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A New Home at Wind Cave National Park

I know, I know... This is long overdue.

I left for my great South Dakotan adventure way back in May and arrived at the park (hereafter abbreviated as WICA) on the 17th. I'm living in what here is referred to as "lower housing," meaning I'm living in the cool section of the employee housing. I have four roommates, none of which are SCA. One is an intern directly through the park service and the other three are paid employees. In terms of job responsibilities, training, pay, time off, and uniforms, the only difference between interns (like me) and paid employees (like a slew of others) is... well, I don't get paid, and I my uniform has "Volunteer" stamped all over it, just so the visitors don't get the wrong idea and think I'm qualified for the job.

Living in WICA is really fun. There is a fire pit in lower housing which hosts a beer-drinking and story-telling circle of workers just about every night. Is fun.

In the center of the image, you see some trees separating a long string of apartments on the right from a house and garage on the left. That is my house. In the center-right, you can see the fire pit.

A word on employee politics here:

* The interpretation division (interp) is by far the largest division in the park, with something over 20 employees. Everybody resents the interp for being treated like royalty and having a cooler job than everybody else; also, most of us don't know how to drive a fence post into the ground, wire the cave lights, fix the elevators, manage the park computer network, or do anything else practical around here.

* The Law Enforcement (LE) are resented by everyone. Their favorite past-time is hiding in the bushes by lower housing and nailing underage drinkers sitting around the campfire. Because everyone knows where that leads: senseless killing and grand arson. Actually, it leads to a bunch of stressed out employees fraternizing around the campfire and having a good time, but that seems to escape the LE. The LE are dicks (most of them).

* The maintenance and fence crew simply are. Nobody has strong feelings about them. There may be some collective guilt shared by non-maintenance, because they have to do actual work around here and don't get paid any more than the rest of us.

My weekend is Thursday-Friday. I'm not sure if this will end up being a good thing or a bad thing.

I'll be giving at least four different cave tours (five if I so choose), one prairie hike, a discovery program (DISCO), and perhaps an evening campfire program (if I so choose). In other words, my plate is full.

My housemates and some other friends on a day hike.

The job is lots of fun, and my fellow employees are interesting. It's going to be a great summer.
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