Here and Happy :D

I’ve been home since Friday (it is now Tuesday), and you can never realize quite how much you missed your family until they’re around you for a couple of hours and you start to think about how in a week you’ll be back on a train and going back to Ottawa.

Or wherever you happen to be visiting home from.

I have had a couple of homemade meals now, they were all delicious not-cafeteria-food food, I have learned that the habit of not caring who’s in the washroom has stayed with the Mom, and a tolerance has developed in Lexy.

The other night Lexy and I had to share the washroom (I brush teeth while she does business, then switch), and she finished brushing her teeth and left the bathroom, turning off the lights and closing the door behind her.

“Um, Hello? Thanks for that?”

She comes back and laughs (it is kind of funny :D) and turns back on the light.

It’s a rather small washroom, so it wasn’t like I was going to get lost or anything, but I don’t like having the light turned off on me, and I haven’t had to pee in the dark since during the summer and using an outhouse at night.

I don’t want to pee in the dark again if I don’t have to.

Later on, she admits to me, while we are both laughing in that way that says you-have-to-be-there, that she had turned out the lights in the automatic way that develops after you’ve done something for as long as you remember, and then when she left she closed the door because she thought that I would want some privacy/ wouldn’t want the door open.

Turn off light and close door to give the occupant of the now-dark room some privacy.

Because I obviously don’t want others to know what I’m doing in the dark of the washroom 😀

*sigh* it’s situations like these that you can only have with family that make you think about how you haven’t had a situation like that in about 2 months.

It’s sad to think that you’ll have to go longer without, but also gives you good blog fodder.

I love being home.

Cheers 😀

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.

I don’t think you realize quite how much you suck.

Dear Complaining Camper,

I am that person who you complained to the other day… Which one? Oh, well you know that complaint you had about there being too many holes in the beach?

Oh, you remember now?

Great.

Well, I just wanted to thank you for wasting my time, and causing me to have to explain to some other camp on the beach that no, it isn’t normally part of my job to have to shovel sand into the slight holes on the beach (read: not an actual hole, more like indentations), but have to do it because someone complained. Thank you for complaining for the beach not being flat.

Just so you know, you suck.

~Doodled93~

Dear Complaining Camper,

I’m the one who had to deal with your complaint today, when you complained about a toilet being dirty. Yes, you know the one.

Well, I went with my partner to the toilet in question, and found that it hadn’t even been used since we cleaned it. The seats were still down, and the new rolls of toilet paper hadn’t been used yet. We called to ask if it was the right toilet, Gate said yes, you had JUST complained.

We left, thinking you had seen it before it was cleaned, and were perhaps complaining about the massive amount of toilet paper someone had thrown on the floor, and had complained about it without realizing that it had been cleaned.

You complained again half an hour later, saying we hadn’t done anything about it.

You suck, I thought I’d let you know that.

~Doodled93~

Dear No-Aim,

I would like to know how you managed to get poop on all three parts of the toilet seat, and still manage to get it on the floor, one foot in front of the toilet.

As I was the one who had to clean all of it up, using a pressure washer, I feel I have a right to know just how bad your aim is, and to tell you that you suck.

You suck.

~Doodled93~

Dear Firecracker,

I don’t know if that’s what you use, or perhaps if you have a regular diet of gunpowder, but I would like to know why you are setting off firecrackers in the toilets to make there be poop splitters on the walls. Though there are no scorn marks, that is the only explanation for what I’m seeing here, and if you are not eating gunpowder or setting off firecrackers, please go see a doctor.

Also, you suck.

~Doodled93~

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.