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Time Flies! Update on Book

YES! Time flies!  Here it is January 2015 and I am finally getting around to finishing up my book.  What I mean is getting it ready for a real editor.  I realize as I have been collecting stories I haven't done a good job of keeping records.  I need release forms from anybody who submitted a story for my book.  Did you submit a story to me?  If so, please email me or submit the form on this site so I can email or mail a release form for you to sign.  Some of you I have email addresses.  I will be reaching out to you.  

The book has become a novel that shows the trial and tribulations of a woman who takes a job as a lunch lady, all the while going through many things personally.  She trys to do her best and learns as she goes.  I think you will be able to relate to the character.  

This school year is going so much better than last year.  I am not taking things personally and working on being as professional as I can.  

Don't forget to check out my Facebook page Hairnets and Aprons.  "Like" the page to follow me through this journey.

Take care for now!  Let me know if you submitted a story so I can get the release form to you to be signed and returned.

Take care

Where did the summer go?

The summer is almost over!  Soon lunch ladies will be back to work, slinging sloppy jo (HA! We have sloppy jo maybe 4 times a year!), begging for lunch money and whining about our aching feet.  Where does the summer go?
For me, the summer meant getting my book all together and sending it to my “Go to” person for his review.  Mission accomplished!  I have a Chapter on “Building up the morale” of the lunch lady, but I’m not sure if I want to use it.  I state how we (Lunch ladies) need to be proud of what we do and go about changing the stigma associated with our job.  I state it has to start with us.  Well, I talk a big talk but can I walk the walk? 

Answer is I don’t know.  I know lunch ladies who L.O.V.E. their job.  It’s their “Calling.”  They can’t wait to get back to work to see the kiddies, to feed them their nutritional meal, to be proud of a day that went well even though their exhausted. 
Me, not so much but maybe, just maybe I can get my mojo back!  I can’t say that I am ready to go back but I will say I can’t wait for the paychecks to begin again.  I am certainly hoping for a better year than last.  Last year was the worst.  Last year was like starting all over.  Last year was a year of change.  This was hard for an old gal like me.  I wanted normalcy.  I didn’t want the change, but as my dad used to say, “You’re not too old for your wants to hurt.”  And oh how I hurt! 

What did I learn from last year?  Oh too many things to type. But here are a few:

1)      Move on – Yep, get over it and move on.  There was nothing I could do to change the situation so why did I make myself sick, angry and sad?  Put it in a bubble and blow it away!

2)      Don’t confide to people that can use it against you.  Yep, in a vulnerable moment I confided my hurt and anger only to have it used against me.  Learned a really valuable lesson with this one.

3)      Don’t take out your frustration on family, employees and friends.  Just don’t!

So what do I do now?  Go back to work and act as if nothing happened last year?  No, I’ll take the lessons I learned and use them to move forward. .  Someone said to me:  What can you do to neutralize the situation at work?  I took those words and tried to figure out what gives me the most anxiety, and make the changes necessary.   Will I still be stressed?  Who knows, time will tell.  But one thing is for sure, I’m one year closer to retirement and Medicare!
I hope you have a great year.  Take it one day at a time.  If being a lunch lady is your calling, you go girl/boy!  You rock!  Put your feet up at the end of the day and congratulate yourself on a job well done.  Me?  That’s a story for a different blog.

Bomb Threat - Restitution

  1. Last week our High School had a bomb threat in the morning. I believe a note was found in a bathroom. The school was evacuated immediately and the kids sent home early. The Lunch Ladies had to leave immediately, without putting the food away. The staff was not allowed back in the building until late in the afternoon.

    What happened to all the food that was out and being prepped? Into the trash it went!  It had been out all day and the Board of Health regulation is after being out four hours, it must be thrown out. I would say anything after two hours could be compromised and should be thrown out.

    I hope they can get restitution from the individual who caused the chaos. I don't know how much the food that was thrown out cost, but I would bet it would be hundreds if not a thousand dollars worth of food.

    Did the individual think about Food Service when they left that note? Of course not! This time of the year, we are ordering the least amount of food as possible, in hopes of using everything we have before the end of our school year. Budgets are tight! My boss said "It made me sick to be throwing out all that food."

    It makes us all sick to think that someone would do such a cowardly act. An act without consideration of others, an act that impacted the lives of so many. An act that costs the school district and Food Service dollars.

    I don't have a child in that school but if I did, I would have been sick with worry for my child's safety. We were all worried about the safety of the kids and staff.

    This time of the year is always crazy. The students are restless, the staff is in need of the summer break and budget dollars are thin. I hope Food Service will pursue restitution against the offender. Not that the money will ever be repaid but it will send a message that says, "You will be held accountable for not only the malicious act against the staff and students but also for the extra dollars you caused to go literally down the drain."

    It's a jungle out there this time of the year. Be safe my friends!

Utah Lunch Lady Goes Rouge!

The media loves a good firestorm.  A lunch lady in Utah took away lunches from students who have no lunch money and now the media is drooling over the firestorm created by the parents due to their child not getting lunch…one day…. 

I have an idea that I think could solve the problem even though I know there’s no way it can be done. How about every time a student doesn't have lunch money the lunch lady hits a button and the parents/guardian are not allowed to eat lunch that day.   Techie’s, can you come up with this????  Surely if we can send a woman to the moon, we can come up with a simple device that can make this happen.  Maybe a wrist bracelet that every parent or guardian has to wear and when there’s no money for their child’s lunch, a little shock goes off or maybe it glows neon pink or maybe an alarm goes off saying “You may not eat lunch today.”  Ahh, come on, wouldn't that be great?  Put the responsibility where it belongs!

I would love to speak with the lunch lady/supervisor who must have had some reason for finally taking action and doing something about a problem.   I am sure there is a lot more to the story than what we are hearing, but the media doesn't want to tell all sides of the story, only the side that creates the most havoc.

Maybe she was feeling so disrespected by the kids, principal, administrators that she finally snapped.  Maybe her supervisor was hounding her to get unpaid monies back from the parents.  Lunch ladies are not collection agents, we are limited with what we can do but we are constantly being told to do all we can to get money back from students who owe.  Maybe she felt she had no control of anything that was going on in her kitchen so she decided to take action and get some control back. 

School districts are owed thousands, some hundreds of thousands of dollars in lunch money.  But there is not a darn thing we can do about it.  Remember that all school districts have a Free and Reduced Lunch Program so most likely, the students who owed did not qualify for this program.  But every year the parent/guardian must apply for the program.  Your previous year status of free or reduced lunch goes away in October and you must have done the paperwork to be eligible for the program again.  However, most schools have students whose parents/guardians never bothered to fill in the paperwork until they racked up charges of a week, month or more. The government does not reimburse the school district for charges that occurred due to the parent not filling out the paperwork in a timely manner. 

Maybe this supervisor had heard enough excuses or maybe she was tired of no responses from the numerous letters or phone calls she made to parents/guardians.  Maybe she was tired of being dumped on, being given more and more work, with no raise. 
As far as the lunch lady dumping the tray out into the trash, that is what we have to do.  Any lunch that goes onto the student’s tray is not allowed to be given to another student since it left our hands.  Board of Health regulations say we have to throw it out.  It could have been sneezed on, touched, compromised in many different ways.  The meals had to be thrown in the trash if she was taking it away.

Now I’m not saying in any way, shape, or form that we should take lunches away from students.  I’m saying there needs to be a way to handle unpaid lunch accounts.  We need logical consequences, something that nobody seems to understand these days.  No one wants to own up to not being responsible. 

I remember one time when my son was in elementary school and he forgot his lunch money or lunch.  So long ago, I don’t remember but I DO remember the school’s policy was for the child to call home and tell the parent he didn't have lunch so he would have to charge.  I remember I got the message when I got home. And I called the school and said that he should not have left a message saying “I” didn't give him lunch money.  I told the school that HE was responsible for making sure he had his lunch money or lunch and that I would have been perfectly fine if he did not have lunch that day since HE forgot to take his money or lunch. 

But parents nowadays don’t feel that way.  Everything is someone else’s fault.  Someone else is to blame.  Or they say “I’m to blame so why punish the child?”  Unfortunately we can’t punish the ones responsible.  Unless of course, you techie’s come through for me and hook me up with something that will have the parent be responsible.  Just a little shock…. Or just a bright neon blinking light that says to the world “I DIDN'T GIVE MY KID A LUNCH OR LUNCH MONEY TODAY.” 
The only other comment I will say is I get it.  I get how she feels. I understand.   Lunch ladies all over are saying “Wow, she did that?”  I won’t say what we are silently saying in our inside our head voice.  That could get me in trouble. 
So let the media have their heyday, they’ll forget all about it once the next “Big” story comes along.  Maybe Justin Bieber will not be allowed to have lunch in prison. 

Will Lunch Ladies Ever Get Respect?

You’ve heard them.  The comments about lunch ladies or cafeteria workers on television shows, or maybe on the radio.  We are the Rodney Dangerfield of the work force.  WE GET NO RESPECT.  Instead of adjusting our tie, as Rodney used to do when he said it, we adjust our hairnet.

This week alone, I heard two disrespectful comments about lunch ladies/cafeteria workers on TV.  “Modern Family” and “The Neighbors” both did so this week.  You would think these two shows in particular, would have a little respect since both shows are about people/things (Aliens??) from all different walks of life.  Seriously, a show about Aliens making fun of lunch ladies?  And Modern Family, a show with cultural and life style differences talking about the cafeteria staff being the lowest level in the School hierarchy.  Good Lord!   Yes, I know it’s probably true, but come on, don’t say it out loud, especially where kids can hear!
This week at school our kids were so loud and unruly that my staff needed me to address the issue.  So, in an email to our principal, I told him that we are feeling disrespected and that I would send any student that gives us problems to him.  This week, I had had enough.  We always give the kids some slack around the holidays, but the holidays are gone and now we need to be able to do our job without using our outside voices in the lunch line. (Using our “Outside” voices is a nice way to say screaming and yelling.)

Our issue was addressed by the principal and teachers which did help.  I also implemented some new procedures to help with the noise and confusion in the lunch line.  We’ll see how it goes.

But my point for this post is: How can we get the students respect when we are constantly being made fun of, disrespected and bashed in the media?  I think I have tried to change the perception of the lunch lady by giving facts about myself, volunteering to speak in classrooms, and trying to be an example of the behavior we want to see but then, all it takes is a day like Tuesday and its all shot to hell!

One of my favorite speeches of all times is Martin Luther King’s “I Had a Dream Speech.”  It gives me goose bumps and brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it.  Martin Luther King was looking for respect and thank God, things changed due to his involvement.  As Martin Luther King Day approaches, I would like to use a few lines of his and say, “I have a dream too, a dream that one day, every lunch lady and cafeteria worker will someday be respected and loved.  A dream where we can hold our heads up high and proudly say I am a Lunch Lady.  I serve nutritious lunches to students.  I am valuable to our school and our students.  A good lunch is the reason students do better on tests.  I work hard to ensure the safety of the food I serve.  I take my job seriously.  I am worthy of everyone’s respect.”

That’s my rant for today.  If you’re a lunch lady, enjoy Monday off.  Spend some time reflecting on all the things you do that deserves respect.  Ultimately, we’re all looking for it and deserving of it.  If you’re not a lunch lady, give a smile to a lunch lady, cafeteria worker or fast food clerk.  They would love it and respect you for it.  
Anecdote of the Week
Ode to the Lunch Lady - Submitted Jane Broberg

We toil and sweat in the middle school kitchen.
With laughter, tears, and even some bitchin...
Is it the generous pay you ask?
Why heavens no, please pass the flask.

We ove our jobs for many a reason.
But #1 is the summertime season!
The smells, the clatter and constant chatter
And the children's smiles are what really matter.

Ovens wafting with the smell of homemade bread,
Or do you prefer the aroma of chocolate chip cookies instead?
Chicken nuggets, spaghetti and sloppy Joes,
To find out kitchen, just follow your nose.

The government would like to spoil our fun,
Their ever changing rules have us under the gun.
What temp did you say the pizza should be?
What size scoop goes in the peas?

Bruises, cuts and too many burns,
When it comes to these we all take turns,
Shredded fingernails and aching feet,
Without these, our day wouldn't be complete.
We feel we have the best job there could ever be,
Because we work with such wonderful ladies you see!

Submitted to me by someone who wished to be anonymous.


Lunch Lady Poem

We love the hairnets, the aprons and smiles.

The meals that you cook keep us going for miles.

Buts it's not just the meals; it's your kindness and care.

We think you are wonderful and love the meals you prepare.

Submitted by: Room M101

Do you think the new Child Nutrition Regulations are working?
No, but notify parents..0%
No, this is stealing.0%
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