It’s time we had a little talk

When I started the project, I didn’t know how big it would get.

Or how it would spread across the web. Or the world.

Or how many people would take an interest, and volunteer to participate.

Or how many people would actually send a box.

Or how many boxes an individual would send.

Or the total amount of boxes, or their volume, or their weight.

Or when they’d arrive.

Or how I’d actually distribute them.

I also did not have permission from anyone to do this.

All I knew was that I had an idea, that it seemed like a good idea, and that I probably needed to act on it.

And so I did.

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, I spent time with my mail folks and the warehouse folks. I worked it out with my mail folks that any boxes coming to me would be delivered to the warehouse — if lots of bundles started to arrive (for some crazy reason), it just made sense to be ready and to have the IBOL’s go right to the warehouse. The warehouse folks had received the first few boxes mailed directly to them by then — maybe 80. I had received the other 414 or so total at that point, had given some out to a couple of local units, moved others to the warehouse, but still had about 80 in my own room.

On Monday, I moved some of mine to the warehouse, and posted photos here.

Tuesday, I got one in the mail; the warehouse got none.

Wednesday, I got one. The warehouse got 357 more in the mail.

Thursday, I got none. They got 365 more in the mail.

Today, I got my Sports Illustrated, but not my Hot Rod. I was kind of bummed. I was really hoping the new Hot Rod would arrive. I mean, after all, the new Sports Illustrated had arrived — shouldn’t Hot Rod arrive, too? Oh, and the warehouse, they got 697 bundles in the mail.

The urban legend is that 11 pallets of mail were flown in yesterday, six of which were for IBOL. I had two soldiers separately tell me that one.

I have not been to the warehouse since Monday, but I am told that there are a few over there now . Received to date? 1921, between what’s come to me and what’s gone right to the warehouse. So, there’s probably 1600 bundles at the warehouse right now.

And I thought 50 boxes was going to be a pretty good indicator of success.

Honest to goodness, between all of the passing of information in emails and in guilds and that crazy email from the Houston folks and the Sew Mama Sew stuff, I have no idea how many people have mailed boxes, much less how to estimate that.

I have no idea how many actual boxes are en route, or how to even begin to take a guess at that. Honest to goodness, I had a wonder lady explain to me in an email today that she put 19 bundles in the mail. Nineteen! And if you think that’s unique, I could probably rattle of the names of a half or full dozen more people who have mailed over 10. This is some crazy scary math, even trying to extrapolate this stuff out (~2600 comments, maybe minus 100 for non-requests of the address; 150+ from Sew Mama Sew; the Houston email went to maybe 50,000+ people; there are probably 36 to 60 guilds or groups that shared the address…)

Does your brain hurt now, too? Yeah, this is what I am dealing with — in and around my day job. Which also makes my brain hurt.

I have two good-sized units that are lining up trucks and pick up dates, and seem to think they’ll be in a position to deliver tons of IBOLS — which, if the boxes really do average out to 7 or 8 lbs per box, and there really do turn out to be 3000 to 5000 IBOLs, there really are going to be tons of IBOLs to deliver.

How does one distribute something like three to five thousand bundles? Very carefully, I suppose. It’s a bit like eating an elephant — figure out what size bites you can take, and keep eating. I’ve got plan A, and a plan B. I’ll spare you the details, but will try to get and share some photos. Not sure when I can get to the warehouse, either — I’ll see what I can do about tomorrow.

More later — I need to go sleep. Apparently, it’s Patriot Day (not to confuse anyone) — where did August go? Seriously, I need to work less and sleep more.

I’ve said thank you about a half a billion times, right? Make it half a billion and one — thank you.


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62 Responses to “It’s time we had a little talk”

  1. Carol Says:

    No, thank YOU.
    So much of what is going on in our country depresses me. I needed to be reminded that good people can make a difference. Not by shouting, or hating, but by doing simple, kind acts, one at a time, to help out someone who could use a hand.

    • Jo Says:

      Carol, you are so right in what you said in your comment. Americans are by nature a rather boisterous expansive nature, but lets put all that energy to doing some good and helping folks.

      Art, you lightened my heart, and although I only got 4 bundles off to you, I’ll be watching for other ways to help someone out. You have been so good natured in dealing with the wonderful outpouring of kindness. You have surely earned some good karma points! Jo

  2. Elizabeth Messer Says:

    This is so exciting! I can hardly wait to see what happens to the bundles. Wouldn’t it be fun to be a fly on the wal and see what the ladies there do with them. Wish we could do it for Affganistan too. Thank you so much for giving us the oppertunity to help make a differance.

  3. Amy Says:

    Wow! As I see the latest update, I think “gobsmacked” is an appropriate word. When I was home with my family over the weekend we pulled together 3 boxes from Mom’s stash & beyond. Thank you for letting us be a part of this!

    p.s. Here’s my “after the fact” blogging on it:

  4. Leigh Ann H. Says:

    That little bundle count jump nearly gave me a heart attack. It’s a beautiful thing. Thank you for a great cause that’s inspired so many people!

  5. Nadine Says:

    No, thank YOU IBOLGuy. Thank you for giving us a way to make a difference, and making us all stand a little taller next to you. You’re awesome!

  6. kern Says:

    IBOLGuy, I can definitely say the pleasure was all mine.

  7. Mary Kirwin Says:

    Holy Cow! IBOL Guy for President!

  8. Susan Says:

    1921?!!!!! WOW!

    Thank you and everyone helping to distribute the bundles. It was my pleasure, too.

  9. Stacy Says:

    Thank you for doing this and making a difference in the world. I’m glad I could be just one small part of the success.

  10. Michelle Says:

    Thanks for doing this!

    I can’t wait to see what the final number of boxes turns out to be!

  11. Liz Says:

    Thanks IBOL…. and I hope that your crew out there appreciate what you are doing and that you don’t get in trouble for it…. I would really love to see some pictures of guys delivering the stuff and the ladies reactions. I see pictures of things given to children, but never something to give to women.

    Take care of yorself!


  12. Debbie Ungar Says:

    Oh my gosh…I have goosebumps! Art, hold on tight, the avalanche is coming!

  13. Sherrill Says:

    Congratulations Maj IBOL Guy, I knew it would go into the thousands; now tens of thousands wouldn’t surprise me. I’m anxious to hear about the distribution.

  14. Happy Zombie Says:

    When I read the unit of measurement became a pallet (OMG… palletS!), my Oh Em Gee’s got exceedingly loud! I’ll spare everyone – and type here quietly!

    Loved the post!

  15. Kathleen Says:

    WOW and WOW and WOW – – how great this feels…

    I can only imagine how much ribbing (or other reaction) IBOL guy has gotten from his buddies and his superiors… I am certain we will NEVER KNOW !!!! Thanks, Art, for letting us help.

  16. Katie Says:

    Thanks right back at ya!

  17. Java Jane Says:

    So IBOL Guy, you have organized a great community that is willing to rise to the next challenge. Is there anything we can do to orchestrate a gigantic thank you to those folks on the ground in Iraq who saw this thing through?


    • IBOL Guy Says:

      I’ve already asked the Army to take care of that. It’s called an airplane, and it will fly us home to Hawaii in a little bit. Really, after this long in Iraq (and for many of us, a second or third or more time), that’s about the greatest thing anyone could give us.

  18. figmentofcogitation Says:

    Moved to tears to be part of something positive, especially today. Thank you so much.


  19. Jan in WA State Says:

    Back at ‘cha, IBOL Guy. You have earned more stars in your crown. Now, what else is perking for us? I’m also in with Java Jane–what can WE do for All of You?!? (5 boxes incoming)

    BTW–check your other blog. I figured you didn’t want me blathering on about The Ring, Miss Tess and your children here.

    Love and Hisses from All of Us at the Cat Blogosphere=^^=

  20. Sara aka BlueSkies Says:

    I can only echo what the others have said. Must ask you tho’, Art, did you ever think that you would have so many women writing to you? LOL! Thank you for opening an avenue for us to be able to help.

  21. Magpie Sue Says:

    Holy Catfish! That was some jump in the numbers!!! Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous! :- )

    I agree completely with Carol who said, ” No, thank YOU.
    So much of what is going on in our country depresses me. I needed to be reminded that good people can make a difference. Not by shouting, or hating, but by doing simple, kind acts, one at a time, to help out someone who could use a hand.” I’m also wishing we could distribute the “extra” bundles in Afghanistan but I suppose we can only do what we can do.

  22. Melissa Says:

    So what did your CG say about this?

    If s/he got ticked, I’m ticked, too. My dad was a CG in Vietnam in ’69-’70 and he would have been tickled. He’d better have been. My mother is an inveterate knitter and sewer, and she’d probably have sent a few IBOLs. She is also not the shy, retiring type who would let her husband squelch a charitable sewing/knitting effort without a loud outcry at home!

  23. Alice Hayden Says:

    IBOL guy, you are the best. The best of what this country and the best it’s military can do for good. Can we nominate you for the Nobel Peace Prize? You have my vote.

    Not only are you empathizing wuith the Iraqi’s and trying to help, but you are letting in thousands of us at home that didn’t really think that there was much we could to to make things better. You have helped to restore my faith in humanity and America.

    Thank you for making the world a little smaller and better.

    You rock!

  24. Vicki Says:

    This is a very exciting project to be a part of so thanks to you for letting us help! I’ll be looking forward to seeing pictures and watching the count grow.
    Take care and get some sleep!

  25. Kris Says:

    Wow, this is amazing to watch. But I have to confess that my smallest bundle weighed over 8 lb. The largest was over 12 lb. (To ease the guessing, I only sent three and the middle one was 10 lb.) But I think that might up your tonnage a bit if I am a representative sample.

  26. Monique Says:

    Small diplomacy is what will change the world, and you are IT, IBOL Guy! Love, love, love that you are being avalanched with bundles, and that our family could be one tiny part of it. 1,920 bundles?!? WOW! You so totally ROCK for doing this! What’s the next project? 🙂

    Overwhelmed with warm fuzzies and optimism,


  27. Sarah in STL Says:

    OMG is right! I got goose bumps as I was reading your update….just imagine what we can do…. and I agree with an earlier response you got – how fitting it is that this kind of very positive thing is touching us on such a difficult anniversary. You rock!

  28. Kristin Says:

    Oh my gosh, that is so awesome! I can’t believe Oprah hasn’t called yet.

    In the lg frb that we sent to your personal address, there are a bunch of large cello bags and twill tape–our essential packing supplies. I thought these might come in handy in case you have any bundles that have been broken down or need reinforcement. Just thought you should know to keep your eyes open while you’re looking for your magazines. 😉

  29. obscure Says:

    IBOL guy for Nobel/Noble Peace/Piece Prize!

    As Carol said so eloquently, we need this opportunity to do good for others in this time of public screaming. And I also second Java Jane’s wish to do something to thank your compadres who will be helping you deliver the thousands of bundles yet to arrive.

    When I mailed my (only 2) bundles, the post office gal said she was concerned that she doesn’t yet know to whom to send the comfort gifts she collects each year in her small town for the troops. Know of any folks there who casn help her?

    Maybe it’s a good thing that you wouldn’t have been able to post a request on Ravelry (though a number of your loyal bundlers did on seperate group forums) as there are over 400,000 member knitters, crocheters, sewers, etc. worldwide. If your old enough, the line from Firesign Theatre (yeah, I’m old) comes to mind–planes bombarding a civil war zone with thousands of hardbound copies of “Naked Lunch.” Good thing you asked for soft bundles.

    We love you!

  30. Martha B Says:

    First of all in honor of this 9-11 anniversary, THANK YOU and all of your fellow soldiers for serving our country on your day job. 🙂 And secondly, 1921 bundles of LOVE? That is awesome!!!! I think you are going to be closer to an insane number. Creative people such as sewists, quilters etc are almost always deadline people too. Many didn’t mail their bundle until the absolute last minute. Watch out mail personnel!!!!

  31. Michelle G. Says:

    Thanks for letting me be a small part of IBOL!! If you have too many to distribute in Iraq, please take a look at Afghanistan! Greg Mortenson, author of THREE CUPS OF TEA, is still building schools for girls in Afghanistan and maybe he could help with distribution. He does have a website.
    You have done an amazing thing! My husband retired from the Army after 22 1/2 years. He was a CW4 CID agent and Ops Officer. He died 3 1/2 years ago from ALS (Lou Gehrighs Disease). He would have been really proud of all the good things you’ve done.
    God bless you,

    • IBOL Guy Says:

      The only problem would be in moving them from here to there. I am sure, though, that we’ll come up with something to distribute them here — maybe just a little bigger area than I had thought.

  32. Nanci Moy Says:

    Thank you so much for putting this together and getting us all involved in a wonderful project. This country needs some positive direction and you are the one who delivered. I can’t wait to see the look on the Iraqi women’s faces when they see all this fabric and love from America, and can’t wait to see all their children in the colorful colors coming from Americans.

  33. Fitzy Says:

    It goes to show…one BIG man…one BIG idea. That’s all it takes to make a difference.

    Thanks Art! You’re wonderful.

  34. Lisa Broberg Quintana Says:

    Thank you thank you. As an earlier poster said, we’d love to do something for you…This is nothing for us…most of us need to de-stash. For us to bundle it up and take it to the PO is a nothingness compared to what you and all the other service people do daily in conditions which are probably less than optimal.

    I know you are going to have to have lots of people help you. May you have the strength to continue in the last part of this endeavor.

    Many many hugs. Lisa

  35. gail norback Says:

    THANK YOU for all of your efforts!! If only all world problems would be solved so easily. If all of us would only all PULL together!! Congratulatons on the roaring success of your idea!!

  36. Elizabeth Says:

    THANK YOU and everyone on your base, the other units, and the iraqi forces who have all become involved. To see people come together and be able to focus on something positive and feel that we, as individuals, are making a difference is great. Congrats on your SUPER success, and I second (or third!) the request of what can we do as a thank you for yall?

  37. Melanie Says:

    wonder lady 19 here — I think I have a new sign-on. . .

    But seriously – in the late 1960s, when I was a girl and it seemed that the world was going to hell on a wave of napalm, I ran across a poster that said “It is in each of us that the peace of the world is cast. . . in the frontiers of our hearts . . . from there it must spread out to the limits of the universe.”

    Thank YOU, IBOL guy — as eveyrone has said and will keep on saying — for this opportunity to expand the frontier a little further into the universe.

    (The quotation is attributed to “Suenens” — a little latter-day googling yields Leo Cardinal Suenens. I still have the poster — and the copy I drew for my grandfather, and they’re each still in the frames he made for them.)

  38. EmilyM Says:

    WHOO HOO! Holy cow! What a bundle count!! 1921 and counting…….
    Art, you rock!
    I guess its a testament to the old phrase, ‘be careful what you ask for’…..Pictures of the warehouse mayhem when available, please!

  39. Lula Dahl Says:

    This makes my heart happy! I’m so glad to have been a part of this! You men and women that are participating in this are just too good to be true! XO to you all.

    -Rebecca (From Sew, Mama, Sew!)

  40. Cynthia I Says:

    Thank you thank you! I am so excited to see what you have been able to accomplish simply by asking. Generosity know no bounds. Thank you too to everyone helping to distribute and to your base for patience!

    In and earlier comment I read about bundle weights. My three boxes each weighed in at 9.5 lbs. They were fabric and notions.

    Good luck with the distribution!

  41. Debbie Says:

    You’ve done a great thing with IBOL. Thank you, and thank you to the members of your unit and group that continue to make a truly good thing happen in a country where people need this.

    We’re honored that you allowed us to help.

  42. Solsisters Says:

    obscure Says:
    September 12, 2009 at 12:04 am | Reply

    IBOL guy for Nobel/Noble Peace/Piece Prize!

    As Carol said so eloquently, we need this opportunity to do good for others in this time of public screaming. And I also second Java Jane’s wish to do something to thank your compadres who will be helping you deliver the thousands of bundles yet to arrive.

    When I mailed my (only 2) bundles, the post office gal said she was concerned that she doesn’t yet know to whom to send the comfort gifts she collects each year in her small town for the troops. Know of any folks there who casn help her?

    Have her look up the Blue Star Mothers nearest her. These women have serving kids and are always send care packages. They will know of someone who can receive her collected gifts and distribute them as you can no longer send ANY solider mail.

    She can also ask Sandy from Sandy’s group sends handmade blank cards to the troops for them to write home on. She has contacts with chaplins and unit commanders all over the world.

  43. Solsisters Says:

    From my blog post on IBOL sundaes:

    Thanks Art, for the fun that was I.B.O.L. Aside from the sundaes, my whole family has really enjoyed being part of your crazy scheme. We’ve enjoyed the fun updates on the IBOL blog and the feeling of doing something to make change in the war on terror. My daughter loved the note you sent from Iraq and I.B.O.L. gave my mom (Ms. Mauri) a much-needed lift and something to cheer for when she seriously needed it. My sister loved the idea of space bagging all that yarn. Plus, the opportunity to clear out both of our sewing rooms and my kid’s drawers for Old Mother Hubbard. Oh wait, the chinook fabric delivery copters! That was a huge laugh, too!

    I said it before, and I’m gonna repeat myself. Your wife is one lucky woman and your daughter has an enormously great Dad. She is going to go on to do wonderful things with an example like you in her life. Have a safe trip home and thank you, again!

    LONG LIVE the spirit of I.B.O.L!

  44. Diane H Says:

    I sent one box and it only weighs 4lb 5oz. But that’s still a lot of yarn shifted over to you.

  45. obscure Says:

    Thank you for the tip, Solsisters!

  46. Mary Ann Scanlon Says:

    Oh my goodness! I am sitting here with the biggest silly grin.
    Let me add my thanks to everyone else. It was our pleasure to fill boxes and let you and the team in Iraqi to all the heavy lifting. Once again one person has made such a difference not just for all the people who will be receiving bundles but to each one of us who had a chance to participate and be part of something larger than ourselves.

  47. Nellie Lee Says:

    hi: Just emailed you via AkO. are you still accepting fabric? Sorry for the delay but just catching up on My Honolulu newspapers. If so, what address? I can put them in the post on 14 Sept. Thanks for your great contribution. Aloha

  48. Sue Andrus Says:

    With a son serving in another area of Iraq, it feels great to be able to send something to help the local people over there. Many Thanks to you and everyone else helping you out for giving me the opportunity to join in.

  49. Jo Says:

    I wrote to NBC news and sent them the linkie here. Hope someone will be contacting the media guy for a followup on the amazing feat y’all have pulled off!

  50. laura in alameda Says:

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to be a part of this. I am an old, cynical nurse, and very rarely moved to tears these days, but ( sniff) there you have it.

  51. Kristin Says:

    Truly astonishing! Kudos to you, IBOL Guy, for making this happen. I hope the distribution goes well!

  52. Friederike! and Sandra Says:

    WOW, I haven´t checked back for a while. It´s thrilling. CONGRATS and THANK YOU to you guys who make this happen!

  53. Joanne Gasperik Says:

    Stunning! I had not checked this site in a few days and now there was an explosion in numbers. I am overwhelmed and giddy with happiness over the success that your idea is enjoying. And just think: MOST of the bundles are still in transit. I cannot match the beautiful eloquence of the comments. I will simply say: GOD BLESS YOU and all your troops and bring you home safely.

    • Joanne Gasperik Says:

      PS: did you really think that your September 8 deadline would STOP the flow of bundles. You ARE sleep-deprived. That deadline is like putting your finger in the dyke! You cannot stop a flood.

  54. quiltdivajulie Says:

    Here’s to a safe journey home for you and your comrades ~ with heartfelt gratitude for ALL you’ve done (and continue to do).

  55. Queen of Procrastination Says:

    Gee, tons of goodwill to deliver. Makes me smile till my face hurts. Keeping all of you in my prayers.

  56. Janetta Says:

    cool…we mailed 19 boxes too, we had fun stuffing them outside Starbucks! Did our hearts good! 🙂

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