The Therapy Journals of the Fat-Headed Klingon Woman

One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

A Good, Normal Day June 6, 2015

Hello, all! Today is not a day off, nor have I had any unusually exciting adventures.  I just thought it might make sense to talk a little bit about what everyday normal life is like here.  But first, let me just say I am super sad to be missing some of the Ardmore Little Theatre events that are going on in the next little while.  Tonight is the annual meeting and awards dinner.  A year ago at his event, I was honored with the MVP award, which was very special to me.  Tonight they will reveal the shows for the next season and choose new board members.  I hope all my theatre friends know how much I miss them and wish I could be there.  Also coming up is a show I would dearly love to see, a musical revue to benefit a local outreach center.  I know the show will be awesome and the Grace Center will benefit greatly.


That having been said, back to Alaska.  I am currently seatimageed in an outdoor gathering area known as the Fire Pits.  Guests can sit out here and chat and look at the mountain.  Most of them choose to do so in the evenings after dinner.  The staff light the fires and make s’mores for the guests.  As an employee I am allowed to sit here, but only out of uniform, dressed in normal clothes to appear as if I too were a guest.  This is the first time I have sat here and there is no one else here.  It is partly cloudy and 56 degrees.


I have to be at work in a liitle over an hour and a half.  In an effort to avoid having to climb the Killer Hill more than once today, I brought my work clothes down with me from my room.  I ate lunch, mailed some letters, and decided to sit here to blog.  I put on makeup this morning, something I don’t usually do.  Also dressed a bit nicer and threw on a necklace and bracelet.  Just for kicks.


So it occurred to me that most of my friends and family probably don’t have muchof a sense of how a place like this works.  It is a huge operation.  First there is transportation.  Most of the guests who stay here are on organized trips through Princess or Holland America cruiselines.  They arrive via motorcoach, which is a snooty way of saying bus.  Some of them have come all the way here by bus and some of them have come part of the way on the Alaska Railroad.  Sometimes they are here following a cruise and sometimes they are here prior to their cruise.  Employee-wise, transportation consists of bus drivers, shuttle drivers, and expeditors- people who tell the guests where they are supposed to be and when, and help make sure they get there.  They are a bit like sheepherders.  Also, obviously, it includes all the people in offices who plan all those crazy schedules.


Closely related to Transportation is the Luggage department.  These people blow my mind  They sort and deliver hundreds of pieces of luggage every day.  I don’t know how they do it.  Guests put their luggage outside their room at 7 a.m. on the last day of their cruise, and somehow it gets off the ship and onto a truck and to the resort and to the guest’s room here within a few hours of the guests’ arrival.  It’s crazy.  Sadly, some guests apparently are not as impressed with the magnitude of this undertaking and find it necessary to complain when their luggage is even slightly delayed.  They too blow my mind, just not in a good way.  Luggage guys can carry 100 lbs of suitcases at one time.  Amazing.


There is a wide catgory called Hotel Services which encompasses housekeeping, gift shop, and guest experience hosts, who can be anything from front desk clerks to tour guides.  Food and Beveragfe is probably in there too.  There is a ton of work to be done, between cleaning the rooms, washing, folding, and delivering the laundry, prepping and cooking the food, serving, cleaning, and all the various aspects of all of those.


My particular niche, as you know, is the gift shop.  There are about ten or eleven clerks, one manager, one supervisor, and one warehouse person.  We usually work one of two shifts, either 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. or 2:30 p.m.p to 11:00 p.m.  There are a couple of in-between shifts but most of us only work the main ones. Up to now we have had one day off per week, but I just saw the schedule for this week and it appears we are beginning to get two days off per week.  This is most exciting news, as you might guess.


You could say I occupy a bit of a unique place among the gift shop staff and the whole staff in general.  I am one of very few staff in my age bracket.  Most of the people I work with are twenty years younger or twenty to thirty years older.  This is a little weird for me but not too difficult to deal with, as I am usually either acting like a cranky old goat or a big overgrown kid.  One of my co-workers and I spent much of yesterday tossing Jim Carrey “Grinch” quotes at each other, for example. Looking and acting a bit younger than I am has never been more to my advantage than it is in an environment like this.  Most people are shocked when they find out my age. Actually, though, I feel like a weird outsider here.


So anyway, on each shift we either have a “till” (a cash drawer) assigned to us or we are a floater, which means we don’t have a drawer and we just work wherever needed.  If we do have a drawer, we have to sign out our bank (the beginning amount in our drawer) and count it.  we start work half an hour before the shop opens. One thing that surprised me was how people are usually waiting outside for us to open in the morning, like a garage sale.  Once all three registers are up and running, we make sure everything is stocked and straightened, and then we open the doors.  It probably surprises some people to hear that we have three registers in that one tiny gift shop but our guests arrive in a fairly predictable pattern, hundreds at a time.  It is not unusual for four to five buses to pull up at one time.  They also depart in large numbers at the same time, so there are definitely rushes and lulls.


Well, it is time for me to go change and get ready for my shift.  When I get off work tonight at 11, it will still be light out. I will listen to music that helps me to drag myself home and up the killer hill, (Like “At the End of the Day” from Les Mis) and I will have the same shift tomorrow.  Since I have two days off this week, I am going to be mentally planning what tours and adventures I want to try to have.  I really want a chance at a glacier landing tour.  🙂  More later!

Until next time,



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