Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Cleaning up the Joint

Oh boy, MelodyAnn bestowed a big ol' compliment on my blog and now I'm expecting all these visitors to come check me out so I've got to get this place spruced up! Just kidding - those of you who personally know me already know that I hate to clean. Really I do. I would take a picture of my bedroom to show you but you would probably have to bleach your eyes after looking at it. So, you'll just have to take my word for it. Don't get me wrong, if I knew I was having company or something like that, I certainly would make my house decent. It's the day to day clutter that has taken over and become it's own lifeform in my house.

It's beyond me how I got this way. Laziness? I wasn't always like this. I grew up on a farm and we WORKED. Gardening, haying, taking care of animals, and splitting and lugging wood for 3 woodstoves that we heated our big house with, kept me, my sisters and brother very busy. Plus we had school and sports as well. It's a family joke that my name was "Get Wood" because it felt like that was all I did...lug wood.

I had a job for a summer in high school that when I look back on, I can't believe I did. It was at a place called West Branch Pond Camps. For a girl in high school, this place was at the end of the world... heck it was a whole different planet. Seriously, look at the directions to the place on their website. It's 18 miles from town and another 10 miles down a gravel road. No phone, except one of those cranking things on the wall. No electricity unless the generator was running after supper. No tv, no stereo, no car and no boys unless they were there visiting with their families. I don't think I've ever worked so hard in my life. My friend Melody and I both worked there. She was in charge of the diningroom and I was in charge of the cabins. We had our own cabin to live in for the summer and she had wheels to get us back to town on our day off. The place was run by a husband (A) and wife (C)who hardly spoke to each other and they had 3 little boys that she homeschooled. I always felt bad for C because she whenever she spoke to A, he grunted his answer. I don't ever remember him really talking. Once in a while he would smile at us or laugh out loud at something. I always have thought he was one of the strangest men I have ever met. Melody and I both slept in a big bed in our cabin and we could hear the mice at night running around the edge of the ceiling. One night we felt one run across the bed and I'm pretty sure we both freaked out. Everyday, I had to clean and straighten the cabins while the guests were at breakfast at the main lodge with Melody. How she could handle all those people by herself, I never could figure out. I liked working the cabins by myself. I had a good system worked out and I was able to get them all done, including the bathrooms. Sometimes the guests would leave me tips in the strangest places... like their wallets left on the nightstands. I'M KIDDING! I would never do that. Occasionally, I would find a $5 or a $10 on top of the bed on sheet changing day. Most of the time, the tip was left at the end of their stay and was usually $25 or$50. One time, I found a crisp $100 left for us! woohoo! That was good money back in the early 80's for a weeks work on top of the salary we got. Mel & I pooled and split our tips, bought some beer and saved the rest.

On Mondays, I did the sheets and towels from the cabins. Remember, this place had no electricity so A would fire up the generator for me to run the washing machine. When I say washing machine, I'm talking about one of those wringer washers that my grandmother had when she was a little girl. Thank God the generator was there to do the agitating part! I'd have to fill it with hot water, soap & bleach, agitate it, drain it, refill it, agitate it and drain it again. One final fill and drain for the rinse and then I wrung out all the sheets & towels twice to get the water out of them. After that, I would take the big baskets of wet clothes to the clothesline, which was in the field where the cow was and hang them up, being very careful not to step in a cow-flap. The cow would always come over and try to lick the sheets and I would shoo her away and she kept coming back. Sheets dried on the line smell so crisp and clean and I always took such pride in making up those beds with the clean sheets I had washed, literally, by hand. Doing laundry this way took the better part of the day but I truly enjoyed it and I hope those guests enjoyed those clean sheets too!

The place really was a step back in time. You'd think without all the modern conveniences that we would be very bored but there was always so much to do we never had time for that! It really was a great experience for both Melody and I to have. I'm hoping she has as fond of memories of working together there as I do.

7 comments:

Sandi said...

We had one of those ringer washers when I was a kid. I remember doing laundry with Angela one day, and I was trying to get a sock to go through the ringer, and wound up getting my thumb sucked in. Wasn't fun then, but funny as shit now.

Melody said...

Thank you for letting me relive those memories. It was definitely a simplier time in my life. Do you remember the night spent in the car because there was a bat in the cabin. A. gave you a shot gun and told you to shoot it...YIKES! Sneaking Candy to the boys? The cow sleeping on the porch? FUN!

Heather said...

Wow - sounds like a pretty cool job!! And a hard job! :) Ah, to be young again.

Sarah said...

That post was hilarious! I loved hearing about that job but love it even more that I didn't have it. LOL.

Sue said...

Even though that job was hard work, look at all the fun memories you have! If you had worked at a "normal job", it wouldn't be half as much fun to look back on fondly. I love the part about the cow! You must take a trip out there, nothing has changed!

Sleeping Mommy said...

My god that sounds positively archaic. But what a wonderful experience to have growing up. More teens need jobs like this.

Patti said...

That cow!!!! She would not let me off my porch unless I gave her a Ritz Cracker!!! I worked up there the summer of 1980...where were you for the alumnie softball game???
Patti