Sunday, 17 February 2013

I am the full stereotype. The canteen mummy.

Not ours, but very nice I'm sure.  Our queues were way longer. 
So finally, I signed up for canteen.  It was time.

I had avoided it for four years.  My youngest had started school.  I'd never even been a Kindy side iceblock mummy.

On sign up for volunteer stuff day, I signed the form.

All to soon, I got the phone call.  My first time slot.  Friday 9-11:30.

I worried.  Oh I worried.  What if I did it wrong? What if I failed?

As the week progressed, I also committed to attend band practice from 7:45-9am on Friday and heedlessly placed my usual Woolworths Homeshop order to be delivered between 6 and 9 on Friday morning.

What was I thinking?

Luckily Woolies said they'd leave the stuff on the front steps.

A rain shower at exactly 8:50am topped it all off.

At 9am I caught a lift the 70m to my house and threw the frozen veg and chilled stuff from Woolies into the fridge, and sprinted back to start my shift ten minutes late.

Not an auspicious beginning.

I said hello, placed my handbag on the handbag chair and washed my hands.


44 apple slinkies later, I had sore arms but was unphased.  This was kind of fun.  Next I shredded a lettuce and learned how to use a lettuce spinner.

The conversation was interesting, well to me anyway.  You know, a bit of public vs private high school,  a dabble in coed vs girls/boys only.  We talked about how much teenage boys eat, and how much more pressure they're all under in high school.

Scintillating stuff.

I made sandwiches, packed lunch orders and then, at 10:35 the hordes descended.  Two long cues of kids formed.

At morning tea everything is 50c. Which is nice and simple for newbies who aren't good at mental arithmetic.  The choices are:  A slice of pizza, a cup of plain rice (soy sauce optional), a choc chip cookie, a garlic bread or a pikelet.

First thing to go is the pizza, quickly followed by rice.  Then garlic bread and finally cookies and pikelets kind of vanish in a final desperate frenzy.

After that I could only sell them frozen pineapple rings and breadsticks for 20c.

By 11am, there were just crumbs left.

I only had to remind one kid to say please.  Although Sarah said a group of boys pushed in front of her.  Luckily I saved her a rice.  Next time I will watch the queue closely and send any pusher inners to the back.  I am a stickler for manners.

Josh turned up with a mate.  I shouted them cookies.

And that was that.  Service over, everyone back to class.  A final half hour of sandwich making and washing up and we were done.  The two early volunteers were allowed to go, the two new ones arrived, ready to finish packing orders and begin the delivery before serving through lunch.

There are 650 kids at the school, give or take.  On Friday they did over 220 lunch orders.  That is phenomenal.  Those canteen ladies (the permanent ones) are incredible.

And the volunteers.  Well, they're not bad...