The Great Move, The Great Cave, and The Great Fall

Part Three: The Great Fall

Today I arrived at work at 4:50 AM to meet Toni in the parking lot. We quickly divided tasks and went to work. We were out in the parking lot by 7:30, which I was told was making excellent time. Today was Toni’s 6th day on the job. She works 6 days a week because the park is short handed and doesn’t really have the funds to get more help. She was to leave at 9 AM, but kept saying she didn’t want to leave me alone there to work until Joni got in. I had to remind her that I was getting paid to be there just like her, so if today was a short day for her – her hard working butt better get home! We knocked out a few more tasks and got a few things done she needed to catch up on done as well. I held down the fort for about an hour and half all by myself. I did a pretty good job. I couldn’t get the bathroom cleaning timing right – I always seemed to get in there just as a tour was about to leave – so the room was packed. I also cleaned the vacuum. Though I found out when Joni got in I had done it incorrectly. I washed it out – but they usually power blow it out. Hmmm wish Toni would have told me that when she asked me to clean the vacuum. So that was the first big oops of the day. Joni and I went around did our thing. I went to lunch and came back and saw Joni and another chic sitting on this wall at the back of VC. I went over and was talking and decided to hop up on the wall. I hopped – and I lost my balance – and I hung off the edge of the wall for a good 30 seconds – then I fell about 4 feet to the ground directly on my back!! I was fine…during the 30 seconds I was hanging there (much like on a monkey bars) I realized that I wasn’t going back the way I came, so I best figure out how to fall and not break my neck or back. I fell down and made sure chin was to my chest and tried to take much of the fall on my forearms as possible. I most likely will be really sore tomorrow, have a good bruise on my back and I have a few scrapes and bruises on my arms. It also knocked the wind out of me, so when Joni came running around the end of the wall to see if I was okay, I couldn’t speak. I was more worried about her than myself – she looked so freakin scared. I got up and brushed myself off. As I was making sure I was okay, I calmed her down. LUCKILY the shift supervisor, the deputy chief and the chief of maintenance are ALL out of the office today. The one thing they told me to do while they were gone was not to get hurt! I was so afraid of calling Chester (shift supervisor) – we didn’t know he was not in the office at the time. I made some jokes like – where is the jar to deposit my dumbass tax in – and people calmed down a little. I even threw in a few “guess I am tougher than humpty dumpty” for good measure. Everyone (rangers etc) in the VC were already whispering about me because they don’t know who I am – now I am that chic from WASO that fell off the wall. We radioed for Harold (the most senior of the maintenance guys) and he took me back to the FM building to fill out an accident report. We snuck it into Chester’s inbox. Tomorrow I am probably in for a good scolding and then constant teasing for the rest of the trip. So that was the great fall and the second oops of the day.

On a lighter less almost paralyzing note, we had the best watermelon this afternoon!!!! One of the bus drivers brought it in on ice. It’s so incredibly hot here – the watermelon was a welcome treat. That’s basically it for my adventures at the VC. I am going to work campground crew tomorrow then I have Saturday and Sunday off. Picking up and hauling brush is going to be WAY fun ;) I am probably going to come in on Saturday and maybe Sunday to help Toni open up the VC. It would make the day so much better for her – and I don’t really a have much to do – and I can go back to sleep when I am done J I will try and write more frequently in here. It just took a few days to figure out what was what. Hope everyone is doing well! Send me some emails!

This concludes the three part blog: The Great Move, The Great Cave and The Great Fall.

Thanks for reading.

Signing off for now – Savor the flavor and drink the blue kool-aide.

The Great Move, The Great Cave and The Great Fall

Part Two: The Great Cave

I arrived at Mammoth Cave National Park on Monday morning. I was pretty nervous and excited about my three weeks here. I was really exhausted from the move and was looking forward to a good nights sleep. Monday, I met all the people I would be working with for in the next weeks. They are all really nice people. I think I am going to learn a awful lot. I got moved in to my seasonal housing unit. I found that the unit didn’t have a TV (or a place to put one) or a phone (or a place to put one). It really didn’t surprise me about the TV. At the Grand Canyon we didn’t have a TV – you are at a National Park for goodness sake – go see the park! BUT without a phone jack – that means no internet. I have to go in to the Facility Management building after hours OR sneak in to the visitor center library room like I am doing right now. It makes being home really weird. I am by myself in my apartment, so there is no one to talk to and no noise at all!! Kinda creepy. I also have NO cell service in the park – I have to drive outside the park boundaries to get a bar. Damn those narrow band radios!!!

I haven’t met the seasonal that live around me yet – so I went to the Super Walmart the first night and bought some DVDs. I laughed because I haven’t gone to Walmart out of boredom since college – the thrill was exactly the same J The DVDs I purchased are – Donnie Darko, Heathers, Labyrinth, and Dead Poet Society. I have thus far watched Heathers twice – once with commentary – once with out – It was so VERY. I watched the special hour on the making of Labyrinth and the move itself. Dead Poets not only is one of my favorite movies, but I also have to do a movie review on the leadership displayed in the movie for my FMLP class – so double score. And I just haven’t seen Donnie Darko yet. Okay enough of the social aspects, lets get down to work!

My second day at the cave, I had orientation. I drove around to all the different projects in the park. They guys took me down the cave a couple times. Generally just went around looking. I had my safety lecture and signed my papers etc etc. I also got my schedule. For the last two days I have reported to the Visitor Center at 5:00 AM. Now, it’s not really all that bad as I live 2 minutes away from the VC, but it’s still 5:00 AM. The moon was up when I went to work this morning. Though the kinda rad thing about it is that I get off work at 1:30 PM. I have been working with this really awesome lady named Toni in the mornings. She is responsible for the general operational maintenance of the VC. She works 6 days a week and comes in at 5:00 AM everyday! This lady works her freakin’ ass off. She has a list a MILE long to do before 8 AM when visitors are allowed to enter the building. She has to clean each bathroom, vacuum the entire center, police the parking lot for trash, replace light bulbs, sweep the really long bridge outside, clean all the windows, etc etc. We didn’t stop until about 10:30, when the second “shift” came in to help. The second girl is named Joni and she is about my age. She is really cool and works her ass off as well. They went from having a crew of 5 people – 2 in the AM – 1 swing – 2 closers – to just Toni and Joni. They not only do the op maintenance – visitors are constantly stopping them to ask questions – so they are providing interp services as well. It’s not like they can just blow off a visitor and keep working they have to stop and smile. They have to smile as just as they finish wiping the glass doors a visitor slaps their hands on the clean perfect glass. I really admire them. That brings us up to speed and today’s events. Stay tuned for the next part in this three part blog: The Great Fall.

The The Great Move, The Great Cave and The Great Fall

Part One: The Great Move

Hi all – Sorry it took so long to update, but I am pretty much technology free here at good ole Mammoth Cave.

The Great Move-

I moved out to Fairfax on Saturday and boy was it eventful!!!! The Friday before I moved I had a flood, a fire and a medical emergency. The flood- Sometimes when I am really sleepy, I forget to turn off my sink while I am in the shower. Most of the time I hear it and run and turn it off – this Friday – well I didn’t hear the facet. Sooooo when I got out of the shower, there was about 1 inch of water all over my bathroom floor because the sink drain is slow and overflowed while I was getting Zestfully clean. I quickly mopped it up with anything I had – dirty towels, dirty sheets, paper towels – anything that would absorb. So with that crisis under control I went about confirming the sales of my table and chairs, couches and bed. All of the buyers I had previously lined up dropped out at the last minute, thus most of my morning was frantic emails to anyone who showed interest plus reposting on Craig’s list. Luckily, I found someone to buy each. The boys who wanted my couches requested to see the couches before purchase. I set up a time for them to stop by and continued on my super ultra packing. Here is where the fire comes in – the boys called from the gate and said they were on their way up. I decided to clean the balcony while waiting for them to get upstairs. I dumped my ash tray into a bag and left it there and swept up a little. As I was returning the broom to the kitchen – flames and smoke caught my eye. THE BAG WAS ON FIRE!!!! I had my sweet tea pitcher soaking in the sink, so I quickly grabbed that and went to fight the conflagration. I stomped the flames out then cooled the cinders (yes there were cinders – this was no little fire) with the water from the pitcher. As I am stomping, I hear my doorbell. The boys had arrived and I am fighting the fire. I run in quickly to open the door to two really really cute guys. A blonde and a brunette. They were very yummy. Anyways, they decided to get the couch so I had a chance to watch them lift heavy stuff and that was rad. The medical emergency – My very good friend Kate had planned to come over that evening and help me wrap up packing and chill. She brought some beer and we were talking and packing and packing and talking. At about 15 til 1 her boyfriend called. He was having bad abdominal pain. We had him call med-line to see if his symptoms were serious enough to warrant a trip to the ER. ANNNNNND they were. Kate had a few beers and I only had one, so I drove Kate out to Fairfax we picked up her boyfriend and took him to the ER. We were there until about 5 AM. We got back to my house at about 6 AM. Kate was very sweet as we took our “naps” before some friends were supposed to come pick up my dressers – she let me sleep an extra 45 minutes while she cleaned up my kitchen. That was so SUPER ULTRA AWESOME of her. The actual move went really well. SUPER THANK YOU SHOUT OUTS go to Kate, Kristina, James, Brett, Terry and Dave for helping me SOOO MUCH. You all rock. Did you ever know that you’re my hero? I had tried really hard all week to get everything organized and ready so the move would go smoothly – and it really did. They had everything out of my apartment in about 1.5 hours. I got to my new apartment and all my boxes where in the living room, so I could put my bed up. We went and grabbed the bed I was buying from Kate and dropped it off at the house. While Kate, Kristina and I went to return the truck, the boys put my bed up, my table together and tried to organize the boxes and move them to where they would go. It was the best moving experience I have had – I owe it all to my great friends. I got most of my things up packed and set up so I don't have to come home from Mammoth to boxes. This brings us to the next part of the saga. Stay tuned for the next installment of this three part blog – The Great Cave