Saturday, July 01, 2006

Rabbits on Site 64

Rabbits on site 64 !

The radios of the employees here at Hart Ranch crackle with the comings and goings and concerns of what on this 4th of July weekend is the 11th largest city in SD. Many of these messages send my imagination off into whole movies and novels built upon one terse series of exchanges. Since we have our radio here in the trailer, we hear everything that happens.

By far the largest number of exchanges are the nuts and bolts of running the place, which sites are actually empty or ought to be, have the storage boys moved someone’s rig on or off a site, and is such and such a cabin clean for the next guest (who I imagine standing in the lodge impatiently). These facts are verified by Security. Security is one guy in an elderly Dodge Caravan with red emergency lights on the top. Head of it is a retired public safety officer, and there are others who rotate times. One in particular who has the night shift drives us nuts because he goes around the park looking for lights that are out or not out. All very well, but some of our lights that are out are long term wiring and digging projects or we are waiting for obscure parts, and he continues to write the same lights up every night. He also apparently goes into each and every “Comfort Station” to check lights, dripping faucets and etc. By the time we have gotten 4 write ups on the same thing, we start to get a little testy, especially since he has been told that we are working on it.

This state of over officiousness about every detail is taken to laughable lengths by some of the guests. We have rules about dogs. They can only live in the pets area, must be on a leash at all times, and you will be fined for not picking up poop. They cannot be tied up on site and left to bark either. These rules are good ones if you think about stepping in poop or having to listen to endless barking ( not that having someone home is a guarantee that won’t happen). There are some folks who are apparently sitting in their windows just waiting to see a sin that they can report. “Dog tied to tree behind Lodge”, “Dog running loose playing Frisbee”, “Dog in non pet cabins”, Dog needs to be spoken to on site 345”, “Dog in someone’s lap at campfire circle “. We had a stray that proved hard for even the animal control people to catch. Maybe these complaints are legitimate and need to be made, but others betray a sad state of boredom for too many people. Which brings me to the rabbits.

Rabbits on site 64. This was a note left on the weekend maintenance desk. First of all, this is a RANCH, we are out in the high plains, there are rabbits everywhere multiplying like flies with all the lush watered grass to live on. A whole city of them lives in the storage area, slipping through the fence to dine on the greenery and safe from predators inside. We don’t know what we were supposed to do about the rabbit on site 64, or what was wrong with it there in the first place. They are actually rather a serious pest, since they like to eat wire insulation for dessert, and chew on the trailers and motorhomes in the storage area. Shooting them in the winter is, as you might imagine, a hotly contested issued. Some rigs ended up with some bullet holes that were not the same bullets used by the mighty rabbit hunters, but that was enough to stop the slaughter. The latest crime from the rabbit kingdom was a pretty expensive one, they chewed up the wires that led from the wi-fi to the antenna, which led to random intermittent outages that the technicians were buffaloed by. This problem began in early June and ended only just yesterday , July 1,. It cost over $1000 to replace the wires, and the boss is refusing to pay since they should not have been out in the open in the first place. I think she would declare a little ethnic cleansing if she dared. Maybe she should start on site 64.

We are supposed to leave enough room for the lawn care patrol by not parking our trailers too far back on the concrete pad. I heard a call tattling on someone who had gone too far back. Parking on the grass is a big sin which I committed by telling a friend in his Airstream to park his truck and trailer there until a storm passed and we could find a better place. Some woman got in her car to drive right over and tell me off, and her husband called security right away. Another case of nothing better to do but seek out sins.

We heard one person came into the campground store at 6:15 AM demanding that someone come to their site with grass seed and a sprinkler right now. Not a drip goes unnoticed. The “Comfort Stations “ each have two washers and two dryers. The dryers are double ones on top of one another, with controls for each pretty clearly labeled for up and down. Not clearly enough for quite a lot of people, apparently.

This morning, we heard two move requests, ie the storage truck comes and takes a rig from one site to another, which were both leaving a certain area. I wonder if one of the two rigs was home to noisy trouble makers or whether these two were fleeing a third one. One set is next door, complete with two Harley Davidsons, a flock of children and a small white dog. So far so good although it has been occasional thunder storms both days so few are sitting outside.. Makes me want to go and be nosey and hear the dirt on it all, but usually the truth is not as much fun as what I imagine anyway.

Sometimes we have real emergencies, so far a possible heart attack, a whopping nosebleed, and a young man who had a seizure while in the pool. Our job is crowd and traffic control, to keep people from getting underfoot and other vehicles from getting in the way of the EMT truck and whatever local First Responders come in from the volunteer fire department. The ambulance has about a 25 minute drive, which seems more like an hour standing in the road waiting for it to come. We have a number of CPR certified folks on the staff too. The radio traffic during emergencies is supposed to be minimal and calm, but the pool incident had a pool worker on the radio in near hysterics. Yesterday, there was another medical emergency, some guy’s pacemaker went nuts on him. During this emergency, all other radio traffic is supposed to stop, but over the radio we heard: “Can someone come to the Activity Shed, we have a rabbit that isn’t moving”.

Since the radio is heard in the lodge where any guest might hear it, we have to be careful what we say, and use cell phones for things that the guest might not want to hear. Something to show Security behind cabin 435 probably means that one of our resident small prairie rattlesnakes has appeared again. These cabins are on the edge of the campground and their crawl spaces are a happy home for the rabbits that defeat our defenses. Rattee the rattler sees this as a good opportunity and moves in too for lunch dinner and breakfast. During the last go around, we evicted the snake, and blocked up the hole ( we thought) which trapped a rabbit who might also have been a Rattee victim. The resulting smell sent us out to dig up the skirt boards and get the rabbit out. We have expended a lot of brains and time trying to encourage Rattee to go elsewhere. We even got someone from the Reptile Gardens place down the road to come and try to kidnap him. We ended up back at the same cabin for another bad smell, but found no corpse. We suspect a dead mouse in the AC ducts, wadded up some washcloths, and saturated them with deodorizer, and put them in the ducts. In this head and dryness, a mouse corpse will be powder in an afternoon, we hope.

Along with these day to day projects, we also have ongoing ones. The cabins have futons to serve as couch and bed. I don’t know what people do to them, but we are currently embarked on a project to redesign and build new ones that will be up to the rigors of guests. There are over 60 cabins, so we have a few to make. I wish the broken ones could talk. All of these cabins have steps and decks which are my mission to repaint, along with some of the outside walls of the cabins. I just finished the 4 big wooden playsets. Each time I roped them off, children came and wanted to use them. I haven’t seen any on them since.

The weather has turned hot, nearly 100, and in the afternoon the wind blows fiercely, a furnace wind. We look for things to do in the shade in the afternoon. Sometimes I wish we could work from 5:00 AM to 10, then quit until the sun goes down. It certainly does dry the laundry in a hurry.