Today was the first day of the year that we were open to the general public. In fact, we have a nice low-key Spring fundraiser which, today, drew about a thousand visitors, mainly families with kids, to my principle jobsite. Tomorrow, the weather is supposed to be even nicer, so our attendance should be even better.
I spent the end of last shift, the wee hours of this morning, unlocking and opening the gates to our parking lots, turning on the outside drinking fountain, and generally making sure that the day shift could hit the ground running as soon as they arrived on the job. It's an 'all hands on deck' weekend, with seasonal workers from all of our sites converging on this place to work the event. Me? I like to think of myself as a guy who helps his co-workers perform their necessary tasks without getting bogged down in the minutiae of mundane tasks best done before the site is open.
I arrived at work an hour early so I could catch up with people I hadn't seen in months. I'm one of the part-time, year-round employees, the bulk of the workforce isn't around during the Winter. It's a nice reunion in a gorgeous spot. I was surprised to see one young woman who used to work for us during summers when she was on Summer vacation. She had gone off to college in the Midwest, but it wasn't a good fit- she didn't like the area, she didn't think the other students were nice, and she didn't think she fit in well with her original academic plan. She figured out that she wasn't where she needed to be, so she put in her time for one semester, then came back East, applied to another university (a prestigious bastion of prestige, even), and will be happily studying her beloved Classics starting next semester. She's also going to be working with us whenever she can. I noted that she was back in her 'comfort zone', and stressed that one crucial component of knowing what you want is knowing what you don't want.
Another one of our young part-timers is back, working longer hours in an expanded capacity- it's nice to know that management has gotten serious about our 'up and comers'. The backbone of our organization is made of employees who have retired after having more traditional careers, who have the option to work on a part-time basis in order to have fun and indulge a passion for their work.
Regarding my four-legged co-workers, (in an echo of two years ago), Ginger, our feline diva, made sure she was underfoot, in the eye of the crowd. Fred, being a more reserved animal, spent most of the day safely ensconced in one of his hiding places, but made presence known late in the day... probably because his normal afternoon feeding time was nigh. He trotted over to me for a good ear-scritching, when I heard a chorus of children sing, "Kitty!" A trio of small girls ran over, and I gave them a brief intro, "Girls, he isn't a pet kitty, he's a working cat, so please be very gentle and very careful when you pet him." My main concern was that Fred would get stressed out and scratch someone, but my beloved cat was very patient as three small, dimpled paws stroked his fur. Good ol' Fred, my mellow, marmalade meower, just sat there and indulged the whims of three very cute preschoolers. I don't take pictures of kids who aren't related to me, you'll have to trust me when I say that it was the 'cuteation'. The girls were very well-behaved, very sweet and gentle.
It's been a great day, our crowd was very lovely, and even the people who wandered by after we closed for the day were nice, friendly people who I hope will visit us again when we're open. I'm happy that the season has started up again, and as it always does, it started on a high note.