Gig on a Rig Tip #2: Don’t Worry Be Happy

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.  ~Abraham Lincoln

Don’t worry, Be Happy. I remember when Bobby McFerrin released that chart topping hit in 1988. I remember it mostly because Heidi’s son, who was 7, loved it! I thought it was kind of catchy but trite. And I thought he only loved it because he was 7.

I’ve come to think he loved it because he was smarter about some things back then than I was – things like how worry will rob you of happiness. If you don’t remember the song or if you do, this is a mini-version (all my limited internet can handle):

~

~

I tried to address the Don’t Worry part with Tip 1. Be Flexible but I’m adding Be Happy. I’ll be honest here, I used to roll my eyes when I heard people say things like Happiness is a Choice. I didn’t discover the truth of it until years and years after Bobby McFerrin’s song.

Of course everyone is circumstantially unhappy sometimes. Bad things happen. Sad things happen. But there are people who have a happy constitution. Others not so much and y’all know the type. Just like being happy seems to come naturally to some folks, it’s as foreign as French to others.

I was reading a blog a while back  written by a writer who keeps a list of things that annoy him. It’s a long list. It’s a growing list because once you start looking for things that annoy you it’s real easy to become a collector.

Anyway, this whole Be Happy spiel is a bridge between Tip 1. Be Flexible and Tip 3. I Recommend Pleasant – which I’ll write about tomorrow if the internet is happy and smiling on me after sunset.

Those who can laugh without cause have either found the true meaning of happiness or have gone stark raving mad.  ~Norm Papernick

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What is THE RIGHT RV?

I grew up camping. I was born in Elkhart, Indiana and lived in Middlebury until I was 11. If you’re familiar with camping back in the 50’s and 60’s, that was the Camper Capitol of the World.

I’ve camped in a sleeping bag/tent-less, in a pup tent and in a big family tent –  but most of my camping has been off the ground in something.

My Dad’s the one w/o the cowboy hat. Can’t remember him ever wearing one.

The green and yellow Cox fold down was our main summer get away for years and years. Those were the days of big hair and big curlers – even in Indiana. Except for me, my Dad cut mine as you could probably have guessed.

1965 – me, my Cousin, my Sis, Mom, my Aunt & Uncle. I don’t know why the Cox is set up. Surely they didn’t fly from CA to be relegated to the backyard?

A few years later, my folks bought a little 19 foot Phoenix Travel Trailer.

1968 – new trailer, old Chevy

I’ve gotten so many emails asking what THE RIGHT RV is for Full-Timing and for Gate Guarding. This isn’t a topic I probably would have ever addressed but I’m glad you’ve asked because this is one area where I’m strongly opinionated.

Here’s my advice: Buy what you want. 😀

Really folks, telling someone what kind of RV to get is like telling them whether to buy a Cape Cod or a Tudor or Condo – or rent an apartment!  How presumptuous to think we know what’s right for someone else. Doesn’t that just floor you?

We’re not talking about camping anymore. For some, an RV is their home at least half of the year. For many of us, it’s our only home. So I’m completely baffled when people write to me and say that a blogger has told them never buy (all of these have been mentioned): *New, *Used, * 5th wheel, *Motorhome, *Trailer, *White Paint, *Special Paint. *Too Big, *Too Small…

A fool and his advice are easily parted. (OK, that’s not exactly how the saying goes but I think it’s just as true.)

The right RV is the one that you’re comfortable with in all aspects: budget, pulling/towing, amenities etc… I received an email from someone who said a gate guarding blogger wrote: Only an idiot would buy a new RV and bring it to Texas.

Down here they’d say: He’s all broth and no beans.

For me, that would have been the end of that. I’m not likely to seek advice or even just have many conversations (or blog visits) with someone who shares his opinion by insulting others. But it bothered the person who wrote to me quite a lot, so I’ll address it.

As they say in the South: Well, slap my head and call me silly! because I’ve done that twice (bought a new one and brought it to Texas).

Well, technically, only once. Heidi bought a new 2007 32 ft Motorhome in the spring of 2008 (better price because it was last year’s model). Eventually, Henry and I hopped aboard and we headed for Oregon and ended up in Texas.

Last fall, for a variety of reasons, we decided to switch to a 5th wheel and bought a new 2012, 40 foot Brookstone. There she goes again, bless her heart. I’ve been told that, in Texas, you can get away with all insults by adding bless her heart at the end. 😉

If you’re truly in a quandary between a Class A and a 5th Wheel, I’ve written about it a couple of times: Full Timing It in an RV, What Would You Buy which includes a reader’s poll and some really interesting comments. And The Winner Is…which lists some of the pros and cons that other RVers were kind enough to share and more of their comments.

But in the end, there’s no right RV. Get what you like. Get what works for you.

We’re in the middle of a move – 16 miles down the road. By middle, I mean we were suppose to move yesterday morning at 8 and found out yesterday morning at 6:30 that we’re moving tomorrow morning at 9 as far as we know this morning at 4. 😉

Flexibility is key in this job! I’ll write about that in my next post.

Lessons From a Laundromat

We made the big 1/2 mile move today. Technically yesterday. My days are really afternoons and nights. I went to bed at 10 instead of 5 a.m. and I’m oddly off kilter tonight. The move went without a hitch  (or rather, the hitch worked just swell) and we only had one minor mishap. I’ll write about that when I can think in whole sentences again.

This shot clearly was not taken anywhere near Cuero, which is our closest city (pop. 6500). I wrote this a while back on a short-lived blog I started in Oregon.

The lessons continue, even if I no longer have to go to the laundromat (oh, and I am 55 now so I hope I’ve done some changing). 😀

~

I made my weekly trip to the Laundromat. Surprisingly, I was the only person who choose to spend their sunny Saturday afternoon soaking and tumbling at the Duds and Suds. Since I forgot my book, I resorted to my typical fall-back mode of ‘straightening things’. It’s actually a pretty clean laundromat, so all I could think of to do was organize – maybe even alphabetize- the magazine rack.

Shuffling the magazines, I found quite a variety of reading materials:
The Holy Bible (KJV)
Our Daily Bread
AARP
The American Legion
Allen Brother’s (The Great Steakhouse Steaks)
ACLU: At War with America
Freedom 1st
The New Yorker
Popular Science
Horses.com
Handy: The Handyman Club of America
Cigars International
Cabala’s
The Progressive Farmer
Voice of the Martyrs

My first thought was: I’ll bet the folks who donated these wouldn’t much like each other. I’m afraid the reason I thought that will become too clear in another paragraph. It’s always easy for me to make obvious, or even profound life applications for others.

There are those whom I know that read The Daily Bread that think the ACLU is the devil’s spawn (literally), and believe AARP is almost as evil. I also know folks who order from Cabala’s and have nothing but scorn for anyone who would read Popular Science.
I don’t know anyone (as far as I know) that reads The Progressive Farmer, so I have no idea how they might feel about Allen Brother’s Steaks.
But the small-minded, bigotry just jumps right out at you, doesn’t it?

And there I stood, thinking that exact thing. I started thinking about whether or not I would like the people who donated certain selections. Really, Debbie? Based on what magazines they read?

I found myself drowning in the misconception that other people should share my enlightened views. And if not, well, possibly they wouldn’t make very charming dinner companions.
Funny that I remember feeling that way at 15 and 25 and 35 and 45 and since I’m not 55 yet, maybe this is the time for a change.

Change doesn’t come as easily to me in the rest of life as it does at the Laundromat. There my old currency is converted into something shiny and useful and helpful with the power, along with just a tiny bit of potion, to cleanse and restore.

I’m ready to change. I don’t want to read a bumper sticker and think: Doubt he’d be my cup of tea or form opinions of people based on their yard signs. The rush to judgement that I have to keep in check is the sign of a very small heart  in a very large world.

Change. It’s time for some. The old still has it’s place, there’s room for so much new.

Any time I think I have the corner on the truth, it’s probably time to take a different fork in the road!

Contact Color

What we see depends mainly on what we look for.                       ~ John Lubbock

I’m living in the last place on earth this perpetually overheated, 55 yr old, water-loving Yankee ever expected to live.

I work as a security guard which is about as ill-suited to my I hate conflict personality as a job could be.

It's just a BB gun - but it looks fierce!

For 25 years, I traveled all over the US as a trainer and public speaker.

For the last year and a half, I’ve worked in 2 counties in the state of Texas. I haven’t been further than 100 feet from the RV for a month.

I trained mostly healthcare professionals, the majority of whom were women. I taught communication skills.

Now I work with all men, mostly blue-collar. Many don’t understand me any better than I understand them, and most of the time we’re all speaking English. That doesn’t mean we’re speaking the same language. 😀

The amazing thing is, I like this job. It just goes to show you how full of surprises life can be! The folks in Texas have certainly taught me a lot. They’ve been nothing if not colorful!

I read a book a while back where one of the characters was colorful, in ways that go beyond personality. She was a synesthetes. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, you can find the definition here:Wikipedia Definition.

There are different kinds of synethesia. I have color-graphemic synesthesia. I see letters and numbers as inherently colored. Some of the colors I don’t much care for but I’m not able to re-color them.

These aren’t my particular colors but it’s a nice visual.

I’ve always seen all numbers and letters, days of the week and months of the year in specific colors. Although scientific studies show this ‘condition’ has apparently produced some amazing mathematicians and even biologists, all it’s produced for me is a cheerful light-show. 😀

Just as I was surprised to learn not everyone has a rotating stack of 45’s playing in their head, I’d always assumed everyone saw numbers and letters in set colors.

The whole topic started me thinking about some things that fall more in the category of philosophically persistent than neurologically peculiar pathways.

I had less astigmatism when I was younger and could wear contacts without having them blow off.

I always wore green ones. I have green eyes so it didn’t change my appearance but it sure changed the way I saw the things. Those green contacts helped me see more clearly, but they didn’t add any tint, unlike rose-colored glasses.

Since moving to Texas, I’ve had plenty of time to take stock of what colors my view of the world. Preconceptions and a lack of understanding can do that. See: Everything I Needed to Know About Texas Tea, I Learned from the Beverly Hillbillies.

I’ve been asking myself: Am I a black vs white – wrong vs right kind of thinker?

Do I share enough of myself with others to be both true and interesting?

And especially, am I open to being in unexpected places, seeing unexpected things and finding humor and joy and gifts there?

By the way, if you’re wondering  if you may have a form of synesthesia, you can take a quick quiz at this site: Are you synesthete?

I’d love to hear what you come up with! That could lead to a post of a different color!

Thrill Seekers

I wasn’t going to write tonight because I knew I’d sound cranky.  But I’ve been watching the news and after the last interview I saw, I think I snapped a little.

Thrill Seekers. That’s what they call them. They’re on the jetty, on the water, and gathering in bars – to watch the thrill of destruction and devastation.

And unfortunately, they’re on TV. Some  jovially jeopardize not only their own lives but also the lives of the First Responders who attempt to rescue them. Some are just looking for a rush. I just saw an interview with of a group who were angry that  the casinos were closed in Atlantic City. They’d driven 15 hours straight in search of a thrill.

We’re angry! We’re adults. Our safety is our business. We’re winners and we came here to get double lucky: a win big at the tables and a chance to watch a big storm!

I don’t understand why the press gives them air time.

I just don’t get it, period. Have we really become so jaded that we need to watch havoc and chaos to get a rush? Maybe we’ve seen too many disaster movies or are we simply so saturated with tragedy that it no longer moves us?

By the time most of you read this, whatever is going to happen will have happened.

As I’m writing, 10 people have died and more than 3 million homes are without power.

My son, his wonderful wife, my 2 year old grand-daughter and my 1 month old grand-son live in New Jersey. I’m praying. But i would hope I would see this as a time to pray, not a time to party, whether I knew anyone on the coast or not.

If you want a thrill, ride a roller-coaster. Or better yet, donate to a disaster relief group that will be laboring to help folks recover from this storm. Help someone. Now that’s a real thrill.

The Help

The gate is fairly quiet tonight. I fixed my breakfast around 11 p.m. and turned on the TV. The clip that was playing was a trailer for the movie, The Help.

Typically behind the times, I’m writing about The Help after most of you have probably already read the book or seen the movie. This isn’t a review and I haven’t seen the movie. I’m a gate guard, I don’t see movies until they come to Direct TV. And since, even on TV,  you have to buy new releases, the only one I’ve spent $4.99 on in 9 months was The King’s Speech, which I did enjoy, but that’s not what this post is about.

The Help, if you don’t already know, is set in Jackson, Mississippi in 1963. I was small and so was my world in the summer of 1963.  I lived in the tiny town of Middlebury, Indiana, which was a about a million miles from Jackson, and where racial diversity meant we had a lot of horse and buggies tied up at the hitching post just down the street from our house.

I might have been able to tell you where Mississippi was because I loved my map puzzle, but I couldn’t have told you anything about the climate, weather or political.

I read The Help almost a year ago, before all the buzz and before the movie. So while I can’t speak to the movie, I can tell you how the book affected me.

Although it’s a work of fiction, the historical references aren’t. I still find it to be stunning that all this was happening in my lifetime. I was completely oblivious. We did watch Walter Cronkite every night, but I guess at age 6, I wasn’t paying very close attention.

When I read the book, I kept thinking, surely this must have been a long, long time ago, when people still thought the world was flat.

But this isn’t really a post about that either. It’s about other lessons from the book that I wish I’d learned back in 1963, the summer before I started first grade.

Here’s the first one:

The first time I was ever called ugly, I was thirteen. It was by a rich friend of my brother Carlton’s over to shoot guns in the field.
‘Why you crying, girl?’ Constantine asked me in the kitchen.
I told her what the boy had called me, tears streaming down my face.
‘Well? Is you?’
I blinked, paused my crying. ‘Is I what?’
‘Now you look a here… ‘Ugly live up on the inside. Ugly be a hurtful, mean person. Is you one a them peoples?’
‘I don’t know. I don’t think so,’ I sobbed.
Constantine sat down next to me, at the kitchen table. I heard the cracking of her swollen joints. She pressed her thumb hard in the palm of my hand, something we both knew meant Listen. Listen to me.
‘Every morning, until you dead in the ground, you gone have to make this decision.’ Constantine was so close, I could see the blackness of her gums. ‘You gone have to ask yourself, Am I gone believe what them fools say about me today?’ ~  Kathryn Stockett

Most folks I know, in every age group, needed to hear that when they were growing up and maybe still need to hear it today. Ugly lives up on the inside. Ugly is a hurtful, mean person… Every morning, until you dead in the ground, you’re going to have to make this decision. You’re going to have to ask yourself, Am I going believe what these fools say about me today?

The second message I loved in the book that might even change the world if everyone heard it over and over and over and over when they were little:

You is kind. You is smart. You is important.

Every child needs to hear that while they still are kind and before anyone makes them feel less than, for any reason. And we all need to hear it still.  There will always be those who didn’t get the message, who have ugly that lives up inside that will try to make you feel you’re ugly or not important.  So every morning, until you’re in the ground, get up, be kind, be smart and don’t believe them!

Hmm…

 

I have to admit, you’ve got me stumped. Isn’t that an odd saying?  I can’t find the origin.

If you’re a politician, a stump is a campaign stop. If you’re from Iowa, like I am, there’s a whole lot of stumping up there.

If you’re a tree, well, I guess being stumped doesn’t bode well for your future, unless you’re The Giving Tree, where all stumps are redeemed.

Many years later, the boy, now an old man, returns and the tree sadly says, “I’m sorry, boy…but I have nothing left to give you.” But the boy replies, “I do not need much now, just a quiet place to sit and rest.” The tree then says, “Well, an old tree stump is a good place for sitting and resting. Come boy, sit down and rest.” The boy obliges and the tree was very happy.

Like the tree, I’m happy to give but I’d like to know more of what you want.

For the first 5 months, I posted daily. For the past 2, it’s been a few times a week. I just scrolled through the list of subscribers to Fork. I know 9 of you personally, none of whom are gate guard or live in Texas so I’m pretty sure that’s not why you read. A few of you I know through your blogs and the rest, well… hmm… And since only about 1/5 of you readers subscribe, I’m completely in the dark.

At this juncture, I thought it might be a good idea to ask you why you read Fork? It’s such an eclectic blog that I’m fairly certain the interest value for you must vary widely from post to post.

I’d like to know what you’d like more of?

Are there topics, within my limited areas of experience (note here that I’m saying experience, not expertise) that you’d like addressed?

Do you have questions about something from a previous post that I can answer, or attempt to answer?

I know some of you read because you’re interested in gate guarding. If there’s something you’d like to know about that, I’ll try to answer or send you on to other blogs that might help.

Since I’m not aspiring to get Freshly Pressed (you bloggers know that one) I’m not limited to by topic or style, so I’d welcome your input.

I will add one caveat. The web is such a public arena, so there’s a limit to how much personal information I want to share. After my last post you probably know more than enough about me anyway! 😀

I’m very open to making this a more interactive site. It’s always more interesting when other people comment.

I’ve heard from one person about what he doesn’t want here – politics and religion in particular.

I’m not well enough informed to offer political commentaries and I started my grace blog as a place to express the things I’m thinking about that reflect that aspect of my life.

So now’s your chance. What are some roads, well-traveled or overlooked, that you’d like to traverse here.  If I don’t hear from you, my next post is going to be about how I’m afraid of the man in my phone – so if you want to be spared that one, write a comment and let me know what you’re looking for when you click on Fork.

Not all arrive here via a search engine, but I’ll close with the things folks have typed in this week to land here. It might help explain my lack of direction.

As always, I’m honored that you read Fork. It truly mystifies me, but I’m honored. I appears that if I could just be a gate guarding,snake handler on the moon, this blog would be a smash! 🙂 ~dlb

2011-07-08 to Today

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