At the border, entering the "country" of Transnistria. Photo taken December 8, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Tiraspol, Transnistria...the country that doesn't exist.

Where are they going next? Northern Moldova. Arrive December 11th.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Well, it HAD been a great day...

Up until just after 5:00pm.

Oh, it was busy. Probably the busiest we've seen here. It was a gorgeous Saturday and so the day use area and the beach were packed. The boat launch was being used non-stop, and the lake was full of boats and people having fun.

We were keeping up with things no problem. We did firewood deliveries to the campers in the morning, and in between things Ruth checked the washrooms and watered the flowers and I did walkarounds picking up the odd piece of trash and just generally making sure people were happy. And we would get the odd call to go down to the boat rental and give someone a canoe or kayak. It's actually a pleasant change from cutting and trimming grass!

The boat launch area.

I can't remember if we mentioned that Ruth inherited the job of cleaning the washrooms on a full time basis. Anyhow, there had been another lady doing them but she was just doing an "okay" job of it, and she didn't think she was being paid enough to make it worth her while. She basically quit, and so Ruth is now doing them. Although Ruth is not entirely happy about this turn of events, it's better for the campground and it actually gives Ruth a couple more hours on her paycheck.

But, there is recognition for a job well done. We actually had campers saying "wow, we've never seen the washrooms this clean" and "the washrooms even smell clean!". People appreciate walking into a clean washroom, even the ones who don't leave them clean! And let me tell you, there are quite a few of them.

So, just after 5:00pm we go into the main washroom building just to inspect things. I notice one of the men's toilets is having (without going into detail) a "problem". Hmm. Seriously? You needed to use that much toilet paper?? Oh, I guess that's detail. Sorry. So, off to get the plunger and snake.

I work away with the plunger and snake, and things start to go where they're supposed to, but man there's a lot of gurgling and bubbling going on. Something is not right. Then, we notice that the other men's toilet is also not right.

It then occurs to us. The tank is full? No, it couldn't be. It would have only been emptied on Wednesday or Thursday. Couldn't be full yet.

The sewer system at this campground consists only of holding tanks that have to be pumped out on a weekly or twice weekly basis. There's a septic contractor who comes to do this, and it's a new guy who got the contract this year.

We go check the tank, and sure enough...it's coming out the top. Oh no.

Now, we have probably 200 people here wanting to use those toilets and showers. This is not good.

Ruth goes and makes signs for the doors advising the use of the secondary toilets in other parts of the campground.

I go to phone our septic guy.

I get through to him, and he advises that his truck didn't show up this week because he got a call from the officials telling him that the place he dumps isn't allowed anymore. Okay, but you didn't call us to tell us? Oh, I thought you knew, he says!

Now I'm scrambling.

Our boss is on a job site up north and unavailable by phone. I try to call our resident member of the board and there's no answer at her house or by cell. I find out that there's another septic guy, but he's upset at the park and the board because he didn't get the contract this year. Politics! But, I'm desperate. Those tanks need emptying, and they need emptying now!

So I call him. Nope, he says, he'll only come down if a member of the board calls him. He understands it's not my fault, and he's not upset with me, but that's the way it is. So I drive down and get one of the other board members who's here on a weekend vacation, and he makes the call.

This all takes quite a bit of time and running around and it's probably after 7:00pm before it's all settled. We haven't had dinner yet, and we still wouldn't have dinner for quite some time. Now, we find out that the toilets in the overflow camping area are starting to do just that. Overflow. Of course, that holding tank hadn't been emptied either. Great.

So the guy came and did three loads with his pumping truck. Then of course the toilets needed to be cleaned and re-opened. It was almost 9:00pm by the time we gulped down a quick dinner. Now, we were behind schedule on emptying the trash.

Did the trash, spent some time cleaning up the leftovers and trash on the beach. Good thing it's light until 10:00pm or so! I'm looking at the clock on the dash of the truck and it's 10:30pm when I had to drive up to the dump and empty the fish guts, of course they were extra full because of all the boaters and fishermen out today.

11:00pm, pretty much exhausted, but still have to do a walkaround. Have a shower first, did a walkround, told a few campers to turn their music off and keep their voices down. Just before midnight? Bed.

Up at 6:30am. Thinking I'll have to grab a snooze this afternoon. Likely? Nope.


34 comments:

  1. sounds like you two had a pretty crappy day...

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  2. Wow, you two sound like a crew of seven. Just keep dreaming of this winter and soon it will all pass.

    rocmoc n AZ/Mexico

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    1. You betcha! That is what is keeping us going, it is all worth it for those 7 months off this winter. Especially when 4 of them will be in Africa!

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  3. Oh crap. It sounds like you handles the emergency quite well. Good job and have a nice nap.

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    1. So far there's nothing that we can't handle, just hope it stays that way.

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  4. I almost don't want to say this but, oh hell I will anyway.
    "Shit happens".
    There, got that out of my system.
    I can certainly see that the system only consists of holding tanks, but somehow that doesn't seem to be the best arrangement. Are the toilets that close to the lake or other water feature?
    In my previous (illustrious) career as a Caretaker, I've had my share of "shit happening". Believe me. Usually someone will rat out the culprit though, and they get to come in to the washroom and "help". Usually more of a hindrance, but sometimes it's about the teachable moments. Sometimes those things need to be taught.
    Hope everything is flowing until your next "pick up".

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    1. Yes, they are pretty close to the lake and there are also lots of underground springs so the holding tanks are necessary. As it turns out it wasn't the amount of toilet paper used that caused the problem but the full tank.

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  5. Ah, yes. 'There are a million stories in the Naked City (campground)', and this has been one of them. :)

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    1. Not sure what the "Naked City Campground" is?

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  6. Nothing like putting out fires! Hope you have some hair left after a day of pulling it out! :cO

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    1. Yep, there is and actually Kevin's hair needs to be cut, just have to find the time to do it!

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  7. Oh my! I love the comments (shit happens is my favorite)

    Just another busy day at the campground, just think you could have been sitting in a cubicle inside a stuffy office typing on a computer. :) I like your alternative better.

    Drama never stops... but at least you have the common sense to KNOW how to handle issues. Some people would just cave.

    Hope your day today goes smoother (and with less crap to deal with).

    Did the board decide to hire the former contractor now? It looks like the one that was hired has issues of his own. Might have to look into that?
    The Honeywagon needs to come more regularly!

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    1. All in all we would rather be looking after the campground and all it's issues than sitting behind a desk all week.

      The board hasn't made a decision yet, they will have to have a meeting about it first. Almost everyone is hoping they will go with the former guy, he knows the parks tanks well and how often they need to be pumped out.

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  8. It sounds like you guys had a real learning experience! I'm guessing that from here on out, you will be vigilant regarding plumbing issues. As in anything, the basics are what need constant attention.

    I can just hear the next job interview for a similar position where they ask you,"What's one of the things you always make sure is working well at all times in the camp?"

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    1. You are exactly right. Being our first time working at a campground with holding tanks it is definitely a learning curve. We know that we are not wasteful and it takes a long time for us to full up our motorhome tank but it is entirely different here and with a full camp and lots of day use people it doesn't take long to fill them up. They will now be checked regularly.

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  9. WOW! Shit happens! is certainly a true statement of affairs for you. I think it's about time for the Board to recognize that it's hired Superman and Wonder Woman and need to reevaluate who, exactly, needs the authority to act in situations like yesterday. You have both proved your worth ten fold. Come on Board Members, give Kevin the ability to continue to manage with the competence he's capable of.

    I remember thinking, when we discussed your summer employment, that it sounded like a difficult job. That's not to say, unenjoyable. I'm sure there're lots of fun things, and certainly a lot of satisfying, job well-done activities. But, not getting rid of sewage (black water especially) is tantamount to disaster!!!! I'm in awe!!!

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    1. I don't necessarily think that he wanted to speak to a board member just for the ok to go ahead and come out to pump them but more as a statement to say maybe you should have stuck with me.

      It's not really a difficult job just a very, very busy one especially in July and August. The time will certainly fly by for us.

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  10. Yuk! I think I would have needed about 10 showers after that episode! Good job at getting things taken care of. I'm with Mary-Pat, they need to give you two more credit for your ability to manage! Grace (in Tucson)

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    1. There was no spillage so really other than Kevin trying to unplug the toilet (which wasn't pleasant!) there wasn't really any major cleanup.

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  11. I mean they are SOOOOO lucky to have you two. Really well handled given the messiness of the whole situation literally and figuratively. Sure hope you get the huge bonus you deserve for this. I think I might can the guy with the contract. He "thought you knew"....what??? Sounds like a breach of contract to me to not show up and not contact. Back to the guy who rescued you for full time would be my plan.

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    1. Luckily it was just nasty to look at in the toilets but there wasn't any spillage so other than regular cleanup there was nothing seriously bad about the situation, it is more the thought of what could have happened.

      Yeah, not to happy that the contractor didn't call to say that he wasn't pumping us out last week. Then we could have been proactive and done something about it before this situation happened.

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  12. I know I'll get flack for this but people who use these parks need to remember they are out in nature, not in the middle of a big city. They need to conserve water when they shower. In the toielet area, of course, I am of the belief that if it's yellow, well, you know how the saying goes.

    Toilet paper, my dad gave us a lecture when we were kids. He said, toilet paper comes in small squares for a reason. The size of the paper matches the size of well, again you know how this goes. I go nuts when I hear the roll taking off like a jet in flight. They have no idea the damage they do to equipment, septic and holding tanks, not to mention nature. Even if you cart it off you still have to dump it somewhere or process it.

    Reality of life. Well, now I feel better.

    As for you guys, now you know big crowds requre more dumping and that you can't rely on just one provider. Glad you got it fixed.

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    1. Chris, dream on because it is never going to happen! I look at how Kevin and I conserve everything. We don't create much garbage, we are careful with water and our fuel consumption and just about everything else but when we see the amount of garage here that is thrown out and the unnecessary driving people do, the little bit we are doing is nothing and makes us wonder why we even try. We really wish that people would be more careful but I don't see that happening any time soon.

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  13. Dear Kevin and Ruth,

    I loved today's story! You two are intrepid! You never give up!

    George

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    1. Thanks George for you confidence in us!

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  14. Hopefully yhe board will be able to fine the first contractor and then it would be nice if they'd split it with you, afterall he did not fulfill what he was hired to do. and then to not contact you on a busy weekend is really poor biz practice.
    hope you fare better tomorrow

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    1. Wishful thinking Donna. Hopefully they will have this all sorted out this week so we know where everything stands and will have less to think about.

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  15. Crap and politics, the two go hand and hand. John Crapper, the man who invented the flush toilet and Politics, from the word " poly" meaning many, and the word " ticks" meaning blood sucking parasites.
    Hope everything flows smoothly from now on.
    Cheers

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    1. That is exactly right, thanks for the laugh!

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  16. Such a very busy day, the joys of campground management, but at least you got er done.
    Good job guys!

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    1. Yep, things worked out, now on to other things.

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