Sunday, November 15, 2009

Six Boys, A Girl, and a Mop Bucket

Do you know who cleans the bathrooms you use at the mall? What about the toilets at the grocery store? Do you know who scrubs the shower floors in the locker room at your local fitness center? Who picks the hair out of the drains and sanitizes the weight machines? Who makes all of the chairs perfectly straight for stake conference every Sunday? If you know someone who fits this description, you should really give them a big fat hug and say, "Thanks for doing what you do. And wearing gloves while doing it, so I feel comfortable enough to even touch you right now."

For those of you who don't know, for the past month or so I have been doing late-night custodial work in the Hart building on the weekends. I work (and stay awake) from 11pm-5am, all with the help of Heavenly Father and a few rambunctious individuals who belong to the "night crew." Sounds like some kind of illegal, underground operation, doesn't it? Well, there are a few things about this job that make it feel like an exclusive club. If you'll bend your ears in my direction for a few, I could tell you some top-secret stuff. Stuff that may make you think twice before before using a locker room shower ever again (but I pray that all of you, as hygiene-aware people, do not even think about using locker room showers). Shall we begin?

  • There are two breaks during the shift: one at 1am, another at 2:45. Almost every night, without fail, the boys will go to the Auxilary Gym during break and play "Pig," which is basically like Around the World. They get really into it, and sometimes, our break lasts longer than an hour. I'm hour and a half. All so my boss Jace can sink a half-court shot and then Dallin will attempt to get the basketball into the hoop by bouncing it off of the adjacent wall. Yeah, I get paid to watch this stuff. It's like Harlem Globetrotters, Night Custodian Style.
  • Some of the chemicals are supposedly "deadly" that we work with. One guy, Cameron, said that one of his coworkers got some of the "foamy" (just pink soapy stuff we use to scrub the toilets and floors) on his pants and it ate a hole in them. The guy, totally serious, said, "I heard this stuff can kill a man." Rrriiight. Well, guys, I guess this will be my last blog post because last night I got a bunch of it on my pants, on my arm, and on my shoe. Snap!
  • Speaking of night we got done with all of our duties a little bit early. Since we can't just stand around and do nothing (cough basketball cough), Jace sent us to the men's locker room showers with the foamy and toothbrushes. Yeah, toothbrushes! You know those horror stories about scrubbing floors with just a toothbrush? I can actually say that I have experienced this! I won't give you too much detail (just think mold, lots of mold), but we had to spray the foamy all along the walls. It was flowing down in a pinkish-white waterfall. Early-morning entertainment. In the men's locker room showers, no less. Such is life!
  • One night, after Jeff won Pig and therefore secured a homemade pie from Rachel (it's a running bet, mostly because Jeff hardly ever wins), we had lots of treats. At the 1am break we went into one of the classrooms and had pumpkin pie, pumpkin cream pie, chocolate pie, cookies, soda.....yeah. Don't worry, I didn't pig out like the rest of them did (but they're boys, so where does it even go on them? Cruel, cruel world.), but I sat there at 1 in the morning thinking, is this really happening? Are we really just chilling in this dark building eating pie and talking about Jim Gaffigan? Yes, we really were.
  • Saturdays aren't as structured because they're "set-up night." In other words, we put up the chairs for stake conference and then find random jobs to do for the next five hours. Last week Jace assigned Rachel and I (the only other female on the crew) to take out the trash. And we took it out alright....nice and slow. Honestly, taking out trash shouldn't take three hours, but we managed to drag it out. By the time the second break rolled around, Rachel thought breakfast was sounding good. We convinced Jace to let us leave for "only ten minutes" and get donuts at Maverik (the only thing open in Rexburg at 3am). I don't think the girl who rang Rachel up knew how to categorize us. We probably looked a little frenzied and I know we smelled like chemicals. But then again, we were dressed modestly and carried that Spirit of Ricks with us all the way to the donut counter. So how do you say, "Don't worry, we're not high, we're just really tired and smell like toxic bleach"?
  • That same night, when we finally took all the bags of trash out to the dumpster, we got locked out and stuck in this little hallway between the back door and the rest of the building. I'm not gonna lie, it was little scary. I had to run around the side of the building and through the bushes to see if the door was unlocked. The running in the bushes, well, that was see, I had meant to run through the bushes but it turns out there was no real empty gap for a person to run through. So I ended up getting thrashed by the tree branches and promptly turned around, half because of being slapped in the face by an evergreen (ouch, there goes my pride), and half because I thought I heard a lurker lurking. You can never be too sure, after all, it was 4:30 a.m. We waited patiently in the claustrophobic space for Jace to come and free us. It's funny how much you can appreciate life after being attacked by a tree...
  • One night it was just me and the boys, who proceeded to play pig for most of the evening after the chores were done. I sat patiently waiting in the fitness center, reading National Geographic and writing in my journal. At 4:30, Jace suggested we all go around and turn off all of the lights (all seven of us....yeah, I dunno why either) and lock the doors. I guess he wanted to justify getting paid for shooting baskets for half the night. Haha... This job rocks. Anyway, we went up through a secret doorway, through this maze of piping and tubes, and then up a ladder. Then shazam! I found myself walking on a metal grate about a foot and half wide, above the swimming pool! It was kind of eerie because all of the lights were out except for the ones in the bottom of the pool, and it was really hot at the very top because we were practically touching the ceiling, but I made it almost all the way across. So I think I passed initiation! Ya think?
  • Last night after we cleaned the fitness center, Jace had Jeff and Kyle wash the stairs as an extra job. To do that, they had to use this chemical called "Swish." I'm just going to come right out and say it--the boys reallllly like the smell of Swish. They sort of get high on it. Rachel and I stood outside the doorway trying not to dry heave, while all of the guys hovered around Kyle and Jeff as they scrubbed the stairs. It was kind of like watching a herd of lions watching some hyenas prowling around their dinner. You catch my drift?
  • On Thursday night the guys opened a door in the Varsity Locker Room, which led to yet another locker room, which we have now dubbed "the secret locker room." We get pretty creative when it's this early. It had tons of sports equipment in it, but no dead bodies. I think the guys were disappointed. Jace is always saying that someday we'll find a girl passed out in the showers. To that I say, as long as I don't have to pick the hair out of that drain, I'm okay.
p.s. I have no clue why I picked this picture. It's kind of like saying, "I know you don't really need to know what the inside of a vacuum cleaner looks like. But you also probably don't need to know about Swish, or the fact that the boys call the girls' special trash receptacles "the magic boxes," or that sometimes during break we listen to Jim Gaffigan or watch Mythbusters. But hey, it's all a part of the college experience... "


Jen said...

A lurker Lurking! You do know your stranger danger for sure! I laughed out loud at this post Kenz! I have found memoires of the Hart building and my two hours of swimming classes every other blessed day. Fun job! Love ya!

word verification: calib -that's cool!

Kristen Moss said...

I am speechless. But here are my thoughts.

1. I would NEVER ever... EVER.. do this job. But good for you.

2. Are those boys cute? any potentials?

3.I would never do your job... but I am glad you make the most of it, and that it is fun.

shawn rowley said...

i have had jobs like that, but only at byu when i was your age....mabye it is a young
adult-church thing.

Ging said...

I have a new found appreciation for your job. Now I know I can give you any chore around the house when you get back home. Hurray. Thanks for letting me know. Also, glad you got out of the lurker-infested bushes my dear.

Amy said...

CRAZY fun! Work can be fun with the right people. I too endured cleaning up after other people when I worked in the hotel industry. Yummy. Are you getting enough sleep? That's my question. Can't wait to see you for Thanksgiving.

Em said...

I was LOL-ing as well! ha! I have so many fond memories from some of the crappiest jobs. Its all about the people I'm telling you! I'm glad you guys have fun and try not to get too much of that "pink foamy stuff" on your face okay??