Fit to Knit

There are a few material things that I take for granted. I’m pretty content as long as I have an abundant supply of coffee and paper towels. (We have toilet paper, but we don’t have napkins or tissues, so a paper towel meets all my needs from a fake plate to a stiff handkerchief.)  It’s almost always hot in southern Texas so I can’t imagine being here without air conditioning. And running water is a huge plus. I forget how much I like water until we don’t have any.

Our first winter in Texas was spent in an almost new, but not very well insulated, Class A. Our pipes froze up for a couple of weeks. As many of you know, that led to me planting myself in a variety of flower pots at Walmart,searching for the perfect fit. That flower pot catches rain/air conditioning water now which came in handy this past week when our canister blew up and we needed to pour water in the inside outhouse.

Really, though, we’ve kept that flower pot for 2 1/2 years just in case… It’s hard to find a pot to use as a pot(ty) that’s lightweight and will still hold this much weight!

We were only without water for 6 days this time. The part arrived from Florida yesterday and you would have thought we’d been waterless for a month. We were so excited we just kept grinning and turning the water on and off and on and off. Really.

The washer was surprised by the change and began frenetically blinking F-09 signals at me.

This had never happened before and pushing every button, two at a time even, didn’t calm it down. I read the manual and Heidi unplugged it. After a couple of minutes, she plugged it back in and it calmed right down.

Having a stack-able washer and dryer in this RV has been a blessing but getting to the plug-in place  is complicated. Heidi crawled into the closet and disappeared completely. You know how in Narnia, Lucy hides in the wardrobe and behind the clothes are the coats, and behind the coats there’s snow and a lamppost!?

Well, here, behind the clothes are the coats, and behind the coats you might expect snow because there are piles and plies of scarves. Heidi got pretty caught up in the knitting while trying to unplug.

I’ve covered only a portion of Heidi’s activities over the past few months. I can sum mine up as primarily being a cheery LARGE sofa pillow. I have to shake myself off every hour or two so the caliche doesn’t form a layer on my lap.

The only thing I’ve done since February, other than working my meager 10 hour night-shift and the ritual dusting of everything not breathing, is knit scarves. This is something of an ironic hobby since I live year round in Texas where no one needs scarves. It’s even odder because I don’t particularly like to knit.

I like to eat.

I like to eat when I watch TV and I really like to eat when I read.

I needed something to do with my hands that didn’t involve food. I’m too old and too poor to start smoking so, as some of you know, I sort of taught myself to knit. Just the very basics.

I can prop my Kindle on the arm of the chair and read and knit – as long as I keep it simple. I have friends who knit beautiful caps and hats and sweaters. I knit scarves. A lot of scarves.

I don’t want to count stitches because, well, then I couldn’t read. I can knit and pearl and page-turn pretty seamlessly.

The downside (other than the fact that there is zero demand for scarves in Texas) is that I’m often sitting in the near dark at night (this picture was taken in the daytime for your benefit). I usually only have a couple of pretty, but very dim, lights on.

This is what generally happens. I’ll read and knit. The bell will ring. I go out to the gate. I come back in and pour more coffee and read and knit.

A lot of the time everything is copacetic. Every once in a while I end up with the yarn either stuck to the Velcro on my vest or more often now, on my knee brace, and I drag the whole scarf-in-progress out the door with me. Sometimes it stays intact. Sometimes not so well.

Anyway, I repeat this pattern of knitting and reading and going to the gate and drinking coffee in the semi-dark about a dozen times every night before it occurs to me to turn on more lights and take a look at my project.

Sometimes I’m pleased. But quite often I find I’ve dropped a stitch about 47 rows back which leads to a lot of unraveling. I box the scarves up every few months and send them off to friends or family members in a colder climates to donate to the SA or a soup kitchen –  and who wants to get a scarf with random holes every 40 or 50 rows?

The upside to dropping stitches is that the yarn last longer since I knit it twice, which saves us a little money.

Tomorrow or the next night, I have a story to tell you about my knee and the need to always be prepared but for now I’ll just leave you with this dieting tip that’s worked (sort of) for me: If you find your pants aren’t fitting, it might be time to take up knitting.

Let’s Talk About the Weather

Hey, thanks y’all for responding to my questions in Hmm…
I’m still open to your feedback so please keep commenting if you haven’t already.
Based on the emails from you who are too shy to post (which is perfectly fine), Facebook comments and the ones here at Fork, I’d say you’re a mixed up group. 😀
There’s quiet a bit of interest in gate guarding so I’ll try to include bits on that in most of my posts.
I’m sort of, but my not entirely, over my Yankee cultural shock so I’m not as continually stunned by my surroundings or by the spit and chew and drawl as I was the end of last year. Still, there’s plenty to tell.
The most frequently asked question is: What is a regular gate guarding day like?
You might want to check out these blogs:
Andy and Miss K @http://myoldrv.com/
Kit and Jerry are currently taking a break from GG but will be back at in the fall. @http://www.kitandjerry.com
Not only are our blogs different, but so are our experiences.
So to answer the question, it all depends…
It depends on which Gate guarding company you work for, which oil company you work for, which company man you work for, whether or not you follow a rig, what you’re guarding etc..
There are so many variables, that tonight, I’ll just start with the weather.
1. Are you thinking of gate guarding in Texas?
If that answer is yes and you’re asking about right now – then its pretty blazingly hot. You know its hot when the locals begin to complain.  Jill, a friend and fellow gate guard, sent me this today. I’ll quote part of the piece and add a few notes as we go:
YOU KNOW YOU ARE IN  TEXAS IN JULY WHEN. . . .
The birds have to use potholders to pull worms out of   the ground.
The trees are whistling for the dogs…
Hot water now comes out of both taps.
As you can see in this picture, our water tank is big and black. So you know what that means. Yes, the cold water is hot. On the extra hot days, we have to use our holding tank water, just to get it cool enough to take a shower and I never turn on the hot water in the summer, even to do dishes!
The generator is in front of the water tank in this picture and the diesel is in the back and yes, its red. They dye it so no one steals it. Apparently this happens from time to time. Hard to imagine but it does. There’s a huge fine if you’re caught running red diesel in your vehicle or RV.
You can make sun tea instantly.
You actually burn your hand opening the car door.
You learn that a seat belt buckle makes a pretty good branding iron..
You discover that in July it only takes 2 fingers to steer your car..
We’ve burned our hands on the RV door, the outside bins,  the Jeep doors, so you can imagine how hot the seat belt buckle gets!
The temperature drops below 95 and you feel a little chilly.
This one is kind of sad. I have the weather forecast for the next 5 days on my phone. I’ll take a look and say “Great news, it’s going to be cool this week, only one day over 99”! If you’re not from Texas, the heat cycle is really different. It’s warm in the mornings, hot in the afternoon and really hot in from 3-8pm!
Your biggest bicycle wreck fear is, ‘What if I get knocked out and end up lying on the pavement and cook to death?’
You realize that asphalt has a liquid state.
You break into a sweat the instant you step outside at  7:30 a.m.
I’m writing this at 1:00 am – the temperature is 83. It’s supposed to be 77 degrees at 6 am today but the humidity is expected to be 82%.
This isn’t Arizona – it’s a humid heat, at least in our part of the state. Flat hair goes flatter and curly hair curls twice. If you don’t have any hair, you’ll be cooler but you’ll certainly need a hat.
The potatoes cook underground, so all you have to do is pull one out and add butter, salt and pepper.
Farmers are feeding their chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying boiled eggs.
The cows are giving evaporated milk.
Ah, what a place to call home. .
God Bless The State of  TEXAS !!!
As I’ve talked about in other posts, summer is about 7 months long, so don’t limit your hot weather thinking to June, July and August. And in the winter it can be really cold. If you’re new here, you might want to read about what happens when it gets so cold in Texas that your pipes freeze and you have to buy a flower-pot.
God Bless Texas, indeed!