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Odd Interlude

Fate isn’t one straight road…there are forks in it, many different routes to different ends. We have the free will to choose the path. ~ Dean Koontz, Odd Thomas

Fate has presented some interesting forks lately. I read Odd Interlude by Dean Koontz during my own odd interlude last week. I don’t have enough internet umph tonight to write about Pleasant (which includes, I hope, a short video clip) so this will be an odd interlude of its own.

Life, or the joy in life, is largely a matter of perspective, don’t you think?

We’ve had an interesting couple of weeks.

  • The rig we’d been following for a year, stacked… that was sad
  • Our Company Man called and said he wanted us at his new rig … that was great
  • There was a week lag time and we spent it at Choke Canyon State Park … that was lovely

It’s was lovely and so very quiet. Although I always say I live a quiet life, I think I may mean something more like a life of very little stress, not very little noise. With the tons of trucks coming and going all day and all night and the gas station hose bell ringing and ringing, and the portable generator continually humming, it isn’t as quiet as I thought. The park was really, really quiet.

I took this picture through the window from my chair with my propped up leg but Heidi lived outside all week

  • Heidi spent almost all of her time outside bird watching
  • I spent almost all of my time inside reading with ice packs on my knee (I had fallen down the steps at the last job. I landed on my well padded seat but really wrenched my knee)
  • I did hobble down to the lake twice to go fishing
  • The glow in the dark night-crawlers the convenience store lady sold me were all mushy
  • I traded the $4 night-crawlers in on a $4.29 bag of chips which I left on the counter
  • The lady was out of minnows so she sold me frozen shrimp
  • I’ve never fished with frozen shrimp and I kept ripping their heads off with the hook
  • I didn’t catch any fish but a very big stick put up quite a fight
  • I also hooked the camp chair once

It was fun to camp for a week. I loved the cooking and you can’t beat the clean up.

Well, the clean up was easy for me. I just stuck the fork in the fire. Heidi, on the other hand, worrying about the wind that had picked up, put the fire out with hands full of sand. Sand that had hitherto been the happy home of hundreds of fire ants.

It took a lot of Epsom salts and Lanacane spray before the swelling went down. We’d been working 24 hours a day for 6 months (which isn’t s big deal – we worked 264 days straight last year) but Heidi’s hands were stinging and it seemed like a great time to visit our favorite local hot spot in Tilden,Texas which was only about 15 miles from the park.

We began our career as TSAs in Tilden so we knew that it’s hard to beat the ambiance or the Nacho’s Supreme at Max’s Cafe and Motel.

After a week of not really fishing, really reading and intense bird watching, we headed for our next gig on a rig at a new TSL.

  • We started to set up
  • The Safety Man said to wait, they were dozing a pad for us by the rig
  • We worked the not busy gate for 4 hours from the dually
  • While waiting, we discovered 2 bad tires on the truck

  • A carpet of cacti and mesquite and tangled weeds were dozed away
  • Sunday evening we moved to our new spot and settled in

  • Monday we had an entire day of Texas dust devils and 55+ mph winds

  • During the peak of the whirling-dervishes, our new pea gravel pad was spread around us
  • The winds also covered the RV and truck with little drops of oil based mud

  • Tuesday SA H made it to town to get 2 new tires for the dually
  • Wednesday was pretty regular
  • Thursday a mobile repair man came out to look at the toilet that runs on its own and the VCR that doesn’t run at all and the convection oven that cooks in 3 time zones all at once and the valves that are becoming resistant to releasing our grey and black water (all under an extended warranty)
  • Friday we moved back to the spot where we had been on Sunday
  • Saturday rig washers dropped by to power wash the oil based mud off the RV

  • The rig washers had never washed an RV and they inadvertently flooded the vent to the frig, frying the mother board.
  • When power washing the truck, that high pressured water hit the windshield and the small poc from a rock picked up on the way to our new TSL cracked a 15 inch line

Nothing is worse than being alone on the evening of the day when one’s cow has exploded. ~ Dean Koontz, Odd Thomas

See, that’s what I mean about perspective. Two new tires, 3 moves, a cracked windshield and a dead refrigerator are nothing compared to an exploding cow. We did, however, take the fork that led to remedying our new dilemmas. Special ordering the tires was simple, the windshield is temporarily on hold but the frig was the real puzzle.

  • We called our dealership back in Iowa and got instructions
  • SA H set out with a hairdryer to try to dry out the soggy mother board
  • Being very tenacious, she did this for a long, long time

  • We gave it the night to repair itself  – it didn’t
  • Sunday I asked our CM if he would give away our food as we were having some frig issues (I didn’t mention the rig washers)
  • He had an extra refrigerator in his trailer so we hauled our bags and bags of food down there (the double frig and double freezer were pretty well all stocked up)
  • Saturday and Sunday we ate a lot of cereal to use up the remaining warm but not spoiled milk
  • Monday SA H called the manufacturer and got the name of a certified roving repair man
  • This great guy talked SA H through a magic magnet fix
  • Today we will retrieve our food and wait to see what new adventures await

All in all, it was an interesting week. We SA’s are grateful for a multitude of kindnesses and blessing and even for the bell that rings all day and all night. As always, Henry remains cheerful and optimistic.

Loyal companions are an unequaled grace. ~Dean Koontz, Odd Thomas

After struggling with the internet for months, it looks like SA H may have found a solution. If so, I’ll get back to Gig on a Rig Tip #4 – Pleasant next time. As Odd would say:

Being polite is not only the right way to respond to people but also the easiest. Life is so filled with unavoidable conflict that I see no reason to promote more confrontations. ~ Dean Koontz, Odd Thomas

43 thoughts on “Odd Interlude

    • Oh Sherrie – believe me, there’s nothing to the job. The environment has it’s own challenges sometimes.

      You’d never know I got straight A+’s in PE!
      Now I’d be clumsy where ever we were so it’s much better being a gate guard than a waitress, wouldn’t you say? 😉

      I’m wearing my “I do all my own stunts” shirt today. Fair warning, I figure, in case I tumble down the steps and squish someone! 😀

    • Hi Vicky!
      That magnet trick worked perfectly on the frig! 😀
      The water heater isn’t working (on electric – propane works) but it’s getting so hot, we don’t even need it. You know how that goes!
      I think the forecast is 92 today again…
      All is well.
      We have a great rig. We had that one week off after our last rig stacked and we joined up with this one – but we’re with the same Company Man. We’ve been with him for over a year now which is really nice and offers some unusal job security that can be pretty iffy in this business.

  1. I hope you got an extended warranty on the vitamix too….I hear many love them!! welcome back to the pad and hope no more kinks, ants, bumps, winds or floods come to break up the routine. Though bird watching at my new gig is keeping me a bit distracted from listening intently to my boss. Thankfully she understands and loves them too. Blessings to you all!!

    • Oh Judi – I’m telling you, Heidi could go door to door selling VitaMixers (and it comes with a 6 or 7 year warranty)! 😉
      Other than zero internet our new gig has been great! I’m wearing a wrap thing (you know what I mean) on my knee at the advice of my daughter and another friend and I think it’s beginning to help.
      Heidi, ever the optimistic, has bird feeders everywhere!

  2. Hey you three, haven’t read your post, too busy on a rig move during the wind storms last week. I didn’t fall, but took too many trips up & down the steps during the move, now iceing the knee also. No fires here, too windy. We were at Whitsett & Charlotte, would have loved to have met y’all, love that Choke Canyon. We are now south of Kingsville on Hwy 77, very slow, day gate. We changed out thermostat on our frig last week, but it’s still not cooling, could I have the phone for the fellow that assisted y’all with your frig. Hope TSA H has no more encounters with fire ants, I have had that painful experience as well. Will think of you as we ice our knees together!

    • Hello Lynn!
      So sorry to hear about your knee, too, and sorry that we missed the opportunity to meet you in Choke Canyon!
      The fellow that Heidi called about our frig issue is Russell Williams.
      His phone number is 281-536-7242 and his web site is http://www.scrussandsmithrv.com/
      He goes by Scruss. Although we’ve never met him personally, he was so kind to walk Heidi through the repair on the phone.
      I sure hope he’s able to help you, too! I believe he’s located in Palestine.
      Take care of that knee and keep in touch!

      • Tom called Scruss & left a message. Good karma, he hasn’t returned our call yet, but frig has started cooling again! Just hope it continues! Thanks again!

        • Lynn –
          Glad to hear your cooler is cooling!
          We’ve never worked with Scruss – just one phone conversation. Heidi must have gotten lucky and caught him at just the right moment.
          We’re having some warranty work done by a different mobile repair guy. Let me know if you end up needing another name. 😀

  3. Hi Debbie, you mentioned that your hot water heater may be on the fritz. I have a couple of questions: 1. Have you tried the electric portion of the water heater? There should be a swiitch inside your unit to turn it on. 2. There may be some reset buttons that you can push on the outside of the unit. Have you looked into that? If you tell me what brand and the model number I can research and maybe you may have hot water sooner that you think.


    • Nick –
      I just sent you (I hope) I picture of the water heater with the numbers.
      We’re continuing to have limited internet access although AT&T is supposed to be calling back tonight to see if we can get some resolution to the problem since we’re only 3 miles from a tower.
      My apologies for being so slow to respond to your generous offer.
      The water heater does work on propane but not on electric if that’s of any help. Of course we try not to use the propane, which we pay for, when we can use the electric which is free! 😀
      Thank you, Nick!

      • If you are on propane and you get good hot water there may be a circuit breaker that tripped. Locate your circuit breakers in your unit and see if it may have tripped. If it has you have to wonder what caused it to trip in the first place. It sounds like you use the electric only which is fine but take a look at the circuit breakers. I didn’t get your photo but you can email me at jnlambros1257@sbcglobal.net with pics if it helps you better with your internet signal.

        • Hey there, Nick!
          Thanks again for being so kind in looking into things for us. The internet is connecting this morning which was a wonderful surprise!

  4. Way to go girls!!! With all that trouble I think I would have decided to hang it up. Maybe not. You may have seen us on 72. If you came from Three Rivers to get to the park we were right before the turn off. We left there on the first as they decided they didn’t need us. (closed) Keep a smile on and always look up. If you need info on your RV take a look at my blog. I post things like simple repairs and such. http://www.Toots2Go.blogspot.com Enjoy

    • Hi there!
      Just popped over to your blog! So glad you have a new gate and after such a short wait! We must have driven right past you when we went to the park. 😀
      You 3 take care!

  5. You SA gals are top notch! Fearless and undaunted, you move, wrench knees, get stung, suffer vehicular damage, and then smile and say, “it wasn’t that bad.” 🙂 Amazing is the grace that covers you and flows through you! love you and God bless you!

    • Debbie –
      Truly, is wasn’t that bad. Just an interesting chain of events. The important things are all good – the rest doesn’t matter all that much, as you know. 😀

  6. You SA gals are nothing if not Intrepid, faith-filled, Holy Spirit-powered women! Henri could be a character in my book (yes, I’ve gone back to work on it)–but is it my imagination, or is he going gray?? Love to All–your one and only Caddo sis

    • Caddo –
      You’re working on your book again – that’s great!

      We seem to have an ‘oddly’ eventful life considering the how relatively mundane the live of a TSA is!

      It isn’t your imagination – Henry was born gray. His face is a little darker than the rest of his body but he’s a nice shade of gray. He’s 5 now – when he gets old, maybe he’ll turn white? 😀
      Sending you our love from the big state with the mighty ant hills!

  7. Good grief! Can life get any more exciting/complicated/troublesome? You attend to all with such grace….very admirable. I’m a big Odd Thomas fan, as well and have read all but “Odd Interlude”–it’s next in my stack of unreads. Thanks for the post. I enjoy them all.

    • Hello Sharan –
      Never a dull moment here!
      Life is good, though – interesting but good!
      I like Dean Koontz in general. I loved Life Expectancy – have you read that one? The Odd Thomas series is my favorite. I had quite of bit of reading time on this vacation and read Odd Interlude and Odd Apocalypse along with several other books. .
      Thanks for spending time with me here! 😀

  8. Wow what an adventure, never a dull moment. I suggest you get some of Doc Willards’ Willard Water. You spray it on and the pain goes away. Look at the YouTube with Harry Reasner 60 Minutes interview. Amazing stuff. Our aunt had fire ant bites on her legs, we sprayed it with Willard Water and the pain and swelling went away. I use it for burns.

    • Hi Susie!
      I’ll have to look into the Cod Willard’s Willard Water (now that’s a name and a half)! Thanks for the suggestion!
      Poor Heidi’s hands were pretty sore/itchy for about 2 days until the blisters popped. She’s just fine now.
      Do you think some Willard’s Water would cure my knee? 😀

      • My, my… Debbie’s dyslexia does the most interesting things… Doc to Cod… I’m not thinking a fish makes much of an expert. Just sayin’….

    • Hello dear Susie –
      Who knew life as a SA would turn out to be so exciting!
      It appears that our water heater is now giving up but it should be covered under the extended warranty. One day at time, right?
      All and all, things are going really well. 😀

      • Yes one step in front of the other!
        All in all things in the desert are going well too!
        I could use a little more patience waiting to finance the rest of the fence, landscaping and my garden mulch BUT we are truly blessed
        We have gone through the water heater mess before and are going to install a solar water heater soon
        God Bless

  9. My oh my, again I say Thank God you have each
    other and your Henry.
    Sending the biggest of Heart Hugs your way.

    • Hello Sue!
      Life is good, my friend! No complaints here – just an interesting serious of events. 😀
      Heart Hugs back to the wild Oregon coast and birthday wishes to Sunny Girl!

  10. Wow what a week or 2 … sorry we didn’t know u were at Choke canyon I.d headed over and went fish in with you! We are very near there! Just south of 72 off 99! 🙂

    • Tonight we’re thinking the water heater is going out. It’s still warm – but then it was 89 on Monday and in the 70’s the rest of the week so it may just be heating up outside. 😀

  11. Just to clarify, the magnet trick works by placing it directly on the little electrical box to the right, covering the red LED light. I heard a loud pop and the light went off and TAWANDA!!! it works again. It ended up having nothing to do with the mother board, which was in a bigger box on the left. I knew I was keeping that magnet for a good reason. Left Iowa with it in 2008! Today I get to pick up a VitaMix from the post office. Life is looking creamy again…

    • Henry is unflappable – almost.
      Two semis collided on the road right out in front of us yesterday.
      One of the drivers was a young guy that had just left here to turn around and come back in.
      He was OK, but really shook up.
      Heidi had to call 911.
      The whole thing shook her up (I was sleeping and it even woke me up).
      She cried a little and Henry spent a good amount of time comforting her – then he threw up.
      He really hates it when anyone is upset so we have to stay pretty even keeled if we don’t want to make him sick!

      • Oh you guys!!! I’m so sorry for all this!! Really. I hope things are evening out a little. Prayers and thinking of you guys. Oh Henry! I may be Henry! I promise I won’t throw up though.

        • Mel –
          I’ve been watching The Dog Whisper lately since my internet has been defunct.
          Caesar says: “You don’t always get the dog you want, you get the dog you need,”
          Really, an RV is too small of a space for conflicts and with a dog that throws up if there is one, there aren’t any! 😀

  12. Wow…sorry about all the damage & malfunctions. We had to have our converter replaced last week. it quit converting. Glad you got to have some time off to relax before going back to work.

    • Phoebe & Hannah –
      It was kind of an involuntary vacation – but, as is so often the case, the timing was perfect. Since traveling was out of the question with my knee, it was probably the most relaxing vacation I’ve ever had. i pretty much just read 14 hours a day! 😀
      We’re thinking now that our water heater may be going out… of course, come summer, we won’t even need one, the water comes in so hot from the black holding tank!
      Sorry to hear your converter quit converting!
      Take care you two and eat a cheeseburger for Henry!

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