Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Random things

1) Somewhere in the last 36 hours, I've gone from hesitant and unsure of myeslf, to confident and able to read the boat and the river. About halfway through the day today, I pulled off yet another great landing, and realized that I wasn't nervous about the landings, I wasn't hesitant, and I was able to read how the boat was moving and throttle in and out with confidence. It feels GREAT.

2) Car smells. Except for when the toll taker is there (she works 4 hours in the morning and 4 in the evening), I'm taking tolls as well as driving. People have amazingly stinky cars! There was a car yesterday, I was about 6 feet from it when I could taste the overwhelming stench of air freshener. How was he not choking from it, sitting in the car with the windows up? And the cars that smell like 40 years of chain smoking. And the weird car that smells grossly like moldy bread.

3) Even worse smells. There's a lady who runs a mobile rendering company. She'll pick up dead farm animals and take them away to be rendered. She came on today, with two cows in the back. Speaking of cows, there's the hoof trimmers. There are these two huge red pickups, with big grates around the front and back, and this bizarre looking contraption where the bed would be. They put a cow in the contraption and hold it down and trim the hooves. When they're on the boat, it smells like driving by a dairy. A big dairy. And so far, the worst smell of all is when we get the septic tank pumped. Has to happen about once a week. He came yesterday morning. Even with the doors and windows shut, you can smell it. The bathroom is gross enough. Smelling that....blech.

4) Birds! There's a blue heron, that sweeps low across the water. It's amazingly graceful. There's also a huge osprey nest up on a phone pole. I have yet to see anything flying into it, but I've been assured by other operators that they're on the nest. Also, there are these little grey birds with yellow bellies that swoop around the boat. They'll swoop around for the whole trip across the river. Yesterday, there were three of them, zooming around cars and us. Made me smile, and I could see passengers enjoying it too.

5) There's a moment, when you put the engines in neutral, and the props stop spinning, where it's very quiet, and the river gets this lovely ripple in it. Everyone in their cars notice the change in speed and noise and look around interested. It's a very cool moment of peace, in the middle of a river.

6) Today, I feel like I can do this. I'm not going to do this all my life. I don't want to do this all my life. But as long as I can get over the sore feet, I feel like I can and will do this for as long as it takes to find a good job in my field. People are happy when they come on the boat. I get to take people on a curious and sweet old fashioned journey. They're charmed. They smile. It's a nice break from reality. For me as well as them.


  1. The little birds with the yellow bellies are probably barn swallows. When I was a kid, I got the swallows to snatch white fluffy feathers from my hand. They use them in their nests.

  2. Yay Jenny -- this sounds like heaven, even including the smells - it's just all so interesting. You are doing great - and we all knew you would.

  3. Oh my a rendering truck and septic pumping in one day! Isn't the septic tank pumping the strongest smell ever!! Damn near knocked me off my feet my first time. Glad you are having fun! We miss you.

  4. Hey, does the rendering lady have a business card? I know a few people who might want to know how to get in touch with her, for future reference.

  5. Even when you have stinky customers, there's something about being on the water that makes your world alright.