Monthly Archives: July 2016

Giant RV

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It was a busy Sunday in the parking lot, but the fever pitch of the late morning was mellowing a bit in the early afternoon. My co-worker had gone for the day, and I was on my own.

I saw a giant motor home approach the parking lot. By giant, I mean as big as a bus. This RV was literally the size of a Greyhound and didn’t look shiny enough to be rented. While it looked neither old nor trashy, it had dings and scratches. The people in the front were relatively young, probably in their mid-30s. The man in the passenger seat was blond and wore glasses. The driver was a woman with long, dark hair.

The little voice in my head was a bit late in whispering this is a bad idea, and I didn’t sprint over to send them down to the long, narrow overflow parking lot. The giant RV made the turn into my parking lot, and I waved them in.

My co-worker maintains we can get a bus through the parking lot, so my faith wasn’t entirely misplaced. He’s seen buses as big as Greyhounds enter, park, and later exit, so I was confident it could be done if the driver had adequate skill.

I told the driver of the giant RV I wasn’t sure if she’d find a place to park the behemoth. I told her if she did, she could pay me the $5 parking fee on the way to the trail. Then I sent her on her way, hoping she could get the huge vehicle through the lot and out again.

Some time passed, but I don’t know if it was five or ten or fifteen minutes. A man in his thirties approached me. He had blond hair and glasses. He told me he was with the RV. He said the RV could not get through because of car(s) parked in designated no parking areas. I asked him what he meant by designated no parking areas. He said a car (or maybe multiple cars) were parked on the pavement in areas not marked with lines as parking spaces. (None of the spaces in our parking lot are marked by signs saying no parking.) He said there wasn’t enough space for the motor home to get through, and they couldn’t back it up around the loop’s curves.

I told him all they could do was wait until the driver(s) of the car(s) blocking them returned. The blond man with glasses looked sad and walked back to his ride.

I wasn’t too concerned with the giant RV being temporarily stuck. I knew the people in the blocking cars would eventually return, at which time, according to the blond man, the driver of the giant RV would be able to swing it through the loop and out. My immediate concern was for the people trying to leave who were stuck behind the giant RV. My next concern was for people who arrived and wanted to park while the giant RV was stuck.

Cars parked on the exit side of the traffic jam were able to leave. Some of the drivers of those cars gave me reports on the RV as they left.

One young woman told me the RV was stuck because some asshole(s) had parked where they shouldn’t have. I told her we’d just have to wait until the asshole(s) returned to those vehicles.

Slowly, cars began to exit from the wrong way of the one-way loop. I guess the drivers stuck behind the giant RV realized breaking the rules was the only way they were going to get out. One by one, they were figuring out how to turn around so they could leave.

Thankfully, we’d hit a slow time in the flow of the parking lot. Only seven cars arrived during the time of the RV blockage. I was able to get them parked at the front of the lot, in spaces I could see from where I stood.

At some point, I received word that the driver of the giant motor home was trying to back it out.

How’s that going to work? I wondered.

I never went to the back of the lot to look at the stuck motor home. There was nothing I could do to help. I couldn’t move the offending cars. I didn’t want to give the driver of the RV bad advice that would make the situation worse. Also, I felt I was needed to keep things flowing smoothly in the front of the parking lot and get new arrivals safely parked while not adding to the logjam behind the giant RV.

Several groups of people exited the trail, and vehicles began leaving the lot. Then I saw the giant motor home approaching the exit. Success!

The driver of the giant RV stopped next to me and opened her window. We saw a spot where we’ll fit, she said to me. We’re going to make the loop again.

This time, the little voice in my head shouted Are you kidding me? NO!!! This time, the rest of me listened.

I shook my head and told her they’d be much better off in the overflow lot down the road. I was awfully glad to see them go.

Workamper Small Business

image from Clip arts

Sadness and Bribery

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It was the first weekend of the fire ban, and already people were unhappy about not being able to have campfires.

One guy pulled his saddest face before he even got out of his truck. He was full of questions, delivered in a sad little tone of voice, as if maybe I’d feel sorry for him and tell him he could go ahead and have a campfire anyway.

But why was there a fire ban? he wanted to know. The campfire was his favorite part of camping.

I tried to explain that California is five years into a drought. (How do people from California–as this man was–not know about California’s drought?) I tried to explain how it’s really dry in the forest and the fire danger is high.

He wanted to know how much rain we’d need before the fire ban is lifted.

I don’t know, I said. A lot.

I don’t know if he thought a small shower would make campfires ok again. He must have no idea how the fire ban works. He must not understand that the Forest Service (probably someone high up in the Forest Service) makes the fire ban decision, not me. Even if it had started raining bears and chipmunks, the Forest Service is not going to lift the fire ban on a weekend and send someone out to my campground to let me know so I can tell my campers it’s now fine to light up the fire wood.

The sad man’s friend assured me they weren’t going to break any laws. I told him I was mostly concerned with not burning down the forest.

On one side of the campground, two sites were taken by two middle age Latino bothers and their families. The first family was good-natured about the rule against campfires, although one ten-year old boy did ask, How will we make s’mores?

When I went to the other brother’s campsite, I immediately saw a jumbo bag of charcoal, a sure sign this family knew nothing about the fire ban (or was at least hoping they could claim to know nothing about it). These people obviously had plans for that big bag of charcoal, and it was my job to thwart those plans.

I told the man about the fire ban. He didn’t get rude; in fact, he stayed friendly, but I could tell he was quite disappointed.

He looked at me sadly and said, I was going to share our carne asada with you, but now we won’t have any.

Bribery! He was trying to bribe me with food. Here was a man who somehow knew how to get to me–food! Now maybe if he had said carnitas…

It was my turn to look sad, thinking of the carne asada I wouldn’t get to eat. I shook my head and said, We all have to sacrifice…

I choose the longevity of the forest over the fleeting pleasures of a meal.

Road Builder

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The parking lot was intensely busy, and I was already quite grumpy. I was trying to hold it together and be polite, but it seemed like the best I could do was concentrate on not getting myself fired.

A pickup truck pulled into the the lot; several other vehicles were behind it. The pickup truck was going abnormally slow. Sure, I don’t want people driving like Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the parking lot, but folks need to keep up a brisk pace, or there’s going to be a logjam.

I could see the driver of the pickup ruck was a very old man. I thought maybe he didn’t know where to go (people are often confused by the parking lot’s one-way traffic), so I went from my regular hand motion signally this way and come on down into broad, sweeping arm gestures. The truck continued to put-put-putter in, and I was worried the old man might swerve any minute and start going the wrong way on the loop. I added to my sweeping arm gestures shouts of This way! This way! Neither the driver nor his passengers seemed to notice me until the driver’s side window was next to my head.

After determining the crew in the truck (the old man driver, a younger woman squashed in the middle, and a young man in the passenger seat) was in fact there for the trail, I gave my little speech: The trail begins across the street. You are on a one-way loop. Look for a place to park. Once you’re parked, pay the $5 parking fee on your way to the trail.

The very old man driving finally showed some animation. You’re going to charge me to park, he demanded, when I’m the one who built this road?

That’s one I’d never heard before!

I wonder if he tries that at the supermarket. You’re going to charge me for these groceries when I’m the one who built the road out there?

I wonder if he has a certificate listing all the road he’s built so he can prove himself to skeptics.

I wonder if he’s ever built a road in his life, or if this is just a ploy he uses to get into places for free.

In any case, I was surprised and stammered that my boss told me I had to charge everyone who parks in the parking lot.

Then he just sat there, his truck blocking the traffic flow. I tried to shoo him away, told him to go and park, and then just walked away from the truck to talk to the next driver in line.

I realized later I’d not seen the truck leave the parking lot, nor had I seen the old man or either of his passengers step up to pay me or my co-worker. But the parking lot was really busy, and it was conceivable the truck had left or the male passenger (of whom I hadn’t gotten a good look) had paid my co-worker while I was involved with another visitor.

Much later, I saw a truck approach the lot’s exit. I saw the old man driving that truck was the man who’d claimed to have built the road. He was dangling money out of his window. I guess he’d finally decided to pay his parking fee. I immediately became quite interested in looking in the direction opposite of the old man. He was closer to my co-worker anyway, and I figured it was my co-worker’s turn to deal with him.

My co-worker said the old guy told him, I built this road, and my co-worker thought I know who you are. As the guy paid his parking fee, he demanded to know where the money went. My co-worker said he handed over the money to his supervisor every week. From there, (shrug) he guessed the Forest Service got a cut…

The old guy must have been ready to go because he didn’t linger to share his road-building credentials. He just slowly pulled the pickup out of the lot.

 

Valid Parking

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It was Saturday and the parking lot was intensely busy. By 10:30, my co-worker and I were telling people to find a place to park before they paid us the parking fee.

A car pulled in, and I approached it. A young blond woman was driving. Before I could say anything, she started talking. She had an accent my untrained ear pegged as Russian, but I don’t really know her ethnic/geographic origin.

She said, Is this valid parking?

I looked at her silently, confused, then said, What?

She said again, Is this valid parking?

I thought she meant Is this a legitimate/legal place to park?

Then I realized she was asking, Is this valet parking?

I busted out laughing.

I suppose some people do frequent establishments where they hand over their keys to a uniformed attendant who parks the car, but that’s not anyone I know. I’ve never once had a valet park my car. I’m not even sure where I’d go if I wanted to experience valet parking. (On second thought, I guess I’d try Las Vegas if I wanted to experience valet parking.) If I were on Family Feud and Steve Harvey said, Name a place where a valet parks your car, I might save the day by saying A casino, but probably I’d stand there silently and get a big fat X.

So when I realized this young woman had asked Is this valet parking? it was just about the funniest thing I’d heard all morning.

Who expects valet parking in a National Forest? At a casino, maybe. Or at a restaurant or hotel. (I guess I do have some idea of where valet parking occurs.) But at a National Forest? Is valet parking at a National Forest a thing?

A better question is, who would look at me in my dirty, stained uniform (probably with crushed mosquito remains over my left eye and ash smeared on my chin) and think I should be trusted with her/his car?

Through my laughter, I said to the young blond woman, Yeah, you give me your keys and go walk the trail, and I’ll drive your car around. (I waved my hand around, indicating I would drive her car not in the parking lot, but in the wider world of roads.)

She said, Then just tell me where to park!

I don’t blame her for being testy; I was being an asshole. But valet parking in the National Forest? That’s rich!

When the young woman walked up to pay her parking fee, I became very interested in the contents of my backpack and let my co-worker deal with her.

I think I’ll let the president of the company I work for know that what the parking lot needs is valet parking.

More New Collages

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I made a few collages the other day. I so enjoy creating collages.

Today I will share photos of two of the new ones I made. Both of these are for sale.

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This collage is called “What Should I Be but Just What I Am?”It is approximately 6 and 1/2″ x 3 and 3/4”. It is available for $20, which includes postage.

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This one’s called “Inner Strength.” It’s 5 and 1/4 x 3 and 3/4 inches. It is available for $20, including postage.

Spending Report June 2016

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Once again, it is late in the month, and I am only just publishing my spending report for the previous month. I’ve grown tired of this project, and I’m disheartened by how much money I’ve been spending.

To further complicate things, I lost the spending report document I wrote up yesterday and saved as a Word file. I was trying to do two things at once, and managed to replace the document with a blank page. Sigh. I tried to restore the document and couldn’t figure out how to do it (even with the help of my computer guy). Sigh. So here I am, starting over…

6-1-16 Once again, I thought I’d spent nothing on the first day of the month, then remembered the auto-payment for my phone. Total spent: $34.99

6-2 through 6-5-16 Four days on the mountain with nothing to buy. Nothing spent.

6-6-16 I went to Babylon today to use the internet and get supplies. Total spent: $44.65

$17.18 to Wal-Mart for supplies

$.03 to Taco Bell for breakfast (I actually handed the cashier $2.17, but I’d just returned something at Wal-Mart and received $2.14 in cash.)

$2.09 to Dollar Tree for supplies

$6.02 to Little Caesar’s for a pizza

$6.93 to Panera for internet use and lunch

6-7-16 Today I finished up in civilization and headed back up the mountain. Total spent: 56.09

$1.89 to Panera for coffee

$35 for gas

$16.74 for groceries

$2.46 to post office

6-8 through 6-12-16 Five days on the mountain with nothing to buy. Nothing spent.

6-13-16 I tried to use the internet today, but the store I went to halfway down the mountain was closed. Total spent: $6.11

$3.11 to post office

$3 for ice

6-14-16 I had to go halfway down the mountain in the other direction to use the internet today. Because I made a 50 mile round trip, I had to get gas too. Total spent: $46.94

$35 for gas

$11.95 for lunch and tip and internet access

6-15 through 6-19-16 Five days on the mountain with nothing to buy. Nothing spent.

6-20-16 Back to Babylon today for internet and laundry and supplies. Total spent: $21.85

$11 for laundry

$.75 for water

$1.95 to Taco Bell for breakfast (The cashier gave me the senior discount. I had to decide if my frugality was greater than my vanity. Frugality won. As a friend said, to someone who’s 18, a 45 year-old person doesn’t look much older than a 55 year-old person.)

$8.15 To Panera for lunch and drink and internet access

6-21-16 More internet use and gathering supplies today in Babylon Total spent: 96.98

$1.14 to Panera for a bagel and internet use

$55 for gas

$39.75 for groceries (I was sick, so I spent extra money on juice and fresh fruit and immune support gummies.)

$1.09 to Dollar Tree for paper towels

6-22 through 6-27-16 Six days on the mountain with nothing to buy. Nothing spent.

6-28-16 Today I used the internet at the small-town mountain store, and bought ice there too. Total spent: $3.50

6-29 through 6-30-16 I closed the month out with Nothing spent.

Total spent for the month of June: $311.11

Finally, a month in which I spent a reasonable amount of money. It’s about time.