Thursday, July 31, 2014

Summer Breeze Makes Me Feel Fine

The view of Jackson Lake from Lunch Tree Hill this evening

Mount Moran in all its glory 

            I absolutely love my weekends here in this park! Today has been super relaxing and fun. It began with me waking up fairly early to go to breakfast with Cristina before she went into work. Getting up early for breakfast on my days off is so much easier than getting up on days when I have to work in the morning, probably because on my days off I know that after breakfast I can go back to my room and sleep for a couple more hours, which is usually what I end up doing. I just figure that I should go eat breakfast as often as possible since I’m getting charged for three meals a day whether I use them or not.
            After breakfast, I had a really easy, maybe kind of lazy morning in my room and out on the back porch. It was still pretty cool out today, but it got a little warmer than yesterday because it was sunny out for a while; perfect weather for relaxing out on the picnic table by my room! I absolutely love that spot.
            I met Jesse in the EDR for lunch at a little before noon. He went into work at seven this evening. He told me he’ll probably be working fairly late tonight since one thing his department needs to do is do some rearranging in the Mural Room, the nicer restaurant upstairs. Obviously, though, they can’t do that until after the Mural Room closes and gets cleaned up, which won’t be until probably close to ten.
            While walking back to the dorms after lunch, I decided that I should go to the pool. The air was still cool, but the sun was warm, and it’d be a fun way to spend the afternoon. So, after running over to the employee village office to drop in a load of laundry, I changed into my swimsuit, grabbed my towel, and headed over to enjoy my “Sunday” afternoon at the pool. As always, being in the water felt absolutely amazing.
            After spending about two hours swimming around and lying out next to the pool, I returned to the dorm. Cristina got back from work just a little while after I did, and we spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out with Tanner, who also had the day off, in and around our rooms. I headed to the EDR before they did, and when I arrived there I saw Nate, who’s working the later shift today. I got my food and sat down with him. Shortly after I did, I saw Jesse walk in, who also came and ate with us. I love hanging out with those guys; they’re awesome.
            When I got back after dinner, I decided to grab my camera and go take some pictures up on Lunch Tree Hill, which is the easy hike that only takes about fifteen minutes from my room. It brings me to such a great panoramic view of Jackson Lake, the Teton Range, and the Willow Flats that I just can’t keep away! I stayed up on the hill for at least half an hour, taking some pictures and admiring the view.
            I work the afternoon shift tomorrow, and every day this week, actually. Nate’s also working that shift tomorrow, so working with him will be nice. I’ll probably get up early again and go to breakfast with Cristina, who’s working the earlier shift again.   

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Beautiful Day In a Beautiful Place

            First of all, I have to say that today’s weather was just awesome! The temperature never got above about seventy degrees. It didn’t rain at all, but remained cloudy and cool for pretty much the entire day. While that stopped me from going to the pool, it definitely did NOT stop me from hanging out on my back porch and hiking up to Lunch Tree Hill to enjoy the cool weather and view of the mountains. The view up there is absolutely breathtaking. It’s hard to believe that I’m lucky enough to be able to walk from my room to that spot in only about fifteen minutes. Sometimes I go sit up there and just get lost in the beauty of Jackson Lake and the Teton Range. This is, without a doubt, the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.
            I met up with Nate, Tanner, and Cristina for lunch in the EDR at about 11:30. Cristina was working seven to three today, Tanner had the earlier shift at the activities desk, and Nate was also off. He went into town after lunch to pick up a few things. Cristina and Tanner both said that it had been a pretty easy, simple day so far at the desks. I told them about seeing one of my zoo campers yesterday, which still almost feels like a dream. It was such a crazy coincidence, and it was just so great to see Amber and her family yesterday. I’m sure I’ll see them again before they leave on Saturday.
            After lunch I decided to just walk around the lodge property for a while. I didn’t want to just go back and sit in my dorm for the afternoon, but didn’t want to take a real serious hike by myself either, so I basically circled the property, admiring the beauty of it all. There really isn’t an ugly corner, crevice, or spot in this park. I walked out to the horse corrals on the edge of the property to hang around the horses for a while, then over by the swimming pool, and through the lines of cottages before eventually coming back to the employee dorms. It wasn’t really a big thing to do, but it seemed to give the day a feeling of purpose. And being outside in the cool air felt amazing.
            Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be similar to today, but it’s impossible to reliably predict the weather in this park. If the sun comes out more tomorrow I might go hang out at the pool. I know that Tanner’s off tomorrow, and Jesse doesn’t need to go in until pretty late to help take down a few things after an event at the lodge, so I may hang out with them. Cristina is working in the morning tomorrow, so I think I’ll probably get up earlier and join her for breakfast before she goes in. Unlike last week, this coming week at work I have all afternoon shifts at the desk. I was originally scheduled for the earlier shift on Sunday, but David asked me to switch with him since he wanted Sunday evening off, so I said sure. On Jesse’s birthday a couple of weeks ago I asked David to switch since I wanted the evening off, and he agreed, so I kind of felt like I owed it to him to switch this time. I don’t mind the later shift anyway. Unlike pretty much everyone else at the desk, I actually kind of prefer the later shift. I’m thinking about asking Haley to switch with me on Saturday, though, so I’ll be working with Cristina and Nate in the morning. That’s the day that Amber and her family leave, also, and I’d kind of like to see her before they do. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Customer Service, Coincidences, and Campers

            Well, it’s dark, cloudy, and a little rainy here in Grand Teton National Park this afternoon, but I’m feeling absolutely amazing! Today at work was one of the best days I’ve had at the desk so far. At first it was just me and Haley at the desk, with Rob as the supervisor. After being there for about a little over an hour, a young couple that was staying here for their honeymoon stopped by the desk. They said that they’d forgotten to pack the charger for their camera, and were wondering if we by any chance had that type of charger in lost and found or somewhere at the desk that they could borrow. We didn’t, but when the man pulled out the camera I noticed that it was the exact same type of camera that I have. I called Rob over and asked him if I could run back over to my dorm and grab my own camera’s charger to let them borrow. It wasn’t very busy at the desk yet, so he said that was fine. I quickly went back out to my dorm room, got my own charger out of my camera bag, and brought it back to the lobby where the couple was waiting. I plugged the charger in behind the desk, put their camera’s battery into it, and they said they’d stop by and pick it up later. Shortly after they left, Rob gave me an employee raffle ticket, which is given out as a reward for great customer service. I just did it since I thought it would suck to have a nice, expensive camera like that but not be able to use it, especially for a really special event like a honeymoon.
            Tanner’s working at the desk from eleven to nine today, so he and I planned to both go to lunch at noon. Cristina, Nate, and Jesse all have the day off today, so they all went up into Yellowstone to hang out for the day. Getting the same lunch break as Tanner was still really nice though. Hanging with him is definitely a bright spot in pretty much any day.
            The second portion of the shift went really easily. I tried to keep busy instead of constantly looking at the clock, counting down the minutes until my weekend started. When there was only about half an hour until my shift was over, another couple came to me to check in that looked very familiar. They immediately agreed that I looked familiar as well, and we quickly realized, to our amazement, that they’re the parents of one of my favorite and most loyal zoo campers! I’ve known their wonderful daughter since she was five years, and she’s now thirteen. One of the things that made me really sad about missing zoo camp was that I wouldn’t see Amber this summer, but I was wrong! After I checked in and talked with her parents for a while, they said that they were going to go park then go to the Pioneer Grill with the kids. A few minutes later a very excited (and considerably taller than last time I saw her) Amber ran into the lobby. When she saw me, her face seemed to just light up. I immediately came out from behind the desk and gave her a big hug. I couldn’t believe how tall she’d gotten! At age thirteen, she’s almost old enough to start volunteering at the zoo herself, which she said she’s going to do next summer. We talked for a while, and I told her that I have the next two days off, but will be back at the desk Friday and Saturday, which is the day they’re scheduled to leave. It really blew my mind that, of all places, Amber and her family would come here to vacation, and we would run into each other like that. It really was one of the best crazy coincidences of my life. Zoo camp was a part of my life for a long time, and there were some campers that I really got to know and will always be special to me. And Amber is one of them.
            Not long after seeing Amber, my shift ended and weekend began! I came back here to my room and sat down on my bed to write this. I don’t have any real plans for this weekend; it’ll depend on the weather. Rain or shine, though, it’ll be a really awesome few days.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Safety Meetings and Such

            Well, there’s not a whole lot of news to report. Today’s shift seemed rather long, but, like others this week, it really wasn’t hard. I was working with Rebecca and Nate, with Emily as the supervisor. Maggie also came in around eleven. I didn’t mention this is my last post, but yesterday Emily told me that there’s a safety meeting planned for lunch today, and the company wants every department to have a safety representative to go to it. She asked me if I would be interested in being that representative for the front desk, so of course I said sure. Today I left the desk a little before noon and headed upstairs to one of the lodge’s conference rooms to join staff from other departments within the company for the meeting. A woman named Carla, from human resources, was in charge for most of the meeting, with Alex Klein joining in as well. Everyone in the room spoke for a minute or two about their department, and any safety issues and procedures they have. Seeing as how the front desk obviously isn’t a really hazardous department, I said that the main thing we deal with in that regard is that if there are any safety issues that happen involving a guest, we’re often the first to know about it. I mentioned a situation that happened a couple of weeks ago where a guest called the front desk because his son was so sick that he couldn’t get out of bed to go to the clinic. We ended up having to call an ambulance because it got to the point where he was having trouble breathing.
            The meeting was probably the highlight of the workday today, to be honest. Normally we get a thirty-minute meal break that we clock out for. Emily told me to stay clocked in for the meeting today, the lunch provided was better than the EDR usually is, and it took close to an hour and a half. Overall it was a pretty easy, nice midday break. There will be another meeting on August 18, then another in early September that I’ll be going to as well; I think it’s pretty cool that Emily asked me to be the front desk “safety representative”.
            The rest of the day went pretty easily. It was almost 1:30 by the time I got back to the desk after the meeting, so the rest of the shift went by fairly smoothly, but the time seem to kind of drag. By the time I got out at a little after three, it looked like it might rain, and I was feeling pretty tired, so instead of going to the pool I just came back to my room and relaxed until dinner time. Cristina was off today, and she had gone to town to get a few things.
            I just got back from having dinner at the EDR. I met Jesse and Nate in there at first, and Cristina and Tanner came in a little after I did. Tomorrow I work the easier morning shift again, then I have the next two days to spend as I please in this awesome place! 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Walking On Sunshine

            I honestly can’t believe how easy this week has been at work so far (knock on wood)! Last night was honestly a little scary at some points because we were oversold by as many as three rooms, but we made it work. Turns out one of the reservations was intended to be canceled but never went through in our system, and two guests we transferred over to Jenny Lake Lodge, so it amazingly worked out. I got to leave just a little bit before eleven last night, which was really nice since I needed to be back there at seven this morning. Getting out of bed this morning was actually not as hard as it often is, especially for being the morning after a night shift. I was in the EDR having breakfast with Nate by about 6:15, with Cristina joining us soon after. The three of us all worked the morning shift together, with Emily being the supervisor. We had about 175 check-outs when we got there, which was a decent but not insane amount. The shift ended up going really smoothly, with us spending some of it just talking and laughing to each other.
            When the shift ended at three, I immediately knew that I wanted to go hang out at the pool. It was really warm and sunny out all day today- perfect pool weather! When I got back to the dorm I quickly changed into my swimsuit, slathered on some sunblock, grabbed my towel, and headed out. The pool was as busy as I’d seen it all season. There were a lot of kids and families splashing and playing around in the water, with a lot of other people lying out on the chairs beside the pool, taking in the sunlight. The cool water felt absolutely amazing, as it always does. It was a really nice, relaxing, refreshing way to spend the afternoon. I just got back to the dorm from having dinner in the EDR. I don’t really have any plans for the rest of the evening; probably just hang out around here. I’m sure I’ll be going to bed pretty early tonight since I work another morning shift tomorrow. Hopefully it’ll be another easy shift like the past few have been. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Work, Weddings, and the Whistle Pig

            Last night’s shift actually wasn’t as crazy as I thought it would be. By some crazy miracle, pretty much everyone that was here for the wedding had been checked in by the time I got there at three. I don’t know how housekeeping did it, but I wanted to hug all of them! Because of that, there were about 170 check-ins left when I got there. I’d say overall more than normal, but we’ve definitely dealt with more in the past. I was working with David, Maggie, and Jen. Rob was also there for the beginning of the shift, but left around six. Housekeeping was actually able to get the large majority of the rooms available by the guaranteed check-in time of four o’clock, which made things much easier, especially since we had several big tour groups coming in, plus the wedding.
            The last three hours or so of the shift were pretty slow and easy. David and I were able to just talk with each other, since the lobby got pretty empty later in the evening. For being at full capacity, it was a surprisingly easy shift. I don’t know exactly how many check-ins we have again tonight, but we’re at full capacity again. Emily and Jen will both be working this evening, as well as Maggie and me. I don’t think I mentioned earlier that Maggie applied for and ended up getting the front desk supervisor job that opened up when Christopher left, so looks like it’s just me and supervisors tonight. I don’t know why they scheduled three supervisors to all be here for the same shift, but whatever. Hopefully this shift will go smoothly, like yesterday did, especially since I work the morning shift tomorrow. I’m really hoping that I can leave as close to eleven as possible so I can get as much sleep as I can before going back in to work at seven tomorrow morning.
            I actually work the morning shift again Monday and Tuesday, which is kind of nice. It seemed like for the first month or so, they only had me scheduled for the later shift. Now I’m getting a lot more early shifts in my schedule, which makes it a lot easier. It’s nice to be done by three and have the rest of the day to do what I want. I’m sure I’ll go to the pool for at least one of the next three days after work, maybe more. Being in and around the water is a really nice way to relieve any stress from work. I’ll be working with Cristina tomorrow as well, then she has the next two days off. Maybe we’ll go to the pool together sometime.
            I ended up going to the Whistle Pig last night after my shift ended for just about half an hour. I didn’t originally expect to, but Adam, who works at the activities desk, saw me at dinner and invited me to join him and some other people from that desk for a little party there. I knew I didn’t have to get up early for work this morning, so I told him I’d be there. Walking out of the lobby at a little after eleven, I saw Elliot, who was just leaving work too. He said that he was headed to the Whistle Pig as well, and we walked over there together. When we got there, I hung out with Adam, as well as Kate, who’s the activities desk supervisor, and a few other people that I knew. It was a nice way to end the night.
            I really hope that yesterday’s shift was a sign that this entire week will be fairly easy. We’re not completely full this entire week, so hopefully it will be okay. In fact, looking at the occupancy levels yesterday on the computer, it looked like the craziest days would probably be Wednesday and Thursday, which luckily are my days off. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Here Comes The Sun

This is the view I got from the back patio of the lodge this morning

            Well, it’s my Monday again, and I think it’s expected to be a pretty busy week here at Jackson Lake Lodge. Talking to Nate and Cristina at lunch today, they said that we were at full occupancy last night, and are expected to be at that again tonight. I think (and am hoping) that there are some tour groups coming in today that we can do batch check-ins for to make it easier. There’s also a wedding going on in the lodge this afternoon, and a lot of the guests for that are checking in today (kind of sounds like poor planning to me since the wedding is scheduled to start at 3:30). They’ll all want their rooms ready much earlier than our guaranteed check-in time of four so they can get ready for the wedding, and I honestly don’t see that happening, especially since we’re at one hundred percent occupancy.
            I got up this morning early enough to go have breakfast with Nate and Cristina before they went into work. We sat with a few other people that we knew, and talked about recent hikes that we’d gone on and some cool stuff we’d seen. One of the housekeeping supervisors we know said that he’d seen some wolves not long ago, which is one of the only native animals that I haven’t seen. I’ve heard that they’re more common in Yellowstone than here, particularly one area that’s supposed to be the best spot for seeing pretty much any kind of native wildlife. Yellowstone is so big, which makes it nearly impossible to completely take in in just one day. But I’m definitely trying to find a way to make it work as soon as I can.
            After breakfast this morning I decided to go out onto the lodge’s back patio and just enjoy the spectacular view of the Teton Range for a while. I definitely feel really lucky that this summer I’ve been able to look out at those mountains pretty much every day, but it really doesn’t get old. Every time I see them, I’m just in awe of how beautiful this place is. The pictures I took can’t come close to doing them justice, but they’re better than nothing, so I’ll include them here. The lighting in the mornings from that spot is beautiful too; how the sun’s rays start on the mountains themselves, then hit Jackson Lake, then slowly stretch across the Willow Flats, eventually flooding the lodge itself with natural light.
            I’m honestly still not even sure what the rest of my week’s schedule looks like. I’m sure I work the later shift again tomorrow, like I do most Saturdays, but I haven’t looked at the schedule to know for sure yet. I’ll check it out when I get to work this afternoon. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

In The Summertime When The Weather Is High

Spent my "Saturday" night playing a hilarious game of Munchkin with my roommate and neighbors :)

This afternoon felt great going for a swim, then relaxing by the pool with Tanner and Cristina

            This weekend has been the perfect few days of relaxation and fun with friends. Yesterday evening after uploading my last post I walked over to the employee village office to get some ice- like I said earlier, I never knew what a luxury it was to have easy access to a fridge until I came here! On my way back to my dorm I saw Nate and Elliot getting out of Nate’s car, just getting back from a full day of camping and filming in Paintbrush Canyon. They both said it was awesome but also absolutely exhausting.
            When I got back Cristina and I went into Tanner and Jesse’s room to hang out. We ended up staying in there until about 11:30 listening to music and playing another hilarious game of Munchkin, then Cristina and I cam back to our room and went to bed. Turns out I was wrong about when Cristina was working today; she worked the morning shift. In fact, she said that she has all morning shifts this week, which she’s happy about.
            This morning was pretty uneventful. Tanner, Jesse, and I were all off today, and we all slept fairly late, then just hung out around our rooms for a while before heading over to the EDR together to meet Cristina for lunch. Nate walked in for lunch just a few minutes after we did and ate with us as well; he went in to work at three today. At lunch Tanner and I decided that we’d go hang out at the pool in the afternoon, and Cristina said she’d meet us there when she got off work. After eating and talking with everybody for a while, headed out of the EDR, with Cristina returning to work at the desk and Tanner, Jesse and I going back over to the dorm. Later, at about 2:30, Tanner knocked on my back door and said that he was going to get ready to go over to the pool, so I changed into my suit, slathered on some sunblock, and joined him. The pool wasn’t exactly crowded, but it wasn’t empty either. There really were only a few people actually in the water, mostly children. The majority of people there were in the chairs beside the pool, reading, tanning, or just relaxing by the water. I got in and swam around in the cool, refreshing water for a while. As usual, it felt absolutely great to be back in the water. After spending some time swimming around, I got out and lay down in one of the chairs next to Tanner to take in the sunlight. Cristina soon came and sat next to us, and together we enjoyed the sunlight, the whipping sound of the flags above us being tossed every direction by the strong wind, and the children splashing and playing Marco Polo in the water near us.
            Tomorrow I work at three, but I think I’ll get up earlier to go join Cristina and Nate for breakfast before they go in for the morning shift. I haven’t even looked at my schedule for the rest of the week yet. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Sky Full Of Stars

Tanner and me beside Jenny Lake, near the beginning of the hike

Kelsey, me and Tanner, getting close to the top

Pausing for a break, almost to our goal. A lot of the hike was uphill, and the view it gave us was amazing

We made it! Tanner, me, Kelsey, and Jesse at Inspiration Point, elevation 7,200 feet. Behind us is the beautiful Jenny Lake

            I’m currently sitting out on my back porch enjoying this nice evening. It’s been a pretty simple, relaxing day off. Cristina worked the morning shift today, so she was gone by the time I got up. Turns out Tanner actually is working today, so I’ve only seen him briefly at dinner a little while ago. After sitting out here for a while this morning, Jesse and I headed to the EDR together for lunch. Nate and Elliot have been over in Paintbrush Canyon hiking around all day, so I haven’t seen either of them at all.
            After coming back from lunch, I did a short hike not far from the lodge, stopping at one point for a while to just relax and soak in my beautiful surroundings. It was only a couple of miles, but made me feel like I’d done something with my day off other than just sit around my dorm. Like I said in yesterday’s post, I’d hate to just waste my day off hanging around inside when I’m in a place like this.
            Last night after writing my last post, I went over to Tanner and Jesse’s room and hung out in there with them for a while. Cristina, who’d been hanging around Yellowstone for most of the day, eventually got back and came in to join us. After that, by the time it was dark, I grabbed a pillow out of my room and lay out on the back picnic table for a while just looking up at the sky. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post or two, the night sky here is different than I’ve seen it anywhere else. I’ve never seen so many stars; they just fill up the sky. I know, of course, that they’re always there, no matter where I am, but here in Wyoming they seem so much brighter than anywhere else. Seeing as how Wyoming is the least populous state in the country- San Antonio alone has more than double the population of this entire state- there’s hardly any “city lights” here that would usually drown out the light of most of the stars, so even the pretty dim ones are visible here. I’ve even seen shooting stars here multiple times. I stayed out on the picnic table admiring the beautiful night sky until the cold night air and thoughts of my soft, warm bed drove me inside (actually my bed here really isn’t that soft, but I’m usually so tired by the end of the day that I hardly notice).
            Tomorrow I really want to go to the pool. Maybe I can get Jesse and Tanner to join me since they’re both off. Cristina doesn’t go in until three tomorrow, so if we go right after lunch she’ll probably join us. I don’t think I’ll go back to the Whistle Pig tonight; if I do, it probably won’t be for very long. I really do love that place, but I think tonight’s more of a night to just enjoy the back porch that is my favorite spot in this entire park, as I think I’ve mentioned before. I wouldn’t say that this is the most beautiful spot in the park; it faces east, so you can’t actually see the Teton Range from here. But the simple beauty of this spot is one of my favorite things about it. Everything from the smell and shade of the pine trees, the wildflowers growing all around, the regular visits from robins, woodpeckers, chipmunks, squirrels, and even foxes, make this back porch a great place to be. I think, the main thing that makes it my favorite spot is the wonderful experiences I’ve had right here with my friends. From drinking coffee out here in the mornings with Jesse and Cristina to stargazing with Tanner to grill nights with the whole gang, this is the perfect spot to enjoy the great company of my amazing friends here.
            So Jesse took some pictures of us from the day we went hiking up to Inspiration Point a couple of weeks ago, but hadn’t been able to post them because of an issue with his computer. Well, he finally posted them earlier today, and so I’ll include some of them here. Better late than never! It was a pretty strenuous hike, but the view from Inspiration Point was completely worth it! 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Weekend Time Again!

One of the neighborhood foxes that I saw by my back porch this afternoon. He's actually looking better than he was earlier in the season. He's still pretty skinny, but the first time I saw him I could count his ribs! 
This was a pretty much perfect way to start my weekend 

            Well, it’s time for another weekend! This week definitely felt shorter and easier than last week was at the desk, and I’m super happy that my break is here again! It’s about 8:30 in the evening right now; I just got back from having dinner in the Whistle Pig. Since I worked until eleven last night and returned to work at seven this morning, I was pretty tired by the time work ended at three. After clocking out, I came back to the dorm, changed out of my uniform, ran and put some laundry in at the employee village office, and came back to my room and took a nap. I’d already been considering eating dinner at the Whistle Pig tonight instead of the EDR, and since I didn’t wake up until a little after six, the idea of jumping up and heading over to the EDR to be there in time for dinner wasn’t very appealing. Therefore, at a little before seven I headed over to the Whistle Pig and ordered a burger and onion rings, both of which were delicious. That place is pretty cheap, thankfully, and definitely an upgrade from the food at the EDR. I sat and ate the delicious food while talking to Adam, who works at the activities desk, and a few people in housekeeping that I know. At about 8:30 I headed back here to my dorm room. Cristina was off again today, and I haven’t seen her at all. I don’t think her car is here right now; she might have gone into town for a while, or something like that.
            I haven’t officially made any plans for this weekend, but I’m sure I’ll find some fun stuff to do. I know that, conveniently enough, both Tanner and Jesse have the next two days off as well, so I’ll probably go find them either later tonight or tomorrow to see if they want to go hiking or something like that. I know that Nate and Elliot are planning to do a pretty strenuous, nearly all day long hike over in Paintbrush Canyon tomorrow, but I’m not sure if I’m up for that. Elliot, who actually majored in film production in school, said he’d definitely get pictures and video of the hike; Paintbrush Canyon is supposed to be an absolutely beautiful area. Chatting with Brian at work today, he said that he might do some hiking, or otherwise exploring the park, as well. I think I’ll definitely find some productive and enjoyable way to spend this weekend. Even if I’m tired from work, sleeping too late or sitting around my room for too much time feels like a sin when living in a place like this. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Cold Day (Or Night) In July

            I just got back from having lunch at the EDR. I ended up eating with Rebecca, the new desk agent that was hired about a week ago. Really all I know about her so far is that she’s from Mississippi and graduated college about four years ago. She seems to be doing fine so far at the desk, thankfully. I feel kind of bad for the people that come in after the season’s already started, because they don’t get near as much training as those of us that came before the lodge opened. David learned pretty fast, though, and it seems like Rebecca is too.
            Cristina is off today and tomorrow. I slept kind of late this morning, and she was gone by the time I got up. I’m not sure what she’s doing with her weekend; haven’t seen her all day. Her car is still here in the employee lot, so she’s probably at the pool. I know there’s another softball game tonight that I’m sure she’ll go to. Tanner’s working 6:30 to 4:30; I saw him at the activities desk when I walked through the lobby after lunch. I’m working the later shift today with Nate and James, with Jen as our supervisor. It seems like I’ve been working a lot of morning shifts recently, and it seems like Jen only works the later shift, so I haven’t worked with her in a while. I work another morning shift tomorrow, then back to my weekend. This week has felt much easier than last week since it’s been shorter and just overall felt less busy.
            It’s an absolutely beautiful day here in the park. The temperature is in the mid seventies, with an almost constant cool breeze. Right now it’s bright and sunny, but there’s a chance of rain later today. The weather here is really hard to predict though; it’s almost as bipolar as Texas. One thing I was told before coming here that I honestly didn’t fully understand until actually experiencing was how much the temperature drops at night. Even if it gets into the eighties during the afternoon here, the temperature still drops into the forties almost every night! When I have the morning shift, I still usually wear a jacket when walking to work, and when I have the later shift I wear a jacket when walking back home when I’m done. One big contrast between this place and Texas is the huge lack of humidity here. Even on the warmest days, the air is very dry, which is why it still gets cold when the sun goes down. It’s absolutely amazing to me that the temperature can drop more than thirty degrees in only about an hour. I mentioned in a previous post that there’s no air conditioning here, but by leaving window open, our room pretty much always stays nice and cool, especially at night! I honestly can’t remember the last time we closed the window; it’s way more pleasant here with it open.
            Well, it’s great to know that my weekend is approaching again. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it; maybe go hiking or something like that. I’ll ask around to see if other people have plans and maybe join them. I know Tanner has the same weekend, and Nate will be off on Wednesday as well. I think Jesse might also have either Wednesday or Thursday off this week. His days off aren’t always the same; his schedule changes depending on any events that might be going on in or around the lodge. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

We're Halfway There

These awesome photos were taken by my even more awesome friend, Nate. Did I mention he's awesome? 

            Work this morning with Cristina, Maggie, and Emily wasn’t very hard. The shift seemed to kind of drag a little toward the end of it since we weren’t very busy, but other than that it was fine. It definitely felt nice when three o’clock came around, though. I was originally scheduled to have all morning shifts this week, but Maggie asked me if I’d switch shifts with her tomorrow. There’s another softball game tomorrow evening, and Maggie’s on the team, so I said I’d switch with her so she could have the evening off to go play. Now I’m working at three tomorrow with Nate, James and Jen, which will be nice. The morning shift is usually easier, but it’ll still be nice to sleep a little later tomorrow. It feels like I haven’t been able to do that in a while.
So this morning at work I figured out that my crazy adventure in this park is now exactly halfway over. This has already been the best summer of my life, and there are times when I wish I could slow down time so that I could stay longer. I went into this adventure knowing that it was temporary, which was part of the reason why I chose to do it. I wanted to get out on my own for a while, but the thought of permanently leaving San Antonio was out of the question. As I was getting ready to leave, I had to keep reminding myself that it was temporary, and I’d be back home in October.
            I’m not really sure how to feel about the fact that my time here in this park is half over. Having dinner with Nate in the EDR just now, I thought about the fact that we’ve all become a sort of family here. The thought of having to say goodbye to Nate, Cristina, Tanner, Jesse, and everyone else really sucks. The hikes I’ve taken, raft trips I’ve been on, wildlife I’ve seen, and kayaking and cliff jumping I’ve done has all been amazing, but my favorite thing I’ve done here so far is make these great friends.
            At the same time, I have both my real family and my “zoo family” back home in SA that it seems like an eternity since I’ve seen. When I hear about the new babies at the zoo or see pictures of zoo camp events, a piece of me can’t help but think that I should be there. I know that most of me would rather be here, but I still miss that awesome zoo, and the people and animals in it. Because of that, I think that when October rolls around, I’ll be ready to return to the city I always have and always will call home. For now, let’s see if I can make the second half of this adventure even better than the first. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

They Say It's Your Birthday

            So there’s not very much to report today. The main news is that it’s Jesse’s birthday! Yesterday when I was in town with Cristina and Tanner we got him a card and a couple of gifts- I didn’t mention that in yesterday’s post due to the chance that Jesse would read it. He, and a few other people here, have told me that they occasionally read the blog. I think that’s kind of weird, seeing as how my friends here are with me all the time and pretty much know how I spend my days, but if they enjoy it I guess that’s cool. Anyway, this morning at breakfast in the EDR before work, we got Nate and a few people from Jesse’s department to sign the card. There was a big wedding in the lodge this afternoon, so Jesse had to come in to work for a while earlier in the day to help set up for it, but thankfully his shift didn’t last too long and his boss didn’t make him come back in later to help take it all back down. By the time Nate, Cristina and I were done with work at three, he was done as well and hanging out on the back porch.
            After getting out of our uniforms, Cristina and I joined Jesse out on the porch. Tanner had today off, so he was out there as well. Soon Nate also came to join us, and the five of us sat out there, listening to music and talking. After a while Tanner ran into their room and came back out with the card and the gifts we’d gotten for Jesse yesterday. We knew a couple of things that he’d actually said he was planning on getting for himself for his birthday, but his bank account recently got hacked so he doesn’t have access to any money until his bank mails him a new card. When we learned that Cristina, Tanner and I decided that, instead of making him wait until he had money again to celebrate, we should just get him some of the things we knew he wanted. That was the main reason we went into town yesterday, actually. We also got a few people that know him to chip in some money, then they signed his card as well. After waking up multiple times to Jesse making coffee for us outside, him loaning us his tent to go camping, and him grilling delicious food out on the back porch, we really wanted to do something nice for him for his birthday. Cristina and I definitely got really lucky by getting the room next to him. Not long after I met Jesse he told me that he has a habit of taking on a big brother type of role with a lot of his friends (especially his female friends). He was right; it does often feel like that when I’m hanging out with him.
            Jesse, Nate and I decided not to go into town this evening. It’ll save time and money to just go hang at the Whistle Pig later, which we’ll definitely do. Cristina and Tanner still wanted to go into town, so they left about half an hour ago.
            Like I said, not a whole lot of news to report today. I work the morning shift again tomorrow with Cristina, which shouldn’t be hard. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

In The City

            I’m happy to say that today has been another fun, relaxing, enjoyable day off! Last night Cristina, Tanner and I agreed that we’d all wake up fairly early, go get breakfast at the EDR, then head into Jackson to hang out and pick up a few things. Cristina had to work today, but not until three, so we decided to go in the morning so that we’d have plenty of time to hang out in town, and still be back at the lodge in time for her to get to work.
            As the three of us were getting ready to head to breakfast at about eight this morning, I saw a little mouse run over to one of the corners of the room, near my closet. In that scenario, a lot of girls would absolutely freak out and tear their room apart trying to remove it. Cristina, Tanner and I spent a moment admiring its cuteness, named it, and then went about our day without making any real attempts to get it out. I did decide to open the back door in case it wanted to run out on its own, but it seemed perfectly happy hiding in the corner, so we left it alone. Definitely not the typical reaction to finding a mouse in the room, I’m sure, but I guess we’re not typical girls.
            Anyway, after catching the end of breakfast at the EDR, we hit to road to town at about nine o’clock, making it into Jackson a little before ten. We spent several hours driving and walking around town, picking up some supplies to have in our room and exploring the fun little tourist town. We also stopped for lunch at a little deli before heading out of Jackson at a little after one so Cristina could get back in time for work.
            Tanner and I spent the rest of the afternoon just relaxing around the dorm while Cristina got ready for and went off to work. I was originally scheduled to go into work at three tomorrow, but I switched with David so I actually have the morning shift. Tomorrow is Jesse’s birthday, so we’re planning on going into town again in the evening to go to a movie or something to celebrate with him. So, since I switched, Cristina, Nate and I will all be working the morning shift together tomorrow. That’ll be awesome; it seems like it’s been a while since the three of us have all gotten to work together. In fact, I haven’t really gotten to see or talk to Nate very much at all in the past week or so, so working with him again tomorrow will be nice. He might come into town with us for Jesse’s birthday tomorrow evening as well. I find it really cool; it seems like a lot of people here have summer birthdays. I recently learned that Tanner’s birthday is also in April; it’s a week before mine, in fact.
            Well, it was another great weekend here in this park. Tomorrow should be a good day, getting to work with Cristina and Nate, then hanging out with everybody for Jesse’s birthday. Thankfully, this next week at work is only four days instead of six, since my days off are back to Wednesday and Thursday. Also, strangely enough, all four of those days are morning shifts. Typically I only have like two morning shifts in my week, but I’m not complaining. Getting up early isn’t my favorite thing in the world, but other than that the morning shift is much easier. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Beautiful Morning

Shortly after pulling out into the river to begin the trip

The first bald eagle we saw 

This one was standing right on the bank!

Elk with a nice head of antlers in velvet

The view of the Teton Range from the Snake River was amazing

            It’s been a really awesome, much-needed day off! As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’d reserved a spot for myself on the nine o’clock scenic raft trip this morning. It turned out to be a perfect way to begin my weekend! I decided to bring my camera along for this trip, and I’m glad I did. The range looks amazing from the Snake River, and I took pictures of some bald eagles and elk that we saw beside the river. We also saw an osprey, a beaver, and a river otter, which unfortunately I wasn’t able to get pictures of. It was still really great though!
            My first raft trip I went on earlier this season I’d had a guide named Jess who’d been doing this for eight years. He was awesome- definitely seemed to know what he was doing and was a lot of fun to listen to. Today my guide was a guy named Tony who’d been doing this for three years, and was also really knowledgeable and fun. There were eight people total in the raft for this trip; Tony, a family of four from Indiana, a couple from Michigan, and me. We were on the Snake River for a little over two hours, and the weather was just about perfect. It was sunny and cool, with that constant breeze rolling off the water. We saw about six bald eagles total, which is insane! One of them was standing right on the bank of the river, really close to us. They’re such amazing animals to see in the wild; I think a lot of people don’t really understand how big and majestic looking they are.
            We eventually came to the end of the trip, getting out of the raft across the river from Dornan’s. We all got picked up by Jeff, one of the drivers (who actually used to be Tanner’s roommate), and returned to the lodge at about 12:30. It was an amazing “Saturday” morning.
            After going up to the EDR for lunch I came back to the dorm and relaxed on the back porch for a while, enjoying the beautiful day and looking back over the pictures I’d taken on the trip. I’m definitely glad I decided to bring my camera along for this ride, since I did get some nice pictures of the bald eagles, elk, and the beautiful view of the Teton Range from the Snake River. Tanner dropped by my room this afternoon and said that he’s planning on going into Jackson tomorrow to do a few things. I told him to let me know so I could join him; I’ve been meaning to go into town to get a few things, and it’ll also just be a fun way to spend our mutual day off.
            Well, there’s not much other news to report on today. It’s definitely been a really great day off, and tomorrow should be fun as well. Of course, I have to include some pictures of my amazing morning on the Snake River! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Out On The Weekend

            So, after a busy, longer than normal work week, it’s finally time for another weekend of fun in this park! I saw next week’s schedule today, and thankfully it goes back to how it used to be, so next week will be a four day week for me instead of a six day week like this one. The past two shifts at work have been pretty simple and easy. Last night by about 9:30, there were only about fifteen check-ins left, and Emily said I could go home. Maggie’s birthday was yesterday, and when I got back to the dorm Cristina and Tanner were getting ready to go into town to celebrate with people. They invited me to join them, but I decided to just go to bed since I had to be back at the desk at seven this morning.
            This morning I was working with Haley, Emily, and Rebecca, the new desk agent. The shift was pretty easy but seemed to kind of drag, especially the last few hours. I think it was probably because I just really wanted my weekend to start. I met Cristina and Jesse in the EDR on my lunch break; Cristina went in at three today and Jesse went in at two. Tanner’s also working the activities desk from eleven to nine today, then he has the next two days off as well.
            After dinner just now I stopped by the activities desk and reserved a spot for myself on the nine o’clock scenic raft trip tomorrow morning. I did one pretty early in the season and loved it so much that I knew I definitely wanted to do it again. Since I knew I didn’t really have any other plans for this weekend, I figured this would be a good time. I wasn’t even sure if there would be availability for one, but I guess I got lucky. Tomorrow evening Tanner’s team has another softball game, so I told him I’d go to that. Cristina’s working seven to three tomorrow, so I’m sure she’ll go too. Friday I have no idea what I’ll do; maybe Tanner and I will go into town, or go for a hike or something. I also might go hang out at the pool.
            I think pretty soon I’m going to go over to the Whistle Pig to enjoy my “Friday” night. I really love that place, and I think there’s a good chance that Nate and some other friends will be hanging out there tonight as well. This week definitely felt extra long, and I’m super happy that my days off are finally here. It’s going to be a really great weekend here in this park.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

New "Kiddo" In Town

            So most weeks, Tuesday is considered my Friday. But this week, as I mentioned in an earlier post, the schedule was flipped around a bit so my days off are Thursday and Friday. It’s been a while since I’ve worked six days in a row, but it’s not a big deal. I go in at three today to work the later shift with David and James, with Emily as the supervisor. I don’t know yet how many check-ins we’re expecting today, but since it’s Tuesday, I don’t think we’ll have an overwhelming amount. I think we may have some tour groups coming in that we can do batch check-ins for, which will make it easier. There’s a decent chance that Emily will let one of us go early, which will probably be me since I have to be back in at seven tomorrow morning, and David and James don’t go in until three tomorrow.
            I just got back from having lunch in the EDR with Cristina, Tanner, and David. They were serving tacos today- thankfully they also always have hot dogs and a salad bar as an alternative. I just can’t eat the EDR’s version of Mexican food; feels like I’m cheating on San Antonio. Tanner’s working at the activities desk from eleven to nine today; I told him when I got to work at three we should try to coordinate so we could go to dinner at the same time. Cristina’s off again today, so she just headed over to relax by the pool. I may do that when I get off work tomorrow, or on one of my days off. I was thinking about doing it yesterday, but the weather wasn’t the best for a day at the pool.
            Tanner told me at lunch today that his softball team is playing another game on Thursday evening, so I’ll probably bring my camera along to document it. Other than that I don’t really have any weekend plans; it seems like most of the time any plans spring up at the last minute. I might find another fun path to hike, or maybe see if anyone I know is going into Jackson and join them. There are a few things I need to pick up there soon, and it’s just a fun town to spend time in. I could probably ask Tanner or maybe Jesse if he’s not working.
            I noticed yesterday on the work schedule that they just hired a new front desk agent. She came to the desk just to ask Emily a few questions yesterday, and Haley and I met her very briefly. Her name is Rebecca, and that’s pretty much all I know so far about her. I noticed her being trained at the desk today when I walked through the lobby before lunch; they usually start by training during the morning shifts since they’re easier. I’m not sure yet when I’ll be working with her; we’ll see.
            I mentioned this on Facebook the other day, but for those of you that don’t keep up with me on that, I’ll say it here too. I’ve pretty much officially come to the conclusion that no matter how old you are, if you’re younger than the majority of people around you, you’ll regularly be referred to as “kiddo”. Pretty much all of the people I know here are at least a little bit older than me. Tanner’s 23, Jesse, Brian and Elliot are 24, Cristina’s 25, David’s 26, Nate’s 27, etc. In fact, out of all the employees I know here, only one of them is younger than me. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. It’s just, when I worked at the zoo, I worked a LOT with the zoo teamers, who were all younger than me. Yes, I worked with a lot of people who were older as well, but being the youngest again just feels different. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Routines, Relaxing, and Rain

            So this’ll probably be a short update because there’s not a lot of news that I have to share since the last post. I worked the earlier shift again today at the desk, which was pretty easy. For the first portion of the shift it was just me and Haley up at the desk, with Emily as our supervisor. We had about 160 check-outs when we arrived, which sounded much better than the 230 that we had yesterday. It had some busy parts to the shift, but thankfully there weren’t any problems to deal with throughout. Maggie also arrived at eleven in the morning to help us out. A lot of the shift was just Haley, Emily and I talking with each other, as well as talking to Zach and Ken, the bellmen that were on duty.
            When I got off at three I came back to the room to change and relax. Cristina, who had today off, was in there on her laptop. She’d been looking forward to a lazy day today after working this past week. I go into work again at three tomorrow. Sleeping late definitely sounds nice.
            A little after five this evening Jesse knocked on our back door asking if we wanted to join him for dinner. Cristina was going to wait for Tanner to get ready, and go with him, but I walked over to the EDR with Jesse and sat and talked with him. Nate walked in while we were in there as well, and he also sat with us. He’s working the later shift today, and said it’s been really slow. There were about 160 check-ins at the beginning of the day, but my shift actually was able to take care of some of those before Nate even got there, so by three that number was down to about 120.
            It’s been looking pretty dark since early afternoon and it rained for a while a few hours ago. We had some guests checking in saying it’d been pouring in Yellowstone and in some places in Grand Teton as well. Thunderstorms in this park are absolutely amazing; I love them. The dark clouds over the mountains make for a spectacular sight. It also seems that the rain here has a very unique and strong smell to it. I notice it most on my back porch, where I’m sitting now writing this. The moisture seems to enhance the smell of the pine trees all around, and that blends with the natural smell of the rain itself. The combination is really unlike anything I’ve ever smelled before. I doubt it could be artificially replicated.
            Wish I had some more exciting news to share, but nothing too exciting has happened since my last post, so this’ll have to do for now. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Crazy Things Guests Say

            Well, I guess my last post caught some attention- it got quite a few pageviews pretty fast. Maybe I’ll make another post like that again sometime. Now, for the news of the past two days at work!
            I went into work at three yesterday; turns out it was only me and Maggie signed up for that shift. Thankfully Jen and Emily were both working with us, so we didn’t feel too short staffed. We had a lot of check-ins, but some were tour groups that we could do batch check-ins for, so it really wasn’t so bad. We were at full capacity by the end of the night, though, so there were some parts of the shift that felt pretty crazy and stressful. Maggie and I both had to be back in at seven this morning, so we were both hoping to leave as close to eleven as possible, and thankfully we got out of there only a few minutes after. Brian had driven to work yesterday, and so when we all clocked out he gave Maggie and me a ride back to our dorms. Cristina was fast asleep by the time I got home, and in not too long, so was I.
            Cristina and I were both scheduled to work the morning shift again today, so we got up and headed to breakfast together. Emily was back as the supervisor this morning, and Maggie was there again as well. We had over two hundred check-outs to go through, but it was still a much easier shift than the night before. At one point a guest came to me and said, with complete seriousness, “we should move the wildlife crossing signs to low traffic areas, to make it safer for both the people and the animals”. It was really hard for me not to laugh and answer in a professional manner. Guests at the zoo have asked me some ridiculous questions, so this didn’t really surprise me too much. It was still pretty funny though. Earlier in the season a guest asked me, also with complete seriousness, at what elevation deer turn into elk. At first I thought they had to be joking, but nope; it was actually a legitimate question. I’ve also been asked what time we feed the bears. Crazy.
            Anyway, the shift today went pretty smoothly, and when it was over at three I came back home and took a nap, since I hadn’t gotten enough sleep last night. Then I walked over to the EDR with Cristina and Jesse, meeting Nate for dinner. I’m going to go over to the Whistle Pig soon to hang out for a while. Can’t stay out too late, though, since I work the morning shift again tomorrow. Tuesday I work the later shift, then one more morning shift on Wednesday before my weekend starts. Depending on the weather, I may go to the pool tomorrow after my shift ends.  

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Things I Used To Take For Granted And Never Will Again

            There’s not much news at all to share since my last post, so I guess I’ll do something a little different with this one. First, I’ll just say that I go into work at three this afternoon, then I work the morning shift tomorrow. Hopefully nothing will go wrong so I can leave as close to eleven as possible, and get as much sleep as I can before going back in at seven tomorrow morning. I actually woke up this morning in time to go to breakfast with Cristina before she went in to work, then I came back here and rested some more. Rob changed the schedule up a bit this week, so my days off will actually be Thursday and Friday. I’m not really sure why he changed it, but it doesn’t really matter to me. At lunch just now David asked me if we could switch shifts on Wednesday- I was originally scheduled to work the later shift, and he was scheduled to work the earlier one. I said sure to switching with him, so I’ll now be done by three on Wednesday, which will begin my weekend.
            Now, since that’s pretty much all that’s happened since my previous post, I’m going to write down a few things that I’ve been thinking about recently. As you can probably guess by the title, there are some things that I took for granted before coming here that I now appreciate a lot more. Living in a place like this, that’s so different than the place I grew up, makes me miss and appreciate things that I hardly even noticed before. Here’s a list of some of those things:
1.    Familiarity- hey, I didn’t say that everything on this list would be actual tangible items! Having always lived in San Antonio before this, I got to know that city really well. I knew the streets, the stores, the restaurants, the schools, and a lot of the people. San Antonio really is a big city with a little town feel to it. Yes, the area I live in now was pretty easy to learn and is now very familiar to me as well, but being here for two months can’t compare to being in San Antonio for 21 years.
2.    Air conditioning- this really hasn’t been too bad living without, but I still notice its absence, and this goes for both cooling down and warming up the indoors. I’ll say, I’ve noticed the lack of a/c when I’m working at the desk or eating in the EDR more often than if I’m in my dorm room. The temperature of our room never gets too bad; the back door is often open when we’re here and the window is ALWAYS open (it has a screen), which helps to keep the place cool. The main lodge, on the other hand, isn’t quite as easy to control. It can get pretty warm in the main lobby in the afternoon and evening, and the fact that our uniform consists of pants and a long sleeved shirt doesn’t help. At the same time, though, it can get pretty cold in there at night since the front doors are almost always open.
3.    The smell of clean clothes- yeah, I know that sounds pretty weird, but it’s true. Now, whenever I put on a freshly washed shirt, I notice and appreciate the clean smell of detergent a lot more than I used to. Honestly, I don’t think I even really noticed it much before coming here, but now I absolutely love it.
4.    Access to a refrigerator- I never knew how much of a luxury it is to have a fridge until I came here. Walking over to the ice machine in the 400 block of cottages whenever I’m in my dorm and want a cold drink has reminded me that life is definitely easier if you own a fridge. Not having a microwave hasn’t really bothered me too much (except for the rare occasion that I’m really in the mood for popcorn), but I’ve certainly noticed our lack of a fridge. Thankfully, Jesse has a cooler in his room that he lets Cristina and I put drinks in as well. Full coolers make good neighbors.
5.    Texas food- I recently saw an online list that ranked all US states in order of how their food was. Wyoming was 44 on the list, and Texas was two. I mean, the EDR food really isn’t terrible, but compared to the food I was used to getting in SA, it leaves a lot to be desired. From the enchiladas to the chips and salsa to the fried chicken to the pecan pie, I’m seriously missing the food back home. You people here take the definition of “queso” too literally- it’s not JUST melted cheese!
6.    Friends and family back home- in terms of keeping in contact with people, email, texting, and this blog work great, but it’s nothing like being able to be actually be there with them. From my zoo family to my actual family, I’ve never been away from you guys for this long before, and I’ve still got a long way to go before I return in October. On one side of things, the friends I’ve made here are awesome, and I’m still amazed at how close we’ve all become in the short amount of time that we’ve known each other. But at the same time, they can’t replace my amazing friends back home in SA, whom I can’t wait to see again. 

Well, I don’t want to make this post longer than it already is, and I need to get ready for work soon. But I can be sure that spending my summer here has helped me appreciate a lot of things about life that I used to barely notice. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

These Are The Days Of Gold

            Today was actually a pretty fun day at work. Not very busy, no real problems, and spent some time just laughing and joking around with Cristina and Rob, who was the supervisor on duty this morning. Also add in the fact that it’s payday, and I can’t make any real complaints.
            Cristina and I got up and headed to the EDR for breakfast at about 6:15, then on to the front desk for our shift. I’d gone to bed fairly early last night, knowing I’d have to get up early today, so thankfully I felt pretty rested, unlike mornings when I’ve worked the previous night. Those are no fun, but at least I usually only have them once a week. Anyway, when Cristina and I clocked in and got to the desk, there were about 160 check-outs expected, and almost the exact same amount of check-ins for the later shift to handle. It was just me, Cristina and Rob for most of the shift, until Jen came in at about two. Most of the guests I dealt with were really nice, it never got too busy, and it was just overall a pretty fun shift, being there with Rob and Cristina.
            Shortly after getting back from lunch I checked in a couple from San Antonio. Weirder than that, though, they told me that they live in an apartment near the Quarry, a matter of blocks from the house I grew up in. We struck up a conversation, at which point I told them that I worked at the SA zoo before coming here. The couple must’ve stayed at the front desk for a good ten minutes chatting with me about that, which was perfectly fine with me.
            At three Cristina and I walked back home to relax for a while before dinner. It started to thunder and really look like rain at about five this evening, so we decided to head back over to the EDR before the inevitable downpour began. We met up with Tanner, who was on his dinner break, and ate together, watching the rain pouring down through the EDR windows.
            When we were finished with dinner, Cristina left the EDR through the back, employee only lodge entrance, while I decided to go back through the main lobby. I hung out in there for a few minutes until the downfall slowed down some, then figured I should just go, in case it started to come down harder again. So, in my t-shirt and shorts, I had a good old-fashioned run through the rain to get back to my dorm, and it felt great! I just came in, dried off, and sat down on my bed to write.
            Today is Nate’s birthday, so I’ll head over to the Whistle Pig soon to hang for a while. He hung out with Elliot and some other guys during the day today since he had it off. He and Cristina both work the morning shift tomorrow; I work the later one. I’ll probably get up pretty early, though, to join them for breakfast before they go in to work. We’ll also find a time when we can all get together and probably grill again for Nate’s birthday. Tanner works until nine tonight and Jesse went into town for dinner with Kelsey since she has to leave tomorrow, so we figured we should do it on a night when everyone we know can join in.