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.


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