It seems every time I think life is getting a little mundane, something happens to make things more interesting. Today was a good example. I didn’t have to set my alarm clock last night, so I slept in until 7:30 before leisurely getting ready for work. I figured I’d leave the rig about eleven to get to the VIS in time to take the second shift assignment from noon until six. On days when there are Rail Walks offered, the VIS is open from 6:00 am until 6:00 pm to accommodate the ‘walkers’.
I cooked myself a good hearty breakfast, and got the truck loaded with all my paraphernalia. As I got in the truck to pull away, a FedEx van pulled in through the gates to make a delivery. That’s odd for a Saturday because no brown shirts are working on the weekend. Of course, he flagged me down and I signed for the package that I’ll turn in to the office on Monday when it’s open.
He then followed me to the automatic gate to get out, only it wouldn’t open. Okay, I’ve seen that happen before, so I spent a couple of minutes pulling back and up, and back and up at a slightly different angle making sure my tires crossed the sensor lines. It didn’t work.
Next, I got out of the truck and went and pounded on the control box. I’ve seen others give it a swift kick once in a while to get the gate open. That didn’t work either. Then I tried both codes on the numerical opener pad… nada, zip, zilch, nothing happened! We were trapped inside!
Time for Plan B. I talked to the FedEx guy and explained the problem. He tried whacking that box a few times and even tried to pull the gate open with no results. In the meantime, I whipped out my emergency phone list for the refuge and began dialing away. First I called Stephanie, the volunteer coordinator, then the Law Enforcement Officer, and finally the Assistant Manager of the refuge. All resulted in this message, “ So and so is not available at this time…please leave a message.”
It seemed to me that the FedEx guy was getting a little nervous at this time. I could just imagine his mind thinking about being stuck here with a little old white lady for the weekend. So, he decided to climb over the fence to get to the numerical opener pad on the outside of the fence. After all, it had just worked two minutes ago.
Did I mention that these spikes top the fence he was going to try to climb over? I said, “Please be careful! You don’t want to ruin the family jewels!” His answer? “Oh boy, I just have to be very careful because I’ve had two knee surgeries!” I really wasn’t worried about his knees… He hopped on top of the control box to help get over the fence and made it out. However, after putting in several codes that I gave him, the gate still didn’t open.
At this point he was outside the fence, and I and the two vehicles were still inside. That’s when my phone rang. As I went to answer it I noticed that he was trying to make himself skinny enough to try to squeeze his way back into the compound under the fence. Luckily, he was a slim young man. FedEx guys wear shorts down here, and I’m sure he probably scraped up his knees. My call was from the Assistant Manager, and he suggested trying my key on the second larger gate on the other side of the compound.
So off we went, and my key actually opened the lock, but the two sides of the gate were not level, and where they came together pinched the lock so tightly that I couldn’t get the lock out to open the gate. The FedEx guy came and muscled it open, and we thought we were free at last! That’s when we noticed that there was a second gate with another lock with a chain around it that I once again didn’t have the strength to remove. I’m sure glad his muscles were there or I would have never made it to work. Once we got the second gate open, he was out of there like greased lightning.
I don’t know why these things happen to me, but it sure livened up my day! Later in the afternoon, I got a call from staff saying that two minutes after I left my rig, the electric power in Winnie went out. That’s why the gates wouldn’t work. It took a couple of hours for the electric company to restore power, but at least I got back in through the gates tonight. I don’t even want to talk about the glitch in the electric at the VIS this afternoon, and the problems that caused. This morning’s adventure was enough for me.
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy