Saturday, April 9, 2011

Snow Storm + Government Shut Down= Personal Melt Down

It's just after 11pm MST as I begin to write this entry. Tonight I was one of millions of America's glued to the television, patiently waiting for the verdict which would determine the next week, possibly longer, of my life. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am a little bit of a control freak when it comes to my life, hence sitting there waiting for Congress to decide my future was painstaking. As you all well know by now the shut down has been averted but my personal melt down was not. This was, in fact, the most difficult week for me personally since arriving to Yellowstone National Park. It all began Thursday morning in a compounding series of events that I just wasn't ready or willing to deal with.

Sitting at my desk on Thursday morning I was filled with an inner turmoil of agitation, nervousness and frustration. I had little desire to work on any of my projects and could not stop myself from filtering through the flood of emails I received, which all somehow related to either the potential government shut down or the current storm advisory we were under. Reading through the emails my mind raced at the speed of light with hundreds of questions that no one had the answers to. It was happening, and there was nothing I could do to stop it; I was getting ready to have my first official "melt down" of the winter season.

My gov't vehicle- NOT my personal car :-(
Just a week prior the sun had been out and the birds were all singing the songs of spring. The plows had been working on clearing out the roads and I was hopeful that I would soon be able to drive my car to Grant Village.  But by Wednesday night a large storm had settled over Yellowstone National Park dropping almost two inches of heavy wet snow per hour for the first 5 hours. I watched the snow fall with utter disdain and disgust. Everything in my line of view was covered in white, yet visions of blue sunny skies filled my brain. The  power continuously flickered throughout the evening and soon we were operating fully off of the backup generator. Thursday morning arrived with 14 inches of new snow and I headed to my dark and dismal office.The other two rangers who share my office had been gone for over a week and I once again found myself alone- just me and my computer. I looked up at the giant windows in my office and cursed the boards that cover them. Plain, dreary plywood covered every square inch of my office windows, which protected the windows from the roof slides in the winter, but also preventing any form of natural light to reach the inner depths of my box. My anger was slowly brewing.

 With the impending government shut down I quickly began to deduce what the consequences would be for me living in the interior. Most employees, including myself, would be laid off. The road South would not get plowed, and even if I wanted to leave the snow storm would prevent me from escaping via snowmobile. My food supply was dwindling, fresh food had long been gone, and I had just polished off my last can of peaches and drank my last gulp of fresh milk. And then came the email which stated that I was not allowed to recreate in my backyard if the shutdown occurred, because after all my backyard is Yellowstone, and Yellowstone would be closed! And so for the first time this winter I was seriously trapped in every way, shape and form!

 To make matters worse the potential shut down was going to ruin my well needed, much anticipated vacation to Southern Utah. On the itinerary starting next Wednesday was a visit to Arches, Canyonlands, Mesa Verde and Zion National Parks, and although I have been there before it would be my mom's first time to these beautiful National Parks. We had been planning this trip for months and the thought of the government stealing away her opportunity to visit HER public lands for the first time was consuming all remnants of my usual  cheerful disposition.

Heading home at the end of my day I kicked at the snow but it did little to suppress the anger which was mounting from my inner magma chamber. I was clearly angry, which doesn't happen to me very often,  and I needed to get rid of the negative emotions before Yellowstone experienced it's fourth historic Super volcanic eruption! Thinking of what to do I realized there was only one solution. In the famous words of my Dad: "I needed to bug out!"

With the music on the highest volume possible, I began an intense Tae- bo session while simultaneously singing my heart out! Next on the "bug out" agenda was cracking open a bottle of wine and cooking Boeuf Bourgignon- a little vino for the Boeuf and a lot of vino for me. As the music continued to drown out my sorrows, I began to see life on the upside once again. There was only one thing left to do: Make Over!

Now, I realize the plethora of contradictions this statement instantly brings to your mind: A Park Ranger in the interior of Yellowstone getting excited over a Girlie Make Over?  And I hope this doesn't diminish your opinion of me...if it does just remember I would be willing to kick your butt on the trail any day! haha!

One pedicure, a face mask, and the re-discovery of the curling iron and I looked like a million bucks! Yet even though I was trapped in the interior of Yellowstone (and even my husband wasn't around to admire my perfectly coiffed hair) something amazing happened: I looked great which made me feel great!  With a full tummy, perfect curls and luscious lashes I crawled into bed with my smile restored.

As dawn arrived on Friday morning little had changed. It was still snowing and the country still had no budget but thankfully my volcanic tendencies were gone and all I needed now was patience. Patience is my virtue. And all good things come to those who wait- the snow ceased and the shutdown was averted.

Mentally this was by far the most difficult week for me since I arrived to Yellowstone. Each of the circumstances individually would not have enough to get to me but when combined their power over the human psyche was incredible. In two days I will head out for my well needed, much anticipated vacation to Utah's National Parks. I will bask in the sunshine, admire the red rocks, smell the spring flowers and indulge in the great conversations and moments that I will have with my mom by my side! It's now early Saturday morning and a ray of sunlight shines brightly through my living room window: Sanity Restored. 


  1. I don't blame you for having a little pitty party. When you get a taste of Spring, it is hard to go back to Winter. I'm glad you have recovered your humor and sense of well being. Sounds like you have a good plan for you and your mom. Good luck!

  2. There are days when the green and grey is just, well, green and grey. Did you even break out the girlie glitter nail polish? I keep one bottle for those times when I need a short break from G&G.

    Have a safe trip, post lots of pics.

  3. I didn't know you had an inner magma chamber but I'm glad it let off some steam--Did it melt any snow? I hope you have your fuzzy pink slippers to help you through these last few months of winter. Have a wonderful vacation!

  4. Thanks all for your comments. I will write more from the desert and will post some pics!

    Marianna- that's a def. YES on the glitter nail polish! I've had the same bottle for like 8 years! ha!

    Michael, it's a very deep magma chamber that almost never reaches the surface! If it could've melted snow Grant would have been flooded. haha!

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