Monday, June 30, 2014

Life As Usual

            This will probably be a pretty short update simply because I have almost nothing new to report since yesterday’s post. I just got back from having lunch in the EDR with Nate, Tanner and Maggie. Nate and Maggie said it hasn’t been too busy at the desk so far today. Cristina and Jesse both have today off, and I think they went into town. I work the later shift today and tomorrow, then I’m off again on Wednesday and Thursday. At lunch Nate mentioned that he’s going to try to go for a hike on Wednesday during the day, and I might go with him. That evening we’re going into town for karaoke; we’ve got a pretty good size group for that now, so it should be a lot of fun.
            I’ll be working with James this evening, with Jen as the supervisor again. I don’t know how many check-ins we’re expecting, but I’m not worried about it. James and I will probably go to the Whistle Pig after the shift; he works the later shift with me again tomorrow. I went and hung out there in the Whistle Pig last night for about an hour, which was nice. I really love that place. Since Cristina and Jesse have the day off, Tanner gets off at about 4:30, and today is Nate’s Friday, I wouldn’t be surprised if all of them were in there tonight. Hopefully James and I will be able to leave at eleven tonight, instead of having to stay later like Nate and I had to do two nights ago.
            I got up a little after six this morning and met Nate and a few other people in the EDR for breakfast before they went into work. I don’t go into breakfast too often unless I’m working in the morning, but since my meal plan includes three meals a day no matter what, I try to use all three as much as possible. They stop serving breakfast at 8:30, though, so sometimes I just sleep through it. After coming back to the dorm after breakfast, I actually slept for a few more hours before getting up and sitting on the back porch for a while. Jesse was out there too, and said that he was going into town and was going to invite Cristina to come along since she was also off all day.
            Like I said at the beginning of this post, there’s not much other news to report right now. My weekend should definitely bring some fun updates! 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday Morning Coming Down

            Last night was another insane shift at the desk. When Nate and I arrived at the lodge at three, there were still almost 190 check-ins expected. Emily and Jen were the supervisors for the shift. It was overall okay for a lot of it; busy, but we weren’t having any problems. When we arrived there were six rooms left to sell, and by the end of the night we were at full capacity again. It wasn’t until about 10:30 at night that things got really crazy. It was about then that we realized there were about three unoccupied rooms that were still in “dirty” status in our computer system. Knowing that the people that had reserved those rooms would inevitably be in soon, we called housekeeping, hoping it was just a glitch in our system and the rooms were really clean. What sucked was just before noticing this, Emily had left for the night leaving Jen in charge for the remainder of the shift. It seems like whenever something goes wrong, Jen is the supervisor for it.
            Turns out it wasn’t a glitch in our system, and the rooms really were dirty. By that time at night there’s only one or two housekeepers still working, so Jen actually left the desk to help clean the rooms as quickly as possible. Soon after she left, one of the guests arrived, trying to check-in to one of the dirty rooms. It was pretty ridiculous having to tell him that the room wasn’t ready, at eleven o’clock at night, but that’s what Nate and I had to do. Not long after, while he was still waiting in the lobby, the second group of guests arrived, wanting the other room. Long story short, what with all the confusion and craziness going on, Nate and I didn’t leave until almost midnight. I was pretty exhausted by the end of it, and knowing I’d have to be back at work at seven this morning didn’t help.
            The highlight of the night was coming home to see Cristina and Tanner hanging on her bed watching The Lion King on her laptop. Tanner’s old roommate just moved out of dorm two, so Tanner moved in with Jesse in the room next to ours. Tanner was previously only three doors down from us, but having him in Jesse’s room now is even better since he now also has access to the back door of the dorm room.
            I woke up this morning at about 5:45, definitely not feeling like I got enough sleep. Getting up and ready for work was really tough. Cristina and I were working with Maggie this morning, and Emily was back as the supervisor again. We were expecting almost two hundred check-outs this morning. Check-outs are really easy to do, but that’s still a lot. Emily had heard about the craziness that went down after she left last night, and we talked about it a little bit at the beginning of the shift. I was there for a few hours working, but Emily then said I could leave early. She knew that I’d been there until almost midnight last night, and I think she could tell that I was still really tired. I didn’t want to leave them for the rest of the shift, but I knew that Cristina, Emily, and Maggie could take care of it, so I came back home and took a nap.
            I just got back from meeting Nate and Jesse at the EDR for dinner. Nate’s working the later shift today; he said so far it hasn’t been bad at the desk. Jesse was about to get off work when we were eating, and I’m currently sitting out on the back porch hanging with him. Today is the first day in a while that it hasn’t rained, and it’s very beautiful out here. One of our neighborhood foxes just ran by, and the sunlight through the branches of the pine trees, along with the wildflowers growing all around us, makes this the perfect spot to relax. I think later I’ll probably go to the Whistle Pig to hang out with Cristina and Tanner. I go into work tomorrow at three; Cristina has the day off. I think I’ll probably get up in time to meet Nate for breakfast tomorrow morning before he goes in for the earlier shift.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Crazy Days

            Last night at work was absolutely insane!! When I got there at three we were still expecting about 170 check-ins, so we could all tell it was going to be a busy day. Thankfully housekeeping was doing a good job of getting the rooms ready in time, but we were expecting to be at over ninety percent capacity by the end of the night, so everyone was working hard to make sure everything was ready. Jen and Christopher, who were the supervisors when we arrived, said they really wanted to sell out tonight, so we could offer walk in rates if someone without a reservation came in asking for a room. At the beginning of the shift we had about eight rooms still available, but by the end of the night we’d sold all of them. It was raining pretty hard for most of the evening, which played a part in us selling out. We had guests who were planning on driving beyond us today but didn’t want to continue in the rain, and guests that had been planning on camping but decided to stay with us instead due to the rain. The negative aspect of selling out, though, is we can’t give guests the option of a room-move if there are any problems with their room. Due to that, our housekeeping and maintenance departments were super busy taking care of any issues that the guests told us about. The craziness at the front desk did calm down in the last few hours of the shift, though, and Nate, David and I were able to relax and chat amongst ourselves. At that time, I asked David if he’d like to switch shifts today, so he’d work the earlier shift and I’d work the later one. He’d said earlier that he preferred the earlier shift, and I preferred the later one, so he said he’d definitely switch with me. After making a quick call to Rob to make sure it was okay, we officially wrote the switch on the calendar. So, instead of going in at seven this morning, I’m going to go in at three and work with Nate and Jen again. It should be another busy shift, but not as busy as yesterday’s.
            When we finally got off at eleven, the three of us went to the Whistle Pig to hang out and blow off some of the stress of that crazy shift. Maggie, Elliot, and some other friends of ours were in there, and we played a couple of games of pool and just relaxed, before heading back to our dorms when it closed at midnight.
            I just got back from having lunch at the EDR with Cristina and Tanner. I still work the morning shift tomorrow with Cristina and James. It’s pretty much impossible to get enough sleep when I have to work the later shift one day and the earlier shift the next day, so I think I’ll probably come back here and take a nap when my shift’s over tomorrow. 
            It seems like, most of the time, the posts that include pictures get the most views, so I’ll try to start including pictures more often. I’ve noticed recently that people that don’t know me at all are reading this blog simply by finding it on blogspot. I know part of the point of a blog is that it’s public, and some bloggers are followed by a lot of people, but it still kind of surprised me to learn that people that don’t know me at all still want to follow this blog. Pretty cool I guess. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Have You Ever Seen The Rain

Clouds covering the top of the Grand Teton itself 

Christopher and Jen, my adorable supervisors

Nate and David, men of the front desk

Brian striking a pose. Would you like bell service today? 

            The rain here really isn’t like any rain I’ve seen in San Antonio. Whether it’s coming down really strong like last night or gently like right now, it just seems like a different kind of rain than any I’ve seen before. This place is still absolutely beautiful, but in a slightly different way than it is when it’s sunny out.
Yesterday instead of going to the EDR for dinner, I went to one of the conference rooms, where there was an optional employee career development meeting. This company offers free career development classes for its employees that meet every other Thursday evening, starting yesterday. Cristina, Nate, and some of my other coworkers said that they were going, so I figured I’d join them just to see what it was all about. There were quite a few people attending, and some speakers included Zach Myers, the director of operations in the hotel, and Alex Klein, the vice president of the company. He actually sat at the same table as me and the other front desk agents, and at the end we all just chatted with him about all of our experiences in the park so far. For being the VP of the company, he’s an incredibly approachable and easy to talk to guy.
Yesterday evening after dinner it had stopped raining, so I took my camera out to the back patio of the lodge’s upper lobby and spent some time admiring the mountains and taking pictures. The dark, ominous rainclouds made for some great pictures! Some of the clouds were hanging fairly low, so they totally covered the tops of some of the higher peaks. The light also seemed to make Jackson Lake look even bigger than it is. There were some elk walking the Willow Flats that I also got pictures of. It was a really beautiful evening. On my way back I walked through the lobby and took some pictures in there as well.
            Not long after I got back the rain started up again. Cristina, Jesse and I sat out in the covered area of our back patio and admired it. Tanner came to join us for a while too. One of the most amazing things about it was that the rain had a smell in itself, but it also seemed to enhance the smell of the pine trees around us, and the blend was unlike anything I’d ever smelled before. I couldn’t get over it. It was a really great way to end my weekend.
            I go back into work at three today. It’ll be my first actual shift to work with David. Nate will be working with us too, and Jen will be the supervisor. I just got back from having lunch in the EDR with Cristina. She’s working the morning shift today, and said that we’re expecting about 190 check-ins, which will make for a pretty busy day. Housekeeping has been doing a really good job with getting the rooms ready in time for check-in, though, so it shouldn’t be too bad, and getting to work with Nate always makes for a fun shift. I do have to go back in to work at seven on Saturday morning, though, which is often hard. I may come back here and take a nap when my shift on Saturday ends. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bring On The Rain

            Last night was another fun night here in the park with my awesome friends! About mid afternoon Jesse and I headed into Jackson to hang out. We walked around the town for a while, stopping in a few stores, getting some simple stuff we’d been wanting in the dorm. At about 5:30 we decided that, instead of eating directly in town, we’d head back into the park and eat at Dornan’s, which is a little pasta and pizza restaurant on the way back to the lodge. As we got there and were walking in, we saw Nate and another employee we know walking out. We chatted with them for a while, and Nate agreed to meet us at the Whistle Pig later on. We then went into Dornan’s and had some delicious pizza before heading back to the lodge.
            It was late in the evening when we got back home- the sun sets so late here that evening seems to stretch much farther than it does in other places. It doesn’t really get dark until after nine. I hung out in the dorm by myself for a while- Cristina was still at work- then walked over to the Whistle Pig. Nate was already in there playing pool when I walked in, and Maggie was in there as well. I walked over to where he was and watched the rest of the pool game. We stayed in there until it closed at midnight playing pool, putting music on the jukebox, and just talking. Elliot came in later, when he was done with work, and joined us. James and a few more of our coworkers also came in.
            At midnight when it closed Elliot, Nate and I went to the dorm of another guy that works in the Mural Room with Elliot to hang out some more. We didn’t stay over there too long though; at I think about one Nate said that he was going home, and I followed him out. I really like the way the employee dorms are set up, what with everything being so close together. I can walk from my dorm to the Whistle Pig, Nate’s dorm, the employee village office, the EDR, or the lodge in a maximum of only about five minutes, which is especially nice at night. I’ll admit that the walk from the lodge back to my dorm after my shift ends at eleven at night can be a bit creepy, but also kind of cool in a way.
            I woke up this morning to the sound of rain outside. Cristina’s working the morning shift today, so she was already gone by the time I woke up. The rain had stopped by the time I went to lunch, but it’s still pretty dark and cloudy outside, with the occasional roll of thunder. I think, what with the way it looks, it’ll probably rain again before the day is over. I don’t really mind it though; this place is beautiful rain, snow, shine, or whatever other kind of weather it might get.
I just got back from having lunch at the EDR with Cristina and Nate. I’ve been able to guess about when she usually takes her lunch break, so I went to meet her in the lobby and we walked back to the EDR together. Just as we were walking in we noticed Nate, who just happened to be there at the same time, so we ate together. We also saw Jesse in there for a while. Yesterday he’d said that he needed to be at work at 5:30 this morning, which is probably why he wasn’t in the Whistle Pig last night. On the good side of that, he’s probably already off work for the day.
Last night, Maggie told me and Nate that Christopher had just put in his two weeks notice. He apparently got a better job in a hotel in Jackson, so he’s leaving. Because of that, Maggie said, there’s going to be a supervisor position opening soon. There’s a chance they’ll pick that supervisor from one of the current front desk agents, if we apply. Maggie said she’s going to apply, and Cristina might as well. Nate and I both said that we don’t really want supervisor jobs right now; we haven’t done the job long enough, and don’t really want the extra responsibility and hours that the supervisor would inevitably get. If Cristina or Maggie get it, that’s great; I, on the other hand, like my regular two days a week off.
The thunder outside is getting louder and more frequent, and it’s gotten even darker. Seems like an afternoon storm is about to start! Tomorrow I work the afternoon shift with Nate and David, then morning shift Saturday and Sunday. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Heaven Isn't Too Far Away

            Well, it’s already been an awesome weekend, and it’s not even half over! Work last night was overall really easy. It was only James and me working, with Emily as the supervisor. We only had about 130 check-ins at the beginning of the shift, though, which isn’t bad. We had a few plumbing issues in the lodge building for a while, so maintenance was really busy taking care of that, but we handled it. The drama of the night was a woman that came down to the lobby and was practically yelling at Emily. She’d been attending an event that was going on in one of the upstairs conference rooms, and had lost her very expensive camera while she was there. She came into the lobby, absolutely livid, insisting that someone had stolen it, and she was going to write a letter to the CEO of the company, how disturbing this was for her, blah blah blah… Turns out not long after she left, the camera was found and returned to her. I hope she felt like an idiot, which is sure what she looked like. I would’ve liked to see her come back and apologize to Emily, though I knew that wouldn’t really happen.
            At eleven James and I both got off and went to the Whistle Pig. Elliot had come by the lobby not long before I got off and said he was going to go to there as well, so I went and met him. I left a little before it closed, hung out in my dorm room for a while, then went to bed.
            This morning I got up and walked out onto the back porch to enjoy the beautiful morning. Jesse and Cristina were both already out there; she goes in at three and he has the day off. Jesse had his little camping stove out and was making coffee for the three of us. I swear Cristina and I got so lucky having Jesse as our neighbor; he’s absolutely awesome. The three of us sat out on the back porch area drinking coffee, listening to music, and talking until it was time to go to lunch. We met Tanner, on his lunch break, in the EDR and ate with him. At lunch Cristina said that she wanted to go to the pool before she went into work, and Jesse and I said that we’d join her. We also said that we wanted to plan another karaoke night for next Wednesday. Cristina was originally scheduled to work the later shift next Wednesday, but after lunch we went and asked David, the new front desk agent, if he would switch with her so she could get off at three, and he said he would. So far we know that it’ll be me, Cristina, Jesse, Nate, Tanner, Maggie, and Sadie, a friend of ours that works in the Blue Heron lounge in the upstairs lobby. We’ve also invited some other people who we haven’t heard from yet; it should be another awesome night.
            I just got back from hanging out at the pool with Cristina and Jesse, and the water felt absolutely glorious. It’s about 75 degrees here today which, amazingly enough, is one of the warmest days we’ve had since I got here. It’s bright and sunny outside, unlike the dark cloudy days we’ve been having recently.
            Cristina’s going to go into work soon, and since Jesse and I both have the day off he suggested that we go into town, which I said would be great. I absolutely love the town of Jackson; it may be small and a bit limited in some ways, but that’s part of its charm. We’re going to try to find Nate as well and see if he wants to join us. I’m sure we’ll walk around the town for a while, then find a place to have dinner. Sounds like the plan for another fun evening.
            I don’t know yet what I’m going to do tomorrow, but I know that Tanner’s off as well, so I’ll ask him if he has anything in particular that he wants to do for his day off and I may tag along. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

All Night Long

            Well, last night was quite a party! I went into work at three, along with James and Haley. I’d actually never worked a shift with Haley before, which was pretty crazy. We weren’t even officially scheduled to work together yesterday; Haley switched shifts with Maggie so she could go play in the softball game. We only had about 130 check-ins expected when we came in to work, and we got that number down to less than 100 in only like an hour. I was really hoping that I could get off early to go hang out with Cristina, Tanner, Jesse and Nate at the Whistle Pig. There was a little trivia event going on in there starting at nine that they were going to enter as a team, and I was hoping I could be there for at least the end of it.
            When I went on my dinner break, I met the four of them in the EDR and we ate together. Tanner’s team had a softball game starting at 6:30 that they were all going to go to. Later on, one of the players came through the lobby saying that they’d won.
            By a little after nine there were only about twelve check-ins left, and the supervisors said I could go. Shortly before that, Elena, one of the managers, had ordered chocolate milkshakes for all of us from the Pioneer Grill, and I took mine with me when I headed over to the Whistle Pig. Thankfully I was able to join the team for the rest of the trivia game, which was pretty fun. When the game ended, we just hung out there, playing pool and playing music on the jukebox, until almost midnight. When we started heading out, Cristina, Jesse and Tanner went back to dorm two, but I stuck around near the Whistle Pig with Nate and some other people we knew. Elliot soon showed up too, and we all went into one of the rooms in dorm six, Nate’s dorm, to hang out some more. As some more people showed up in there, we decided to move to the “Little Pig”, which is a building right next to the Whistle Pig that people can also hang out in. It has a pool table, ping-pong table, and some places to sit, and unlike the Whistle Pig, it’s open for employees to hang out in any time.
            I walked over to the Little Pig with Nate, Elliot, and some other people- there were about ten of us total in there. Nate and I played a few more games of pool, as did some other people. Someone had also brought a laptop and was playing music from it. We were in there until a little after two in the morning, when I finally came home and went to bed. It was a pretty crazy, but also really fun, night.
            Since I was out so late last night I slept until almost lunchtime today. I go back into work at three- I think I’m only working with James for this shift. Today is my Friday, so I’m sure I’ll go to the Whistle Pig again after work to kick off my weekend. I doubt I’ll be out as late as I was last night, but we’ll see. There’s a chance of rain the next two days, but if the weather stays clear I’m sure I’ll go hiking at least one of the days that I’m off. I may also go into town again to hang out with friends. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

            I just got back from having lunch in the EDR with Tanner, Jesse, and Nate. They’re all working right now; I go in at three. Cristina’s off all day today, but I haven’t seen her. She was gone when I got up this morning. My guess is she went hiking or something like that to enjoy her day off. I work the three to eleven shift today and again tomorrow, then have my weekend. There’s another softball game this evening that Tanner’s playing in, so Cristina and Nate are going to go see it. I’ll be at work, but when I get off I think I’ll go to the Whistle Pig, where they’ll probably be after the game.
            So yesterday evening Jesse grilled out on our back porch again since we had some food leftover from Cristina’s birthday party that we knew wouldn’t stay good too much longer. He grilled the rest of the chicken, the last red peppers, and made a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches for me, Cristina and Tanner. We made some s’mores as well. We told Emily about it when we were at work yesterday, and she stopped by for a while. Again, after we cleaned up the food, we stayed out on the porch just talking and enjoying the evening as well. We didn’t stay out too late though; by the time it was really dark most of us had gone inside for the night.
            Most of my coworkers have said that they prefer the earlier shift over the later one because it’s easier, but I think overall I prefer the later one. Yeah, check-ins are a little more complicated in our system, but once you’ve done a few they get pretty easy too. The later shift is also usually busier than the earlier one since not everyone actually comes up to the front desk to check out. But at the same time, most of the fun interactions I’ve had with guests have happened during the later shift, I’ve only had to take cash once on the later shift (while I’ve taken it on every morning shift), and when it gets slower at night, I can mainly just hang out more casually with my coworkers and supervisors. Yeah, sometimes I wish I didn’t have to be there until eleven, but there have been times when I could go early.
            It’s weird, but looking at my time here so far, actually working at the desk has felt like a pretty small portion of what I’ve done. I know I’ve really spent quite a bit of time working, but when I think about the past five weeks or so I think more about the hikes I’ve been on, seeing my first wild bald eagles on a scenic raft trip, watching the sun set behind the mountains on the back deck of the lodge’s upper lobby, karaoke in Jackson with my friends, going with Nate to see the mother grizzly bear and her two babies near the road, and the other great experiences I’ve had in my time outside of work itself. Not surprising; all of the amazing opportunities we have in our time off is the reason that most people come to work here, after all. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Grilling Yet Again!

            I’m currently sitting out on the back porch with Jesse, Cristina, and a few other friends. Jesse was off today and we had some food left over from Cristina’s birthday party, so he decided to have another grill night. It rained for a little while this afternoon, but stopped after not too long. Cristina and I both worked the seven to three shift today, and when we came back we took a nap, listening to the sound of the rain outside. It was a long but not too hard day at the desk today.
            Yesterday Tanner invited me and Cristina to go into town with him and some other friends of ours to enjoy the Saturday night. There were seven total people in our group; Cristina and I rode with Tanner while Colin, who works in conventions, drove the car with the other people. We left the dorms at about five, and had dinner at a Thai restaurant in Jackson. After dinner we walked around the fun little town of Jackson for a while, got some ice cream at one of the local shops by the center town square, and headed back into the park before it got too late. The road between Jackson and the lodge is absolutely gorgeous, but it can be a little scary at night, especially since elk often wander onto the road. It was a really fun way to spend a Saturday night.
            Today on my lunch break I met with Nate in the EDR. He’s working the later shift today unfortunately, so he can’t be here for most of the grill night. He said he’s going to try to stop by for a while after he gets off at eleven though. Cristina wants to make s’mores later tonight, which we still have lots of supplies for. She’s currently sitting on the picnic table getting some grilled cheese sandwiches ready to go on- one for me, one for Tanner, and one for her.
            Tomorrow I don’t have to go in until three, so I think I’ll sleep a little later. I’ll try to post a longer update tomorrow since I know this one is pretty short. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Night Before

Work last night with Cristina and Nate was a lot of fun! We were pretty busy at some parts, but busy can be fine if there aren’t problems. Right before I went on my dinner break a couple came up to check in. Their reservation was for one classic cottage that night, then moving to two non-view rooms in the lodge for the following three nights, since one of their parents were coming to meet them then. Before checking in, though, they told me this was a special occasion and asked me if there were any other rooms available that I’d recommend over the lodge rooms. I looked in our system and saw that two of the moose pond suite rooms were available for the nights of their stay. I told them that, though the Moran suite in the lodge is the most expensive, I’d prefer to stay in one of the moose pond suites if I could. After explaining the room to them a bit more, they asked if they could see it, so I gave the room key to one of the bellmen who took them over to the room, then I went to dinner. When I got back, Rob, who was the desk supervisor for that shift, said that they’d rented out one of the moose pond suites that night and reserved the other for the rest of their stay, for the parents. He then gave me a Grand Teton Lodge Company raffle ticket. Employees can win the tickets from their supervisors as a reward and enter them in a raffle for a grand prize drawing that’ll happen later in the season.
            I also met and checked in quite a few Texans last night. We always ask to see a photo ID at check-in, and if I see a Texas one I usually ask where specifically they’re from, and strike up a conversation from there. Last night I checked in groups from Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. Even weirder, the couple from San Antonio asked me what high school I’d gone to, and when I said Alamo Heights, they said they’d both gone there too! Small world we live in… Thankfully we weren’t very busy by the time they came, so I was able to chat with them for a while after checking them in. Right before leaving, the man started to sing the Alamo Heights school song there in the lobby, and I joined along. All of that, along with the fun that I always have working with Cristina and Nate, made for a really great night at work.
            I got done with my seven to three shift about an hour ago and am currently sitting outside on our back porch chatting with Cristina, Jesse, and Tanner. I worked with Cristina and Maggie, with Rob and Christopher on as supervisors. It was overall a pretty easy shift. Tomorrow Cristina and I work the morning shift again, then I’m afternoon for the next two days. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Summer Nights

Me, Nate and Cristina hanging by the grill

Nate being crazy for the picture :)

Tanner showing Cristina the cake he and I made for her

All of us hanging out on the back porch

Nate, Cristina, me, and Tony
The birthday party for Cristina last night was the best! Right after lunch Tanner and I went over to dorm thirteen, which is one of the manager’s dorms. Brian lives in there, and he said we can use the kitchen that they have since we know him. Tanner had asked me about a week ago to find out Cristina’s favorite type of cake without having her suspect anything, which I found out was red velvet. After I told Tanner that he got supplies to make a red velvet cake and we went to dorm thirteen and made it yesterday after lunch. I didn’t put that in yesterday’s blog post since in case Cristina read it, since it was supposed to be a surprise. After getting the batter ready to go in the oven, we headed into Jackson, planning to finish it when we got back. Hanging out with Tanner both in town and in the car on the way there and back was a lot of fun. We got steaks, corn on the cob, red peppers, potatoes, chips, and more to have for the party. When we got back we learned that Ken and Brian were bringing some food to have as well; our back picnic table was covered with food!
            Cristina and Nate were finished with work by the time we got back, and they came out to the back porch to get the grill and food ready. It was an absolutely beautiful day yesterday; in the low seventies, sunny, and breezy. While we were waiting for everyone else, we relaxed in the shade of the pine trees and enjoyed the gorgeous weather.
            Once the grill had heated up and other people started arriving, we put the corn on, as well as some asparagus that Ken had brought. Louise and her husband soon showed up, as well as Brian. Tony, a friend of ours who lives in our building, came out to join us as well. Jesse thankfully got off work in time to hang with us too, and brought some cookies for dessert. When the corn was done we put on some steaks, as well as some of the sausages that Brian brought; we had an absolute feast! It was definitely much better than any meal we’d had in the EDR.
            After we’d eaten a lot of the food we’d grilled, Tanner went to get the cake, which he’d gone off for a while to bake and put icing on. I distracted Cristina while Tanner brought the cake out of his room and around the corner, and we all sang happy birthday as he walked over with it. Cristina was surprised and the cake was awesome; I think the fact that Tanner had made it himself (with a little help from me) had made it even more special to Cristina.
            A little later Emily, our supervisor, and Zach, another bellman, showed up to wish Cristina happy birthday, have some cake, and share the fun with us. As evening turned to night we stood near the grill and tiki torches to keep warm. We’d all been out on the back porch for several hours by the time it started getting dark, which was when some people started leaving. Nate, Tanner, Cristina and I all sat out there pretty late into the night though, after we’d cleaned everything up, to just talk and be together. It was one of the best nights I’d had since arriving here.
            Today Nate, Cristina and I all go into work at three. I’m not sure how many check-ins we’re expecting today, but I’m not worried about it. I just got back from having lunch in the EDR with Cristina, Nate and Tanner. They’re definitely a very fun group to hang out with and be around.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Having A Party!

Well, the weather’s much clearer today than yesterday, so grill night is definitely still on! I just got back from just going into town with Tanner to get some supplies for it. We got steaks, potatoes, peppers, and corn on the cob to grill, as well as chips and cookies; it’s definitely going to be a party tonight! We ate lunch with Cristina and Nate and decided that it would be easier if just Tanner and I went instead of waiting for them to get off work. We also saw Jesse in the EDR at lunch; he says he’s not sure when he’ll get off work today, but he left his back door unlocked so we can get the grill out. Louise and her husband are also going to join us this evening since they’re about to leave. Ken, Brian, and some other people we know will probably come over for a while too. Ken actually went into town on his own today and picked up some other stuff for us to make; he just got back with his cooler. We’re going to have a real feast out here tonight!  
            This morning I woke up at about six to go to breakfast with Cristina and Nate before they went in to work. When we were in the EDR eating the lights flickered a little, and when I got back to the dorm the power was out. When I headed back to the lodge for lunch the lights in the dorm were still off. The lodge has a generator that it can run on, so it was still lit. I heard that the cottages didn’t have power though, and neither did Colter Bay, Signal Mountain or Flagg Ranch, which are other properties in the park. By the time I got back to the dorms after lunch, though, the power had come back on.
            I’ll get my camera out again this evening when we grill and take some pictures of us all hanging out on the back porch. It should be a great way to celebrate Cristina’s birthday. It’s also great that all of us were able to get time off work to all relax and hang out together this evening. Nate, Cristina and I all work the later shift tomorrow, too, so we don’t have to worry about getting up early for work. Nate’s birthday is next month, so I was telling Tanner on the ride back from Jackson that we should do something like this again for him, which I’m sure we’ll do.
            We’re going to start everything up really soon, so I’m going to finish this post now. I’ll let y’all know how tonight goes later. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

From The Land Of The Ice And Snow

The snow falling very actively right outside my back door! 
            I got off work a little early last night and went over to the Whistle Pig to hang out. Nate was already in there, so I joined him to talk about how work had been. The shift had been really busy for the first few hours, but after dinner it calmed down. By about ten there were only twelve check-ins left, so Emily let me leave early. After we’d been in the Whistle Pig for about an hour, someone came in and said that it was snowing outside. I’d seen in the weather report that they were predicting snow, but I didn’t believe it until I stepped outside and saw it. The temperature outside was in the thirties, or maybe even lower, and it was definitely snowing. I left a little before closing to come home to bed.
            Cristina and I slept in this morning- I’m off today and she didn’t go in until three. We stepped outside at about noon to see that the snow was still actively coming down. I think it might’ve stopped for a while in the morning, since there wasn’t too much on the ground, but it continued snowing until we were walking back to the dorm after lunch. Her being from Florida and me from Texas, we both couldn’t get over how crazy it was. I got my camera out and took some pictures and videos of it. I felt like I had to document it- June 18th, and it’s snowing!! I’ve heard that weather like this isn’t too uncommon here in the park, but it’s still amazing to me.
            I just got back from having dinner at the EDR with Cristina, Jesse and Tanner. Jesse and Tanner had both just gotten off work when I met them. Cristina said that tomorrow when she gets off work at three she’s going to go into town to get some more supplies for the little birthday party we’re having in the evening, and I said I’d join her. I’ve been wanting to go into town for a while to pick up a few things as well. Tanner will probably come too, since he’s off tomorrow.
            Later this evening I’m going to go over to the Whistle Pig to hang out, and Tanner will probably join me. I’m guessing Nate will be there too. That little place is such a great spot for employees to relax, hang out, and have fun with each other without being around the guests. I’m really glad that this awesome company provides us with somewhere like that. People from pretty much all the departments are in there regularly. I’ve seen most of my coworkers in there at least a few times, including my supervisors. But when we’re hanging in the Whistle Pig, they don’t really feel like supervisors since we’re not working or around the guests; we’re just people hanging out together. There are two pool tables and a jukebox in there, and we can get food and drinks for pretty cheap.
            Celebrating Cristina’s birthday tomorrow evening should be a lot of fun. I’m really glad that Nate was able to switch shifts so that he can be there with the rest of us. Tomorrow the weather’s supposed to clear up so we should be able to grill and spend time on the back porch in the evening. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Ready For Another Weekend

Well, a little over two hundred check-ins currently stand between me and my weekend. Cristina and I go into work at three, and it’ll definitely be a very busy day. There are over two hundred check-outs scheduled, and over two hundred check-ins. Housekeeping will be going crazy trying to clean all of those rooms between check-out time at eleven and check-in time at four. Yesterday’s shift wasn’t as busy as we were expecting. There were still a lot of check-ins, but it went pretty smoothly. I hope I’ll be able to say the same about today’s shift. There were like six tour groups arriving yesterday, which in a way made it easier since we were able to check some big groups of people in all together. I think there may be more tour groups coming in today, which is part of the reason we have so many check-ins expected. As far as if it’ll go smoothly, it really depends on if housekeeping can get the rooms clean in time.
            Thankfully, no matter how tonight’s shift goes, today is my Friday. I’m definitely looking forward to Thursday, since we’re all going to hang out for Cristina’s birthday. I’m so glad that Nate was able to switch shifts so he can hang out with us too. Our last grill night wasn’t quite as fun without him. I haven’t made any plans for tomorrow yet; it’ll depend on the weather. Yesterday it rained quite a bit while I was working and into the night. It hasn’t actually rained today, but it’s really cloudy and the temperature is in the forties. If it clears up tomorrow I’d like to go for a hike or something, but if not I’ll find something else to do around here. I’ve learned that I can pretty much always find something to do in this park, rain or shine. Maybe I’ll take my camera to the upper lobby of the lodge and get some pictures of the mountains through the huge windows up there. Cloudy days can actually make for really great photographs. There’s also a possibility I’ll go into Jackson for a while on either Wednesday or Thursday to pick up some things. Nate’s off Wednesday and Tanner’s off Thursday, so I’ll ask if one of them is going into town on one of those days and go along with them.
            There’s really not a whole lot of other news to report. I think I’ll probably go to the Whistle Pig after work tonight since I don’t have work tomorrow. Nate and Tanner will probably be there, as well as other people I know, and it’s a good place to go to relax after busy work shifts. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Time Of My Life

            Well, last night at work had its crazy moments, but overall it wasn’t bad. Someone new was being trained to work PBX, the hotel phone operator position. That station is right next to the front desk, and we work with them a lot. I’ve taken over PBX for a while on multiple occasions while the main operator has gone for on a meal break. It’s not very hard to do. We’re pretty short staffed there, so someone from another department was there yesterday being trained by Kay, one of the PBX operators. They both left at eight, though, so Nate and I switched around the job of PBX and the front desk until eleven when the shift was over. Christopher and Jen were the supervisors, but Jen was gone for most of the shift, so it got a little crazy after eight with just me, Nate and Christopher there. We survived, though.
            A new front desk agent just arrived, since Louise will be leaving very soon. His name is David and he’s also from Texas. I just got back from having lunch in the EDR, and talking with him. He heard about this job because he’s friends with John, who works in security here. David starts training for the job on Wednesday.
            Thursday is Cristina’s birthday, so we’re going to try to do another grill night/little party for her that evening. Tanner and I are both off on Thursday, and Cristina’s done by three. Nate was originally working the three to eleven shift Thursday, but he was able to switch with Haley to get the morning shift so he can hang out too, which I’m pretty happy about. Jesse says Thursday will be a pretty busy day in his department, but he’s going to try to get off early as well. I hope he can; it’s not too often that all of us can hang out together, and this works out perfectly since it’s Cristina’s birthday. Yesterday afternoon her brother and his fiancĂ© came down from Yellowstone to hang out with Cristina and go into Jackson for the evening. While they were here they met Tanner, Jesse, Nate and me. Nate and I weren’t able to hang out with them for very long since we had to go into work at three, but it was still nice to meet them. They said they’re going to try to come back down Thursday evening for her party.
            I work the three to eleven shift today with Maggie and James, then the same shift again tomorrow with Cristina and James. Tomorrow is supposed to be a really crazy day; we’re expecting a lot of check-ins that day. I’m sure it’ll be a really busy shift, but at least I’ll have the next two days off after that. I haven’t made any plans for my weekend yet. I know that Nate and Tanner both have Wednesday off as well, so maybe we’ll do something, depending on the weather. Right now it’s about fifty degrees, cloudy, and has been raining on and off. Rain or shine, though, it’s beautiful outside. I’ve determined it’s pretty much impossible to find an ugly spot in this park. One of the many things I love about it here is there’s no litter on the ground. The people that come here respect the natural beauty of this place and want to preserve it. The overall feel of this park is so different than anywhere else I’ve ever been. Everything from seeing foxes run right by my back door to watching the sun set behind the mountains in the evenings to sitting out on my back porch at night admiring the sky full of stars makes this place feel so special and amazing. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Feels Like Home

            Little change of plans! Yesterday evening before getting the grill going I walked back over to the lodge with Jesse and Cristina to get some supplies from the EDR, and we hung out in the lobby for a while with Nate, who was working the desk with Maggie. I knew I’d probably stay up pretty late to hang out on the back porch with everyone, and saw on the schedule that Maggie was scheduled to work the afternoon shift again today, while I was scheduled in the morning. I asked Maggie if she wanted to switch shifts, so I’d be able to sleep a little later this morning, and she immediately agreed. The later shift today will definitely be busier than the morning one, but I don’t think it’ll be too bad. Nate’s working this afternoon too, which should make the shift more fun.
            Grilling last night was a lot of fun. Jesse grilled Italian sausages, red peppers, and some peaches with butter and brown sugar, all of which were delicious. He also made a literally “grilled cheese sandwich” for Cristina, who’s a vegetarian. Ken, one of the bellmen (and one of the few employees I’ve met who’s also from Texas), came and joined us for most of the evening. He and I walked down to the Whistle Pig not long after he arrived and got French fries, mozzarella sticks, and onion rings, which we brought back to the dorm. It was the best meal I’d had in quite a while. When we were done we just relaxed and listened to music for a while, and later on we made s’mores with the last heat of the grill. We stayed out on the patio until Nate got off work at eleven and came and joined us for just a little longer, then the cold got the better of us and we all said goodnight. I slept fairly late this morning, which felt nice since I’d been up pretty late last night. Pretty soon Cristina and I will probably head to meet Nate, Jesse and Tanner at the EDR for lunch.
            I hadn’t noticed this yet when I posted my previous blog, but as of yesterday I’ve been living in Grand Teton National Park for exactly one month. I don’t think I’ve ever been away from my family and friends in San Antonio for this long before. At the same time, Cristina, Nate, Jesse, Tanner, and the other people I’ve met here are honestly some of the best friends that I’ve ever had; it’s so hard to believe that I’ve only known them for a month. This is already, for sure, the best summer of my life, and I really don’t want it to end. This place has really become my home, and the people around me have become my family. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Grill Night!!

            I don’t have a lot of time to write, so this’ll probably be a fairly short post. Last night I learned that I’d gotten a second guest service shout out, which was nice to hear. Both have identified me as being the check in girl from Texas. I guess either people pay a lot of attention to the part of my nametag that says “Texas”, or I make it really obvious without realizing it.
            A cold front apparently blew in last night; it was about 45 degrees this morning, and even with the sun out hasn’t warmed up a whole lot throughout the day. The cold actually woke me up last night, and I immediately pulled an extra blanket on top of me. We’ve got the heater in our little dorm room running right now, and it’s pretty warm in here, but we’re all putting on jackets when we step outside. Wearing jeans and a jacket on June fourteenth feels so crazy, what with being used to San Antonio summers.
            I didn’t get home from work last night until about 11:30, and had to be back up early this morning to be at work by seven, so when I got off today at three I came home and took a little nap. Jesse and Cristina met me at the EDR at my lunch break and said that they were getting ready to go into town since they both had the day off and wanted to get some supplies for grilling tonight. They both just got back and are putting some stuff away. Cristina told me they got sausages, peppers and even peaches to grill, plus supplies to make s’mores for dessert. Unfortunately Nate’s working the later shift so he can’t make this one, but there will be other times. We’ve invited a few other people that we know to stop by if they want to, but right now we’re mainly just planning for it to be me, Cristina and Jesse. Tanner’s working the activities’ desk until nine, so he’ll probably come out and join us when he gets off. I’ll make sure to bring my camera out again and document the fun evening that it’ll inevitably be.
            I work the morning shift again tomorrow, then thankfully get to sleep on the next two days since I don’t have to be at work until three. Work today wasn’t very crazy since right now the lodge is only at about seventy percent capacity. A lot of people have checked out the past couple of days. I noticed that the percent capacity goes up quite a bit tomorrow and stays that way for a few days, so the next few days at work will be really busy for sure. I’m not worried about it though. I got kind of lucky working the morning shift tomorrow again since tomorrow we’re expecting more check-ins than check-outs, and it’s the later shift that mainly deals with the check-ins. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

A Day In The Life

            I just got back from having lunch at the EDR with Cristina and Tanner. Cristina’s been working the morning shift today, and she said it’s been really busy. There’s over two hundred check-outs expected today, so they’ve been going crazy trying to get all of those taken care of. Nate and I go in at three for the later shift, which shouldn’t be as bad. Cristina told me at lunch that there’s only a little over one hundred check-ins today, so at the end of the day the lodge will probably be at around seventy percent capacity. There also aren’t any big tour groups coming in today, which is a relief. Nate and I will be the only desk agents there for the later shift, but Jen and Christopher should be there too, so I don’t think it’ll be too bad. They’re all pretty fun to work with. I hope I can get out of there as close to eleven as possible, though, since I have to be back to work at seven tomorrow morning. It’s always hard to get enough sleep when I have to do that, but at least I’ll be done by three Saturday. Maybe I’ll go to the pool or something in the afternoon tomorrow after I get off. I think the plan is still to grill out here on the porch Saturday evening, which I’m looking forward to.
            Yesterday afternoon when I had some free time I decided to call some friends from back in SA. It was really nice to hear voices from home and exchange stories of what’s been going on recently. Getting news of what’s happening at the SA zoo was especially nice; I’ve been keeping up with it via the internet as much as I can, but hearing info about the new baby gibbon, how zoo camp’s been going, and other zoo stuff from an “inside source” was somehow better.
            Last night I just hung out on the porch with Jesse for a while after dinner, wrote and posted a blog update, then hung out in our room waiting for Cristina to get off work. When she got back, Tanner came over for a while to hang out in our room with us. Apparently it had been a pretty stressful shift last night, and Cristina told us a few horror stories of the night. Tanner then shared a few scary yet hilarious stories of things that went on, and went wrong, at another hotel that he used to work at.
            I’m sure a lot of my blog posts sound almost exactly like each other, and that’s because a lot of my days are pretty similar. Sure, each day here has something that makes it unique and special, but sometimes it’s a pretty small thing. I still like writing and posting what I do everyday, and I try to make each post interesting for y’all to read, which I hope they are.  

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Peaceful Easy Feeling

            It’s been a pretty simple, relaxing day off. I’m currently sitting out on my back porch listening to music and hanging out with Tanner, Cristina and Jesse. Cristina goes into work pretty soon, and Tanner and Jesse both have today off as well. It’s pretty cloudy today, about seventy degrees, with a cool breeze blowing. There are plenty of beautiful places around this park, but, as I’ve said before, this back porch is my absolute favorite spot that I’ve found. I think it’s because not only is it a very peaceful, pretty spot, but it’s the spot where I’ve had the most enjoyable, fun experiences with the amazing friends I’ve made here in this park. From listening to music with Cristina, to lying on the picnic table stargazing with Tanner, to eating grilled sausages with Nate, Jesse and Brian, this exact spot has been an amazing place to enjoy the company of friends.
            I woke up this morning with my arms feeling a little bit sore; I guess because of all the paddling of the kayak that I did yesterday. It amazes me that here in this park, you can get a good amount of exercise, but being in such a beautiful, scenic, wonderful area, you hardly realize that you’re exerting yourself. Thankfully I’ve gotten totally used to the elevation here, so I’m no longer getting short of breath on hikes or anything.
            I work the afternoon shift with Nate tomorrow, then work the morning shift on Saturday and Sunday. We’ve been really busy the last few days, and probably will be throughout the weekend since the lodge is at almost one hundred percent capacity right now. We’ve been having several big tour groups coming in, and the housekeeping staff has been really busy getting and keeping the rooms clean for new check-ins. I’ve heard that tomorrow the morning will probably be busier than the afternoon since we have more people checking out than checking in, so I’m glad that Nate and I are working the later shift. Sometimes it’s more stressful if the rooms aren’t ready for check-in by four, but if housekeeping’s on top of things it shouldn’t be a bad shift.
            I mentioned this on Facebook yesterday, but for those of you that only follow me here I’ll say it again. None of the rooms here in Jackson Lake Lodge have televisions in them. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t really like being completely disconnected from the world either, but there’s actually a pretty good wifi connection throughout this property. If there wasn’t I wouldn’t be able to type out and post all of my blog updates from my laptop, which is what I do. That’s more than a lot of national parks can say; Yellowstone has no wifi and very limited cell phone service all throughout it. Still, I fairly regularly hear guests complain that there aren’t TV’s in the room. In a place this amazing that has so much to offer, I’d never use a TV even if we did have one. When someone complains about there being no TV, I want to say, if you wanted a vacation that consisted of sitting in front of a screen watching your favorite shows, you should’ve saved yourself the time and money and just stayed at home. Okay, rant over.
            It’s been getting darker and windier out here just in the time I’ve been writing this; I think we might get some rain this evening, which would be really cool. Depending on how I feel I might go to the Whistle Pig with Tanner and Jesse after dinner, or maybe just continue to stick around here. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My Own Kind Of Paradise

The gorgeous snow capped mountains

The Jackson Lake marina at Colter Bay

Colin and Tanner in their kayak

Jesse next to me in his kayak

The mountains reflecting in the water was amazing
            This morning I got up and met Jesse out on our back porch. We sat out there for a while talking, drinking the coffee that he’d made, and enjoying the nice morning. Cristina came out and joined us when she woke up, and we then texted Nate to come join us, which he soon did. Jesse, Tanner, and Nate and I all have today off, and Cristina doesn’t go in until three, so we decided we’d all go up to the marina at Colter Bay and go kayaking on Jackson Lake. Colin, another employee that we’ve hung around with some, came along with us.
We all left the dorms at about eleven, ate lunch together in the Colter Bay EDR, then went off to rent kayaks. Employees are allowed to have them out for two hours for free, thankfully. Tanner and Colin shared a two person one, Nate and Cristina shared a canoe, and Jesse and I each had our own kayaks. It’s an absolutely beautiful place to be on the water. We all took off at about noon, and spent the first half hour or so paddling out to one of the islands in Jackson Lake. There weren’t too many people on the water, which made it even nicer. We got out on the island we arrived at, and spent about another half hour walking around it, exploring, taking pictures, skipping rocks, and just all hanging out together on that beautiful island.
After a while of hanging out on the island we returned to our kayaks and got back out on the water. We took our time getting back into the marina, taking some more pictures and just goofing around with each other a bit. When we all eventually got back and went to put our paddles away, we saw that Jen, one of our supervisors, was getting ready to rent a kayak as well. Today’s one of her days off, and I guess she had the same idea that we did. Pretty much all of the employees, no matter what department, definitely take advantage of all the awesome opportunities we have on our days off; that’s one of the main reasons we work here.
We got back to the dorms together at a little after two, and Cristina went to get ready to go into work. Not long after getting back, Tanner knocked on my door and asked if I wanted to go hang out at the pool with him, which I immediately said yes to. The two of us swam and tossed a football around in there for a while; it felt great to be in the water. After spending some time doing that I got out and came back to my dorm room to relax for a while, telling Tanner I’d text him before heading to the EDR for dinner.
Tanner and I might hang out again together, since we both have it off as well. We might do some hiking around Jenny Lake or somewhere else around the park. This morning Jesse, Cristina and I said that we might have another little grill party outside our rooms on Saturday night. Jesse has the day off, and Cristina and I both work in the morning. Nate’s going to try to switch shifts so he can work in the morning as well. We think we might turn it into a “day after payday” tradition. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

TGI "Friday"

Last night turned out to not exactly be what we were expecting it to be, but it was still really fun. At about four yesterday Cristina found out that there’d been some kind of wreck in Yellowstone and the roads were either closed or incredibly crowded, so her brother was going to save the trip down here for another time. After talking to Jesse and Nate, though, we decided we’d meet up at six and go to the Pioneer Grill anyway, since we’d all been looking forward to it. All four of us then took a little nap in our rooms before meeting up. Cristina and I had been sitting out on the back porch for a while, and we fell asleep in our beds with the back door standing wide open. We leave that door standing open quite a bit, in fact. It makes the space feel bigger and it’s nice to feel and hear the breeze from outside. I guess that’s a pretty good sign that we feel really safe out here; we know most of our neighbors, and most people just leave their doors unlocked, in our dorm at least. It just doesn’t seem like a big deal.
            At a little after six, Nate came over and met me, Cristina and Jesse on our back porch, and together the four of us headed to the Pioneer Grill. It felt kind of weird to be hanging out in the lodge while not working. Some of the people in the restaurant we recognized as people that we’d checked in, but I don’t think they recognized us since we weren’t in uniform. We all really liked having dinner somewhere other than the EDR; the food there really isn’t bad, but it’s nice to get a change once in a while. But, overall, what we were really coming for was the awesome desserts that the Pioneer Grill has. Cristina and I had a piece of cheesecake, Jesse had a malt, and Nate had a “Mount Owen”, which is two big cookies with ice cream in between and chocolate syrup drizzled on it. Everything was delicious.
            After walking back to the dorm area from dinner, we decided to go to the Whistle Pig to hang out and play some pool. We didn’t really expect to stay in there until it closed at midnight, but that’s what ended up happening. Tanner met us there after he got off work at nine, and we spent the night playing pool, singing along to songs on the juke box, and just having fun. Elliot eventually came to join us as well when he got off work.
            When the place closed down at midnight Cristina, Tanner and I walked back to dorm two together and the three of us sat out on our back picnic table for about another hour just talking and enjoying the moon and stars in the beautiful night. Tanner had to be at work this morning, so eventually he said he had to go back to his room, and Cristina and I both went back inside as well. Before going to bed, we agreed that we’ve met the absolute nicest, sweetest, funniest, overall best guys of our lives right here in this park in the last few weeks. This is really an amazing place.
            Since I worked the morning shift the past three days, I slept in this morning. Cristina and I both go in at three today. Nate and Jesse both have the day off; the four of us just got back from having lunch at the EDR. Tomorrow and Thursday are my days off, and awesomely enough, Jesse, Tanner, and Nate all have tomorrow off as well, and Cristina doesn’t have to go in until three. There’s a chance of rain tomorrow, but we’ve agreed that if it doesn’t rain we’re all going to go kayaking on Jackson Lake in the morning. Employees are allowed to rent kayaks for free from the marina up at Colter Bay, and it’s a really beautiful area. If the weather stays nice, that should be a lot of fun. Tanner actually has Thursday off as well; I think I’d prefer the activities desk’s schedule over front desk. The way theirs works is they work four days of ten-hour shifts, then have three days off before going back in. Since there’s so much here to do on our days off, I think that schedule is better. At the same time, their pay is a little lower than ours. I might ask Tanner if he wants to do something together on Thursday if he doesn’t already have plans.
            I’ve been living here in GTNP for almost a month now. I was surprised how easy and fast it was to adjust to life in a dorm, with a roommate, and just overall the big change of living in this place. I’ve also been amazed at how easy it’s been to make some great friends, and how we’ve all become so close so fast. No, I haven’t known them very long, and I don’t know everything about them, and we all come from different areas of the country, but we’ve quickly become a kind of family here. I can’t get over how amazing that is.  

Monday, June 9, 2014


            Again, this’ll probably be a short post since my time to write this is pretty limited. I just got back from working the earlier shift with Cristina and Nate. It was actually a very fun day at work. Cristina made a few embarrassing mistakes on the phone: laughing as she picked up the receiver, trying unsuccessfully to describe a problem with a shower handle in a room to maintenance, and best of all, leaving a message asking someone to call us back but not remembering the number. We all got quite a kick out of it, and even the supervisors were laughing.
            Cristina’s brother’s supposed to get here around four, so in about half an hour. We’re going to hang out with him for the rest of the day. Jesse was able to get his shift switched, so he’s now able to come to the Pioneer Grill for dinner with Nate, Cristina, her brother, and me. Tanner’s working until nine, but we’ll come visit him at the activities desk sometime, and he can hang out when he’s done.
            The softball game yesterday evening was a lot of fun. After a really entertaining game, Tanner’s team won. When we got back to the dorms, Cristina, Jesse, Tanner, Brian, Kelsey (a member of the team), and I all squeezed into Tanner’s car and went to Leek’s, a delicious pizzeria a few miles north of us in Colter Bay, right on the bank of Jackson Lake. We ordered a few pizzas and all sat outside, enjoying the beautiful evening and the fact that the Tanner’s team had won the game.
 When we arrived back home again, a few of them said they were going to hang at the Whistle Pig, but Cristina and I just went to bed since we had to get up for work in the morning. Still, it was a really great evening out with friends.