Hang Out, Fold In


Our revised closet. Ignore the rod up above — we plan no longer to use it. Instead we have more than enough shelf storage and about a third of what’s in there will go bye bye when we turn in our USFS clothing.

It’s the end of the weekend as I write this and nothing happened as planned.  Yesterday I had planned to work on the basement, but visitors changed that plan.  I put the basement off till today and before I started I ran down to Driftwood II to check on the couple who are leaving — arrange a time to pick up gear from them, check in the volunteers who remain to insure that all the necessary chores are being taken care of and just schmooze a little with these folks.  Our South Zone caretaker is going to take a host gig at Horsfall Beach — he was there while I was so we talked about the mechanics of when and where to change keys and gear for him too.

I was on my way back him when the phone rang — it was the same caretaker I had just left.  It seems he thought he had been aware of a camper going into the shower before we started talking and an hour later he’d never seen the camper exit the shower and no one was responding inside the shower.  Now, entering a locked shower is something with specifically proscribed steps  and there must be at least two staff present.  In the first place I wasn’t really thinking of being ‘on the clock’ so I never brought my keys with me and that meant a quick trip back home to pickup the right set of keys and then the — to me — nerve wracking of standing on the other side of the door from an unknown set of circumstances.  I could never be a cop.  And I realized then and there that this was not something I want to be in a position of doing.  It turned out that the host was mistaken — there was NO ONE in that shower and all turned out well.  But I learned a good lesson for myself — and it will reflect on what future volunteer gigs we take.  I’m just not comfortable with that situation.

As it is there have been all sort so precautions taken to prevent the APPEARANCE of wrongdoing.  The showers have no way place in which someone on the backside of the shower wall — in the pipe chase — can see into the showers — but the Forest Service has had crevices filled with foam just to guarantee to the public that no one can/could observe them while showering.  I suppose this is a part of living in a modern society.  But I’m a simple guy who doesn’t do things like that and it sometimes amazes me the extent to which government must go to make the public happy.

Another host had dumpsters overflowing and we made a trip our SUV down to Reedsport to pick up a truck with which we could carry  some garbage cans to the campground.  while there we had a nice chat with the couple there.  It looks like they’ll be coming back next year, and they are finding their own ways to make campers comfortable and make the campground a special place.  People like this are worth their weight in gold!

In between the two I did get a chance to do some work on the basement.  The new storage tubs will work out fine but the deciding what goes in which and where in the basement each container should ride is just beginning.

By the time we returned home it was 6:30 and the sun was beginning to fall below the tops of the trees.  No mid afternoon aperitif.  But beef stew for dinner.

Sometimes the other volunteers feel badly about interrupting our weekend off.  But it doesn’t bother me.  For one thing I figure it’s part of the job — I’m the interface between Forest Service and Volunteers.  Most of them have learned that their first call for maintenance issues is to paid staff — so they do respect our days off.  But the other side of the story is that we are just like them.  I would not want to be left out there in the forest to flounder and I don’t want them to feel that way either.  There may be moments when the phone rings that I want to ignore it, but I’m never sorry when I have, and I’m always glad for the final outcome.  If you can’t be — you shouldn’t be volunteering.  We’re here to help.  And sometimes people don’t need help on a schedule.

This week is the week that Da Boss is on vacation.  It will be interesting to see how the week goes.  I know there are confidential events scheduled in the first couple days — so the volunteer territory might change while she’s gone — but there is one thing sure here — everything is in a state of flux at all times.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.


7 thoughts on “Hang Out, Fold In

  1. It’s a joy to hear someone care so much about other people as demonstrated in your attitude in handling daily unpredictable situations in the forest.


    1. Sometimes our problem is caring too much. Poor Peg often has sleepless nights worrying about the other volunteers. But on some level caring is what this job is all about — because heaven only knows that government won’t ‘care’ about them.
      We really are all in one basket. I know we are here for only a short time (in the grand scheme of things). How they all will fair when we are gone will continue to haunt us for some time (I’m afraid) — you can’t just ‘let go’ and stop caring. Well, …..


      1. On your last thought…I had the same…just left it unspoken, knowing that had crossed your mind as well. Though sometimes you can’t let go…you must and just like children you hope their legs are strong enough to hold them.


      2. True, true, ever so true.
        We aren’t ‘mother hens’ but the truth is that in many ways volunteers (here at least) need a sort of mother hen. There are extreme humane people here (on staff) but none of them are charged with watching out for volunteers. Da Boss got caught in the middle of a fiasco at the turn of the year because she got into the middle of private lives trying to help out and it it bit her. So, on some levels even if she would want to care in the same way there are real reasons why she cannot, and won’t.
        Ya know, the world is filled with problems. And they don’t go away. My problem during my working life was that I always expected there to be more ORDER to the random universe than there was, and to corporate names, and to organizational consistency, and, and, and, and….. But there is not. Much of human behavior is random even though we think of ourselves as such rational beings. Fact of the matter is there are more children conceived by accident than are planned. Literally and figuratively….. sigh.


      3. …even if we think of ourselves as rational beings.

        This made me laugh because I had opportunity to reflect on this, in myself. As I was critically analyzing a person I am close to…I realized that I too possessed irrationalities…and for a second tried to think of what some of them were…and the price I paid for having them. It allowed me to be more forgiving of others imperfections. That’s a good thing! 🙂


      4. Agreed 100%!

        I am forever thankful that something in life awoke me to the realization that we all are far more subject to whim than to reason, far more willing to do crazy things than reason them all out, and far more willing to find ‘rational reasons’ for anything we want to do. 🙂


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