Uh, 13 Doodle, We have a Code Brown in Balsam

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?

This is a hole, dug approx. 6 feet into the ground, with a box with a hole in it set on top. Bring your own toilet paper, and a flashlight if it's dark.

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.

Every day.

 

This is what one Grundy Lake outhouse looks like. Right next to it, another would be set up, but for girls. Singles would be one of these buildings, with one gender for each door.

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 inside looks like this... But this summer we painted the insides cream rather than green.

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.

Really.

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’.

This is a Bunny tail. No rabbits were harmed for the use of this.

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.

Um… Back?

Back from Grundy, the leaving took a bit longer than I’d thought it would (i.e. I thought we’d leave by about 10, instead we left at 12:30 and got back to toronto at around 5 since we stopped to get ice cream and to get Lexy some boots), and saying goodbye to my co-workers was a bit less tearful than I’d expected.
I’m not saying that that wasn’t a relief (who else has no idea what to do when crying/with people who are crying?), but it was a considerable difference from Rangers last year.
While this year it was a case of “Yeah, had a great two months, hope to see you next year, e-mail me!” and a hug goodbye.
Rangers was a full out bawl-fest for every girl who left, and every time this flood of tears dried out as the last bit of dust settled, someone else’s parents would pull up in their car, and it would all start again.
I left Rangers with a wet shirt, and dirty sweats.
So I’ll be writing a bit about how I’ve been cleaning shitters (out houses), mowing grass, cleaning more toilets, answering stupid questions from campers (if you camp, don’t take it personally, but theres only so many times you can answer someone that yes, there ARE bears, as this is bear country), and about the dangers of cleaning toilets (can you guess what a ‘Code Brown’ would be?)…
For now I bid you viewers good night, and good reading.

Preparing for Parkage: Getting it all Clean to get Dirty

I hate laundry.

I really and truly do.

It takes little snippets of time that add up.

It isn’t so much the actual doing of it, though it is a pain to have to set timers and get everything down there (especially if you put off laundry and have more than one basket load to do), but it’s the fact that it needs to be done, and that you have to put everything away afterwards.

It makes me sound like a lazy slob, but it’s the truth, and I’m sure that everyone at least has some days where the thought of doing laundry prompts a groan.

Laundry is a bit of a must at the moment, making sure that my work clothing is all packed and ready to go for on the 26th.

I must have at least five work shirts and 5 work pants, paired with at least three tank tops and three t-shirts. I must have a couple of sweaters and a few long-sleeved shirts as well, just in case the weather goes Wonky.

The weather network says that it’s supposed to be a warm summer, but Lexy worked at Sleeping Giant Park, and it started snowing partway through a canoe trip.

So that’s adding Long Johns to the list as well.

That’s just work clothing.

Pants from the side... most times they aren't as obvious as this, and just have the same colour as the pants material for patches. I go to TNT for my pants.

To clarify, work shirts are pretty much tan/other coloured button-up shirts that have sleeves. The buttons can be undone, and the sleeves can be rolled up when it’s hot. But it also means that you have the option of protecting your arms from bug bites, or from unexpected coldness. 😀

Work Pants have very simple requirement for me, and it’s something that a couple of the other girls at Rangers found out about after the unfortunate sound.

Work pants must have reinforcement patches on both the knees, and, as uncomfortable as it must sound, the crotch.

The unfortunate sound is the sound of ripped pants.

It’s really not great  when one of your work shirts is borrowed so that your buddy can cover the rip in her pants, and it’s not all that great having your bug spray/bug wipes used up because people spray it down the rips in their knees to attack bugs that have crawled in there.

So Laundry is the next part of Summer Parkage Prep.

Fun…

Why am I doing this again?

Oh, right, money, experience, and muscle buildup, as well as being paid for a camping trip…

Ciao and Zzzzz for now.

~Doodled93~

P.S. Props for this girl for going on a four-day camping trip when life was a bit too much, and for publicly apologizing when she gets back because she didn’t tell anyone and everyone thought she’d gone missing, sans id and wallet.

Preparing for Parkage Part I; Driving Boots

Okay, as I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I have a job this summer at Grundy Park, working maintenance for the Park.

There are a couple of things that I generally have to have for the job to be open to me (as I said before, most of it was obvious like I

I got a surprising amount of help from the driving instructor...

must be a Canadian resident and suchlike), but it was mainly that I needed to have certain forms filled out before I got there (the acceptance to the job for one, and the staff house I-agree-to-the-rules agreement that they sent to me about a week ago), certified steel-toed work boots, and, oh, my G2 license.

The license that I didn’t get until Tuesday (Mark it, Tuesday June 14, 2011, Doodled93 got her G2 License!)…

No, I wouldn't have let this happen. Don't be a dink, don't drive and drink...

Yay I got my License!

So happy! 😄 *hugs*

It was only 15 minutes or so, and it was pretty easy. They made me do left and right turns, parallel parking, uphill parking, and a 3-point turn on a road that I could have easily done a U-turn on.

The guys talked more than I thought he would (I thought it would be limited to directions, but he told me [among other things] that I should be less cautious about my turns), but was really nice.

And I passed 😀

Don’t worry, despite the picture I don’t drive drunk, I’m underage…. But when I’m 19, ho ho, look out world…

Joking! Don’t arrest me!

Ahem.

Yay for that it of stressfullness being gone.

So I’ve been born and raised in Canada, I have filled out and sent the forms, I got my License, and from last summer I have my certified steel-toed boots!

Yay!

But wait, what does it mean to have Certified Steel-Toed boots?

The Green Triangle of Certified-ness

Besides the fact that you can drop heavy things on your toes when wearing them without worry of injury, your steel-toed boots are certified if they have a little green triangle on the side of them.

Yeah, it’s that simple.

My boots do not look like my sample picture though. Well, they have the little green patch, but they aren’t brown, and they’re entirely leather. And dirty.

We (my sisters and I) wore our boots to this huge dog walk thing out in the woods, and it was rainy and wet (MUD) when we went out.

My boots were kind of scuffed up as well…

So Dad brought out his dad’s old shoe-polishing kit, gave me some saddle soap, and told me to wash the boots (including Lexy and Emma’s).

Well…

Of course I hadn’t even thought about taking pictures of the before they were cleaned, and only of the next stage, but whatever.

The bottom one is what you use to put and rub in the polish, you just dab it into the polish and rub like a fiend. the top brush is what you use to make it shiny and cool looking. You rub it over the polish after t's dried to take off the excess.

Hot water and a cloth took off the worst of the dirt, and then using that cloth on the saddle soap took off a

This is a slightly blurry picture of the polish (not people from Poland!)

great deal more, and quickly dunking the boots into the bucket of slightly+ murky water took off the saddle soap.

And then we waited for them to dry.

A couple of hours later Dad gave me two long brushes, and this odd-looking jar of what liked to me like someone had scraped off all the dark sticky stuff from a grill and stuck it into a jar. It wasn’t, in case that wasn’t obvious. It was a jar of Polish. (not people)

He showed me how to do my own boots by demonstrating on the grayish looking scuff on the toe, and mumbo presto the scuff was gone!

This is the after picture, of my pretty unscuffed (looking) boots!

Hah, Microsoft Word hasn’t underlined mumbo presto in red. (wp did though)

Yes… because I am right! It’s gone!

Bwahaha!

 Yes, yes, First Mine and Lexy’s boots, Next THE WORLD!

EVERYTHING SHALL BE POLISHED!

 Not really, that would use up all fo Dads polish…

Moving on.

I did the little that was to do on my own boots (they had one summers wear on them) and moved onto the colossal task that was Lexy’s boots (which had TWO summers + Construction site use + More regular use).

Had to unlace the boots to get at every part of it....

Sadly we couldn’t find Emma’s boots in order for my newfound ability to polish to be abused more, and the boots that she used on that walk weren’t the right kind of leather and weren’t steel-toed. We really need to find them… You don’t realise it untill you have to find it, but Size 5 Steel-toed boots are hard to come by.

I didn’t have to do it for mine, but her boots tongue had to be done as well, so I had to take out her old, taped-at-the-end laces too.

 Her boots took a significantly longer time to polish up…

And she wasn’t around when I was polishing Boots, so I was worried that she’d get home and tell me that she REALLY DIDN”T WANT TO HAVE HER BOOTS POLISHED, and that Dad was wrong in saying that it’s be a NICE surprise for her.

Was honestly worried about that, yeah.

Thought that her boots were almost like this from the beginning, and that she would be upset at me for changing their look… untill she came home, seemed pleasantly surprised, and I remembered that no, she didn’t buy the boots looking like this, they were just well used and haven’t been polished for 5-6 years.

This is the difference before and after I finished using the polish on Lexy's boots... Left= Done, Right= Not Done

There was definitely a bit of stress for those few minutes of I-haven’t-finished-polishing-these-and-she-isn’t-home-yet…

So I scrubbed and polished untill I was done, noticing that this was much easier on my back than scrubbing the dirt off of them was, and had a nice time outside talking with Dad while I worked.

Still scuffed, but now pretty 🙂

It’s interesting to see that, though I’m polishing them and making them look all (kinda) new and shiny, you can still see that they’re scuffed. Well, that seems kind of obvious, but from far away they just look mildly used, rather than constantly used like Lexy’s boots have been.

And then they were done.

My boots (left) and Lexy's boots (right), looking all prim and polished...

Now I just have to finish spraying the boots with this suff that’ll make the leather a bit more water proof, and i’ll be done prepping my boots for the summer! I still ended up taking my laces out to spray them down, and after another coat of the stuff I’ll put them back in.

Yay for Part 1 done!

Job vs. Graduation Day…

Job vs. Graduation Day…

Hey guys, so this is something that I’ve been meaning to write about for a while, but never actually got around to. But, I figured that it’d be good to get this over with BEFORE I actually head out…

My school seems to get everything done a bit earlier than a couple of my friends from other parts of Ontario.

I have already had Prom (May 26, which was really fun btw, and I will possibly post pics, but maybe not), and they have theirs on varying dates between June 10th and June 26th.

My Graduation date is on June 28th.

I don’t actually know when their grad day is, but I’m assuming it’s after Prom… unless other schools have their prom after grad…

Does anyone know this?

Bah…

Back to this.

I happen to have (at the moment) about 5 more days of actual school left , then Exams (or Exam for me, since Art has no real exams and I only have English this semester… SCORE FOR ME!), then I get to go to my job up at GrundyLake…

Oh, I didn’t mention that?

Yes, I GOT A JOB.

😄

Geeze.

But wait, some of you may be wondering about a slight jump in the course of events.

You may be wondering about why I even mentioned the early-ness of my school and their planning of things too…

You may even be wondering what, exactly, I jumped, since I’m just so smooth in my writing that you had to scroll up to figure out what exactly I missed…

Well, Yes, in a way I jumped something, I mentioned the early-ness because I wish it was earlier, and if you had scrolled up and actually checked out the title of this, then you already know what I jumped, and if I was actually that great of a smooth writer I wouldn’t be writing this during my second period spare while avoiding looking over an English assignment that I’m handing in tomorrow. (note; already handed it in)

Well, I’m not going to Graduation Day.

See? Smoothness…

Nope, I’m not going to graduation, because it directly interferes with my job…

See, graduation is, as I said before, on June 28th.

Lack of graduation ceremony surprisingly isn't that big of a loss...

My first official day of work at GrundyLakeprovincial Park is on the 28th.

Training is the day before that, and I’m driving the 4 hours to get there the day before that.

Sux.

But, it’s a choice between a $10+/hr wage for 2 months, and $100 to go to a boring Graduation ceremony.

Though many of you are probably frowning a bit and thinking that Graduation Day is an important day in my life, and that I don’t necessarily KNOW that the ceremony will be boring… well, I have two older sisters. (Lexy and Emma/Peanut)

Both of them went to my school (hah, nearly wrote the name there 😄 Almost fail).

Both of them graduated (yay for them).

I ha to go to both of their graduation ceremonies (…).

I had to listen with growing numbness as their principles (also my current principle) droned with ‘um’s, ‘and/the/other-word-like-this eh’s in between the same speech.

I’m pretty certain that I’m not going to be missing out too much on a special experience… in about 4 or so years I’m going to be graduating again.

I’ll get the experience then, okay?

*sigh* sorry if this sounds a bit antagonizing, but I’ve been hearing people offer possible solutions for the past month (like May, not June, since it’s the 2nd :D) on how, exactly I could get to work and go to grad…

Too much…

It’s kind of bringing down the excitement of having a friggin job! I don’t want it to go away!

I signed up for as many jobs with the provincial parks as possible, with the hope of possibly getting a job with some park that has staff housing (so that I don’t have to rent out some place or something), with the hope of getting some cash for the next year while at Ottawa U (there will be a post on this in the future)…

There is a site that always takes me forever to get to that has all of the MNR (ministry of Natural Resources) jobs currently available, and I sent out modified applications, Cover pages, and resumes, enough that it cost me a little more than $8 to send them…

Ugh, I don’t know which was worse, applications for University or applications for Jobs…

But it was great! Not the application part, but the part where I got an e-mail almost immediately asking to set up a phone-interview on x date at x:xx time! How awesome is that? And then to get another phone interview set up for before that too! Awesome I tell you!

The second place that contacted me HAD contacted me by e-mail too, but not with the time of the interview. So when they did call, asking when I would like to set up an interview, I was out on a driving lesson (yes, it makes sure the insurance goes down, alright?), and had to call them back.

I had thought that they had called about actually having the interview, and thought it was kind of weird that they would just call…

Were they testing me or something? Seeing if I would be waiting by the phone for someone to call me (possibly even for a job)? Weird policy if you ask me…

But no, they were calling to set up the interview date, but I was already pumped and ready for the interview (had my cover letter and resume in front of me so I didn’t forget anything), so I said that I’d be willing to do the interview now if they wanted… you’re okay with doing it right now? Awesome…

So the Lady went to get the papers that she needed to fill out during the interview (remember, she was only calling to confirm when a phone interview would be, not really expecting me to say “sure, how about now?”), and I had a mild freak out when Mom wouldn’t leave the room that I was going to stay in for the interview…

This is the stare of I'm-about-to-tell-you-something-even-though-you're-doing-something-important-because-I-Think-this-is-important-TOO! (also I haz Hamburger behind where you're sitting) I Do not appreciate it at this time, though it being on a cat's face makes it less bad 😀

What? Why?

Well, how would you feel about your Mom, or Dad for that matter, was going to go with you to your first real interview, and watch you.

And probably make faces when they think you said something you shouldn’t.

And probably try to mouth/stage whisper things too you that they think you’ve forgotten.

Yeah… NO.

Anyway, she asked me some kind of obvious questions, but it’s apparently part of protocol, so I can’t exactly complain.

The Symbol of the Ontario Rangers.. *sniff* god I miss rangers... I MISS YOU GUYS! McCREIGHT'S RULES!

“Are you a Canadian citizen?”           Yes

“Were you born inCanada?”               Yes

“Where do you live?”                             ____,Ontario

Things like that, which she admitted herself was kind of obvious since I did the Rangers Program…

What is that you may ask?

This was not in my job description... kind of sadly... but if it was I'd be the one in the back that's like "STOP THE SPANDEX-EY MADNESS!"

The Ontario Rangers Program is a program (yes…), that, if you live in Ontario (yep…), and are either 16 or 17 the year you sign up, means you will be a ranger (GO GO POWER RANGERS!!!… no) for the summer.

What I mean by 16 or 17 is that if you are turning 17 the year that you are signing up, you will be able to participate.

Both of my sisters have done the program (yeah, if you’re the youngest you don’t really get to do something that’s all around original…), and last summer (well, more like last winter/fall) I signed up for it as well.

The program lets you have experience in acting as a park ranger.

If you’ve been camping before, and even if you haven’t, they’re the people who clean up your fire pits, clear the trails and keep them from becoming overgrown, the ones who plant trees, the ones who show you to your camp site, all that great stuff.

Ranger Smith gets the cool job of playing with bears... we just learned Bear Safety...

A good example would be the ranger guy from the Yogi Bear series…

We didn’t have to wear the hats though…

We did a variety of things every week;

Clearing trails, painting railings, painting our bunk house, planting trees at a water cleaning plant, checking water levels and temperatures at a variety of different lakes, and a cool time looking for (and documenting) Peregrine Falcon Nesting sites…

Did you know that when you’re looking for places where birds are nesting, you don’t look for their nests so much as for huge, upside down triangles of white that show up below them?

Yeah…

If you’re from south Ontario they send you north, if you’re northern they send you south, and it’s for residents of Ontario.

So the question about where I live and whatnot was a bit silly.

But yeah, had the interview with the Lady, was reiterating a LOT about what I did in Rangers, used a lot of what I already had on my Resume (which was right in front of me), answered some questions about what I’m like in a group…

NOTE!: Please recognize that in any interview, instead of harping on and on about things that YOU have done, talk about what you accomplished in and with your group. You will likely be working with a whole slew of other people (and not just in a park program either), and if you go on and on and on about how great at everything YOU are, and don’t mention anything that even hints at being able to work in a group, you will be less likely to get the job. The Lady asked me if I prefer working in a group or alone, and I answered “I like working in a group. I feel like we can get a lot more done, more efficiently, when working in a group.” She said that that was good because I’d be working primarily in groups.

We finished up the interview, and she said that she’d get back to me at a later date about whether or not I’d get the job.

The next day (two days before the first people to get in contact with me had set the phone interview for) the Lady called me back and asked me if I would be willing to accept a job at Grundy Lake Provincial Park.

O_O

I was quiet for a while, and Mom (who was right in front of me), asked me what was wrong. She looked really concerned, actually…

Lady: “Hello? Do you want to think about it first?”

Me: “No! I mean—Yes I would like to work at Grundy!”

There was like a moment of silence in my house’s kitchen, and then low murmurs of congratulations (because we don’t want the

Me, with phone covered by hand... I wonder why Mom looked worried...

employer to think that we’re impolite and take away the job, now do we?), and that was that.

I e-mailed the 1st people to contact me, and told them that I’d accepted a job already because it was closer than their park was, and Thank you for considering my application.

Yesterday I got another call for an interview, from a place that has Viking drawings, near Peterborough (can’t remember the place’s name right now… FAIL)… PETROGLYPHS! That’s it! BWAHAHA!

I called the number they left and left them a message saying a polite “thanks, but I already accepted a job”… did I mention though that this is a place that was even more interested when my mom (who was, for some reason talking to them again the morning after I left the denial message… guess they called again?) mentioned that I was going to be going to UoO for Fine Arts, and has actually encouraged me to resubmit my resume next year and then call the same number that they already gave to get the job.

HOW AWESOME IS THAT!!???!!

Fun times with jobs, especially ones that will be good for my wanting to be paid to go camping bits, as well as my wanting to have a job that relates even distantly to my major bits.

FUN!!!!!

But still, all of those places that I signed up for will probably call or e-mail to say yea (and when would you like to have an interview—which I will have to decline) or nay (which would make me sad regardless of the fact that I already have a job)…

Again, fun…

Ciao for now!

~Doodled93~

P.S. I didn’t add any links to anything, just went with the suggested links to add… have fun with them 😀