Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Truth Uncovered?

It has been a very chilly summer at my campground - mostly because I'm on the south side of the lake and the winds usually come from the Northwest - right off the snow and glacier capped mountains and across the cold lake water and smack right into us.  The winds can get very strong and last all day, keeping things much chillier there than inland a few miles.  I have had recent days where I have been so cold in the early morning that I've had to get in my car with the heat on just to warm up to functioning abilities.  Now, all of a sudden yesterday and today it is like 90 some degrees!  What the Heck!?!?  Where did the mid 70's - low 80's go?  I was VERY specific when addressing the Weather Goddess on what was acceptable warmer temperatures (never even mentioned the word "Hot" in my description).

Some of my friends have asked what I've done to make the Weather Goddess hate me so. Best I can guess is that sometime in a past life I was a virgin sacrifice gone bad. Had hot, lusty sex the night before with all the priests so actually wasn't a virgin when pushed into the volcano's lava spewing cone - so now the Weather Goddess is getting even.  

Long Overdue!

This whole no cell phone / internet really sucks.  I have had so many posts I have wanted to write but can never seem to get to the library to write and post them.  I have a kick-ass solar system now so that I can recharge my computer, but very little sun where I am to keep the battery charged up.  I have enough gigs of data to post with, but can't use them (but I still get to pay for them!).  I have lots of stories to share, but little time to write them.  So much for my dreams of a relaxing summer of exploring and working on projects.  But other interesting things have happened to keep life stirred up and interesting.

Part of my campsite with a vault toilet in the background

[I'm going to intersperse pictures of my campground throughout this post.  My family and friends have been asking what the campground looks like.  Most of the campsites are tent sites along the lake shore that you have to hike down to from the road.  You park up top along the edge of the road.  I can't believe the amount of stuff people haul up and down the rather steep paths to set up their campsites!  Yes, some even bring the kitchen sink!  I just don't get it - this is supposed to be primitive camping folks!]

Work.  Well, it, like many jobs has its positives and negatives.  First, what my job actually entails.  I live in the campground that I manage.  I work 5 days a week and usually get 2 consecutive days off (Monday and Tuesday).  I am paid for working 6 hours a day, but I actually end up putting in more like 8 hours or more some days and at least 1 hour on each of my days off (money collection, toilet paper restocking, checking in with people and if I'm there, then dealing with things as needed).  My daily routine consists of:

1)  Morning rounds of restroom cleaning.  Wiping down the vault toilets and scrubbing the inside "tube" as necessary, refilling toilet paper, sweeping, mopping the floor (I swear men and little boys who go camping have worse aim the George W. Bush!  What gives guys???  Big hole, close range - how can you miss?  Please enlighten me!), and spraying what I unaffectionately call "stinky stuff" - cinnamon air freshener - YUCK!   I have 5 vault toilets to clean and unless I have to scrub all the tubes, they don't take long to clean and are easy to do.  I really don't mind cleaning them.

2)  Campsite cleaning.  Picking up trash, scrubbing down picnic tables, putting out fires people have left burning (after explicitly being told to drown them with water before leaving!  GRRRR!!!) and once firepits are cold, shoveling out the ashes and old wood pieces.  Sometimes raking campsites if necessary.

3)  Collecting money.  My campground is a self-pay campground (you really see how many dishonest people there are out there!  Sad, just sad.).  There is the campsite fee, extra vehicle fee, day use and boat launch fee.  I have only been stiffed a few times on the campsite fee, but boy are people dishonorable about the other fees!  Mostly for the boat launch and day use fees.  I am astounded, but guess not overly surprised at the sense of entitlement people have anymore.  I have actually had people say that they are only launching a kayak or canoe so shouldn't have to pay the BOAT launch fee.  Last I looked, a kayak and canoe were both BOATS!  Not, trains, planes or garbage trucks (I am shaking my head in bewilderment here).  After I collect the fees from either the deposit box or having to hunt the people down, I then have a bunch of paperwork to do.  That can take 30 minutes on a slow day to over an hour on busy days, and even longer on report days.  It is challenging to do in Zelda with the lack of space, but we manage.

4)  Campground maintenance.  Brush trimming, weed wacking, log moving, minor repairs, sign posting, basic stuff like that.

5) Camper management.  I like to try to meet and greet all my campers.  Let's me know who is here and to let them know the campground rules and basic info, and that there is someone here should they need anything or have questions.  Kind of like checking into a hotel - Campground Concierge!  I also have to enforce the rules as best as I can.  Not always easy and not something I like doing.  Safe campfires, quiet hours, property damage done by un- or ill-supervised children (and sometimes adults), issues with other guests and one of the biggest problems, unleashed pets.  One or more of these I have to deal with on a daily basis it seems.  But I like to make my guests feel welcome, so I have a summer special going on: Unlimited Free Gifts with Purchase!  All the mosquitoes you can fit into your tent and car!!  But no one seems to appreciate this amazing offer!  Com'on people!  How often do you get UNLIMITED free gifts with purchase?  They make great gifts too!  Going to a BBQ and need to take a gift?  A box of mosquitoes!  Have one of those hard-to-shop-for people in your life?  I bet they have never been given a box of mosquitoes before!  And these are like Designer Mosquitoes!  (And everyone LOVES designer goods!).  You can't get them anywhere else but my campground!  I know, I know, I really do take good care of my guests.  I also deliver firewood to their campsites!

6)  Get supplies and firewood.  Cleaning supplies, special tools and firewood bundles are kept at my boss's campground (where I stayed when I first arrived), so I often have to drive there to restock my supplies and load Gus up with firewood to sell.  It's about 5-6 miles each way and not a fast drive.  I also usually try to catch up on phone calls and internet stuff while there, but don't have a lot of time to accomplish much.

So, that pretty much sums up my job description.  I enjoy most of it, the basic duties of the daily campground maintenance and meeting most of the campers.  However dealing with the problem campers and visitors and especially the ones who think they are entitled to do whatever they please, whether it bothers anyone else, endangers others, or is simply stealing by not paying has really brought on more stress than I need or feel up to handling.  I left the 9-5 job world to get away from this kind of stress and dread of getting up to face the next day.  It has taken a lot of joy out of this experience for me.  Granted, I have to take some responsibility for the stress, I take my job seriously and want to do a good job for my guests and help them as best as I can.  That can add to the hours I end up working each day and living there has me "on call" all the time.  I am not the kind of person who says "Sorry, I'm off the clock right now so I can't help you until I come back on at 4:00".  I had looked forward to working on some of my projects this summer, but I have not had any of my creative juices flowing at all - and that is NOT like me.  I usually can't turn them off.  I am at the point now of counting down the days till the job ends.  I don't like that.  I have had some great times and have met some wonderful people and made new friends, but the job has become a JOB, the kind I was trying to stay away from for my all around health and well-being.  So, would I camp host again?  I don't know.  I'm glad I tried it - always good to try new things.  But if I did it again, I'd have to be sure of a few changes first.  If I have to work a summer job again next year, I will try something different.

[For anyone considering camp hosting, please don't take my experience as the only one to look at.  Many people do it and love it!  Every person is different and handles things differently.  Every campground is different and every guest you get is different.  If I did it next year I'd have a totally different experience.  But for me, this year, this experience, it just hasn't been what I had hoped it would be and has been more stressful than I wanted and needed in my life right now.  I am responsible for some of that disappointment and some is totally out of my control.  One thing I would change is that if I was at a busy campground again, I'd prefer to host with someone else.  I haven't been afraid to be a single woman doing it, but sometimes it would have been nice to have had another person there to help at times.  It can get overwhelming trying to do everything all on your own with no support or back-up when it gets busy.]

I am not disclosing where I work until the job ends for privacy reasons.  If you recognize the place, please do not say where it is.  Thank you!

There often aren't great sunsets where I am, but when we do get one, it is pretty spectacular.