Pop the Bubbly but not your eye – HaliPawz

HaliPawz protect eye champagne cork

As the New Year’s Eve celebrations are fast approaching, it is important to think about some of the dangers you don’t hear about.  Champagne and sparkling wine is consumed in large amounts during all of the celebrations but take an extra minute to use the proper care so your celebration doesn’t end in a trip to the emergency room.  Remember when you pop the bubbly to do so in a safe manner!

According to Friedrich Balck of Clausethal Technical University in northwest Germany, a champagne cork reaches speeds of over 20 miles per hour when it is popped and, theoretically, depending on the conditions, could reach up to over 60 miles per hour.  There is more pressure from one bottle than there is in three car tires.  When you think about that velocity, you can only imagine what can happen if that cork should happen to hit an eye.  If you don’t lose your sight completely, you can pretty much guarantee it will never be the same as it is now.  Even if it doesn’t hit a person, proper care should always be used because it can break anything it hits such as a light, a window, or even a television.

Opening a bottle under pressure such as a champagne bottle, sparkling wine, or prosecco safely can be done.

First, studies have shown a cooler beverage results in less pressure of the cork.  Ideally, you would want the champagne chilled to around 39 degrees Fahrenheit (4 Celsius).  This temperature also helps minimize the amount of champagne spraying out.

Next, remover the foil and the wire cage.  Usually you just untwist the wire key at the bottom, under the cork, until it is loose enough to slide over the cork.  Be careful not to do this until you are ready to uncork the bottle. Think of it as if you are removing the safety on a handgun. The minute the wire cage is off, the bottle should immediately be pointed in a safe direction away from anyone it can harm as the cork can pop out on it’s own depending on the pressure in the bottle.

Hold on to the main part of the bottle with one hand and place a dish towel or wine town over the cork with your other hand over the bulbous part of the cork and the towel.

Position the bottle against your hip or side to give you better control of the bottle and make sure it is aimed away from anyone and anything.  Slowly begin twisting the cork with your hand gently working it out of the bottle. You will feel the cork loosen and get easier to work;  then you should hear a soft pop when the cork slips out.

I know it is fun to hear that POP sound as the cork flies out.  If you HAVE to hear that popping sound, make sure the bottle is facing away from you and others, including animals, and is pointed towards a wall or ceiling and nothing breakable.  Look in the opposite direction UNTIL you hear the POP and then turn your head back.

While it is fun to enjoy any celebration with a bubbly drink, be sure to be smart and safe so the celebration can continue until YOU want it to end.

Happy New Year!

An added tip….if you choose to set off fireworks during your celebration, be sure to NOT drink too much champagne and always wear protective eye-wear and gloves!

champagne bottle popping and fireworks

Champagne popping and Fireworks

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Unfair expectations of children set by adults who forget who THEY were as teens – HaliPawz

As I am sure in many families, when everyone gets together for the holidays, topics of discussion can range from the most mundane to heated debates.  My family is no different.  We started a discussion about some high school students who were “kicked off” their various extra curricular activities because of behavior their school deemed “inappropriate”. Short story, they got drunk at a party and got caught.  

I do not think teenagers need to drink and get drunk.  If you are a patent, it is up to you to have those discussions with your child(ren). My surprise was how the school chose to handle it.  As we discussed more, I learned many schools take this stand and I think patents need to step in and be more of an advocate for their child and stop letting this happen.  

It all stems from the fact that many students are required to sign a “code of conduct” in order to participate in the extra curricular activity of their choice. Allegedly, the students were reported drinking by another student and many of them were removed from their sports and academic events.  Because some of them were seniors, not only does it affect their last year of high school but could also affect their chances at scholarships, college choices, etc.  I found this to be a very harsh punishment for a mistake.  I went and researched other school’s published Code of Conducts and saw many of them clearly had their punishments laid out for first offense, second offense, and third offense.  None of them went right to removal of the student from the activity.  When I went to review the code of conduct for the school we were discussing, I found it interesting that the page had been removed! 

 

Code of Conduct Page Removed

 
Since I cannot comment on their particular code of conduct, I want to share some of my thoughts regarding a Code of Conduct and the punishments behind them.  

I understand playing a sport or doing an extra curricular activity is a privilege and not a right.  I understand schools have to right to set some expectations for those representing their schools.  My concern is when the expectation is greater for a minor than it is for adults.  Some of the CofC I read expected the kids to be perfect.  I wonder, how many of those adults responsible for WRITING the CofC would have been guilty of not following it when they were teenagers?

  
Another concern is the zero tolerance for making a mistake? You go to a party. You drink. One person finds out, reports it, and you’re off the team? Off Student Council? Is that really fair?  It was not a school event.  It was just teenagers being dumb. 

One CofC I read said you could not be loitering anywhere where alcohol or drugs were present.  I think back to my high school days.  My sister (college aged) would have a party when my parents were out of town.  I would be home and at those parties sometimes.  There was alcohol. According to these CofC, if a picture circulated with me there or someone reported it, I would be in trouble.  There doesn’t seem to be a gray area. 

Another question I have is; how are these even legal? How can they be upheld.  If an adult can not go into a legal, binding, contract with a minor, how can a school? I understand parents have to sign as well, but, in reality, there is no consequence for the parent, other than their son or daughter no longer being on the team.  

I understand there should be expectations and consequences for actions. I can see why the schools would have them in place, all I am saying is to take a step back and really look at the expectations and the consequences.  Does the punishment fit the crime? Are we, as adults, setting higher expectations for children than we set for ourselves? Are we teaching them there is no room for mistakes? 

At the end of the day, there is a reason the laws are different for those under the age of 18. Perhaps some adults need to review those reasons.