No News Isn’t Necessarily Good News


What was supposed to be Da Boss’ first day back from vacay turned out not to be.  Her assistant, who was scheduled to work, did not due to a doctor’s appointment 100 miles away.  He did however show up at the office first thing in the morning and proceeded to demand, “What’s going on with XXXX?” And of course I had no idea what was going on with the volunteer who disappeared over the weekend.

The departing volunteer had dropped off a stack of gear on the assistant’s desk and a note to Da Boss and her assistant:  “Check your email.”

So much for subtlety.  So much for loyalty.  So much for common courtesy.

Later in the day (about 3:30) I got a call from the Boss’ Boss:  “Tell me what’s going on with XXXXX!”  So I recapped the story just as I had earlier in the day.  “Oh.”

There’s part of me that wonders whether the interest in his absence was as much about WHY he left or whether questions were being asked about all the Good Will they called in to keep XXXXX from being fired — and to put him on notice instead.  No one likes to waste a ‘favor.’  Going to bat for this particular person seems to be proving a wasted favor.

But no news isn’t necessarily good news.  Would have been nice to know Da Boss wasn’t coming in today.  Or that the Assistant wasn’t.  Right now it seems the volunteers are the only ones on duty.  Sigh.

When staff were talking (in anticipation) about the staff of four seasonals all I heard was that they were going “to do the heavy lifting for the volunteers.”  Peg and I were talking about that prediction today.  It dawned on me that there have been two truths this past month since they started on the job:

  • The work they have been given to do has been work the volunteers are never allowed to do in the first place.
  • And they have all four routinely been sent to the same campground/day use area on the same day.  As a result, the campers and volunteers SEE Forest Service workers half as often as might otherwise be the case.  And the group tasking has not been because the assigned jobs require 4 workers.

Oh well.  I guess I just don’t understand their system.

The BETTER part of the day…

Despite the snags, today wasn’t a bad day at all.

We touched base with our one remaining Roving Caretaker — reminding him to check with Da Boss because he tires are WAY bald.

We stopped at Old Bark Road — where a volunteer for a year and a half — finally decided to quit hiding out  in the forest and to open his own restaurant — to see whether he had cleared out his unit and turned in any equipment.  He had, and he had not.  Da Boss has known him for some years and I suspect she may be intending to stop at the new resto and pick the gear up herself.  Which is fine — she’s Da Boss!

We also talked with the caretakers who live right next door.  They had inquired about moving from one site to the other (one is paved, the other is gravel) and I gave them the go-ahead if they wanted.

We checked in with the Roving Caretaker who turned into a Campground/Day Use Host and he really likes his new gig.  I suspect he’ll do a much better job and he’s happy.  After the 4th of July holiday he’ll make a decision as to whether to stay there, or wait for me to find a replacement there and move in to Old Bark Road and take the job I was just talking about.  I’m happy for him if he has finally found something and some place he’s comfortable here.  A big part of the problem (for him) was the people overseeing him.  I have known that for a long while.  We were worried about whether he would function well in a campground setting.  He can be kind of spooky.  But he seemed to do well, and there was no evidence of friction with the campers/guests.

We stopped off at three campgrounds where we still needed additional images and we got almost all of what we needed.  Just a few (about 15 sites) still outstanding.  I hope to get the image processing done on them this week so that I can turn them over to staff as of next Tuesday (the person I’m to turn them over to doesn’t work on Mondays).  Then that project will be complete.  We could leave the next day and I would be happy. 🙂

We had a couple more hand-holding stops to make.  Made one of them, left the other for tomorrow.  By the time we were done our 4 hour day was clocking in at 7 and a half hours.  But such is life on the forest.

Tomorrow Peg makes her monthly route picking up monthly paperwork, so I’ll have time in the office to deal with the effects of XXXX’s leaving, Da Boss’ return from vacay, and some place in there we need to deliver the bad news of our departure.  We had hoped to give her a day after returning before breaking the bad news but her failure to appear today means another day less on the countdown clock.  We’re down to less than a month before we leave and there needs to be some transition.

One good possibility arose while talking to Dave Thompson — the Interpretation Specialist.  He has a crew of Junior Rangers — essentially college interns — who do interpretation during the summer.  One of our hosts mentioned that a particular site had a six year old child with them who had an inoperable brain tumor.  The host — being aware of that — wondered if we could get a couple of those Junior Rangers to stop by at that site and give the child a little special attention.  I thought that a great idea — called Dave Thompson on the spot and made those arrangements.

But while on the phone he mentioned that he has a woman there who has been volunteering and is going to be doing volunteer coordinating for the Cape Perpetua area.  She wanted to come down to our office for some training on how to do MY job.  I’m wondering if  she could do some of the job for us upon our departure — by the time  she comes down (next week) I’ll have had time to talk with Da Boss about finding my own replacement. 🙂 I don’t want to leave these folks in the lurch — but I can only do what I can do.  There were problems here before we got here; there have been problems while we have been here; there will be problems when we leave.

So, that’s my day — tiring, frustrating, rewarding.  Pretty much like any day on the Forest!

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

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4 thoughts on “No News Isn’t Necessarily Good News

    1. We’re working on it! Believe me we’re working on it.

      The good part to my idea (found out after writing this post) is that the lady to whom I referred has been hired as part time staff!!!! — I explained what was going on to my boss, and she had just had a meeting with her two bosses and suggested that seeing as the district is pushing for some uniformity on process — everyone doing the same thing the same way — that maybe I talk with her two bosses about whether to have this person come down for some training.
      Turns out that they were both in favor — AND — on of them wants to sit in on the training…. so now I feel much better about leaving knowing that TWO people will know exactly what I have been doing and HOW — so that someone will know what needs doing. So, I’m feeling pretty positive about the ‘state’ in which I’m leaving things. Our timing could have been better, but as it’s turning out I don’t need to feel badly about anything.

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      1. Terrific news! I’m so glad for you and Peg. Hopefully she’ll be able to rest easy when the sandman comes.

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      2. I wrote that a couple days ago — I’m usually two or three days ahead just in case I decide there’s something in a particular blog about anyone else that maybe I shouldn’t have said — when we were just writing about our own life I kept it current but I find that sometimes I flirt too close to the edge of what, perhaps, I ought NOT to write about.

        No one is sad about the departure. In fact most everyone is relieved that he’s gone … and in afterthought even Da Boss is. She knows that as much as she appreciated him for prior service and for how quickly he worked that something had changed within him and he needed to be gone.

        And we had the time of our life that day. I really like being out with the other volunteers. I have to take them with a grain of salt — and not too many for too long — but I love talking with them, getting to know them, and sharing in their lives. It’s been hard getting their trust but we are a big family now. >

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