Thursday, May 25, 2017

I Hate The Phone!

This week has been particularly stressful. In addition to trying to get the pool ready and having the weather not cooperate, the unnecessary drama in the park is making my waking hours downright hellish.

There is a reason that I don't open the office until 11 am. I am not languishing in bed or parked in front of the TV .... not that it matters, it is, after all, my business what I do when I am not in the office. But, I am usually outside taking care of outside chores that must be done. Like mowing, emptying trash barrels, cleaning up ...... whatever happens to need attention. My store hours are posted. Most of the time I don't mind opening up if someone needs something, but today I was running between the pool chairs and the women's room painting. I had three colors in play and three brushes.

The phone has been ringing all day with some of the strangest requests. First was the man wondering if we could change the oil in his motor home ...... since he would be here anyway. Then there was the man wanting me to go down to the state park and try to locate his friend. He said he looked on the map and we were "just around the corner". Sure, let me stop what I am doing and close my business down to accommodate you .....

And the endless requests for reservations for this weekend. Yesterday I answered the phone and the woman started her list of requirements as if she were at the drive-thru window at McDonald's. She said she would take two RV sites and 6 tent sites and that they would be arriving early ....... After I could insert a word I informed her that all my sites had been reserved far in advance. It is a holiday weekend, people! School is out and folks are chomping at the bit to camp and swim, no matter how cold the water may be.

I am tired now. It is 6:00 and I would gleefully go to bed now, but I still have two more hours. Phone just rang again. My most unfavorite calls are the ones checking on their camp sites. If you secured your reservation with a credit card or with a deposit, it is still there waiting for your arrival. It will be yours until you show up and occupy the space, because, despite your request that I add the site next to you to your existing site ...... I don't bump reservations on a whim just because someone else has taken a fancy to it.

The weekend cannot end soon enough! Said the very tired campground hostess.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

Preparations for Memorial Day have taken their toll on me! No different than any other year, we always seem to be a step behind. I still have painting to do in the restrooms, as well as finish painting the building.

It was a relief to see the cloudy skies this morning, I was hoping to get my house clean today and maybe rest a little. I was on my feet for almost 12 hours yesterday. I mowed awhile, then painted awhile. I don't know which was worse standing and painting, or waking and mowing. Which ever, I was in a world of pain last night. Couldn't possibly be my age!

I am still picking strawberries, but the yield is dwindling. After I vacuumed and mopped I wandered out to take a peek at my vegetable garden. The asparagus was not good this year. Just a few spears and they weren't all that thick. I was so tired I didn't even pull a weed! I came inside and was seriously considering a nap. Then the phone rang.

An incident that happened over the weekend resulted in a tenant being asked to leave. Like most of you, this is not a part of my job that I enjoy. You can be sure that I am just as upset as the other person is; but there is always a point of no return when I get pushed to my limit of tolerance.

I toyed with thoughts of unloading here, but decided not to. Suffice it to say that the tenant seems to think she can bully me into letting her stay. She might want to work on her people skills. After realizing that she had not swayed my decision she created quite the spectacle of herself by have a screaming tantrum for all to witness. Proving I had made the right decision.

More efforts to collect rent and lease payments balanced out my day, and I can honestly say I would rather have been walking behind the mower. I am having trouble trying to relax enough to be able to sleep. The sun is supposed to shine on me tomorrow.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

It Was A Good Plan

The afternoon was looming large before me. All my reservations were here and settled. All my paper work and bill collecting duties attended to. This is what I do on Saturdays. This Saturday was just busy enough to keep me close to the office, but not busy enough that I was not longing for a nap.

No, not boredom, I was listening to a good book and putting together a puzzle on-line. HeWho was mowing, so maybe it was guilt? No, that was not it either. I just wanted to be doing something useful. Something that I could mark off my mental list of projects to complete. As usual, the storms had dampened my painting progress on the back of the building. The sun was out and a nice breeze could be enjoyed, but the ground was soggy and I just wasn't feeling up to trying to level a ladder.

As everyone knows, I am not a ladder type gal. It must be level and sturdy before I will even think about it. Since we have a good many tent campers, painting and touching up the bathrooms was not happening.

Many of you will recall the pool chairs I built last year. All were supposed to be out of pallet wood and HeWho says I will cut my fingers off with power tools was in charge of taking apart the pallets (which were FREE, by the way) and cutting boards to size and I was putting them together and painting them.

HeWho tired of the dismantling of pallets and went out and purchased 1 X 4's and 2 X 4's and cut them to size. We ended up with 8 very sturdy chairs that I painted and put together. I had some aqua paint that was on clearance and with white they were very pleasing to the eye. The wind and sun, not to mention the snow took it's toll and they need another coat of paint.

This year they will be a medium iris blue. That's what it looks like, anyway. Oops paint from Walmart, half price. With bright green stripes. Very festive. This is what I chose to spend my afternoon doing. I spread a tarp and had HeWho helps me on hand to flip them over. My plan was to paint the bottoms and then flip them over tomorrow to paint the topside.

It was an excellent plan, if I do say so myself. I didn't even finish one chair before the rain came. Now that I am back inside enjoying the internet capabilities, the sun is back out. the evening is going to pass by quickly now, and I will only have that one chair to show for a whole afternoon of work!

It was a good plan, though!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Internet Is Back!

It is like I fell off the face of the earth!! No internet for almost a week and spotty before that. Too much time on the phone with Sprint with HeWho is nice. He would call, they would go through everything imaginable on our end and the internet would come back on ...... for just long enough to make me think it was working. Long enough to check my e-mail and sometimes even read a blog or two. Maybe even leave a comment. Then BOOM it was gone again. Leaving me without access to entertainment as I sit here at the registration desk.

So many things can happen in a week, you know. Finally, finally some savvy technician thought to check the satellite tower and found that it was down! I would think you would check that first, or even second ...... not on the eighth call from the same subscriber. I was the one fielding calls from campers. Some of them quite irate.

But all through those days when I was inspired to write (vent?), I was sorely disappointed. I do some of my best thinking while pulling weeds or picking strawberries. I am picking a gallon container full every morning. By evening I can pick about half as many again.  I have given away so many that people are starting to run from me when I have strawberries in my hands.

Kamper DJ suggested preserves, so I looked up some recipes and found a super easy one that called for only three ingredients; strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. I had all that on hand, so I doubled the recipe and cooked them up, following the instructions to a "T". Maybe it was because I doubled the recipe, but it did not thicken and set. I even used a candy thermometer to check the temperature.

Nonetheless, I handed out jars of strawberry "syrup" to those kampers willing to subject their palate to my mistakes. Last night I made breakfast for supper and the strawberry syrup is great on pancakes.

The race is on to get everything "ready" for Memorial Day weekend. I have no sites available. This is a good thing, you know. But the people calling at the last minute are a curious bunch. One man kept insisting that he has camped here before. Did he want me to say, "Well, in that case, I will just give you someone else's site and they will just have to understand!"

Yesterday found me grouting tile on the newly built vanity top in the ladies room. I will need to wait until all the weekend campers leave tomorrow to tackle the men's. Then I will need to wash down all the walls and touch up the paint in both sides. The pool just needs a good vacuum job and another shock to be all ready for the big day.

The pavilion has a new metal roof topping it and the ceiling fans will go up today (I was worried about the heat the metal would collect). HeWho loves to shop on-line bought a huge smoker grill to put on the pavilion for guests to use. I am not really keen on this idea. I my mind's eye I see a fire in the making, or the lid being ripped off due to misuse. So, with that in mind I will be insisting on either renting it out, or a deposit to use it and then be inspected before the deposit is returned. I know my clientele .......

Many things have irritated me in the past week, but none more than HeWho tows. He keeps starting projects and failing to complete them.  Nothing new about that, I am just tired.

We lost power night before last. 100 mph winds took out the power poles along the interstate and even flipped a semi. The storm came on fast and I watched out my window as it bent my peach tree nearly to the ground from side to side. The rain was coming in sheets and that was all I could see from my vantage point before I raced through and closed all the windows.

The power went out shortly after that and then our cell phones chimed with the "alerts". A little late if they were meant to warn us. Nothing can be done on our end to restore power, like everyone else, we are at the mercy of the power company. I had finally dozed back to sleep after trying to comfort Toni Louise. She seemed to be convinced that we were all going to die and would not let me hold or pet her. HeWho tows sleeps with his phone right next to him and it startled me back awake with a text message from one of our tenants who felt it necessary to tell us he had no power.

When I find myself with no power, the first thing I do is look outside to see if I am the only one lacking electricity. If the entire area is blacked out, then I call the power company. So, yeah, that text annoyed me. After little sleep, I dragged my unwilling person in to open the store and go out to survey the damage. No trees fell on any campers and there were no injuries. I figured not having power was a mere inconvenience. Ameren promised to restore us around noon. I made sure to not open the coolers or freezers and hope for the best. Nothing to do but pull weeds and answer the phone.

The phone worked because I had it forwarded to my cell. We had some late arrivals the night before .... in tents. They had all their bedding draped on the fence around the dog park and their air mattresses drying in the sun. The phone rang and the lady tenter seemed quite perplexed because my bathroom had no water. She realized that the power was off, but she wanted to take a shower! I explained that we needed power for the pump to pump the water. She seemed to be even more perplexed and I wondered if she thought I was sitting in the main building hoarding all the power and water .........

Another storm last night with lots of the wet stuff and wind, but the wind was mild compared to the previous night. If I can just make it through this weekend and get my projects finished .......

Saturday, May 13, 2017

I Just Want To Play In The Dirt!

Years ago, like 10, I think, I was driving my grandson, Gavin, from his home in Minnesota back to the kampground to spend a month with us. He was almost 3, a man of few words. We left very early in the morning, saying tearful goodbyes to his Mom. I cried and his Mom cried, he was pretty stoic.

But, that's not the point of the story. Gavin was seated safely in the back seat, in his car seat with a DVD player attached to the back of the seat in front of him. This is 9 hour drive, and while I knew he would sleep some of the time, I was a little worried about his wakeful hours and boredom. He did take a long morning nap and when I noticed his big brown eyes looking at me, I asked if he might be hungry. "No, I just want to go to your house and ride the 4 wheeler with Papa." I stopped anyway and bought the child some food, which he did eat. All that long, long drive, his answer to every question I asked was the same ..... "I just want to go to your house and ride the 4 wheeler with Papa."

He did stay a whole month and was such a good little guy until the very end, when he was missing his Mom and was familiar enough to tell me he was not going to take a nap, he was not going to pick up toys and he might have had a tantrum or two. That is not what I remember, though. I remember the sweet feeling of a sleepy boy in my lap, those laughing brown eyes and the smell of his skin when I put him to bed.

Once again, I digress, because this story is about ME! I want to embrace the single-mindedness of a three year old. I don't want to check in campers, I don't want to pick up all the trash they toss to the ground and most of all, I don't want to answer the phone! I just want to go outside and play in the dirt. I want to pot plants and pull weeds and yes, even mow. But, I don't want to deal with any interruptions!

This day did not start well. I got up at my usual time, 5:30 am with Cujo and Eddie. They will usually run out and do their business and then wait at the fence, watching until their cat, Martha, leaps down to join them in a race to the back door. I then scoop Eddie into my arms and with Cujo on my heels we head back to bed for an hour or so.

This morning, Martha was waiting at the back door, where he had just yakked up his midnight snack. Martha likes to weave in and out of my legs when he comes home and I tripped over him as I tried to grab Eddie and prevent Martha's midnight snack from being a morning delicacy for Eddie. I succeeded in that endeavor and was just cleaning it up when I looked over to see that Cujo had found the remnants of BugsBunny and was eating the hind quarter. Crunching the bones. He ate it as fast as he could to keep it from Eddie and as much as I appreciate that, I was not happy when he vomited in my bed during our little morning nap.

I pulled the bedding and woke HeWho can sleep through the sound of a dog vomiting. I started the laundry and fed the canine contingent, then poured the coffee and sat down to try to put my mind in order. I looked at my phone to see that I had missed a call at 7:25 am. I listened to the message and then called the caller back. It was still quite early, I normally would not call anyone before 9 am. It was a would be camper with reservations a week away inquiring about flooding. Now, while I do know that some of the surrounding areas not far from our location did get significant flooding, we did not. As far as I know all the roads that were closed in St. Louis are now passable and beyond that, I couldn't tell you much about the route you might be taking.

I was thinking to myself that this same caller had called me before with same query. She asked if I would check her reservation and I asked for a minute to get into the office ...... "you weren't in the office last time I called, either." I know, pretty benign statement, but it did annoy me. (Last time she called I was mowing the dog park with the push mower. My office does not open until 11 am, so that I can tend to my outside chores. The phone is always on my person, though.)

I had not even had a cup of coffee and I am not all that nice before coffee. She wanted to know about the road conditions. She then said she was coming from the east and I realized that she is on Eastern time and I am on central. She seemed to be annoyed with me and I told her that I had just gotten my day started, as it is an hour earlier here. I don't know if she cared or not.

Things just continued to get worse. Wall-E peed in the bathroom floor. It is, after all, the bathroom. Feeling like I was just cleaning up one mess after another, I escaped to my garden and picked another bowl of strawberries and 4 spears of asparagus. Then I set HeWho in motion, prioritizing his tasks of the day and checked the bathrooms.

Despite the many signs that ban smoking in the building, the men's room toilet is backed up with cigarette butts. If that was not annoying enough, I went to get the chemicals that would open it up (plunging did not work), only to find that it was gone. We keep our cleaning supplies in the laundry room and have never had a problem with theft. I had just restocked the toilet tissue and paper towels and can now see that we will need to build a closet with a locked door. HeWho says that someone has been in his beloved barn. Looked to him like they were going to pilfer an auger, so perhaps they were having plumbing issues? I suppose the chemicals were easier to use.

Whenever I have a problem pop up that seems to repeat itself, I always look back to see when it starts and then look to see if a permanent tenant has come in around that time. Makes sense, you know. I know where my problem lies, I just can't prove it. I just want to stay in my own little world and play in the garden.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Leftover Leftovers

The rain finally came  late yesterday afternoon. I had piddled around and read some blogs and commented and I even ventured out to check the progress of the vegetable garden. My beans and corn are coming along nicely. The kale is finally growing and the potatoes and garlic seem to have shot up over night. Beets and carrots are taking their sweet time. The early peas .... are late!

Remember, I had sort of left the soaker hose on all night the day before the rain came ..... I had the soaker hose that ran through the strawberry patch and the pea patch and ending in the asparagus hooked up when I turned the hydrant on to water the potted plants in the front of the building. I don't care how much it rains, potted plants need to be watered daily. I got distracted by checking in a customer. I totally forgot about the water, since I had completed my task when the camper pulled in.

Good thing strawberries like water. They seem to like it a lot. Just look what I picked this morning!

This is today's. I already gave some away yesterday! Looks like I will be making some jam .... and pies and cakes.

No rain today, but it is dreary and drab and just right for a little nap with Eddie in my lap. I might even cook a decent meal tonight! Last night involved leftover leftovers. We were both too tired to care. The good thing is .......Charming Eddie.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Is Was Supposed to Rain .....

Yesterday was a marathon mowing extravaganza for me. I did have other things I would have rather been doing, but the forecast had me pushing the mower. Today I had planned to sit like a zombie and rest.

Yesterday I arose with doxies and got myself suitably dressed for a shopping excursion at Walmart and the Dollar Tree. Why? Because I would prefer not to be photographed and presented on-line as one of the People Of Walmart. Anyhoo, I was up and on my feet early. I was already done at the Dollar Tree and decided to stop in and see if my favorite cutter of hair might be momentarily idle and could perform her monthly miracle on my bleached out tresses.

As I pulled into the parking lot, I glanced at the clock in  my car .....8:30. They don't open until 9. Pushing my disappointment aside, I was resigned to finishing up with my shopping and heading home.

I was recently told that my current hairstyle was unbecoming ...... "Mom, what is up with your hair? It looks like a mullet. You need to get that long stuff in the back cut or something." Really, face-timing is not all that great. I remember telling this same child, who was too timid to make a phone call and wanted me to do it for her "Just make the call, it's not like they can see you!" The good old days, when one could rely on anonymity!

If I had not been so tired (Spring time in a campground), perhaps I would have questioned the clock on my dash. Dollar Tree does not open until 9, either! By the time I figured that out, I was already pushing a near full shopping cart. By the time you heave a big bag of dog food, followed by a big bag of cat food and a flat of wave petunias that were begging to come home with me, you are committed to continue shopping. The petunias waited forlornly on the shelves all the way in the back of the garden center. The discards that have been reduced by 50%. Nothing wrong with them that a good dead-heading would not cure. I rescued them!

I raced home and began mowing and after finishing, I dug in and created 3 hanging baskets for the newly roofed pavilion. I weeded a good sized plot of garden and generally stayed on my feet until dark. We ate supper at 8:45, showered and fell into bed exhausted. I am still exhausted.

Men at work ....

All work sites need a supervisor ........

 and a boom box. Gotta have some tunes!

Since no rain did fall I decided to see how much of the back of the main building I could paint. I came in at 1:00 and just realized I am done for the day. I am so very tired. I am kind of glad the rain has held off, since I might have left the soaker hose to the strawberry patch on all night. There were lots of strawberries this morning. The entire garden is a little soggy as that water saturated all the way to the road. I might, or might not share my little faux pas with HeWho will never let me forget I made a mistake. No wonder the water pressure wasn't so good in the shower last night!