After being parked in one spot – and not having a single day off – for 46 days in a row, we were more than ready to pack up and leave our Pumpkin Station assignment. With hugs and handshakes to our managers and bosses, we hit the road – for all of two miles away!
We filed up our propane, then moved to a nearby Elk’s Lodge parking lot where we are now paying $27 per night for full hookups so we can enjoy this San Diego weather a bit longer.
Our job: It was an experience. That’s what we were after. While the bank accounts are fatter now, it was more about the experience than the money. (There are easier ways to earn a buck!)
What we’ve been doing: We signed up for a gig at a pumpkin patch in San Diego (National City to be exact) to be assistant managers to our RV friends Ted and Jan (the Wondering Kolbs). We had been told that other people come in and set up and schlep pumpkins and we would be helping with the rides. We had been warned it would be long hours. All true. We didn’t really have any expectations going in of what we’d be doing other than to help Ted and Jan who have done this for three years in a row and loved it. It was only a couple of weeks before we got there that I looked up the place online and saw a video of the crowds. “Huh-oh” were my exact words. It wasn’t busy at first, but as it got closer to Halloween, the crowds grew:
What we learned: Tom learned how to be a carnie: check rides for safety, buckle kids in and out, get the giant blow up slides and bouncies inflated and deflated. He also spent a lot of time in the “game zone” where he handed out balls and picked them up and inflated the prizes the kids got for tossing the balls. Tom put on at least five miles a day just walking the grounds. He also learned how many kids pee or puke on rides and can probably tell if a child is at least 30” tall (the minimum height requirement) just by looking. I think I can tell now as well.
Basically, my role was cashier. I learned all the different multiples of $3.75 (the price for one ride ticket) and will probably know for the rest of my life that 5 tickets is $18.75 or 8 is $30 or 3 is $11.25. I also felt close to developing carpal tunnel some days as I sat and bundled 12 packs of tickets. We went through thousands and thousands of tickets. It was really mind boggling how stocked we were at the beginning and how we had nothing left at the end. Except pumpkins – there were plenty of those left, but we did not take one with us. One, we have NO room, and two, by the end of the second week I was over my desire to experiment with cooking pumpkins.
We both learned how diverse the people of San Diego are. Yes we were five miles away from Tijuana (TJ as the locals call it) so of course there are an abundance of Spanish speaking people here. But we saw all kinds of blended families, and people of one culture speaking the language of another. We heard so many languages – I wish I knew what they all were. Asian for sure, but I couldn’t guess if it was Korean or Chinese or Vietnamese – probably all. We heard German and Russian. It was very interesting. And the people were overwhelmingly nice. Especially those that came out early in the day or early in the month.
We also observed a lot of parent-child interactions – and most of it not great. Makes us feel like there’s a crisis in child rearing these days because we saw so many families where the two-year-old was clearly in charge. (Made me very grateful for my daughter’s great parenting skills.)
Another observation that amazed us was how many Autistic children we saw. It definitely put into reality the increases we’ve heard about. Makes us wonder what will happen when a generation with such a high percentage of disablement (of varying degrees) hits working age adulthood and beyond. Of course, we have never been around this many people at once, but it still made me feel like “there’s something in the water” here.
The Weather: It was exceptional. The best part about the whole gig, and a good thing because we were out in it everyday. We experienced some hot days and cold nights, and just a bit of rain right before we opened, but I’d have to say that overall the weather was perfect. Definately THE reason to live here.
The Congestion: Yes, it was easy to see we were in crowded So Cal. Lots of freeways and LOTS of traffic. Definitely the reason NOT to live here!
Benefits: We were able to receive packages while there and we did have most weekday mornings off, so Tom did the bone-bending job of replacing our water pump plus he was able to have a welder come and repair a problem under our slide:
Drawbacks: It was hard being away from the grandsons for such a kid-oriented holiday, but my daughter sent pics:
So that was our experience with workamping at a pumpkin patch/traveling carnival. The one sentence that wraps it up: We’re glad we’re done!
Peace & Love, Joy