Monday, August 31, 2009

Happy Sad

Well here we are. Almost 4 months have gone by. While 4 months is a long time it seems in many ways as if we have not been here so long.

It's been a wonderful summer. The job was fun (although strenuous) and the weather was (sometimes) good. Lots of fresh air and sun. The crowds have now thinned out. Only about 400 guests in the park now (as opposed to peaks of 2300-2400). We'll have maybe 1200 this weekend. The weather has cooled down quite a bit - high today 67 degrees. I have enjoyed my time here (perhaps more than Judy) and I will miss it.

Having said that, I can't wait to get back home! Friends, activities, our big house, 2 cars! We have decided to wait for at least a month or so before we decide whether to come back next year. There are a few changes -- plus one big change -- that make the job somewhat less attractive than it was this year. We have been asked to come back, and we are certainly not burning any bridges. But we are much too close to the situation now. Another month will give us some perspective.

Who knows? Maybe we'll go back to Alaska. But we did enjoy staying in one place and not having to set up again almost every day. There is no lack of variety in the situations that are available. We'll keep our eyes and our minds open and see what happens.

Sunshine on my Shoulders

Sunday was gorgeous after the torrential rains. Best news is that the campground is deserted. We have no one on the street that fronts the river and Ziggy and I are enjoying long walks. My morning routine is laundry and I've been going into Warrensburg to a very clean laundromat. After that I worked at boats in the afternoon and had to wear a polar fleece to stay warm.

Today is a typical, sunny, fall day - except it's still August. We have one more week of work and then we head home. So much cleaning and packing to do.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Rain in Spain...

Another day of pouring rain and only 57 degrees this morning. I'm still in my flannel pajamas and my only plans are watching a movie with a bowl of popcorn on my lap. Jeff and I subscribe to Netflix and they've been sending our requests here all summer. Who says camping is roughing it!

Yesterday we took a ride to Warrensburg, which is two minutes away, and visited the Friday Farmer's Market. We purchased some beautiful produce and baked goods along with spices and homemade peanut butter. Afterwards we drove to the end of the Schroon River where it flows into the Hudson River. We always joke with the tubers and boat renters about not going downstream of the campground as there is a four foot dam and then you'll be in the Hudson on your way to NYC. Well we saw the dam with a 30' drop and you really wouldn't want to attempt it. Pretty countryside for driving around, but I wouldn't want to be here in the snowy winter.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

It is still gorgeous today and Jeff was the tuber this afternoon. I went down to the beach after my shift to take some photos of him. He had one and a half year old twins on this trip and everyone had a great time.

I have to mention how wonderful the campers are at Lake George Escape (LGE) and how enjoyable it is to spend time here. The kids are amazing and usually so nice to each other. They meet and make friends quickly and help out at the activities. Most of the adults are friendly and fun to meet too. Maybe it's just the kind of people that camp, we're having a good time.
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Splish, Splash, I was Taking a Bath

Our time here is almost over and the weather is changing quickly. Many activities have to end early as it gets dark before 8 pm. This morning it is only 61 degrees and we've had our heat on for days. I'm already missing the hot days that we had between the rain and cold where I could kayak and watch the mosquitos skim the water making geometric designs. Now I see dead frogs squashed on the roads and the trees have large spun webs which contain some type of insects or caterpillars. They look perfect for Halloween decorations. My baby ducks are all grown now and seven of them visited me at boats yesterday and played and splashed at the water's edge.

Some summer fun last week as our water activity was the bubble machine. In the top photo the kids take the suds and get it everywhere. We had to hose them down afterwards. The bottom photo was our last campfire and a great group who sang along and marched while playing their kazoos. One man set up a computerized telescope in the middle of the sports field and let us see four moons of Jupiter and craters on the moon. Thank you!

This morning I have to set up the bounce house and then rent the pedal carts. There aren't many guests here and it is quiet. I'm actually looking forward to the weekend and more action.
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hawaiian Love Song

This week is Hawaiian Luau and I am in the swing of things. Jeff and I dressed up for our campfire, although we didn't sing any Hawaiian songs. The weather has been perfect the last few days and even a little too hot, but I don't dare complain after all the rain.

We've been plugging along with our work and play and went out for good Italian food on Tuesday night. Today we went for lunch in Bolton Landing and strolled around that quaint town. In between I've been swimming in the river to cool off and just enjoying everything.
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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Send in the Clowns

Halloween - Week II
Same drill as last week and we are stationed by the dumpsters again. They smell worse this week.

The weather continues to be great. We slept late today and I decided to go to a museum in Glens Falls this afternoon. The Hyde Collection has an exhibit called Degas and Music that they've been hyping all summer. We talked about it last night and I say Carpe Diem! The collection is housed in a small museum connected to the Hyde's home. The Pruyn family were principal's of a large paper company and the father built three homes in a row for his three daughters. The eldest Charlotte Hyde, and her husband Louis, became art collectors and their acquisitions are displayed in their home along with period furnishings.

The small Degas exhibit is in the museum area and featured pieces that deal with music, not ballet. It was all interesting, but not as impressive as last week at The Clark. After I got home we put on our makeup and headed out to scare the guests on the wagon rides. Now we are finished and looking forward to Hawaiian Luau for next week's theme.
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Friday, August 14, 2009

Give My Regards To Broadway

A great night spent at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center with Susan and Dan Shearer. We attended a performance of the Philadelphia Orchestra called "Broadway Rocks" and it was a perfect night for sitting on the lawn and relaxing. Susan is the daughter of our friends Alice and Howard Welt. Alice and Jeff grew up together in Yardley and we were all friends there as adults. Lo and behold they now winter in Savannah and we have renewed our friendship in the south.

Susan and Dan live and work in the Albany area and we met up in time to enjoy some subs and chips and then enjoy the concert. The musicians opened with selections from West Side Story and then were joined by four singer/dancers who performed numbers from Grease, Footloose, Wicked, Fame... They were okay, but the venue is great and the night sky was gorgeous, full of stars...
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Campfire Memories

It's Friday, and I'm still smiling about our campfire Wednesday night. It was everything I was hoping our campfires would be this year. We had 35-40 people, and they were really into it.

We started with a circle game - Aardvark and Platypus - that we learned from our boss on the RV treks. It is a silly game, and everyone was laughing hysterically. Then we sang a couple of kid's songs followed by our kazoo march. (If you haven't been following the blog, we had kazoos printed with the campground logo. We give them out to the campfire guests and everyone marches around to the tune of This Old Man. Not coincidentally, the real title of this song is The Children's Marching Song.)

I sang a couple of songs - including Rickety, Tickety, Tin in honor of Halloween - and then Judy read a scary story. I followed up with a shaggy dog story (The Tiz Bottle) and we sang some more. The group divided into 3 parts for Rock My Soul, and really enjoyed Right Field and Marvelous Toy.

As always, we finished up with everyone on their feet for America, the Beautiful.

Kids were sitting on parent's laps or curled up on blankets next to mom and dad. It was as American as apple pie and it put a smile on my face. Some of my happiest childhood memories are of singing camp songs around a fire. I think that is why these campfires are so important to me.

Our corporate mission statement says in part that our job is "creating generations of memories." I think we did our job Wednesday night.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

That 'Ol Black Magic

Not much to report except we've had a run of hot, sunny days. Sunday we worked and rested after our late night antics on "Halloween." Monday was more work and the same for Tuesday. Tuesday was our second employee "Pickle" day (don't ask) and we get half off all items in the stores and grill. So we ate lunch and dinner out and went to see a terrific Halloween display put on by two of our guests. They have hundreds of scary props and things that light up and vibrate and are really scary. Then we went shopping for a few things. We rode our bikes to the Lodge store and just as we were beginning to eat our ice cream cones it started to pour. We were stuck inside so we made the best of it by sitting in some comfy sample chairs and ate our ice cream and talked to others avoiding the rain. It only lasted a few minutes, but enough to soak our bicycle seats and give us wet tushes on the way home.

Today was peaceful and we didn't begin work until dinnertime. I sat outside and read most of the morning. Lunchtime we got a call from a couple that live in Sun City and are active in the theatre. Jeff has been playing phone tag with them as he has some theatre questions and they've been travelling in Colorado. When Jeff asked where they were now they were a few exits from our campground. So Bernie and Wendell MacNeal stopped by and we enjoyed lunch together and good conversation. It's so great to see folks from Sun City.
After some more resting we decided to tag along on a tubing trip and that as always is lots of fun and relaxing. Tonight our campfire was fun with songs and ghost stories. We had our largest crowd yet and everyone sang and were truly scared of the ghost story.

Just Typical Campers

One thing you can always rely on - campers are individualists. Here are two examples of the types of campers we see. In the top photo a couple takes their best friend for a ride in an electric boat as Judy and Darrell assist. It's a big lab - has to be over 100 pounds. And he couldn't be happier!

The middle picture is of a guest's site during Halloween week. These campers take two adjacent sites and set up an entire walk-through haunted house. There are several hundred displays, many of which move or light up. The grill in the photo has intestines and a brain on the grill and a human torso on the spit. The spit is being turned by the skeleton, and smoke is coming up from the grill.

The bottom picture is Judy posing with another figure in the display. This one has a motion sensor and lights up when someone approaches.

These campers were here last year, and the campground management invited them back and gave them complimentary camp sites and amenities. It turns out that they spend the summer traveling from campground to campground doing the same thing. They meet lots of people and have a great summer. And you are always welcome to stop in for a beer.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Masquerade (Phantom of the Opera)

Tonight was the culmination of Haunted Halloween. Most of the staff was in costume for special scary wagon rides. We had three wagons running from 9 pm until after 11 pm. Over 400 tickets were sold at $2.00 each and we had a huge waiting list. There were scary scenarios set up around the grounds like a chainsaw massacre and a ghost in a coffin. Our group of five were ghouls and we ran out and scared people as the wagon drove by. Some folks were really scared and screamed - others not so much. We had lots of fun just spooking people who walked by. Our post was next to a set of smelly dumpsters so we became know as the trash people.
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Alvin and the Chipmunks

It's been a weird week for wildlife at our site. I saw my first hummingbird right in my geranium plant and then a golden finch was trapped in our screen room. I was able to get him to fly out so that ended happily. Today I had this photogenic chipmunk under the bird feeder and later this large flock of geese swam past me on the river while I was kayaking.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Magical Mystery Tour

Friday is yet another gorgeous day and Carol and I are ready to get some culture. The motel provides continental breakfast and after checking out Carol shows me around the Williams campus and the tiny downtown area. The Clark opens at 10:00 am and we are there. First we go to a smaller building on a hill and view a nature exhibit from Japan. They had a few nice screens and vases. Then we headed to the main building and saw the Georgia O'Keefe paintings that we had come to see. Later we viewed the permanent collection and it is impressive. The Clark family were the founders of Singer sewing machines and were avid art collectors.

After lunch at the museum cafe we headed over to the Williams College Museum of Art to see an exhibit of paintings by Maurice Prendergast. He was an American impressionist and this show featured his paintings of Italy. Most of the pictures were of the Piazza San Marco and the Rialto Bridge area which brought back pleasant memories. We also breezed through a terrific photographic exhibit.

After an ice cream break we each headed home in different directions. My ride home was much easier in the daylight and I was back at camp for dinner.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

What's New Pussycat

Thursday and another sunny day at Lake George Escape. Here we are posing at the pedal cart rentals and wearing our Halloween hats. That's our theme this weekend and Jeff has a yellow devil and I'm a black cat. Later we drove the wagon and finished our day a little after 8pm.
Now I start another adventure as I am driving to Williamstown, MA, to meet my sister. Carol has been at Williams College all week for a Massachusetts Teacher's Conference. I'm all packed and ready so I set the address into my GPS and take off in the darkness. The ride should be just under two hours and I head south on Route 87 towards Albany. I got off and went east through Troy, NY and then onto a two lane pitch black road where I had no phone service for most of the ride. There was hardly any other traffic and I was a bit nervous. A fox ran in front of the car and I saw a large deer waiting to cross. Finally I saw the Welcome to Massachusetts sign and a few minutes later I reached the motel.
After some catching up we fell asleep and it was my first time sleeping in a building since May.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The Marvelous Toy

Wednesday night is our campfire. Tonight was the best ever, so much fun. We had about 30 guests and everyone sang and participated. It was a beautiful night with a full moon and perfect for a ghost story. I read Tailypo again and tonight it was really scary. One little girl held her hands over her ears and after the program she asked me if the creature really lived in our pond. I laughingly told her it was just a story and hopefully she will sleep tonight.

Jeff sang The Marvelous Toy and it is always a favorite. He has a bad sore throat, but did his best at singing. Afterwards we stopped at the Lodge for ice cream and enjoyed the delicious evening.
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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Monster Mash

You didn't know that Halloween is moved to August? We have two weekends of Halloween fun and it is an immensely popular time here. Some families come every year and many bring decorations for their site. One young man told me he's been coming this weekend for 11 years. The real deal will be Saturday night with haunted wagon rides and lots of ghoulish fun.

Still sunny and hot and a full day of work.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Sitting on the Dock of a Bay

I reported to work on Monday morning and found the boats and docks floating. All the rain has raised the level of the river. It will be two days before we have the docks moved in and can rent the electric boats. I was able to rent canoes and kayaks.
The weather has improved and the sun was out all day.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Singing in the Rain

Another day of torrential rain. How much more can we take?!?!? It was pleasant this morning and I started the laundry at 8:30 am and Jeff set out for his shift driving the shuttle. By noon it started to drizzle and I reported to boat rentals at 1:00 pm. At 1:30 pm it was raining so hard that our manager closed the rentals and I got to go home. I stopped at the supermarket and bought a pot roast and the ingredients for meatballs and spaghetti. Got home and started cooking while it continued to pour.

We stayed in all night eating, reading and watching TV.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Let It Be

Saturday and finally a sunny day. We slept deliciously late and then Jeff and Rick took to the river on a tubing trip and enjoyed themselves. I spent the day sitting in our screen room and reading. At night we tried an Italian restaurant in the village. The food was good, but a limited menu and very pricey. Afterwards we drove up to Bolton Landing and through the grounds of The Sagamore hotel.