So today is Sunday – last night was my second night running the Midrats kitchen – it was a little rougher although we didn’t figure out why until after the fact (because, of course, had we known, we could have planned better). You see, last Saturday – my first time running the kitchen – the annual Halloween party had taken place. Supervisors from every department expected drunken hordes to descend on the galley after midnight in search of food and so they had stationed themselves around the dining room to ensure that only those people working Midrats were eating the food we put out at midnight (that was when Todd the Culinary Manager and I realized we had almost overlapped in Moscow). At any rate, last week, we still had a handful of hungry drunks come through but the presence of the supervisors kept everyone quiet and rather well-behaved.
Well, last night was a horse of a different colour… and while we didn’t run out of food per se – which was chicken curry, tofu and chickpea curry, rice, steamed green beans, and leftover roast pork with gravy – we definitely had more heated altercations with drunken fools who did NOT appreciate being told that they could have toast, cereal, or soup but the hot food was off-limits. The good news is that we now have a pretty awesome new Exec Chef. Russell has been down here a couple times and is super laid back and a great guitarist. He and I have chatted a couple times and he’s just got that vibe of a great manager who wants to know a little bit about everyone who works under him and when you talk to him, you feel like you have his full attention. We’ll see how well he handles the actual bureaucracy side of things but at least his people skills are awesome which is apparently more than can be said for his predecessor. So this morning I snagged him before I went home to bed and let him know that I thought we needed a bouncer on Saturday nights and he seemed sympathetic to finding a solution.
In other news, I got my day off changed to Tuesday, when things (the store here at McMurdo, the store at Scott Base, and both bars) are actually open so I might actually have the opportunity for socialization on my day off! Woohoo! Mama, Daddy, Big Brothers, this would also be a good time for us to arrange an actual conversation. Also, my roommate is BRILLIANT and figured out that if both heating vents are blocked with duct tape and paper towels and we run the humidifier she got from Skua all the time, our room starts to feel like a tropical rainforest. Given how dry it is down here, it feels AMAZING.
Ah, and I now realize I should probably also explain what Skua is. A skua is a scavenger bird…kind of like Antarctica’s answer to pigeons only they eat EVERYTHING. In fact, I saw my first real one this morning on my way back to my dorm and I would have gotten a picture but I was too busy fending it off the doughnut I was bringing back to my room. So here is a picture of the doughnut instead.
Seriously, I don’t even know why I bother with them…I can’t usually eat more than a few bites of a good doughnut and these are really not very good at all. (Om nom nom Pilgrim Kitchen. Karen, please go eat a Pilgrim Kitchen doughnut for me!) Anyway, so at McMurdo, we like to try and recycle everything, including belongings that are in good condition – everything from clothes to electronics to food – and so you are encouraged to deposit them in bins labeled “Skua”. They are then taken to a specially designated building which is like Goodwill – others will come and rifle through the stuff and find things they want and take them. Like scavengers. Hence the name.
So that’s how we ended up with a hot water kettle and a humidifier and possibly the cotton candy machine that’s sitting under the desk in our room. I’m not sure when that will get used but I am intrigued by the idea. Now it’s time for bed but later today, I’ll be going on a tour of Crary Lab which I am very excited about, so stay tuned. Yay, science!