Saturday, October 6, 2012

It Hurts @ 4 a.m.

Whenever Sue McGleno leaves town, I have trouble sleeping.

Thursday morning she left for quilters camp with her sister for a 4 day sewing palooza.

My alarm was set for 4:30 this morning, but I woke up at 3:28.

I just kinda sat there on the couch with a pile of dogs, sitting in the dead silence of morning, watching time pass.

When Sue McGleno leaves town, I find myself talking to my my dogs, in conversations concerning topics that don't necessarily hold their attention.

I needed to be at the bakery in about an hour to set up for our annual Oktoberfest Retail, so I hopped in the shower and got dressed for my journey.

When I stepped outside to hop into the bread mobile, it was really dark out, vampire movie dark, and there was a chill in the air like I hadn't felt in over 1/2 a year.

The cool felt wonderful.

My street has been looking a little post apocalyptic lately because the city is tearing up the street and front yards of all the residents on the 1300 block of Hartford.

I've heard it has something to do with gaslines, but Klecko doesn't pay too much attention to city municipalities. 

Now I'm standing in the street, but I don't want to jump into the breadmobile quite yet.

As much as I hate silence, at this moment everything seems perfect.

Just 90 short days ago me and my lads went through a week of baking in temps that hit over 120 (F) but the quiet of this morning.....that suffering seemed like it was a decade ago.

Because the city has demolished my neighborhood, there are craters 10 and 15 feet deep everywhere.

To prevent us from killing ourselves, our civic leaders have strategically placed a buttload of those sawhorse deals with the orange blinking lights on them.

Now my hand decides to work independently and reaches for the handle of my truck, but my mind whispered softly.......

"Hold on, you can leave in a moment, but just take a moment to enjoy this moment, before you know it....there is going to be 10 feet of snow and a demonic wind chill."

So I stood there and watched the fog of my breath leave my mouth while I counted the blinking orange lights that stretched down the street, out of my sight line.

It wasn't EZ getting an exact number because they were blinking so fast, it would kinda be like trying to count fire flies in a jar at the end of the dock while you are drinking highballs inside the cabin.

After getting to 108, I thanked the Polish Christ for this moment, and told him if I am realizing anything at this point in life, its that if you want to harness joy, you almost always have to lasso it in the process of your experiences.

Joy simply doesn't sit in a lawn chair smoking a cigarette, waiting for you to cross the finish line.

I hop into my ride.

I turn on the ignition.

My dash indicates it's 38 degrees.

Then I slam the door......


My foot must have been working independently this morning as well. It forgot to join the rest of my body and ended up getting crushed.

It hurt so bad that I didn't even consider cursing.

I just sat in an instant pain that likes to bring you to the entrance of the "Pass Out Hotel", but for whatever reason, it never seems to cross that threshold.

Within a couple minutes I was fine, and I told myself that the one good part of my foot slamming was at least there was no witnesses around to document my pain.

In a bakery, or at least our of the crews favorites past times is watching fellow crew members get hurt.

Now I'm not talking finger cut off hurt, or arm caught in a Hobart or oven.

I'm talking about something like what happened Friday.

Emilo (who has the name "CHANGA" embroidered on his uniform, a word that is Spanish for monkey, or gorilla....I not quite sure which) was greasing some 4 strap pans. These forms weigh about 6 or 7 pound each and more often than not, they usually stack into each other, like paper cups do in a dispenser.

Well Changa was in a hurry pulling these forms apart from one another, and in the process he pinched his finger really hard, pulled his hand away, threw the pan and began to make a yelping sound.

But before he suffered too loud, in the briefest of instances, he turned his stare upward to take inventory as to how many people saw his accident.

To his dismay, the number was somewhere between 8 and 10 guys.

The second the bakers saw that Change saw them....everybody ROARED in a gut wrenching laughter that was also embellished for effect.


Remember, we are all standing in the middle of a factory warehouse that might be big enough to have housed the Hindenburg.

Voices carry in this space, and laughter erupts exponentially. 

Over the years there have been some who have not chimed in on the joint celebration.

Some may have chose this route because they were mature, while others may have hoped to avoid their eventual hazing.....

But Changa, he just kinda blushed, then smiled knowing that next time it was more than likely he would be on the other side of this ritual.

For those of you who work in banks, offices or retail, I totally get how you could view this behavior as savage.

But for those of you that have worked production, or on a blue collar crew, you might get how moments like these can be the highlight of a shift....even for the poor lout who is getting laughed at.

The cold wind is in the air Polish Jesus, and I give you thanks that you kept our crew safe this summer.

Sue McGleno....finish that quilt and come home to Papi......even the dogs are ignoring me.



  1. Always glad I wasn't the poor girl who flipped the power switch before lowering the speed on the Hobart to mix buttercream. You could hardly see her in the powdered sugar cloud. We laughed until she cried, which didn't take long. Glad you weren't severely injured & hope retail went well!

  2. Hilarious! Good that I'm a one woman bakery, my many bumps and yelps remain unobserved.

  3. As always, a pleasure.
    BTW ~ What is it about working BOH that makes it funny when someone gets (not seriously) hurt?? Is it because we all inevitably do, and it's like a gallows-humor thing? You laugh because what you really mean is, "Thank God we can laugh right now and not be crawling around on the floor, looking for your severed fingers"? I think so.
    And furthermore, I also have a theory that you can accurately gauge the severity of an injury by how long it takes for the joking to start. Minor flesh wound = haha right away. If the laughing doesn't start until after the silvadene and gauze get put away, you know it's a bit more serious. But in my experience, there's pretty much always laughing.

  4. "...if you want to harness joy, you almost always have to lasso it in the process of your experiences." Hmm.

  5. Ahhh, how many times have I burned my forearms on our deck ovens or on our steam kettles, let me count the scars...

  6. Pinching fingers while fighting to get those pans "unstuck" is kind of like adding insult to injury.
    Muttering bad words under my breath really helps the pain go away!