Thursday, November 17, 2011

How can people be so smart and yet so dumb?

Imma just gonna get up on my soapbox here a minute:

I swear I think that people have a deeply sublimated death wish.  You would think that with the recent focus on food safety and the numerous outbreaks of salmonella contamination folks would be more inclined to pay attention to their own food safety practices.  I am forced to wonder how many of these food borne pathogen outbreaks can actually be attributed to people incorrectly storing and preparing food.  I work for a major food company and am appalled by what I see as cavalier disregard for food safety - not in our products but in the actions of the EMPLOYEES with their personal foodstuffs.  We go through yearly training in food safety but it seems that folks haven't figured out how to apply these teachings to their home lives.

Yesterday management provided us with a really nice pizza lunch as a 'thank you' for our hard work in serving one particularly large customer.  It was delicious and appreciated and....left sitting out in the break room for hours.  There were even pizzas left on the tables this morning from last night's delivery.  And employees were still eating them.  Prepared foods should not be left out unrefrigerated any longer than 3 hours (and even that is kind of gross) because as the hot food cools, it becomes a hospitable environment for microbes to use as culture media.  Yes, the initial cook step killed off most microbes that may have been on the food but there are some thermophilic (heat-loving) microbes that don't care about that coupled with open access to the air and all of the air-borne microbes, your lunch has now become a veritable Las Vegas for the single-cellular set.

That is bad enough from employees in a food manufacturing plant but almost more disturbing was the 'Thanksgiving Luncheon' held today at the kids' preschool.  Each classroom was assigned a side dish or dessert to bring and the Two Year Olds had canned corn and canned green beans.  This was not a big deal until the administration requested that the canned veggies be brought opened in storage containers.  Again, not a big deal but (and this is a BIG BUT), the numerous storage containers were left sitting on a table.  Unrefrigerated.  Yes, the contents went through a significant kill step during processing but the second that can is opened, all bets are off.  I have never been so glad in all my life that my kids do not eat canned veggies.  Or any veggies really but that's a different topic altogether.

So to borrow from the late and unlamented McDLT (?), keep the hot [stuff] hot, the cold [stuff] cold and enjoy your holiday dinners safely!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Little Tire That...Couldn't

Well.  Hi! It's been a while.  Not that I haven't had good/bad/remotely interesting stories to share, I do, I also have job that seems to suck the will to live out of me.  So on that happy note, onto the crisis du, um, month. Ish.  Wait, where are you going?

Back in early October, Noelle and I had dentist appointments scheduled for the same morning so trying to be a cool mom, I decided we would have a Mommy/Noelle Day after the dentist visit and the flu shot.  Oh, did I forget to mention that? Well anyway, the plan was that after we got the medical stuff done in the morning, we would go out to lunch (her choice of restaurants) and she got to pick the afternoon activity: going to a movie, going to the park, going shopping, going to Kiddie Crusoe, whatever.  She was excited and talked about our special day for weeks.  It was beautiful and warm so yes! going to have a great day.  We dropped Noah off at school and headed off to the dentist where she not only had another fabulous checkup, the dentist dropped the bombshell that oh hey, one of her bottom teeth might be coming loose and I'm sorry, back the truck up a moment.  Apparently they start losing their baby teeth around 5, 5 and a half.  Of this, I was not aware so you know, good to know.  I took her to get the flu mist things in her nose but the only road that went by her pediatrician's office was blocked off for paving so we parked in a grocery store lot and hiked over.  It was...bizarre.  Anyway, she got the snerfully stuff and since we were running ahead of schedule, hey there is Jiffy Lube RIGHT THERE and we need an oil change so let's just get this done and we're on our way.  (This, by the way, is called foreshadowing.)

We drive across the street and around the back of the building as this ain't my first rodeo and request the signature service change: change oil, top off fluids, inflate tires to correct pressure, whatever.  See, me being a responsible car owner and all!  Noelle and I head into the waiting room where the Auto TV was playing (and she was not thrilled) but hey, it's only about 20 minutes then its lunchtime and we can go to Chik-Fil-A where you can not eat your lunch but swing around the play area like a drunk monkey to your heart's content. 

Then, the door opens. "Um, Ms. Feakes? Uh, we were filling the tire and uh, the uh sensor broke and now the tire's flat."  "It's flat?" "Uh, yes." "I'm sorry, what?" Yes folks, while removing the cap the pressure sensor new fangled thing snapped off and BAM the tire went flat. Me: "Oookay, can you fix it?"

No, no they could not.  But they could put the spare on (uh, yes please.) Noelle was being patient but was also ready to get out of there.  Me too.  The guys walks back in. "I'm sorry but you don't have a spare." AW FUCK NO this isn't happening.  Me: "Yes I do.  It's located under the driver's seat."  I'm not sure why it's located there but it is.  This is my PSA for those owning Town & Countries: the spare is located under the driver's seat.  I have no good explanation for this. 

By now, Noelle is rolling around on the floor, I'm barking at her to get up GET UP! the floor is gross and dirty and stuff and of course this is when they do the hard sell on other maintenance things.  So I have a busted tire, a beyond antsy preschooler and the poor man who just has to do his job trying to upsell.  Through gritted teeth I pretty much spit out 'No thank you, not today' for everything as it's now a matter of pride and get us the hell outta here before I go batshit insane on everyone.

An HOUR LATER we are finally leaving for lunch (upshot here: was now a perfectly acceptable time for lunch) and we did enjoy the rest of the afternoon (saw The Lion King in a theater by ourselves and shared popcorn, M&Ms and a fruit punch) but little did we know that our tire woes were just beginning. 

This is already ridiculously long so tune in (tomorrow/next week/2746) for the next thrilling installment.  This post brought to you by Evil Incarnated, Inc. (also known as 'Jiffy Lube').