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Monday, May 31, 2010

The Dumbing Down Transition

(Craig/Karin) We began our workamping job nearly three weeks ago. We are working together in the general store, learning how to make reservations and conduct other functions throughout the store. It’s a nice store filled with all kinds of neat stuff: T-shirts, shorts, candles, lawn ornaments, kites, toys, camping essentials, and an assortment of food. Hot pretzels, popcorn, nachos, cappuccino, soft serve and hand scooped ice cream, hot fudge, home made fudge and much more. It is a parent’s nightmare! Kids could walk in and then exit without buying a thing….and still leave with a visual sugar high! Three bucks can buy you a jawbreaker the size of a baseball. If you look at the fine print on the wrapper of that jawbreaker, it probably says that it’s produced and distributed by the American Dental Association. Hey, when times are bad you have to drum up business somehow. :)

Karin and I believe that if we are going to share our experiences, then we must share ALL of our experiences….no matter if they are good or if they are bad. Well, our ship has had smooth sailing up to this point, but we’ve hit some rough seas with this job. After two weeks of work, we found ourselves becoming a bit moody. We became easily irritated with each other and our surroundings. This was very unusual for us. We’ve been the best of friends from the start, never having a harsh word for one another. Disagreements between us were non-existent until now. What was happening here?? We didn’t know. We had to figure it out. We finally sat down and had a “heart to heart” discussion about our feelings and emotional distress. We put it all on the table……laid it all on the line. Communication was the key. We believe that we have figured it out. We came to a conclusion and we termed it “The Dumbing Down Transition”.

Now the last thing that we want to do is offend anyone. This has nothing to do with your line of work. It doesn’t matter if you’re a food preparer at McDonalds, or the chief executive officer at Microsoft. If or when you decide to make a drastic change to your lifestyle, as we have done, then you will go through a transition. Is everyone affected the same way? Nah. We are all different. Some will be affected more than others. But there will be a transition. We hadn’t really talked about it, let alone planned for it. We just ran into it. Karin was a stockbroker. Craig a manager and business owner. And now we find ourselves standing behind a counter… bright orange work shirts that should have “County Jail” painted on the back of them…..asking a kid if he wants his superman ice cream scoop to be placed upon a regular or sugar cone. Or making a stuff-a-buddy teddy bear by shoving a pipe into the rear end of an empty teddy bear skin and pumping it full of stuffing. What have we done to our life? The one million dollar stock trades are gone. No more business ownership. All things that were familiar to us were left behind. It’s kinda like doing a belly-flop onto a parking lot from a twenty story building. Pretty unfamiliar, if you can get our drift. So that’s where the dumbing down transition comes from. It has nothing to do with ignorance. It’s just a huge change in our lifestyle. Ok, so now that we see what the problem is… do we fix it?

Once we had figured out why things had soured over the last couple of weeks, we were able to smile. We actually laughed and cried a bit, both at the same time. When it came to this job, or really any job in the future, we will need to dumb it down. And guess what? There’s nothing wrong with that. The whole purpose of this lifestyle change was to work less, play more, see more and enjoy our life together. No more three hour commutes (our current commute is 3 minutes by truck, 15 minutes by foot). No more overtime. No more working sixty hour work weeks for a forty hour salary. We are not saying that everyone needs to make this kind of change to attempt to achieve these results. It’s just the path that we chose. We are both committed to this one year journey. Let’s see what happens.

We worked hard the week Memorial Day weekend was coming up. Karin and I were asked to get the adult and kid’s pool ready for opening day. It rained that day. So we showed up, put on our ponchos and went out and worked in the rain. It was a wonderful day! It was a nice change from being in the store. Then came Friday, the big check-in day. Karin was at area 3 and I was at the area 2 gate. Our job was to check passes. We met so many people from all over. It was hot when we began at 2:30 in the afternoon. Lightening began to present itself around 7pm, so we called it a night. As we went back to the area that we live in, it was quite a sight to see! We were the first ones to camp in area 1 almost three weeks ago. As we drove into the area, it had come alive. The area was full of life. It was like someone added water and trailers sprouted up from beneath the dirt. Kids were playing at the playground and riding their bikes. The adults were lighting campfires and cooking up some grub. Everyone waved as we passed by them. We parked and took a walk throughout our new community. People were laughing and smiling. They were so happy to be here. Many license plates were from West Virginia. We saw others too….Virginia, North Carolina, Michigan, Ontario and many others. They were happy to be here… do for three days what we plan to do for the next 10 months. We had to step back and remember why we did this. Will we do this again next year? Only time will tell.

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