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I’ve recently had the luxury of sharing my bonding journey with my blossoming Mabel because the shop ran smoothly until yesterday.

Usually, when I need to fill a kitchen assistant position, finding someone available for the hours we need who’s willing to work hard and follow our super stringent processes is a multi-week laborious project. Even then, call-offs two hours before shifts and repeated, continuous training on proper dishwashing techniques happen. 

However, my last hiring efforts brought me not one but two amazing people. When life gives me gifts like that, I say, “Yes, please, I’ll take it, and thank you!”

Even on days when our air processor nozzle gets stuck or our sous vides beep all afternoon long, it hasn’t been as arduous or exhausting as in the past because I have my dream team, and they figure it out, or we resolve the issue together. 

Then, yesterday afternoon, Cammie started testing the volume on our piston filler to begin filling pouches a half hour ahead of schedule.

Nothing came out of the nozzle, over and over and over. So, she and I began troubleshooting. And we took the piston filler apart, which is no small feat when you have 100 pouches worth of piping-hot product sitting in a container on top of the machine, ready to flow through.   

Pressure, stress, and a tight timeline for food safety temperature reasons, I told them repeatedly as I was tinkering with things, I was ready to cry. So, I called the not-so-nice, usually condescending manufacturer and Mark, the TaskRabbit who saved us last time Felix acted fussy. 

Luckily, Mark was available and to us, in half an hour while I continued trying to figure out why our machine wasn’t working, and my team started manually filling pouches, a particularly tedious and messy task. Mark and I spent hours tweaking, testing, and retesting until we finally figured out and fixed the three issues. Cammie and Pandora pumped Beef & Liverwurst into pouches the hard way without complaint about hand cramps or moaning about the muddled monotony that went on for hours. And Jordan juggled the back room solo with her signature smile and likable laugh.

We threw away a lot of product that would have been dog treats, and all of us were overwhelmed at one point in the day, but we got through it together, and I’m so grateful to them. 

If you’re wondering how my sweet Mabel is doing, she and I are also figuring things out together. A layer of confusion has lifted from her pretty little head in the last week. And, thanks to Drs. Giatis and Crouse, I’m confident about our allergy/anxiety/gut health improvement plans.

May your day and weekend be filled with lighthearted togetherness. I’m hopeful for that for myself and my phenomenal team.

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