Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Ranger is Learning His Way Around the UGB

The ranger is learning his new duties, one of which is how to predict the next eruption of Old Faithful. It all depends on how long its last eruption lasted and so on and so forth. The eruption gets posted and tweeted and downloaded as many places as they can think to spread the news. He mentioned how high the water spouted and so I asked, "How do you measure that?" Well, they use the surrounding trees to gauge that! "If it goes up to this branch it's around 81 feet and if it gets to that branch it's about 145." This cracks me up, but I have no better suggestions.

There are these really focused, dedicated people who ADORE geysers and they are called Geyser Gazers. This group of people, from all over, and who knows how much time and money they spend for the privilege of hanging out in the geyser basins, sit and watch geysers. Like for days. They do some amount of coordinating because they are always there. They hang out all night long jotting things down in their notebooks. The park service has some data loggers hidden around the various geysers to track their eruptions along with some web cams, but these humans...these humans are serious about their chosen work. K was going to check the data logger of one of the geysers but was in the middle of deciding if the water play was an imminent eruption or not when a Geyser Gazer called out, "I'd get out of there if I were you, it's gonna blow." So he did. And it did. The Geyser Gazers are so well acquainted with each geyser that they can read all the nuances of each stage of the eruption cycle.

There are other things going on in the UGB (Upper Geyser Basin) such as bison and bears (sow with two cubs, but not cubs of the year). He's been giving a few programs. And of course there are people. Thousands and thousands of people. People that let their children run ahead. Children that get lost. Children who get found by The Ranger, get handed off to Law Enforcement, and get reunited with their mothers. There are also children, namely four year old boys, that feel compelled to wrap themselves around the leg of a certain 6'3" ranger and smile up at him with glee. The Ranger simply smiles back down and pats the child before scanning the crowd to see which adult belongs to the boy.

The Ranger is a bit saddle sore from riding his government issued bicycle between the Government Housing Area and the Visitor Center (saves parking spots for visitors). His feet are a bit sore from breaking in a new pair of Brown Polish-able uniform shoes as well as a new pair of Keens for hiking. He finally located a vacuum cleaner that works. It lives at the Visitor Center. He had to drive over, load it up, vacuum the trailer, and then haul it back.

This ranger is currently sleeping in our tent at some campground near some place called Bear Creek, in Montana. The only other people there are the campground hosts. The river is rushing nearby helping him to relax and rejuvenate. I can just picture him cocooned in his sleeping bag, breathing the fresh air of God's Country. I miss him. I miss him, but I am tethered to my career responsibilities for awhile yet. And no baby bears for me.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Provo City Center Temple

So we visited the Provo City Center Temple this afternoon for the very first time--never even made it to the open house. It was beautiful and we were doing endowments for my French ancestors which is a tribute to my French mom--tomorrow will be our fifth Mother's Day without her. We were also asked to be the witness couple which is something I always interpret as a special message from Heavenly Father as if He's saying, "I'm so glad you're here. I know your heart, especially on this weekend what with no children of your own and your husband leaving soon. Just wanted to remind you about how aware I am of you." Before it burned, I sang in the Provo Tabernacle once for stake conference. This was my first time "back."

While we were getting settled in the endowment room, an older man approached the temple worker (who may have been all of twenty years old) at the altar and in a not-so-subtle and pretty loud stage whisper, he said, "That woman over there is coughing and it sounds like a SICK cough! She has a sick cough!" The temple worker remained silent and so the man went on gesturing with both hands and arms, "I mean...I don't know what your POLICY is, but that is a SICK COUGH!" Honestly, his round, wild eyes glancing suspiciously over at the woman just about had me in hysterics. For him, it was nigh unto a crime scene and for me it was like being on the set of Saturday Night Live! I'll have you know, I maintained great self control and did not bust out in giggles. It was close, though. I am laughing out loud right now as I type! The temple worker just smiled at the man and stated, "It's okay." So the man sat down on the front row and that lady coughed once more. You could hear him muttering over there, "That's a SICK cough!" He really thought his life was in jeopardy. The woman was coughing, but I think it was mostly from moving into the room. She was pretty quiet during the entire session with just an occasional cough here and there. I probably wouldn't have noticed had the guy not made a big deal out of it. But each time she did cough...there was a LOUD sigh emanating from that man. He was ready to save ALL of our lives if only someone would LISTEN to him! K and I had a great chuckle over it at the Olive Garden.

We decided to call ourselves "The Lost Table" at the Olive Garden. We were seated after our buzzer went off and then promptly left for dead. Finally, someone came over and said, "Hello, I am NOT your server, but I finally found her and she should be here soon. Can I get you started with some drinks?" K ordered Cherry Coke and I ordered water. The guy said, "I'll also bring some bread sticks with your drinks." After some time, a different guy brought our drinks and then promptly left us for dead once again. After more time passed, a woman came over and took our order. The bread sticks were long gone by then. Meanwhile, some people arrived in the booth next to us and were promptly served as if they were real customers. Then someone brought food to them, but it wasn't their food. It was OUR food! But before we could get the server's attention, he had told them, "Okay, let me go find out where this food goes!" Then of course, they got their food. Right? They got their food before we got ours and we had been sitting there for quite some time. Then our food arrived and it was good. When she brought the check, she brought six mints. SIX! I think that's their way of saying, "Sorry we left you for dead."

A Ranger Preparing for His Tour of Duty

He leaves on Friday. He's excited. I've already given him my honey-do list of things to accomplish around the house before he leaves (just one task left). TR is so sensitive about asking anything of me because of my busy schedule, so last night after dinner I stood up in front of him at the table (he was turned sideways away from the table. I gave him a kiss and looked him in the eyes and said, "I want to help you get ready. You can ask me to help you with things. You don't have to do everything by yourself. I will cut your hair. I will do your laundry so everything is fresh and ready for packing. Yes, it's a busy week for me, but I am your helpmeet so you had better let me help while you get all of your ranger ducks in a row. And I will make potato salad for you for Sunday Dinner"

His response, "But Sunday is Mother's Day and I don't want you to have to do anything!" Well, too bad, Mister. You are going to get potato salad!

So then we talked about today, Saturday. I just have one appointment at 11:00 a.m. I wanted to know his schedule, his errands, how we could collaborate and accomplish things together. And this is one of the reasons I admire him so greatly:

"The only thing I have to do is get to the temple."

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Moving to Old Faithful

Goodbye, Fishing Bridge (sob!). Hello, Old Faithful! The Ranger received a phone call from Rich, the District Ranger (boss of his supervisor) asking if he would like to graduate from a GS-05 to a GS-07 and spend the season at Old Faithful. He said "Yes!" For the record, we have LOVED Fishing Bridge these past four seasons. SO much! It pulls at our heartstrings to not go back. The rangers there are so great and we were looking forward to another season. We will miss the chatter of boreal frogs in the kettle pond down in Government Meadow with elk grazing peacefully. It's the only backyard we've ever had where we could photograph grizzlies from the porch. And the many funny bison. However, TR couldn't turn down a Seven. And so here we are, headed for the busiest place in the park. Fishing Bridge Visitor Center gets around 1,200 visitors each day and Old Faithful draws around 12,000. That's alotta folks asking where the restroom is and when Old Faithful will erupt next!

We are hearing we'll live in a two bedroom trailer. Fingers crossed we won't have too many mice for roommates and that there's not a mold problem or something like that. I will do my best to clean and air out the place. You just never know when it comes to park housing. This will be our third park housing dwelling and the sixth dwelling inhabited in our twelve years of marriage. TR will still get to do some programs, guided walks/talks and hikes...the interpretation he really loves, but he will also assist with employee scheduling, payroll, and some other supervisory/training/mentoring duties. And of course, there will be time at the desk at the Visitor Center. So much to learn.

I shouldn't boast too much, but one of TR's great qualities is his considerable "chill" factor. He's good under fire. I've seen/heard other rangers freaking out on the radio about the trail being "washed out" with a large family stranded above and he just calmly responds, "Please explain what you mean by "washed out." I've seen/heard other rangers tell him that he's their "hero" because he's so measured when calling to report a grizzly bear 15 yards off the boardwalk while directing everyone back to their cars in the parking lot (other rangers get a little "ratcheted up" when calling in such things). When a woman had a seizure during his evening program, he just pulled his radio off his belt and contacted dispatch to send EMS. His program microphone was still on so those of us in the audience could hear every word of his report. When the ambulance arrived even the EMS guy said, "Wow! You are so cool headed over the radio!" And guess what? He doesn't make visitors cry at the desk (I've seen a ranger do that by being short-tempered and rude). So yes, it will be a different kind of summer and crazy busy with all the visitors, but he will grow, we will grow, and we will learn all sorts of new stuff--especially a deeper understanding of the geology of geysers and the nature of thermophiles--heat loving bacteria.

We will miss you, Lake. We will miss you, Elevation 7,800 feet. We will miss you, Sarah/Mike/Laurie/Kass/Sirie/Susan/Richard/Tom/John/Harlan/Eric/and everyone else. We will miss you, Government Meadow and Quarters 709 B. We will miss you, Storm Point and Mud Volcano. We will miss you, Hayden Valley and Indian Pond. But we will grow to love Old Faithful and all the new friends we will meet there!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Bought These Shirts

So I didn't really shop yesterday, rather I quickly "grabbed." I grabbed four new shirts, super cheap, like one was $5. I got a solid black tee, a solid navy polo, a pinkish/whitish/striped t-shirt, and a very light blousy...not exactly a tunic, but it has a green pattern mostly with some other colors at the bottom. I just love it because it's so light and airy and comfortable now that our temps are in the high eighties. K went through my purchases went I got home pulling each item out one by one. He hates the one that's my favorite. He can't stand patterns. Even though he said, "I won't kiss you as much when you're wearing that shirt as when you wear the other shirts," I'm wearing it to church today. Heh heh. He always threatens not to kiss me if I eat pickles too (our little joke), but I eat them and he still kisses me. He's just a "solid" type of guy. He can't sleep on a pillow unless the pillow case is solid. No patterns for him!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Spring Break 2017

So we had to spend the first few days of Spring Break at home due to K's work and my studies at BYU. Finally, we were free to fly on Wednesday morning. Here is a grand list of places we went and things we did over four days (slept in Colorado the first night, camped in Utah at Hovenweep the second night, and slept in Arizona the third night):

Dinosaur National Monument, hiked the Box Canyon trail, saw petroglyphs, Hovenweep National Monument, hiked the Square Towers Loop and saw plenty of ruins, Moab, Monticello (hubby interviewed for a job at Bryce Canyon National Park to be a Geology Ranger...don't these pictures just scream "geology ranger?"...but the rent there is twice as much as we pay in Yellowstone...and people keep commenting..."I didn't realize you had to pay rent in Yellowstone"...really? You think they let us live somewhere for FREE? we will not be living amongst the hoodoos in Bryce), Edge of the Cedars State Park, hiked to the Holly Group of ruins and others, Goosenecks State Park, Monument Valley (ate our obligatory Navajo Taco...not as good as Cameron Trading Post), Navajo National Monument (see all those dwellings under the big arch), 100 mile boat ride on Lake Powell for the privilege of hiking 2.5 miles to see Rainbow Bridge National Monument...and now...we can finally say...we have visited all 13 National Park Service sites in the state of Utah.

One thing I remember about Spring Break is that I was really healthy. I ate nutritious food, I exercised every day, I slept well and long enough, and I was just not so stressed out with all of my obligations. And I lost a major amount of weight in just those few days, which of course, I have quickly regained. The desert is so healing!