My job this past summer was working as a Maintenance Worker at Grundy Lake.
I wasn’t the person who would direct you to your site.
I wasn’t the person who helped you change sites and sold you firewood.
I wasn’t the person who put on the nature shows, telling you about bears, and bugs, and what’s what about nature.
I didn’t guide you through any of the free trails Grundy has to offer, pointing out interesting things along the way.
I wasn’t the person who told you to quiet down from partying at midnight.
I wasn’t the person who told you you have to leave your site at 2, and do you realize it’s 2:30?
I wasn’t the person who you called to deal with your noisy neighbours, who also happened to be cutting branches from the forest for their fire.
I wasn’t any of these people, but I was the person who made sure you would want to come back.
I was the person who kept the main attraction clean.
Yes, I do mean that I made sure that branches weren’t overgrowing the roads and the sites.
Yes, I do mean that I mowed grass and trimmed the trails.
Yes, I do mean that I clipped back those prickly bushes from by the parking lots, and around your site.
But when I say that I keep the main attraction clean, I do not mean nature.
I mean the toilets.
You might say I deal with the real ‘business’ of maintaining the Park.
You may laugh, scoff at the idea that the toilets are the main attraction, but would you be so willing to go camping if the only option while camping with a little more than 100 other campers (in your AREA) was a couple of thunder boxes?
Grundy is known for it’s privacy ratings, but we can’t exactly make this private… every once in a while we have to go and fill in the hole, dig another one a little ways off, and put the box back on top. Putting another box, or some other kind of privacy thing around it wouldn’t work.
Yes, While the back-country sites have thunderboxes, their excuse is that they are for the people who want to go roughing it. That is for the people who want to canoe across the lake with their suff, and set up tents where they can find flat places. I think there are about 4 or 5 backcountry sites in Grundy… We don’ have to go there and clip it back, we leave that to the Rangers close to the area (Ontario Parks Rangers, a summer job for people who are turning 17 the year they sign up for it, free room and board and food, minimum wage.)
For everyone else, there are the outhouses.
We clean the outhouses.
We clean them every day.
We sweep them out, get rid of webs, wipe down the seats (with cleaning spray and a rag) to each and every set of outhouses.
There are 36 sets, I believe, in Grundy.
3 of those sets are set up as one side of one outhouse is mens, and the other is women’s.
The rest have two outhouses at each spot, which means that there are 66 individual outhouses that two Maintenance workers clean.
We also paint these when the paint starts getting cracked… I think I painted about 6 sets of outhouses this past summer. My coworkers complained about t, but I liked painting them. It used up time, and I like painting in general.
The toilets at Grundy actually flush as well, which was nice until I realized that it means that It can also get clogged.
Ladies flushing pads, and moms (and dads too) flush diapers… Why YES it’s the perfect size to go down that hole, now lets flush it… oh, right, that adds water and makes it expand! Oh gosh, it’s clogged!
What a surprise.
Anyway, while working, we drive around in the MNR trucks, and when we get radio calls (all students were 13 _your name_, and if you were calling someone, lets say their code name was 3-4, you would say “3-4 read 13 _your name_” and end with “13 clear”. Calls for you from this person would be “13_your name_ read 3-4″ ), and one of the most common were for Code Browns.
Can you guess what it is?
Well, it’s when someone misses in a big way.
I figure that some of these people are holding themselves up while taking a dump, otherwise how did they get it all over the seat? On the floor? On the walls? (methinks this last one is some REALLY upset stomach)
I’m certain some kids think it’s funny to poop in awkward places, because I found a present behind one of the toilets once.
Yeah. my pictures look kind of unreal, and not really appropriate… also, for the majority, I haven’t had my camera, and even though I’ve been blogging for while now, I still haven’t gotten to the point here I can see poop n the floor and splattered on the walls and think “Hey, I should get a picture of that.”
For the really bad ones we use a pressure washer (water tank in back of truck), but otherwise use a ‘bunny tail’.
Yeah. Bunny Tail is how I was introduced to it.
It’s gross, and there’s a lot of groaning about it, but we do it.
There are risks.
The nauseating smell, the campers who complain in he first place, the risk of a backwash of ‘shit-mist’ from the pressure-washer (hide behind door is the preferred method), along with the feeling of “Oh, nooooooo!” when the pressure washer runs out of gas and you have to leave the Scene of the Crime to get more….
But we do it.
Because we are the Maintenance workers.
We wear our coveralls with pride.
We clomp in our Steel-toed boots knowing that we’ve done a job-well-done.
While in our trucks, we still wave to campers, even knowing that there’s a certain percentage of assholes out there among you who we will have to deal with, them and their shit, and are happy when people wave back.
Yes, we wonder if the reason you smiled so widely is because you know we have to go clean up the smear you left behind, or if perhaps its because you’re happy that that Code Red (only on the female side, guess what it is) will soon be cleaned up, but we wave and smile anyway. (P.S. we are actually required to wave in the beginning, but after a week or so you get used to it and do it intentionally)
No, we are not Gate workers, we are not Naturalists, we are not Park Wardens.
We are Maintenance workers.
We clean up your shit.