talking about how many, another lady working the fundraiser comes by, with a neck full of beads, encouraging me to buy some beads…but I have to take them off her since her hands are full (food station and wine stations).

It’s for the kids I’m thinking again, but since I’m reminded of the kids, I turn back to the original teacher selling the beads and buy some beads from him for our table. And then some more for Sal’s teacher and her fiancé. And I think I bought a few more later too.

The game works like this. Someone’s going to flip a coin. And you’re going to guess if it’s heads (hands on head) or tails (hands on rear). And if you guess right, you get to continue. If you’re wrong, you lose a necklace. If you’ve got no necklaces left, you’re out. The game was more entertaining than I had expected. Though I was out pretty quickly. I was out in 4 flips and I had 3 necklaces…so pretty bad. But fun to cheer on the folks continuing.

The winner had pooled together some of my other gifted necklaces though, so I consider it a partial win.

But all that was a setup to the live auction.

Winning hatI haven’t been to many fundraiser live auctions before. And the last one I really remember taking seriously, I regretted afterwards. Had a chance to win a round of golf with Larry David. Which would have been a great gift for my father. And I let it slip away. I didn’t want to let that happen again.

But nothing really jumped out at me on this auction. Hockey tickets. Some Napa getaway. Another Napa getaway with balloon rides. A diamond pendant. Stay at a resort in Mexico. Dinner for 8 at Testarossa though – that could be interesting. And dinner for 8 at a firehouse – sounded kind of interesting too. But more as girls’ night out. No alcohol on the firehouse premises. Seems like a good policy in general, but certainly quite different themed than the dinner at a winery. Girls’ night out dinner though with firemen cooking leaves a lot to the imagination. Maybe with a chauffeured car. Maybe visit a winery beforehand for a tasting…that could all come together nicely. The Testarossa dinner started at high price and I think I bid with my number facing the wrong way. Embarrassing!

So now I have a fireman’s hat and a toy firetruck too. And plans to get 4 of Sal’s teachers together and his principal (who seems like a blast – very different to talk to principals at a parent instead of as a student) for the dinner.

Catherine tells me it was the most expensive item for the evening. I am not sure I bid properly. In hindsight, I think I treated it like a poker game, where I was bidding aggressively, and that might have been dumb. As soon as the other guy bid, I re-raised. He’d think about it and I’d re-raise instantly. Before the auctioneer could finish asking for the next price. I don’t know if I thought I could bluff him out or what I was really thinking. Probably something like “auctions are fun!” or “Catherine’s putting her hand on my arm as a sign of support!”

I never gave him the joy of seeing me think it over and feel like he might win. And I regret that. Cause I just kept raising my hand instantly. It would have been more fun, for him and crowd, if we had let it go to “going once…going twice…” a couple more times, both ways. I think I have played too much bad poker and haven’t studied Storage Wars enough. (That fire truck is a solid 3 dollar bill though!)

Then he made me feel worse, afterwards, coming up and congratulating me on the win. He pointed out how he could make reservations at Testarossa anytime, but he couldn’t call up the firehouse and ask them to make him a home cooked meal for him and his 7 friends. I think he really wanted to go see the firetrucks and maybe slide down the pole and wear some big pants with suspenders. At that moment, I was already wearing big pants with suspenders…and me saying it was going to be a fun girls’ night out didn’t seem to make him feel any better.

Oh well, it was for the kids!

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