Tuesday, June 29, 2010

This much fun AND I got a free t-shirt!

Saturday I spent a little over 6 hours at the Tyson Track Center helping package meals to send to Haiti. The event was sponsored by a nonprofit called Numana. I was a little apprehensive, because if there's one thing I can't stand it's inefficiency, and there was great possibility for inefficiency in such a large operation. However, I was very pleasantly surprised. These folks have turned meal packaging into an art. Each assembly line has the potential to be a finely tuned machine, churning out hundreds of meals in minutes. In 24 hours, over 1.4 million meals were packaged. Not too shabby.

I had a great time, and there was no shortage of bloggable moments. I'm feeling a little ADD today, so I'll give them to you in to-the-point bullet form:

- The first table I worked with (I was a coordinator,and my job was to manage a line and train people as they came to it) consisted of a couple of cheerful families of 4. We got along famously. Then a lady joined us who was a little, well, more senior than the rest of us and pretty crabby. She kept pointing out to me people at other lines who weren't wearing the required hairnet or gloves. I was not about to start playing health inspector, so I just kind of nodded and moved on. After about half an hour, though, I caught her shaking her booty to a Madonna song that was playing over the loudspeakers while she worked. I liked her a lot more after that.

- Midway through my shift, the crew from The Harbor (our church) showed up. My parents brought Abby so she could help out, and her buddy CG was there too. I set the team up at a table and got them started. We had a great time. I especially enjoyed that as a coordinator, I was the only one not required to wear an apron and hairnet.

- Somehow the lady from my first table ended up working with The Harbor crew for a while. When I saw her join the table, I snickered to myself, knowing that she would not hold back. Sure enough, she apparently called out Sarah for being too slow right off the bat. I have no idea what the team did to scare her off, but it worked and she was gone after a few minutes.

- At one point my dad thought it would be fun to, instead of handing the bag he had just sealed to Abby for boxing, toss it to her. This would have been a great idea if she had been looking. Instead, it smacked her in the head. Way to assault your granddaughter with relief rations!

- There was a guy with a microphone walking around, cheering on volunteers, updating everyone on how many meals were completed and spurring on competition between tables. At one point he started taking requests for music to be played over the loudspeaker. Someone requested "something by Usher." He said, "Is that a singer?" WHAT? The guy was my age, maybe a little older. Who doesn't know who Usher is? He was completely discredited in my books after that.

- After The Harbor team left, I worked with a group of high school students from a church youth group. They were 1) Really fun 2) Really fast and 3)SO young. How do teenagers keep getting younger?

- For the last hour I was pouring ingredients into the bags with two of the guys from the youth group. One of the ingredients is vitamin powder. It smells vaguely like ramen noodles, and if you don't pour it in the funnel just right it poofs out in a cloud and coats everyone nearby. I came home completely covered in a yellow film. On the bright side, I won't be vitamin deficient for some time.

- Abby brought home her disposable plastic apron and hairnet. She wore them all day yesterday.

- While I was there the music played constantly, so I must have heard easily over 100 songs. So why, why, WHY is MmmBop the one that is still going through my head?

That's just wrong.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hold up there, Romeo

When Matt and I found out back in 2002 that our first baby would be a daughter, we joked about having to fight off the boys and keep a baseball bat by the front door. We now have a boy-crazy 7 year old, and rapidly multiplying gray hairs to show for it. We've slowly grown accustomed to Abby talking about her boyfriend or why Troy on High School Musical is soooooo cute.


I was not prepared for this.

I was finally going through the pile of papers she brought home from the last day of school (don't judge me, I have a newborn). In the spring her school does a post office project. The third graders serve as the postmasters, and everyone writes letters and "mails" them to the other classrooms. Abby sent and received dozens of such letters. I found one in the pile from a boy in her class who I know to be sweet and kind of quiet. I opened it. Here, with the spelling errors corrected, is what I read:

Dear Abby,
You are cute and charming. You are awesome. I think you are the awesomest kid in the whole world. I love seeing your face. It is so beautiful and you are my favoritest friend in the whole wide world. I love the way your eyes sparkle and I love the color of your skin.

(Boys' name withheld to protect the apparently-not-so-innocent)


She never told me about this letter when she got it, despite my having asked every day if she sent or received any good mail. She still doesn't know I've seen it and I don't intend to tell her as I'm fairly sure I don't want to hear the rest of the story, if there is more.

If you need me, I'll be online researching all-girl boarding schools.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Are you with me?

Have you heard about 2 Million Meals for Haiti? It's a huge effort by the Razorback Athletic Department and several corporate sponsors to package (you guessed it) 2 million meals for Haiti--in 24 hours (7PM Friday, June 25-7PM Saturday, June 26). If they accomplish the goal, it will set a world record. To do it, they need 10,000 volunteers over the 24 hour period. Volunteers need not sign up--you just show up ready to work a 2 hour shift (or more). I am really excited about this, and I want to get together a group to go on Saturday. Will you go with me? If you're interested send me a message or leave a comment and tell me if there's a certain time you prefer. I'll set a time pretty soon and send out details. I think I can register a group so that we can work together. Yay!

Here is the website if you want to read more details:



Monday, June 14, 2010

Enough about the baby...

We now return to our regular, petty blogging.

I have a question. It's a biggie. And I'm betting that most of you have an opinion on this subject, some of you quite a strong one at that. I know that topics of this importance and sensitivity are risky to bring up, but that's the kind of fearless blogger I am.

Here we go.

Should Sonic carhops get tips?

Some of you may not be avid Sonic-goers, or (horror of horrors) may not even live near a Sonic. But around here, Sonic is not just a fast food joint--it is an addiction with a cult-like following. Their food is good, but most people worship Sonic for their freakishly delicious sodas and drinks. The ice, the styrofoam cups, the precise carbonation-syrup mixture--these folks know what they're doing. And every day between 2 and 4, drinks are HALF OFF. Sometimes you can barely get in the parking lot.

I digress.

Sonic is different than other fast food places in that it does not have a dining room. Instead, you pull your car into one of many parking spots, order over the handy speaker, and have your tasty goodness delivered via a cheerful carhop, who is occasionally on roller skates. This creates a unique hybrid of counter service and full service, which is a grey area that creates the tipping dilemma. I know people who are staunchly on both sides of the issue.

I have contemplated this for some time, and I think I fall into the "Don't Tip" camp for a few reasons:

1) If you pay by credit or check card (which I almost always do) you are not given the option to add a tip onto your card. Surely if the powers that be at Sonic wanted you to tip they would set this up.

2) Carhops make a full hourly wage--not the half-minimum wage that servers at restaurants get. So tips are just icing for them.

3) Most of the time, my order at Sonic is only a couple of dollars. Tipping etiquette says that a 15% or 20% gratuity is good. So I'm going to tip the kid a a quarter? Or during Happy Hour, fourteen cents? This seems silly.

Now with all this said, if I happen to be paying in cash, I usually let them keep the change if it's not a lot. I'm not adamantly opposed to tipping the carhops, I just don't think it's necessary. But I realize that it's theoretically possible, though highly unlikely, that I could be wrong, and so I want to open it up for discussion. Are there reasons I have completely overlooked that I should be making an effort to tip every time? Or am I accurate with my analysis?

Okay, all this talk has got me craving a Diet Dr. Pepper. Lucky for me Sonic's open late!

Friday, June 11, 2010

An equation

Talented photographer (Jason Hudson) + Beautiful baby (Aaron)=Fantastic pictures

Which one is your favorite?