Tuesday, July 26, 2016

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.


  1. You are awesome. I know so much of what you have been through is the way people feel entitled these days. Some good old fashion manners would solve a lot of problems. As a campground tycoon myself, I began carrying a marshmallow stick with me every where throughout the campground, ready for most anything that way. Hard for 'guest's' to frown when you are waving a marshmallow stick at unruly kids and adults. Hang in there, there are plenty more hosting jobs out there that would be much more fun! Katie

    1. Hi Katie,

      I KNOW YOU of all people know what it can be like dealing with campers sometimes! Yes, old fashioned manners would be nice. I like your marshmallow stick idea! I would skewer myself most likely as I'm such a klutz! I just threaten to stop cleaning the bathrooms! ;O)

      Lots of other types of summer jobs to try out. Maybe I'll try hosting again way down the road in the future. Hopefully I will have my own income generating thing going by next summer so I can actually get to PLAY!

      Hope your summer has been a good one. Miss You!!


  2. Your views in your campground are spectacular! I'm sorry your bandwidth is poor as well as your cell reception - I LOVE your posts. You are so talented in your descriptions.

    I don't know what is with this world about the recent wave of "entitlement". Old fashioned "Thank you, Yes Ma'am, Yes Sir and I'm sorry" go a long way. I like the marshmallow stick idea too!! Not to get too political, but EVERY life matters. No one is better than anyone else. Kindness is the key - you never know what another person is dealing with - cancer, loss of a loved one, depression, or any other hardships. What happened to "It's better to give than receive" and simply being nice? Alas, off my soapbox.

    It sounds like you are doing a lot of work keeping that campground running. I hope you are appreciated. The great thing is that you have wheels and can MOVE. Your next adventure awaits you.

    This has been a bad year for weather everywhere. Fires, flooding, drought, and horrid heat waves. Somehow, you got the cooler weather!!

    I'm afraid I haven't been camping as much as I've wanted to. I've had warranty issues with the camper that have been frustrating to resolve and a continuation of an illness that has been equally frustrating. I won't even mention that 4 letter word that starts with a "W" and ends with a "K" and comes with idiot bosses. My dream of escape is still there!!

    I miss your posts! Big hugs to you and your bravery and courage. Remember both involve doing something despite being horribly afraid, yet doing it anyway.

    Much Luv,

    1. Hi Angel,
      Sorry for the long delay in this response. I'm sorry to hear of all your camper issues and health troubles. I hope by now both are better or all fixed. I can understand both. Though I don't have warranty issues with Zelda, I do have living challenges that are becoming more difficult to live with and are exasperating health issues somewhat too. Though I don't have to deal with idiot bosses at the moment, I do have to deal with trying to make money on my own - which hasn't been going as well as I had hoped. I am working on it now though and hoping things will work out. I am glad you still have your dream of escape - it WILL happen and I will send lots of magical energy your way that it happens soon!

      Peace and love to you too!