THE OFFICE FRIDGE
by Lydia Bogar
During my third year in the State Fire Marshal’s Office, we moved into a new, super-efficient LEED green building. The HVAC system required constant care by a team of facilities managers and Haz Mat techs who broke into a cold sweat anytime there was a drastic weather change. If a July day reached over one hundred degrees, the pumps crashed. If there had been an ice storm, space heaters would be brought in for the corridors and the receptionist in the main lobby. A $43 million building.
They couldn’t regulate the temperature, but they gave us a fabulous break room. There was shelving for paper and other supplies, a copier that could scan documents into a fax or over to your desktop, and a stainless steel, 26 cubic foot Whirlpool refrigerator with an ice making freezer on top. It was a beautiful thing to behold—especially after twelve years of having my Charleston Chews kidnapped from an only semi-cold little box fridge.
During the summer, the freezer held popsicles and ice cream.
There were birthday cakes during every season.
There were also cartons of milk and cream for those who didn’t have the grit to drink their coffee black.
There was a package of coffee beans that Dave brought back from a trip to Jamaica.
There were tomatoes and wax beans from Jake’s garden. The tomatoes vanished quickly; not so much the beans.
We had a middle shelf for “community food” that anyone could eat, but never on a Monday. That’s where the leftovers lived from our Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras potluck lunch in 2012, the leftovers that weren’t finished until Thursday because most of us were Catholic. We could all swear like sailors, but we observed Ash Wednesday because our grandmothers were watching us from heaven.
The containers on the lower shelf were labeled with names and an occasional Haz Mat sticker. First responders have some funky ideas about food–high carb, high fat, and as much sodium as a diner on the on the Jersey Pike at midnight. Cold pizza is better than hot pizza, and any sandwich is considered edible until it turns green.
The vegetable bins at the bottom usually held Halloween candy, until they were cleaned out around Memorial Day, usually by me.
This retired Girl Scout Cookie Mother had reached her ultimate calling: Office Mom.
Our own “Renaissance Woman,” Lydia has done everything from teaching English to doing volunteer emergency service. She says she “hails from Woosta– educated at BOLLI.”