Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Inspection and School OVER!!!

Tonight I'm breathing an enormous, happy sigh of relief!  My part of the zoo inspection is over and I lived to tell!  I plan to go a long time without painting anything or washing a ceiling :)  Our inspection team is incredibly nice and even though they had several easy opportunities to grill me individually, they only asked questions that were pertinent to the situation at hand.  Five years ago I was nailed with a seemingly endless stream of questions that ranged from favorite/least favorite things about the zoo to pest control.  This time around I memorized our mission statement and our types of guns "just in case."  I wasn't asked, thank goodness!

My uncomfortable moment came when I had to shift the tigers around in front of the inspection team.  Tigers are neurotic and overly cautious in the best of situations, so I wasn't too optimistic about how they were going to act with 4 extra people in the building and at least 3 others outside watching through the window.  I have had situations in the past where I truly believed Kyra the tiger was reading my emotions and protecting me.  I am positive that both Kyra and Vaska read me and did what needed to be done.  Those tigers shifted like champs!  They also made me look great and made the whole process look effortless.  That would be a perfect example of why I love my job and love animals in general.  Those tigers are the BEST!

The inspection team was out of my area by 11am, so the only thing remaining was lunch.  Three tables were set up with one inspector at each table.  Non-management staff was first questioned by "our" inspector and then had an entire group Q & A.  I assume they do this so we can comfortably air grievances without management present and without risk of retaliation.  I also imagine many people are more willing to speak without their boss present and even complain about the boss if necessary.  Really, our only complaints were wishing for more full time positions and more money.  I'm sure the inspectors practically died of shock that we all would like a raise :)

That was it for my part of the inspection.  The team will be at the zoo all day today and part of the day Thursday, but it's all for interviews with bigwigs and park district people.  I probably won't even see them again unless in passing.  Hooray!  I had been dreading this inspection for a year and I survived!

I requested today off of work months ago (long before the inspection was scheduled) because it's the kids' last day of school.  I thought it was pretty convenient how that worked out, but I don't think working today would have been a big deal at all.  Anyway, I can't believe the school year is over!  At 10:31am, my daughter will be a 7th grader!  How is that possible?!?  My baby boy will be a 4th grader and in his final year of primary school.  Time does fly.  The kids are super excited about summer and looking forward to camp.  Today I'll do inventory and stock up on sunscreen and beach towels and water bottles and lunch items.  We're planning a weekend in St. Louis to celebrate school being out and the zoo inspection being over.  I checked the weather forecast and Friday's high is around 70F.  We couldn't wish for anything better. 

Gene took the kids to a White Sox game Sunday and they all had an excellent time.  The Sox won and the game was high scoring with homers and big plays from several of their favorite players.  They filled up on stadium food and the kids got to run the bases after the game.  Logan was beyond thrilled.  Kaylin liked the bouncy bases.  Logan bought a REAL major league baseball that he loves so much I wouldn't be surprised if he's sleeping with it.  They played bags in the parking lot and found our family brick.  Heehee, did I mention it was Kids Day so the kids' tickets were only a buck apiece?  Super good deal!

I am continuing the impossible search for a new dog.  Kaylin and I went to the shelter on Friday and "tried out" a little poodle mix.  She was a sweetie-pie, but I just didn't get the right vibe.  This visit was a little more promising because we also would have met a dachshund that totally acted like Duncan, but he was already getting adopted.  I absolutely KNOW I should wait until after our planned July vacation to even think about getting a dog, but I miss Duncan so much and I want another dog NOW.  I may not be smart enough to wait until after vacation and I may be stupid enough to end up getting a puppy, but I am at least smart enough to keep looking and wait for the RIGHT dog.

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