Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sailing the Exxon Valdez

What on earth is she talking about? She's getting more cryptic by the day. I hope she's getting enough sleep. . .

Ok, so today was looking like a super-easy day at work. I got there and Chef had a gorgeous meal ready to pull together when noon rolled around. I only needed to make a mir poix for a shrimp stock and assemble one chef's salad. Dinner was a simple menu that I could prep and then sit on the counter listening to NPR for a couple of hours. For the moment, I would keep up with the dishes and help serve out lunch. So I hit it. Among many utensils and pans is a 12 quart stock pot with about a gallon of oil that we'd used for a couple of days. Typically, I just run it down the drain with some hot water and run the disposal at the same time.

You're kinda seeing where this is going, right?

In a matter of seconds, I felt myself slipping. I looked down and oily water was spilling from the trap at the bottom of the dishwasher. The sink drain was clogged and I had created the mother of all oil slicks. All just twenty minutes before serving lunch. We scrambled a bit and then manage a squeegee and a mop to get up some of the mess. The floor was ridiculously slippery so I put down a generous serving of baking soda all around the kitchen. As the activities assistant pointed out, it looked like a coke party gone bad. But we were able to walk without falling and got lunch out with more effort than usual. And maybe an extra yelling match as well. (No, I wasn't involved in the tiff. . .just responsible for it)

My Super-Nice Maintenance Guy observed the fiasco. He could tell right then and there that any plans he had for accomplishing anything today were shot. Drains were disassembled, grease traps were examined, pipes were snaked. . .and the water still wouldn't drain. A couple hours into the saga, while sweeping greasy baking soda in a kitchen with no clean dishes, I could see that I had created quite a situation. Maintenance, housekeeping and kitchen staff were all directly impacted by my mistake. But I learned something new today. We have a grease pit outside next to the dumpster. "At the expense of 22 man-hours," grinned Chef.

Then he and I brought the lunch dishes outside and washed them in tubs with the garden hose, bleach and a scrubby. Dinner's got to be served, right?

Actually, in the end it was not my grease that caused the drain back-up. It was the masses of food we put down that disposal on a daily basis. I just timed my oil dumping perfectly so that I could make the kitchen floor disastrously slippery for the next week or two.

Because I like to shake things up, you know.


Anonymous said...

bright side? you can "skate" in your socks!!! you may not be able to stop........:)

Anonymous said...

Compost maybe? Just an idea :)