Friday, August 20, 2010

Finding a routine in a non-routine job

Every man can transform the world from one of monotony and drabness to one of excitement and adventure. --Irving Wallace

“While Mom (Carol) is out and about – and she left the computer on – I’ll write about my days of leisure. Yes, indeed! This is the life of luxury. Here’s how my nights and days go:

= Nighttime is my busiest time because I’m on guard duty while Mom sleeps. I go from window to window (Mom keeps the blinds up and windows open.) looking for dangerous night creatures such as raccoons and skunks.

= At 5 a.m. I lovingly tap Mom on the face with my cool paw. I think she pretends to be asleep so I’ll go away. No such luck. I’m persistent.

= She finally gets up, gets dressed and goes outside. In a while she comes back in, fixes her breakfast, gives me some petting time and then fires up the John Deere 6x4 Gator and leaves again. I wish she would let me go outside. During the day, when I’m not sleeping I watch the birds, ground squirrels and rabbits. They would be fun to chase.

= My night and early morning jobs done, I go to my bed and sleep.

= Mom returns about 10 a.m., does some inside chores and has lunch. I usually sleep until I hear her fixing food. I try begging for some of the good cat food (canned stuff), but only get three tiny cat treats. Mom reads or checks email and give me some more petting time. She tells me what a good cat I am. She also told me that the park office has a cat that looks just like me! Imagine that!

= Later I again bug Mom for the good food. She gives in about 4 – yea! I’m a happy cat. By then it has cooled down outside. Mom leaves again and doesn’t come back until about 6 when she fixes her dinner.

= Her bedtime is about 9 p.m., and I’m on duty again.”

Well, I see that Cat was a busy writer while I was outside this morning. She IS one lucky cat to be able to travel – and I’m blessed with the interest and ability to travel.

My sort-of routine

My days as a volunteer at Navajo Lake State Park are settling into a basic pattern. First thing in the morning I walk the park’s four loops (77 campsites), noting RVs that came in late yesterday. The mornings are pleasant and cool. After breakfast I head out in the Gator. Besides greeting campers, I spend time cleaning vacant campsites – picking up trash, cleaning out fire pits - my biggest peeve is cigarette butts on the ground. And why is it that people throw glass bottles and jars, aluminum cans and foil, and cigarette butts in the fire pits? News flash! They don’t burn!

Tuesdays through Thursdays are a good time for serious site and fire pit cleaning in early mornings before sun and heat arrive. Lots of campers come in on Fridays, and the park nearly fills up. However, since I’m the only daytime camp host, I’m basically ‘on duty’ all day.

Speaking of local critters

Cat was mesmerized by a ground squirrel that was exploring the Gator – I think it was hoping it could jump and get in the window bird feeder.

It took the House Finches a week to discover my window bird feeder. Other birds I’ve seen include Titmouse, Scrub Jay, Dove, Brewer’s Blackbird and Magpie.

On one early morning walk around the campground I picked up some trash and took it to the dumpster that had the lid off. I heard some noises and peeked in – coming practically nose-to-nose with a raccoon. Where is my camera when I need it? A quick walk back to Jeremiah for my camera and I was rewarded with this photo of two of the three raccoons who were looking for a meal.

The saga of the water leak

A camper told me that water was bubbling up at the base of the faucet, and I reported it to maintenance. Later four men and two shovels arrived to assess the problem. After digging at least four feet down, the problem was determined. The vertical piping/faucet unit is made to withstand freezing temperatures was not working right and needed to be replaced. After figuring out the location of shut-off valves, the leak was repaired.

Current reading

I’m working my way through “The Old Patagonian Express – by train through the Americas by Paul Theroux. It is slow-going travel book, but interesting enough to keep me going. It’s basically a diary/journal of a trip he took in 1978. His plan was to travel by train from his home in Medford, Massachusetts to Patagonia.

I especially liked his introductory travel comment: “…travel – its very motion – ought to suggest hope. Despair is the armchair; it is indifference and glazed, incurious eyes. I think travelers are essentially optimists, or else they would never go anywhere.”