Sunday, November 13, 2022

The Sunday Post #312

The Sunday Post is a chance to recap the past week, talk about next week, tell you what I’m reading, and share news. It’s hosted by The Caffeinated Book ReviewerReaderbuzz, and Book Date.

The Sunday Post #312

On The Blog Recently

In The Rest Of My Life

Last week, I blathered about the end of my work season and told you to ask me questions about being a park ranger. Now I'm going to answer the questions and show off some random park pictures I found on my phone.

(If you don't care about the ranger stuff, then you should probably click away now. I totally understand if you're going, "Ma'am, this is a book blog." There will be books on Tuesday, I swear!)

Where did you work, and did you live in the park?

I don't think I'm allowed to say where I work. They're really strict about what we post online. I can't even post selfies of me in my uniform! It's a state park. It's located on the high plains. It has a lake. It's near Denver. That's probably vague enough.

I did not live in the park because I wouldn't have been able to bring baby Brooklyn with me. Living in the park would have made the commute a lot shorter though!

Are you an EMT? Did you train as an EMT?

Nope. Some of my coworkers are former EMTs, but I've only taken a 4-hour CPR and first aid course. I'll probably take more medical classes this winter.

You got pepper sprayed in the face?!?!!

I did. It was part of my training. I wrote about it ---> here. It sucked.

You have to re-interview for your job next year?

Yep. The park starts hiring in January. If someone applies for my job and is more qualified than me, I'll have to get a different job.

Control tower for the dam on the left. Boat ramp on the right.

What does it take to be a park ranger?

Well, you spend most of your time working with the public. So . . . a sense of humor and epic amounts of patience.

Good things that happened during the season?

Goofing around with my coworkers. Seeing cool wildlife and weather. Meeting people from all over the world. Driving a truck up a creek to search for an elk herd.

I like seeing the creative ways that people use parks. I love when people put massive amounts of energy into joyfully stupid activities. For example: A group used sidewalk chalk to create a 4.5-mile-long hopscotch grid in the park. (Yes, I played hopscotch on it. No, I did not hop the entire 4.5 miles.)

The Witch's Paddle was cool too. Around 400 people in Halloween costumes showed up to paddleboard and hang out on the beach.

The backside of the dam.

Bad things that happened during the season?

Medical emergencies every weekend. A man drowned. There was a nasty motorcycle crash. I saw a loose dog get annihilated by a pickup truck. I caught COVID, and it kicked my ass for 8 days. Then there's your daily dose of difficult customers.

What animals did you see?

Tons of them! The "every day" animals are deer, coyotes, prairie dogs, rabbits, squirrels, bull snakes, magpies, hawks, lots of different water birds. Turtles, fish, lizards, and frogs. Oh, and spiders and mice. Spiders and mice everywhere.

The "sometimes" animals are bald eagles, golden eagles, elk, rattlesnakes, black widows, turkeys, owls, beavers, and muskrats. I've seen black bears and moose in the park, but not this season.

A coworker left this note on our office whiteboard. It says, "Beware of baby rattlesnakes around shop. If found, do not pick up by hand!" You'd think that would be obvious, but nope. We need a reminder to grab the bucket and snake sticks before messing with the baby rattlesnakes.

Most surprising part of your job?

This was my first year as a ranger, but I've actually been working in the park since 2019. I used to work in Visitor Services. Not a lot surprised me because I had a pretty solid idea of what I was getting myself into.

I was surprised by the amount of trash in the park. I picked up so much trash! And there was always more trash!

I was surprised by how scary it is to mind the business of strangers. I have to answer radio calls and walk into situations with only a hazy idea of what's going on. One time, I overheard an angry dude screaming at his girlfriend. All my instincts were like, Stay away from angry dudes! That's how you get murdered! But, no, I had to go and get involved with the angry dude.

I was surprised by the number of people who recorded me on their phones. I'd be selling park passes or cleaning up trash on the side of the road. Then I'd look around and notice someone pointing their phone at me. Why? What are they expecting me to do? Now I know how the wild animals feel with all the tourists gawking at them.

I was surprised by the number of people who came up to me and said, "Thank you for your service." I'm not in the military! I thought that was a military thing! It freaks me out because it feels like stolen valor or something. I'm just a park ranger. I'm not even a very good park ranger!

Crazy stories of people you encountered?

Of course! There's never a shortage of those. Here are four for you:

1. The rangers got a report of a person (potentially) missing in the lake. We got all the tourists out of the water and onto the beach. I was walking through the crowd and looking for witnesses or anyone who was missing a family member. It's a scary situation.

A little girl walked up to me and said, "How much longer will it take you to find the drowned person? I came here to swim, and I haven't been allowed to swim yet. I'm getting impatient."

Um . . . I'm sorry, Kindergarten Karen. I will speed this search along so you can get your laps done. Dang. The kids are cold-hearted.

2. Another female ranger and I were setting up stuff for an outdoor educational event. We were trying to sledgehammer rebar into the ground so we could hang signs on it. It wasn't going well because the rebar kept hitting rocks. A man walked past us and said, "Who let women be rangers? And who gave them a hammer?" He didn't offer to help.

3. I was doing traffic control immediately after a motorcycle accident. A lady got mad because we hadn't put up Detour or Road Closed signs yet. Um . . . do you really not see the motorcycle carnage or the unconscious gentleman in the street? We have priorities, madam! The signs need to wait until we do something about the unconscious dude.

4. I failed to explain death to a customer:

Woman: "I have Shayleen's lifetime annual pass. Shayleen died."
Me: "I'm sorry to hear that."
Woman: "Can her pass be moved to my account?"
Me: "Unfortunately, no. The pass belongs to Shayleen."
Woman: "But Shayleen is dead. I married her husband. Can the pass be moved to his account."
Me: "No. The pass belongs to Shayleen. It can't be transferred. It became void when she died."
Woman: "This is a very rare and expensive lifetime pass!"
Me: "I understand—"
Woman: "It's a lifetime pass! It never expires! That's the definition of lifetime!"
Me: "It's Shayleen's lifetime pass. Shayleen is no longer living. Her lifetime pass is void because she has no life."
Woman: ". . . ."
Me: ". . . ."
Woman: "This makes absolutely no sense."

Join The Madness

Take care of yourselves and be kind to each other. See you around the blogosphere!


  1. Ha ha ha! I saw that meme earlier this week. It's still funny. :D

    I hope you don't have to find a new job. And, those crazy stories are nuts. The lifetime pass made me LOL because duh... Sorry you have to deal with stupid people. I'm glad other parts of the job are good, though. Also, what do you do during the off-season? Do you have another job or do you still get paid?

    I hope you have a good week!

    My Post

  2. All your anecdotes are wonderful. Especially whether a lifetime pass outlives its owner’s lifetime. And Kindergarten Karen.

    best… mae at

  3. Shayleen's husband did not pick a very bright replacement. Oh, my! I guess I didn't realize being a ranger was seasonal. Good luck with whatever decision you make about that situation.

  4. It's odd to me that you have to reapply for your job every year. Maybe that's just for the first few years?

    Love your stories from your work. My favorite stories from my workplace were from the time I worked for the Census Bureau. Unfortunately, I had to take an oath of confidentiality to work for the bureau, so I eventually decided I needed to do something where I could share with others all the odd things that happened on the job.

    Next year you need to keep a photographic record of all the birds you see. Trust me. There are a lot of us who love to birdwatch.

  5. There’s a book in this job for you:)

    Wishing you a great reading week

  6. Holy crap - this is both hilarious and disturbing! :) I'm so glad there are people like you that take jobs like these and enjoy them. And it makes me want to be a better steward of our parks! Thanks for sharing a peek into your life - and I hope you get your job back!
    Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys

  7. Wow those stories are crazy!!! Especially the last few. Yikes!

  8. Gorgeous pictures. Thank you for sharing. And it sounds absolutely logical to me that you aren´t allowed to share a picture of yourself in a uniform. Safety first. But it was very interesting to read all the things about your job. Happy reading!

  9. Those stories are something else. I don't know how your head doesn't spin from those people. Good luck with the job interview. It's really a shame you have to re-interview like that. Hope you have a great week!

  10. Kindergarten Karen!!!!!

    You could publish a book of your great stories if you get to work there a few more years.

    That lifetime pass "That doesn't make sense to me." OMG.

  11. Hope the missing swimmer turned up okay.

  12. oh my goodness! The lifetime pass, hilarious story! Sounds like such a neat job. Hope you're able to get the job back next year if you want it again. Have a great week!
    Lisa Loves Literature

  13. I still can't believe being sprayed with pepper spray was part of TRAINING. I would love seeing elk.

    That girl wanted to SWIM

  14. Okay, I love the crazy customer stories! Some people! I am going to find an excuse to call someone a Kindergarten Karen, even it is the last thing I do!

    Being a park ranger sounds like great fun, but too bad you have to reinterview every year.

    Have a great week! - Melinda @ A Web of Stories

  15. What a great post! As someone who worked as a nurse all my working life, I can verify there are some crazy things that people say and do. Your stories though are priceless! Thanks so much for sharing them and bringing a smile to my face!

  16. Wow. People are too strange. It's fun to hear about your park ranger experiences. Maybe you can write a book someday?

    Anne - Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post

  17. Fascinating. Hard though that you have to reapply every year. Yes, working with the public can be tough... I got my share in a public library (where I used to work as a computer assistant).

  18. Wow! the park ranger job sounds interesting, and I know, working with the public can be mind boggling at times lol. Enjoy your week!

  19. Wonderful post!! I love learning more about your job as a park ranger!! Thanks so much for sharing.

  20. I know how nervous you were about this job, so I'm glad to see there were so many highlights for you!

  21. Great stories! I hope you get the job again next year. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  22. I enjoy hearing about your job and the things you see & have to deal with. The Park looks beautiful ... but some of the public just sucks right? It's disheartening that people litter so much in Parks (that's just awful) ... as well as how selfish and coldhearted people can be ... there's no rhyme or reason. I admire your job & service as a Park Ranger

  23. I came here looking for a book update, but I love the outdoors and parks, so I really enjoyed your ranger stories! People are weird. And I love that post at the top - lol Sounds like a great job! Thanks for sharing -
    Book By Book

  24. Shayleen wants to enter the park FROM HER GRAVE. Lolololol. Omg, I'm sure it's nothing but comedy around there. Except for the snakes. I am an absolute NO NOPE NO WAY about snakes.

  25. Whoa, it took a moment for 4.5 miles to sink in. The animals sound awesome! Except the spiders. The surprising things *are* surprising. How weird that people just record you cleaning trash. I would hate being randomly recorded. But oh wow, those people in the last section were really something lol.

  26. Wow, I could never do this job. LOL I love all the stories though, and I hope that you get to have the same job next year. That would be a bummer to have someone come in and get the job over you. I mean, I get it, but still annoying it's a year to year thing. hah I didn't even think of living in the park, but that's kind of intriguing - but yeah, can't do that with a little one!

    Lauren @

  27. I'm not sure I would have made it through the Shayleen conversation. A lifetime pass seems pretty self-evident but people are always such a surprise with what is obvious and what isn't. I didn't realize you had to reapply every year! How nerve wracking. Have a great week free of baby rattlesnakes!

  28. What an awesome post! I have to admit reading about Shayleen's lifetime pass made me laugh out loud.