Friday, August 26, 2011

A Book Cover

Times are tough. No one will dispute that. When I see someone struggling I feel the need to reach out and give help. I have had times in my life that others have lifted me up with a little boost. If one lives long enough, I suppose we all find ourselves in that position.

That being said, I admit that I am selective about it. I had a young man approach me yesterday. He pulled into the park in a big van and approached me with a proposition to "work for free". He did not make a good presentation. He was dressed in a nylon running suit and his hair was half shaved and multi-colored. Not clean shaven and his teeth were bad. He told me that he had lost his job and that he had tried to stay at the state park and "work for free", but they sent him to me (note to self: need to have a chat with park ranger).

I told him that I already had some work campers and could not afford more. He assured me that it would not cost me anything since he would be working "for free". I informed the young man that he would not be working "for free" and told him to stop saying that. He would be working for his stay. His terminology was starting to annoy me.

He told me that he would be sleeping in his van and that he had food, so I wouldn't need to feed him, so his labor would be free to me. Really? What about electricity and supplies? He assured me that he promised not to plug anything in. But, will you use the toilet and the shower? Will you turn the light on when using the restroom? Will you use toilet tissue and paper towels and hand soap? He looked at me blankly. I sent him on his way.

I really did not have anything for him to do. But, more than that, I could not afford to have him in my park. Imagine arriving here and paying to camp or park your RV and encountering this individual. He looked like a drug user with his bad teeth and attire, not to mention the bizarre hair. He could have been a very nice person with bad discolored teeth from some childhood medication faux pas. He may have been a very productive individual in spite of the fact that he did not project this image. I can't afford to have folks not want to be here. I need the business.

I know, you can't always judge a book by the cover. But .... if you want to sell that book, shouldn't you make every effort to make that cover appealing?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Matter Of National Security

As you can imagine, I am approached by marketing salesman all the time. Sometimes I will listen to the whole spiel and let them down gently, sometimes I will actually purchase an ad if I think it will be beneficial, but most times I just tell them I have already exceeded my advertising budget for the year and simply hang up.

Last winter I received a call from a publication that was distributed to veterans. The man had a nice approach and told me that he had noticed that our park extended a military discount. He went on to say that some veterans who had actually stayed here had recommended our park. He offered me a rate that was a mere third of what the ad space was worth. He even offered deferred payment. I fell for it hook, line and sinker. I have yet to see this ad and they billed me incessantly before the agreed upon due date and added late charges. I paid for the ad, as agreed. No late charges, though.

Fool me once ........ Today the phone rang and he who happened to be inside refreshing his ever-present bubba mug of diet coke, answered. I was folding laundry and heard him say that he would let the caller talk to the person in charge. It was a man identifying himself as an active duty major with the travel department for the military. He was trying to secure reservations for some generals and admirals. Okay, I can take care of these reservations. I ask how many and he says 72. I only have 73 sites and 24 of those are not full hook-ups. But, he tells me they will only be coming in groups of two or three and staying by the week or by the month. So I ask how he intends to make these reservations if he does not know when the parties will be arriving and departing ....

Well, it seems that in order for me to have these wonderful reservations that will make me wealthy for winter, I will have to run an ad in his publication. He saw my ad in Veteran's View (glad he did, since I haven't) and that is all well and good, but for national security reasons, my ad will need to appear in his publication in order for the admirals and generals to feel safe using their credit cards here. Huh?? The ad will only cost me $325. I laughed ..... a lot. This is when he assured me that this was no scam, that he worked for the government and that he could tell by talking to me that my park was nice and reputable. So much so that he thought "the government" had priced the ad too high and that he was going to give me a break and only charge me $100.

I am thinking I must have sounded dim witted. So, let us recap here. If this man is to be believed; he is active military and my tax dollars are paying him the rate that a major makes so that he can call businesses and sell them ads. He would be a very special major, since, by simply hearing the sound of my voice he can know that admirals and generals will be safe here in my campground. That is, indeed, a special skill. At one point he told me that this is how the government makes money (through ads). I told him that I had no advertising dollars left in my budget and that due to our current economy, I was loathe to spend any money unless he could guarantee the reservations. He could not, of course. He who loves me hung up on the scam artist and even took the call when he called back to say we had been "cut off".

I redialed the number he called from and asked what the nature of the business was. It is really a publication for active military, but not a government owned one. They employ retired military personnel. I let the woman know that her sales staff, at least one of them, was misrepresenting himself. She apologized, but did not seem to be upset. I really couldn't tell, since I lack those special skills the Major had .... 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Every time I think I have seen it all and heard it all ....... life proves me wrong.

Oftentimes folks will call and tell me how far away they are and ask about checking in after hours. I will usually ascertain their needs and tell them which site will suit them and tell them to fill out the night registration package and drop either the money or credit card info in the drop box. If they take the time to call, they will usually follow my instructions.

Yesterday morning I woke way too early with a puppy on my face and after taking the dogs out crawled back into bed to sleep until a more reasonable hour. I slept until 8:30 and was about the business of making coffee when I heard the store door chime. I slipped into the store and checked the drop box and saw the envelope waiting inside. I checked it and it had the correct amount, so I did not race to the bedroom to don clothes. As I watched the camper leave, I noticed the message light blinking on the store phone and hit the button. It was a resident camper calling to say that he wondered if Drew knew he had left his tractor running .......

What? Drew is in bed asleep. Did he leave it running all night?? Inquiring minds want to know. He who sleeps in a wind tunnel was in blissful slumber when I turned off his loudest fan and awakened him to inquire about the running tractor. The key is in the house .... I think, so why would he start the tractor before bed and leave it burning fuel. And, if he didn't start the tractor ..... who did? Asking him anything as he bumbled around pulling his clothes on and looking at me like I was crazy was pointless.

He went out to the barn and confirmed that the tractor was indeed running, but that the engine wasn't hot enough to have been running long. We were both puzzled. As he was filling his bubba mug with diet coke he asked about night registrations and I reported that not only did the people pay, but that they actually listed the seven children and paid for them. Will wonders never cease?

They may have paid for the offspring, but they did not supervise them. One of the seven hooligans started the tractor ....... without the key. They also helped themselves to firewood. I guess they figured if they paid to stay, they could do what they wanted.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Piece Of Quiet

The weather has finally calmed down and is back to normal. Warm during the day and refreshingly cool at night. I have been sleeping well, but can't seem to get enough. Like being so thirsty, yet unable to quench that thirst.

Things have been quiet with plenty of time to reflect. Good for me, bad for business. School starts today and the pool will be empty, save weekends. I am ready for fall and a slower pace.

Peace and quiet? I like it better the way my baby girl used to say it ............  Mommy needs a piece of quiet!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Let Me Be

 These are a few of my least favorite things. It is true that this does not happen every day, but often enough to make me wonder why I strive to keep the park looking clean and nice for my visitors.

 Perhaps I should provide an ashtray?

Or maybe I should just be thankful they did not throw them on the ground. It is so dry here that the ground is cracking open.

I feel like that today. Dried up and hard. I need to have some solitude. Solitude is in short supply here. I have to hide to get it. There are times when the only thing I want is to be left alone. To be able to think a thought without interruption. To just be. Let me be.

I will tire of the solitude of winter soon enough, but right now, this moment ......... I long for it. I am not fit to be around people in my current state. He who knows me best can confirm this.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


 This was my garden this morning. In spite of the fact that I had been pulling weeds for two days. The temperature was perfect and the sky was overcast ........ and I was determined!
 I had already filled and emptied that wheel barrow twice. The hose was out to wet the ground so that I could get the shovel in under the big clumps of grass and a mulberry tree that had volunteered to grow there.

 I love hollow stumps. Natures planters.

 The cool breezes blew and it rained on me several times. In spite of interruptions and muscle pains I completed my project. Should you ever wonder if it is possible to get a charlie horse in your butt muscle ....... the answer is yes.

 I am feeling quite pleased with myself. The sun is shining now and it looks like it has always been there, doesn't it?
See the big rock in the lower right corner? At some point a big rig decided to exit via the entrance drive and drove through my grass, moving the rock several feet, leaving big trenches in the ground. I consoled myself thinking of the damage they sustained.

 Sweet potato vine in my hollow stump looks content.

 My marigolds and zinnias are really tall and leggy. I am hoping they will fill out now that all the grass is gone. They will bloom through October.

Grass slinger Harvey happened by while I was at work. He stayed in his truck to receive his tongue lashing. Guess he figured he could outrun me if I decided to make a statement with the shovel. He swears he didn't do it. Told me that Drew mowed last time. Drew did mow last, but the grass in my garden took awhile to grow ......... Oh, Harvey, did you really think you could engage in a verbal sparring match with me and win? 

Take Me To Your Leader

The hot, hot weather that has kept me from weeding and Harvey the grass slinger have conspired to make a huge bed of grass in my garden in the entrance drive. The grass is choking out my marigolds and zinnias. Not a very inviting sight. So, for the past two days I have been pulling the grass out when I get more than ten minutes at a time. After closing the store at 7 tonight I was diligently yanking grass out of my garden and silently cursing Harvey. Harvey, who I have told on more than one occasion to steer clear of my gardens with the mower. Harvey, who will be on the wrong end of a broom handle if I catch him near a garden bed again. He who has learned to not sling grass into my gardens always warns those who are want to help with the mowing.

He will only warn them once and then lets me take over. I think he secretly enjoys watching me chew someone up. Harvey seems to be a slow learner to the ways of my kampground gardens. He need not think the gift of rocks he made to me this morning will get him off the hook should I witness another grass slinging session.

But, I digress. I was minding my own business of weeding when a car entered and sped by me, not bothering to obey my stop sign. The female driver pulled up to the store and stared at the door. The door with the store hours clearly posted. Then she put her vehicle in reverse and backed up to where I was still weeding. "We can swim, can't we?" The pool closes at 7 o'clock. "No, it doesn't, it closes at 9." No, really, it closes at 7. "Are you sure?" Quite sure. "Well, doesn't Drew own this place?" Yes. "Well, where is he?" Not right here. By the way, you ran the stop sign. Know why that stop sign is here? The stop sign is here because I have children in the park riding bikes and I don't want them to get hurt by a driver who thinks it is okay to come into my park and disregard my rules ........ "Oh, are you Drew's wife?" Yes, that would be me. "Well, I guess the pool is closed and we should go." Don't forget the speed limit is 10.

I guess my reputation precedes me.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

None Of My Business ......

 Okay, this was NOT the color on the box! Really. I was not trying to celebrate the 100th birthday of Lucille Ball. I was just trying to cover some gray and this is what I got. Oh well. Time will take care of it, I suppose ..... or another box of color. In the meantime I have red hair.

So, I took my red haired self to the drop box yesterday morning and pulled this out .......
It says: Hello, I got in at 3:30 AM, and need to sleep so badly! I was so happy to find you! I will come to the office when I get up ( I had brain surgery 61 days ago, and not doing very well ...)   Thank you so much, Robin & doggies. Site 67

It had the registration in the envelope as well as the money to pay for the site. I had a call the night before from a man inquiring about a discount for coming in late. I told him that I didn't and he asked if I was sure ( I almost told him that there would be an annoyance surcharge), and I asked if he were staying at a hotel if he would expect a discount for arriving late and he replied in the negative; so I said "well, there you go, you have your answer." I was pretty certain that I would not see this man in my park. But ..... Robin could be a man or a woman, right?

At any rate, I sought out he who is the performer of all unpleasant tasks, and showed him the note. Then I sent him to site 67 to make sure there were signs of life. Brain surgery ..... not doing well ........ had me a little concerned.

I am always torn with indecision when I discover a camper parked that I did not check in. Most will leave the info and money or credit card info in the drop box (that is, after all, what it is for), but some do not. I assume that they are sleeping and I don't want to rudely awaken them, but I don't want them to skip out without paying. I can't just sit and watch them, I have other things to do. And that is how we end up having folks drive off. Most people are honest and will stop and pay, but there are always those few that just drive away. But, this one has already paid .........

So, do I go check on the brain surgery survivor? Or, do I let the person sleep? The note did say they needed sleep ....... and there is that old saying about sleeping dogs ........

The woman, Robin, did come in upon awakening and was a very likable person. Hard to tell if she was blond, since she was bald after the brain surgery. That sounded mean and I didn't mean it in a mean way. I just don't know that I would take off on my own after having had brain surgery and admittedly not doing well. She had left Tennessee and was on her way to Washington. Kind of a long trip to be taking on your own after any kind of surgery that has stressed the body.

She did have her dogs with her, but they can't drive or call for help on a cell phone ........ Really none of my business when you get right down to it. But she did tell me that she was not doing well and her fiance is in Afghanistan .......

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Heaven, Get Ready

Our friend, Paul died this morning. I am so glad that we went to see him yesterday. His wife, Patti was in good spirits and we laughed and talked, remembering times at the campground. I think maybe Paul was listening in. We talked to him, too. I told him to just rest and he did. He was getting ready for his trip to heaven.

The angels will have to be on their toes with Paul, the trickster, in their midst. I bet he has his halo on upside down already. We looked at pictures yesterday. We have only known Paul for about 6 years and it was fun to see him as a small boy with his dog, then as a handsome young man. Always that big smile on his sweet face. The robust man we knew was already gone yesterday, as he was preparing to leave this world. He will be missed.

Yesterday was very emotional for me. I knew that I would not see Paul again and the tears kept welling in my eyes. Patti demanded that we have no crying and I did my best, but the rest of the day found me to be more than a little weepy. I am relieved for him to no longer be in pain, but still very sad to lose him.

Now, Patti will begin her journey with grief. I can hug and I can listen. I hope that is enough. I suppose the pain of losing your mate is something that can't really be shared. The only one who could share it is gone .........