the usual

“we usually just get pizza” my boss told me of food for student workers.  We were discussing the transition of supervising student workers to me, temporarily, since our staff member who currently does this is leaving next week for another position.  I had told my boss that I wanted to have a meeting with the student workers to talk about the transition, scheduling needs, work priorities, and things like my sick policy and my health.  More on that later.

Back to food.  I am not one to think that all work events must have food, not anymore at least.  Too difficult to figure out what I’d eat, so it doesn’t come to mind as a meeting essential.  But my boss raised the idea and offered to spring for it.  Ok.  So food.  “Can I do something other than pizza?” I asked.  “Sure….”  Although it wasn’t on my mind consciously at that moment, I remembered later that one of our workers has Celiac Disease and needs gluten free.  Not only is this a known requirement, but it’s one that the school has screwed up on…hosting events that she’s required to attend without providing an option.  And then there’s her mom.  Her mom called our office one quiet summer day and we ended up talking for over an hour about a number of things, including how discouraged it made her daughter to go to school events with no option for food…while everyone else eats.  And lastly, there’s my own recent experience with being told I had to go to work events which were food-centric (“must attend all social events” said one work document addressed to me this past year) but where I could not eat anything.  It sucks and I’m damned if I’m going to pass that crappy non-option on to someone else.

And now I’m wondering…what to get for food.  Or just dispense with the food thing entirely.

It is nearly Halloween, so some kind of Halloween themed food or candy seems appropriate.  But  here’s the thing.  I am woefully ignorant of gluten free options.  Having determined through both empirical and lab test means that I am not gluten intolerant, and having not hosted in a looooong time, I really don’t give it much thought in my life.  And so I am asking you, dear reader, if you know of easy, tasty gluten free snacks or food, let me know!  I’m thinking I’d rather stay away from cooking.  I have nothing against the idea, but with people of this age, home cooked is not usually their favorite option.  Also, there are liability issues I think with bringing in your own, homemade food.  So I was thinking maybe Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods had some good gluten free baked goods or other goodies that I could pick up and bring in but again, given my ignorance, I wouldn’t know what’s good and what’s not in the panoply of pre-packaged gluten free options out there.

I welcome your ideas, recommendations, and suggestions to make this an inclusive (and tasty) event.

Now, as I said, the agenda is going to include my health.  This is because one of the student workers has made a bit of a habit of asking me stupid questions or making insensitive remarks to me that relate to my health.  Like asking me at top volume in an office full of people if I’m going to be out “again” next week.  When I tried to dodge his question, he kept pressing.  Finally, I asked him why exactly he wanted to know and he said he was just wondering if he was going to have to cover for me.  Me.  A full time professional staff member with very specialized skills.  Him, a relatively unskilled undergrad who spends a lot of work time watching TV shows on his mobile devices.  Yeah, you go on and just try to “cover” for me, boyo.  I’m more than a pulse in a chair.  Most recently, I came upon him watching TV at work and enlisted his assistance in clorox wiping down tables and desks.  It’s a busy time of year, we have students in and out all day.  Many of them are taking exams with us, and given the time of year, many of them are taking their exams sick – we had one who had to run out in the middle of a test to go puke (a stomach bug’s been going around up here).  And then there is the non-negligible number of students we serve who have chronic health problems that affect their immune systems.  I preface with all this to give you a sense of WHY I think that wiping down the surfaces with clorox wipes is a good idea.  So, we’re wiping.  I do a bunch of desks and keyboard/mouse sets and this student is slowly wiping a conference table. I finish up and say “here, I’ll help” (it’s a big table).  There are several piles of eraser debris and I hit them with the wipe and they scatter and smear across the table and onto my pants.  “Oh, gross, eraser crud” I say, wiping at the bits with my bare hand.  The student stops wiping and says “‘Gross?’  Are you a germ-phobe?”

Oh he got a bit of a talking to.  I mentioned this all to my boss at our meeting and said that I wanted to have a talk with him.  She said “Do it.  Set him straight.  And let him know that I want everything wiped down every day too…”

So the meeting’s agenda will include the topics of invisible disability in the work place, how not to make an insensitive idiot of yourself when dealing with a coworker with a disability, and what keeping a “safe, healthy, and welcoming” office means.  Can’t wait.  😉

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  1. I’m still up! 24 hrs and going!

    Oh, what a little turd! He sounds like the bosses I had doing the part-time gig, except he works under you. Ugh. Can’t wait for the smack down.

    I’m gluten-intolerant (no Celiac’s either), but I don’t even know because I never bought pre-packaged foods in my eating days. If you were cooking, I’d seriously make Rice Krispy (sp) treats with orange dye (lol) as they have a gluten-free version now and then it’s butter and marshmallows (right?), but not sure on the latter. How long did I work with kids (younger kids)? We used to make sickly things every Friday, so cooking. Jello popcorn balls are THE bomb, btw.

    TJ’s will have food and it will be labeled, but I don’t know about Halloween stuff. Same with Whole Foods, but hope work is paying for it. Do you have a gluten-free bakery nearby? Idk, I was never a baked sweets person! Candy was my thing, but watch that for mystery ingredients. Oh, candy corn sounds so good right now, but not good for me.

    OK, I’m closing the laptop I swear! Good luck!


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