Today is our last day of normal visitation at work. From now on, the gift shop will be open for a couple of weekends for holiday shoppers, and we have a very low-key Winter fundraiser which, due to the limited number of tickets, sells out pretty quickly. This is the day when I can pretty much lock up our auxiliary parking lots for six months, until the tourist season resumes in the Spring.
It's the sort of day when I walk around thinking, "I won't have to unlock this gate for months" and "This sign can be packed away until May." After today, the job becomes a completely different job. One of the seasonal employees asked me how I deal with the change of pace, and I had to confess to her that I like the downtime. She countered, "But, you're so social." Yeah, but I like the quiet, the time when I can read when there's a lull, when the periodic tasks have been accomplished. I like the time spent fussing over the cat, the mornings when I crunch a trail through newly-fallen snow onsite, the 'changing of the guard' as the birds migrate and a new cadre of critters becomes active onsite. I will miss the seasonal workers and the contractors, all lovely people, but that makes their return in the Spring all the more precious.
The hours will still be long, our departmental staffing issues haven't been solved, but the hectic pace will be finished. The slog becomes more manageable, with no need to be in two places at once. It's a time when less pressing tasks can be handled, projects postponed due to the needs of the busy season can be accomplished. It's a nice payoff for a couple of months of hurlyburly, but at the same time, it allows for some recovery so next year's hurlyburly can be dealt with when it begins.