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.

How to Untangle Headphones (and Never Want to Use Them Again)

One of the online comics that I read regularly would be Two Lumps (can find in my favourite links page), and one of them mentioned a rather odd video that I hadn’t ever seen before: “How to Untangle Headphones Using a Cat.”

I was rather curious about WTF they were talking about, so I Googled it and let the Youtube video load.

Here it is:

Yeah.

Yeah.

Pretty much my reaction right there.

Shock, grossed-outedness, a bit of laughter, and a dash of “WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT TO THE POOR CAT?”

If you had any combination of these reactions, you’re on the same side as my Sane side.

If your reaction was to wonder “What about if you don’t have a cat?” You obviously have a very similar Insane side to you as I have.

Yeah.

That cat was probably like this cat off screen:

“OmnomnomNomnom, Nomnom, nom…nom… WTF GUYS?!? NOT cool.”

Floss your cat indeed…

*THUNK* AAAAAH! Save the Birds

Today I was startled from working on Part 2 of my Woofstock post by a startling noise combination.

*Thunk*

AAAAAAHHHH!

And then general sounds of bustling around.

I had thought that perhaps someone in my family unfamiliar (like one of my parents, or Emma) with how to use our chuck-it (a ball flinger) had jokingly gestured with it towards our back deck, and, in the way luck usually goes, a ball was flung at one of our windows and the rebound nearly hit Lexy.

Maybe on the back of her head, maybe on her arm, but I was picturing it as it was nearly hitting her in the head.

No, not because I have secret wishes of violence towards Lexy, but because it is usually the worst possible (and most times most amusing) situation that runs through my head.

So I ran to the back door, expecting someone injured (possibly) and someone embarrassed (possibly), and likely someone laughing.

If no one was there to laugh, I feel a bit as if I would have been the one to laugh, after asking the needed “what’s wrong?”.

That was not the case.

No laughing.

No.

I looked out our screen door and saw Lexy pulling and excited looking Gwynn off of our back porch, and Mom and Dad looking worried.

It is at this point that I should tell you that my actual first thought about what the *THUNK* noise was, was that it was a bird, as many, many birds end up hitting into the window right next to the computer, and then fly away. occasionally a lesser *THIK* will hit the window, and it will turn out to be a rather large bug.

But this happens regularly, the *THUNK* fly away.

Less, now, that we have shadow stickers on our windows, but I’ll get more on that later.

But it was the following “AAH!” that threw me off, as well as a moment of poor directional hearing.

Here is a picture of the window by the computer in our living room.

To the left, if you could see below it, there would be the porch, and my sister sitting in a chair right below it...

The window that I thought the bird had hit was the one to the right. After I heard Lexy yell I thought that a ball had hit the window, not a bird, and that, as I said earlier, it hit Lexy (prompting the “Aah!”).

But back to the story. Lexy was pulling Gwynn away, and dad was not looking happy. In front of one of the chairs was a little yellow thing.

As you can see, this was no ball...

It was not a Ball.

And it was obvious why Gwynn was looking so excited.

He probably thought it was a chew toy that came from above.

Mom thought we should probably move it, but Dad was pretty stern in saying “NO.”

I remember last summer I was working up near Thunder Bay at a dock, cleaning off the underside of boats to prevent invasive species from spreading, and a woodpecker flew into a door. I was fairly far away at the time, and was pretty worried, but before I could get there, some people started crowding around.

One guy had the bright idea to try to pick it up.

The stunned woodpecker had enough energy to recognize that it was injured, and a large THING was touching it, so it did what any injured and confused animal would do.

It fled.

Flew a fair distance too, right into the edge of a dock, whereupon it sunk in the water.

So Mom did not move the bird. It was a good idea, at least in the mindset that Gwynn was still looking longingly at the bird, but we just took him inside for untill the bird left.

It did not move for a while either, but I could see its beak moving, probably from it freaking out.

We left it alone, making dinner (which had SOME mild interaction with it, since it was right in front of our bbq, and we needed it to make dinner), and I thought it had died from shock, since I couldn’t see its beak moving anymore.

It’s legs were pulled up tight to its body, and it’s beak wasn’t moving. I wasn’t about to feel and see if it’s chest was moving, so Dad suggested/Told us to leave it alone still.

I left for a while, and then, TADA! It wasn’t on its side anymore! It was just sitting on our porch!

HE LIVES! For now...

 It was very exciting, and dad was quick to point out that he was right in leaving it alone.

But it wasn’t moving after that.

What a great thing to happen on Father’s day, huh? And right in front of Dad too… But then again, it happened pretty much ON TOP of Lexy, so at least it isn’t as bad as it could have been.

I left again, after taking the picture, very happy that the little guy was living.

I have to admit that the reason why I decided to take pictures in the first place (besides the fact that I now have bloggeritis, a disease that says “take a picture, and write about it!”), was because if it didn’t live I was going to write a memorial Blog for it, and encourage people to put shadow stickers on their windows, but, it seems like the little guy had a will for life.

The next time I checked, he was still there, and even the time after that, and I was kind of worried about him possibly being dead even after standing up (“If I have to die be some strange bit of solid air, I’m gonna do it standing, dammit!”), but on the third check, he wasn’t there.

Now here’s where the crazy and sane parts of me kick in.

Sane: “YES! He LIVES! Fly Free and Alive Cute Yellow One!”

Insane: “Oh my GOD! Gwynn got out and ATE HIM!”

I happily told Mom and Dad about the fact that the bird was gone, since, the Sane part of me said that if Gwynn had gotten out, SOMEONE would have noticed, right?

Insane: “OhMyGOD! Hunter ATE HIM!!”

Sane went quiet.

For those of you who don’t know, Hunter is the stray black cat with green eyes that hunts around my back yard. He walks like a hunter, which is why I call him that, and he kills the pigeons in our backyard. Also, he walks like a villain in a children’s movie, like Edgar from Arisocats.

Mom calmed me down by saying that yeah, he few off a few minutes ago.

Sane breathed a sigh of relief, even as Insane muttered about how the Yellow One was safe, but the Pigeons probably weren’t.

I put off finishing off my Woofstock Pt 2 post to tell people about this struggle (?) for life, and about the hazards our windows pose for our feathered neighbors.

If you scroll up to the picture of the two windows by my computer, you will notice the shadowish looking bird shadow on the window to the right. That was put there so that it would show that there was something solid there, or at least something that the birds should avoid (hence the predator-bird shape, rather than a sparrow or something).

If you have window space that is clear , and have nothing in the way of it, please put up a sticker, or some other indication thing on your windows.

They do not damage your windows, and you don’t have to get them wet or sticky to put them on, though it is suggested to put them on the inside of your window rather than the outside.

Save your feathered friends the trauma of hitting a window.

It’s not a nice sound, and it is rather startling to see little poufs of feathers floating away, as once happened when a Bluejay hit the window.

That bird was well enough to fly away immediately (Insane muttered about the unfairness that none of the pretty feathers fell off, only the grey blah looking tiny ones), and this Yellow Finch today managed to fly away after about an hour of sitting in shock, but it is always a worry that some day Hunter will get a free snack, thanks to one of our windows.

Check out this site and this birding site  for some more ways to keep birds from hitting your windows.

Also, if you notice, hitting something when you are unaware of it is much more painful than if you notice it at the last second. Windows are always clear to birds, and it has the bad joke at the end in the fact that they still don’t know what hit them afterwards.

Not all birds are like Angry Bird, and can go through things like that.

He's angry because his brethren are being held up to his unrealistic standard! He will not stand for this!

 Save the Birds!

Buy a sticker!