Linda & I both started at 8:00 this morning. Not very long into her shift, Linda sold a bracelet to a departing camper. :)
I had a list of things to do, so I got started.
Waste Management came early and emptied our three dumpsters. My first task was to put our overflow trash from the weekend, still in the campground's pick-up, in the empty dumpsters. Not too bad a task except I forgot to put a tarp over it, and the crows had torn holes in all the bags. Sheesh. Another lesson learned. :)
While I was in the truck, I did the morning round to see if anyone came in overnight. I also tried to remember the campsite numbers I was struggling with. I can picture most of the 134 sites, but there are still a few that confuse me because of the campground layout and the funky sequences of numbering.
I returned the truck to the shop area and rinsed out the back. Then I got my quad and a trailer ready for a day of weed-eating and pruning. With Randy off today, I didn't want to bother him. So it took me a little time to find the tools I needed, but I found them.
Before I got to landscape maintenance, I did my boat slip and day use boat check. That was easy with so few in camp.
Back to my task list. I sawed off a dead limb near the bathrooms. Then I started weedeating our most popular tent sites. The new weedeater is much more user-friendly that the other one, so I got six or seven sites done before I had to clean the bathrooms.
I'm starting to get my own system down and, with the campground pretty empty, I wasn't rushed to get the bathrooms open. I took a little extra time, even made sure the fixtures had a nice shine, but I still got them finished in about an hour and a half.
By then it was lunch time, so I rode back up to the office to see if there was anything pressing before I took lunch. Just as I was about to go to lunch, a couple that does updates and inspections for Trailer Life arrived.
Des was on her way to town, so I asked if she wanted to talk to them or if she wanted me to handle it. She let me take care of it since they haven't been too happy the last couple of years with the inspectors and the ratings in Trailer Life and Woodalls. Not just because of ratings for North Shore, but because of ratings they relied on in their own camping experiences that turned out to be way off.
Also, they believe, as many suspect, that those publications gave them higher ratings in the years they bought advertising. Interesting to hear campground owners say that as I've often wondered about the "independence" of those ratings when there is so much advertising by the campgrounds being rated.
In our four years of full-timing, we looked at the Trailer Life guide a lot in the first six months. But it has been stuck under the seat of our truck for the last three years. :)
We too have found the ratings to be off and, quite frankly, I'm not sure how much credibility or viability those publications have any more. Plus, getting information on campgrounds online from multiple sources gives us a much better picture.
At any rate, the folks from Trailer Life were nice. They have been full-timing four and a half years. I gave them information to update their records for the free listing. Then they did an inspection of the laundry facility and the bathrooms. Their timing on the bathrooms couldn't have been better since I just finished them and spent a little extra time on them. :)
Of course, we'll have to wait and see how I rated when the new edition comes out for next year. My biggest concern was the pine sap on the shower floors from people wearing flip-flops and sandals in the shower. It makes the shower floors look bad, but is a bear to get off. Oh well. At least they told Linda on the way out the bathrooms looked nice. :)
After lunch, my task list changed slightly. Des and I dug up the lids to the septic tanks by the bathrooms. They are being pumped out this week. She also wanted to see if she could possibly check the inlet to the black tank for a clog. But after looking down into that hole and seeing where the pipe was located, she wisely changed her mind on that. :)
I went back to weed-eating. At lunchtime, I had gotten Linda to print me a list of sites checking in this week so I could work on them first.
I finished the first two, and then went back and put some orange tape around the holes Des & I dug. Then I was off to do the next two sites that were checking in today.
Suddenly it dawned on me that one of them had a deteriorating deck left by a former seasonal. One of the projects I was to do was to take the broken white lattice down. The seasonals aren't supposed to have white lattice anyway, but that one may have been "grandfathered" in. Now all decks must be approved and they have to blend in to the surroundings.
Normally, with the campground wide open, this is not a site that would be one of the preferred ones. So it was surprising that it was being occupied today. We thought we had more time to dismantle the deck. Oops.
I rushed up to the shop to get a drill to start taking the deck apart and hoped the new arrivals didn't check in for a while. I thought I might be able to take down the 2 X 4 framing and not have to take down each individual lattice panel, but that wasn't going to be an easy task.
I went back to working on the lattice which is what looked the worst. I got all the screws out and then had to deal with a couple of nails. I didn't have the right tools, but recalled how my dad often took things apart when he didn't have exactly what he needed. Hey, I just might be growing a few tiny handyman genes. :)
I got all the lattice down and it already looked a lot better. I was just about to get done taking the framing apart when Des called on the walkie-talkie telling me the campers had just arrived. She drove down in the golf cart to see how I was doing. Of course, that was when the battery on the drill died.
Des hustled back and got an electric drill, an extension cord, and a crowbar. With the lattice gone, we could have left it like that. But the framing was rickety and we didn't want to leave it either. Des & I got all the unstable sections and most everything else taken down as well.
The campers arrived at the site and I helped them get backed in after doing a quick weed-eating job. Fortunately, they weren't even going to back up far enough to use the deck. I did one last check to make sure there weren't any nails or screws sticking out anywhere and we hauled off the lattice and framing.
Linda had long since finished her shift. She said it was a pretty light day for her. One of our seasonal couples had given Des & Katrina some trout they caught this morning and they gave a filet or two to us.
Linda was heading to the rig to start cooking the fish, and I was going to end my day by unloading the trailer and putting all the tools and equipment back in place. Then I realized I forgot to put the new rags in the bathroom and forgot to check the porta-potties. The porta-potties were emptied today, but I needed to make sure they were clean and had toilet paper.
I got back on the quad and did those tasks. Then I remembered I hadn't disposed of the fish parts for the day. Then I remembered there was another dead carp that floated up to the boat docks. I wasn't about to leave those chores for Randy on my day off tomorrow, so I went ahead and took care of that.
I was gone an extra hour. Good thing Linda hadn't started the fish. :)
When I got home, she had reports and cash register tapes spread everywhere. She is going to do the daily reconciliations, so she was practicing with the procedures Des had provided.
After our dinner of fresh-caught trout, I helped her think through the reconciliation. There is no interface between the campground reservation system and the cash registers, so all the money transactions on the reservation system have to be entered into the cash registers. Basically, we were reconciling the reservation system reports to the cash register tape to make sure we had all the money accounted for.
Of course that is made a little more difficult because of the non-reservation system transactions (retail sales of the store) that are on the cash register tapes. I'm sure it will become easier with a little practice. :)
Whew. We're ready for a couple days off. :)
By the way, several folks are asking about our compensation. Because there are other employees here with what I would assume are different pay rates, we can't disclose our compensation online in this public forum. We treat it just like any other employment situation where it is unprofessional (and grounds for termination) to discuss wages.
What I can tell you is that we are being paid for all hours worked in addition to our campsite, and we are very satisfied with the rate. We accepted a package deal for both of us for the four months we are here.
The total compensation is split evenly between Linda & I, and we are paid every two weeks. Actually, we have sort of a salary deal since we have some management responsibilities, so we may not be paid for every hour worked as there is no overtime, but we are pleased with our situation. :)
We get propane at cost. We pay for laundry. Our electric is metered but we get a monthly allowance on that. We get a 30% discount in the campground store. We have use of a community garden. We have use of the campgrounds' rental boats during slow times, and occasionally we can use the owners' private pontoon boat (we pay for gas for power boats).
And, of course, we got it all in writing. :) All employers and workampers want to have a level of trust in each other, but always get the duties, compensation, and expectations in writing no matter who you are dealing with. It doesn't have to be particularly formal with the legal language of corporate contracts, but it should have sufficient detail. A memo or email is fine in most cases.
In our situation here, Katrina detailed a proposal in an email and then we discussed it on the phone. After our acceptance, I sent an email detailing our understanding of duties, compensation, and perks. Des responded by email with a slightly more formal document. We acknowledged our agreement and we knew exactly what we were taking on. The only remaining variables were our actual campsite (no small matter) and whether we would like the area.
As for the campsite, we contacted the prior year workampers that had the site. They told us the pros and cons and sent us photos. Des & Katrina also sent us photos.
When doing a long-term assignment, the campsite is very important to us. We've had photos sent, we've visited one workamper site in advance, and we usually zoom in on Google Earth to see the exact location. We've turned down a couple of offers soley based on the location of the workamper site.
In private campgrounds, for good reason, the workamper sites usually won't be prime sites. And in many situations, private employment or public volunteering, the sites are located near maintenance buildings or in places you are not envisioning. It's a bonus when the workamper site is amazing. :)
Often, unhappy workampers are the result of different expectations between the parties or being asked to perform duties they didn't think they were going to be asked to do. Having everyone's understanding in writing makes for a better relationship. :)
Okay, so I got off on another one of my little tangents. Hope it was helpful to some. :)
Now to figure out what we are going to do over the next couple of days. :)