Thursday, May 10, 2012

Light Housekeeping

Some days I must be a blathering idiot. Fortunately this often provides entertainment for unsuspecting strangers. Tuesday while talking to a couple in their golf cart which had 2 dogs in a playpen in back, I told them I arrived here last week. 

They looked extremely puzzled, as they drive down here  daily.  "Here" being my new/old workamping assignment on Lake Hartwell in Georgia and South Carolina. I am pretty close to the border, but on the Georgia side near I-85 in northeast Georgia. So hint-hint if any of you plan to be in my area, email me and stop by for a visit or a pot luck meal or iced tea or coffee or to play with the puppy, which we love friendly canine and human visitors too. 

I realized why the couple looked so puzzled. I had in reality only been here TWO nights, but I told them I came last week!  Life has been so chaotic that it truly felt like I had been here over a week. 

Imagine that. 

May 1st, I showed up for a new workamping assignemnt, that was to last the month of May. But there was a huge problem.  I had read the Workamper Handbook numerous times before arrival, so I practically had it memorized. It stated "perform light housekeeping" as one of the numerous duties. 

At 7am, they pounded on my door to tell me I needed to start cleaning the 8 public campground bathrooms and showers in 4 different buildings, then repeat again in the afternoon. I could have Tuesday or Wednesday morning off but not both. 

I was a tad shocked, as this wasn't covered in the Workampers Handbook at all!    That person (and four more throughout the next 2 days) pointed out this was the  "light housekeeping" mentioned in the handbook. To sweeten the deal, I could have Tuesday and Wedneday mornings off, working only 5 days a week,  but not this week, that would start next week. Otherwise it was 5 mornings and afternoons per week. This was in addition to the other listed campground host duties. 

No pay, just a small place to camp with utilities was provided in exchange for the "volunteer" work.  I explained that had this been spelled out in the handboook (they did supply it before I agreed to do this) that I would not have signed up to be a "volunteer".  I know what 700 campers can do to public bathrooms and showers, expecially when kids are left alone to make a mess (because someone else will have to deal with it besides the parents) so there is just NO WAY you can disguise this as "light housekeeping" with no further details. 

I politely told each person in authority I encountered, they should spell this out at the top of the workamper assignments since it was major and time consuming. 

While I don't want them to knwo my medical details, I do tucker out easily. If I could perform hard labor on a regular basis, believe me I would still be working on gogeous yachts at sea.

True, in my younger days and in superior health, I did do gruelling labor aboaord sailing yachts for 12-16 hours a day, 7 days a week.   I hated leaving that career because I loved it, but let's face it, you've got to be in great shape to do that kind of work. Due to health issues, I won't bore you with, I can't do that anymore, sad to say. 

So my workamping of one month ended in less than 2 days. We decided to part company "amicably".  Now they wanted me off their property even though I had done all my other assignments. I mentioned I had come over 600 miles to workamp, perhaps I could have one more day to make up a quick plan. They agreed, but weren't overly happy about it. 

So much for settling in for a month!  I had to break camp, once again.  Luckily, I was able to arrive at my next workamping assignment a month early, so *WHEW*  disaster was averted. More or less. 

In the interim I visited friends for one night (parked in their driveway) then we went camping for a whirlwind 24 hour trip. I misunderstood and thought we were going for 48 hours. 

That's when the super moon hit and things started breaking and malfunctioning. My motorhome is still in total disarray, just like my brain. 

But I was welcomed back at this new/old repeat workamping with open arms and a ton of paperwork. While there is light physical activity involved in this assignment, there isn't any heavy duty janitorial work. 

Honestly how can you describe the daily cleaning of 8 different bathrooms with shower facilities  servicing  up to 700 campers with no sewer hookups as "perform light housekeeping" with no further details?  That park was sold out every weekend and most weeks, with 2-6 people per lot. I mention the no sewer hookups, because typically in the non-sewer parks, most everyone uses the public restrooms and showers on a pretty regular basis. 

And it ain't always pretty either. 

This particular park doesn't allow any trash bins in the restrooms, using hot air for hand drying. Matter of fact, the only trash bin is located outside the camping area, no where near any of the "comfort stations" which is their official term for the bath and shower houses. 

You  can imagine what some folks do with their shower garbage, soap wrappers, empty bottles,  lady personal products and so on. They just toss that in the floor, rather maddening.  The other crazy thing, is they don't even provide rubber gloves, you have to buy your own. I found this out when I asked if they provided a body condom as a way of making a joke, which earned me a tiny chuckle from the supervisor. He  said "Um, no" so I said well "At least you provide rubber gloves?" and this was met with "Um, if you need those, you can buy them I suppose."  I had noticed the hired (read that wage earners) cleanup crew was working without gloves and I thought this rather strange. 

Maybe I am just being picky over wanting rubber gloves for cleaning public "comfort stations"?  

I use robber gloves to clean my own motor home. Cleaning chemicals can and do have adverse reactions.  Yes, that stuff is absorbed through the skin. It may not have immediate effects, but it does have long term effects. Also, public baths and showers are notorious for not being "germ free". 

The camping lot provided was rather smallish.  There wasn't room to set up my table and chairs outside unless I wanted to sit at a severe angle on a hill. It did come with a sewer hookup, the only one in the campground, so ironically, I could use my own bathroom and shower in my own wheel estate. I could have dealt with the camping lot, but I am just pointing out there were no perks with this position at all. Not even laundry facilities. 

My last winter workamping assignment turned out to be double the work, than promised when I signed up. But I stuck around and did it anyhow, because it wasn't heavy labor and I wanted to be in Florida.  It was a more or less a happy situation with good folks.  It was also gorgeous and the camping lot was huge.

But this one for May, I finally admitted to all concerned that  I had made a MEGA mistake in misunderstanding their idea of "light housekeeping". 

When I left, I impressed upon them the need to change their handbook to spell out the janitorial duties up front and at the top, since that was their main focus. 

I also happen to know this particular park has had a hard time attracting and keeping workampers. I wonder why?

It's a shame that they were not at all interested in utilizing my 22 years experience in the hospitality industry, nor utilize any of my other numerous skills at all. 

But, I am in a happy place now, where I am wanted, the workamping assignment holds no secrets, matter of fact last year I was commended for going well beyond my duties. They asked me back repeatedly, before I woke up and smelled the roses realizing I should say YES!  So here I am, a happy camper. 

Now I can worry about repairing all the broken stuff, which yesterday, the comments posted by Dan are VERY helpful about my transmission and refrigerator. I will write more on that later. Also, the comments on staying positive are a huge help. Loved the story about living in the stolen car!  

Oh and yes, I stole my shoes back. Those raccoons figured out they weren't good for anything anyhow.  

Now it's time for doggy and I to go on park and bark patrol, which we do on foot and paw. Yesterday, we noticed 14 boaters "forgot" to pay their boat launch fees. Amazing how forgetful folks can get.  


  1. WOW what kind of people are running that campground. I'm glad you left and were able to start at your next workamp job early.

    What kind of place doesn't have rubber gloves for the employees whether there volunteer or paid. That is discusting.

    Enjoy your new place.

  2. And from one full-timer to another...glad I could help some.

    I too am at the moment dealing with busted plans.


  3. Good for you for letting them know that was not acceptable and getting the heck out of there! I'm sure had you taken on their idea of "light housekeeping" with no complaints, they would have found a dozen other light chores to add to your job description.
    Glad everything worked out for you to move early!


Life is goof!