Play ball!

Ah, it’s baseball playoff season. Bad for my blood pressure, but my favorite time of year! Except I have to watch the games on FOX. Good God, four more weeks of listening to sound effects and Tim Carver’s constant overanalyzing of everything. A ground ball is not a thesis topic, Tim. He takes all the joy out of the game.

Today at work: Holy shit. The local cops were staking out a suspicious couple of campers this morning. As we had no law enforcement officers on duty, I was asked to dispatch one of our maintenance workers to surreptitiously get the tag number from their van while “emptying the trash barrels.” Later in the morning the suspicious woman came to the visitor center to report that she was assaulted yesterday in the park.

Off to Colorado tomorrow! Yee-ha!

LBJ is still president? We are bombing Vietnam?

I could scream. PBS has “The History Channel Disease”: documentaries that refer to the past in the present tense. Robert Kennedy is not campaigning in Oregon, he campaigned in Oregon. Robert Kennedy is dead. I feel a letter coming on.

On a better note, I spoke with Lorena this evening. I may visit Argentina next month, but I don’t know yet.

I worked on the island this weekend, and stayed Saturday night. The fort is as clean as it’s going to get until it dries out completely, and is shut down until the spring.

Savaged by fire ants!

The long awaited Fort Massachusetts clean-up was delayed by our “Critical Incident Stress Debriefing,” which was in fact very useful as we got some hard news about our Florida district. At least one of our rangers had his home destroyed by Ivan, but nobody was hurt. Most folks are ready to go back to work, and don’t have any place to go back to. Headquarters is still a hard hat area.

Our volunteers worked hard cleaning up; I will ask about doubling their salaries. Mosquitos and biting flies were bad; I myself was savaged by fire ants as well. Please excuse my semicolons: I am reading a book about punctuation.

A day of small disappointments

The Davis Bayou area of my park is finally reopened. For some reason, the hurricane shutters were still on the windows of the visitor center this morning. What the hell? We spent the last seven days removing every frigging branch and twig from the ground, but not the hurricane shutters from the building. Grr.

Which reminds me of a joke about John D. Rockefeller, Jr.: how he was so orderly that he had a team of German engineers who picked up every stick in the woods after a wind storm.

And then…

I was listening to a typically close Yankees-Sox game at Fenway. Until the eighth inning when the Red Sox proceeded to pound the living bejeezus out of the Yanks’ bullpen. I liked the Yankees better when they had near flawless pitching and, of course, Paul O’Neill. Yet they will still win 100 games this year. Go figure.

They better win tomorrow or no Christmas card!

A day off

Today I ran some errands. “Fast Food Nation” is returned to the library and now “Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation!” is under my stewardship. I didn’t get a chance to clean out the aquarium pump, which is getting very noisy, goddammit.

I saw “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow,” complete with its art deco CGI set and props. It has an exceptionally dull plot that demeans the visual coolness.

No word on working overtime tomorrow, so I guess I’m off. There was talk of me helping to take one of our boats to the Florida district tomorrow, and perhaps staying out there for a couple of weeks. Would’ve been fun, I think.

Ouch. Moving hurts.

Continued cleaning up the park today. I am more bruised, lacerated, dirty, sore, and tired than I have been at work in a long time. In fact, the last time I worked this hard was on fire detail last September. Yikes. I need to hit the gym more often.

My coworker put a song into my head and I can’t get it out.

Watched “The Lion in Winter” last night. It is very long and I haven’t finished it. I may not bother.

Waiting for Sylvia Plath to kill herself

Finally got out to the island today. The fort is a mess. Lots of mud. There are fish living in there now. Some of last week’s plantings survived.

Anyone who’s curious about how the park is dealing with the hurricane can check the NPS Morning Report.

Watched “Sylvia” on DVD. Not too bad, very slow, kinda boring and depressing. Really just waiting for Sylvia Plath to kill herself.

Keep putting off calling the girlfriend. Everybody has different advice.

Back to work

We started cleaning up the park today. We’ll start reopening in a couple of days. On the mainland there’s a lot of debris on the trails. On the island, the boat dock is damaged and Fort Massachusetts has three feet of water in it, so it won’t be open for a while. Our Florida district got slammed pretty hard: Fort Pickens is flooded, the road on Santa Rosa island is washed over with sand, and tons of household belongings, big and small, washed up on Perdido Key. Phones, cell towers, and power are still out. I may be sent there to help out if they need it.

Tonight I will wash the thousands of love bugs off my car- casualties of my return trip from the Delta. I can hardly see through the windshield for all the stains.

As the Hurricane Churns

Hurrican Ivan is about to enter the Gulf of Mexico as of this evening. Today, we started “Hurricane Preparedness” at the park; which for me means I went to the island, packed up, covered, or elevated everything in the fort, then returned to the mainland to help do the same at our district headquarters. Even more of the same tomorrow, then maybe we’ll be dismissed. Early weekend for me, though I’ll be on call.

I’m not used to eating out of cans, so I’ve been having trouble selecting blackout cuisine. Mostly baked beans and creamy soups. I refuse to buy canned pasta. I’d rather starve than eat that shit. I have some ice in the freezer, I don’t own a cooler. I have batteries and a flashlight. I’ll may decide to go to Vicksburg to stay with my friend.

Sea horses will eat them

Yesterday I planted sea oats, grasses that grow on beach dunes and hold barrier islands together. I organized the project with our biologist and about 18 volunteers showed up. We planted over 1,000 plants (including seaside panic-grass and beach blue-stem). Woo-ha!

The downside is: I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. I’m exhausted, dehydrated, sore, I have a fire ant bite on my knee, and I’m badly sunburned on the top of my head. I was in the sun so long, my scalp got burned through the mesh in my ballcap (for those of you who don’t know me, I am practically bald and I cut my hair very short to boot). I have this bizarre pattern on my head from the hat. I could start a gang and we’d all have it.

After work I went to the Biloxi seafood festival. Pretty good zydeco band playing. Ate some grilled catfish and “crab puffs.” Never again with the crab puffs. Basically hushpuppies with crab thrown into the mix.

This week’s excitement will be: where will Hurrican Ivan go? It hasn’t enter the Gulf of Mexico yet, but everyone at work is all in a tizzy. If it enters the Gulf, we will begin “storm preparedness operations.”

Can love bugs just be friends?

On the island where I work, the love bugs are back. They’re really in the marchfly family (you care, you just don’t know it yet) and they pair up and just kind of buzz around. There’s thousands of them, though. They get into everything. One child held a pair in his palm and said to me, “Now I know why they’re called ‘friend bugs. See? They’re friends!” His parents are going to have to give him the Truth About Love Bugs Talk.