Christmas, Trucks and Easy Bake Ovens

We’re all hooked up and ready to rock and roll to yet another TSL at daybreak. Having almost, but not quite, conquered our HUAD (Hitching Up Anxiety Disorder) we decided to do all the hooking and unhooking today so we can hit the road before we get parked in tomorrow. That meant hauling around the furniture and pulling in all 4 slides.

We’re successfully hitched and the slides are back out but it certainly wasn’t worth dragging the furniture around again. I’m holding the computer – which is the first time my laptop has ever been on top of my lap – sitting in the recliner, which is perfectly upright, wedged between the table and the sofa.

The satellite and sewer and water hose are all packed away. Only the electrical line remains as a tentative umbilical cord, tying us to the nurse wagon until morning.

Getting ready a day ahead did give us a smaller audience of onlookers than usual. It’s a little like a being an old-fashioned carnival side-show attraction. Whenever we get ready to hook up, crowds gather. Step right up folks! You have to see it to believe it! Two Women, One Truck!

People (men mainly) are amazed that a woman can back up a dually. Seriously, it’s just like driving forward, except in reverse. They’re stunned that two women, with no help from a fellow, can hook up and haul a 40 ft 5th Wheel.

I feel like that little girl who started a petition for a gender neutral Easy Bake Ovens. I think that just meant an EBO that wasn’t pink since boys aren’t supposed to like pink. If you’re a boy and you like pink, you might grow up to be a man who likes pink. And everyone knows that if you’re a man who likes pink, you’ll have to become a professional football player or join the WWF to prove your manliness.

Most folks down here in Texas know that boys can cook. They just don’t all know that girls can drive trucks. Anyway, as my fellow TSAs know, we never know until we arrive at our secret assignment whether or not we’ll have any internet or phone service. Since I may be out of range after tonight, I wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

If you’re a frequent flyer here, you know I’m crazy about The Piano Guys. I recently posted Steven’s cheery cello rendition of Carol of the Bells. I thought it might be fun to include the piano guy (Jon) this time. 😀

I liked the Christmas message they posted with their video. It seems to fit with my readers, too, so I’m including it here:.

We love the Holiday Season. Why? It’s a great excuse to be extra nice to each other. =) … And we love Christmas music, lights, presents, and the excitement of our sleepless children anticipating the advent of Christmas day. We know there are many out there who do not celebrate Christmas or believe in what it may represent. This song is not meant to exclude anyone. We hope this song is an opportunity to reflect on everything we are blessed with in life — family, a beautiful earth, a place to rest our head, the warmth of the sun. The lyrics of this piece speak of being “ransomed” from captivity. In general terms, at some point or another in our lives we find ourselves at the receiving end of a “ransom” — a rescue by someone or something — even as simple as a note from a friend, a hug from a child, a much-needed vacation, or the unconditional affection of a loyal dog. That is what this song represents to us. People may define the “rescue” moments in life differently, but the meaning of the moments remain the same. To many, including us, the story of The Savior is the sweetest and most priceless “ransom” of all. To Him we dedicate this song.  ~The Piano Guys

O Come, O Come Emmanuel – traditional
Performed by
Steven Sharp Nelson: Cello
Jon Schmidt: Piano

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
[Refrain] Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.
[Refrain]
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.
[Refrain]
O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
[Refrain]
O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
[Refrain]
O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.
[Refrain]
O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.
[Refrain]
O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace

Before my signal fades away, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Another Fork In The Road

It turns out that the poem by Robert Frost that was the original inspiration for the name of this blog is a bit of a mystery.

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The Road Not Taken

By Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

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The only reference that I could find directly attributed to Robert Frost about the poem comes from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference where is it quoted that he said:

One stanza of ‘The Road Not Taken’ was written while I was sitting on a sofa in the middle of England: Was found three or four years later, and I couldn’t bear not to finish it. I wasn’t thinking about myself there, but about a friend who had gone off to war, a person who, whichever road he went, would be sorry he didn’t go the other. He was hard on himself that way.

Frost’s biographer, Laurence Thompson says that, in the end, he finished the poem to poke a bit of fun at his friend, Edward Thomas’ tendency to second guess himself and inability to make up his mind about things.

You’ve likely heard The Road Not Taken, or parts of it, quoted often with many grand themes and schemes attributed to Mr Frost. That’s the funny thing about this little poem. People have taken it so terribly seriously.

That’s just what happened to me this past week. When the edict came down to all those who work for my employer (sorry that I didn’t make that clear before) to adhere to a new NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement), I took myself way too seriously.

Laugh at yourself and at life. Not in the spirit of derision or whining self-pity, but as a remedy, a miracle drug, that will ease your pain, cure your depression, and help you to put in perspective that seemingly terrible defeat and worry with laughter at your predicaments, thus freeing your mind to think clearly toward the solution that is certain to come. Never take yourself too seriously. ~ Og Mandino

I was in a two-day funk. I’m rarely in a funk at all and never in more than just a momentary funk. It’s been years since I’ve been really funky! I was feeling a lot of something: mad or sad. I’m terrible with negative emotions so I couldn’t decide which, I just knew I felt bad. 😉

I had a true bout of tunnel vision. I think I’m over myself now.

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I have pages of comments that you’ve written regarding my last two posts which I deeply appreciate. In the spirit of the NDA, I can’t publish anything relating to the company I work for or the industry I work in, so I can’t make those public – but thank you!

There are still many blogs relating to Level II Security Jobs on ranches in Texas written by those working for other companies. If that’s why you read Fork, take a look around. Don’t limit yourself to just one. As I’ve said all along, we all have different styles and experiences and no one has a corner on the truth about the job.

To once again quote the great philosopher, Yogi Berra:

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

I have and I will. I’m going to take a breather and then come back here and take another Fork in the Road and see where it leads.

If you read Fork for reasons other than my job, then let me know where you’d like to go and I’ll see what I can do. The gate is wide open!

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How We Got LIT

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We shouldn’t be here at all, if we’d known more about it before we started. But I suppose it’s often that way. The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might say. But that’s not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually — their paths were laid that way, as you put it. ~ J. R. R. Tolkien

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Picking up where I left off in There and Back (But Not) Again, we left Oregon in mid-December of 2010.

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We  raced (well, as fast as we could on the narrow two lane roads in a 32 foot Class A – towing) across the Siskuyou’s just hours ahead of a winter snow storm.

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We made the 1300 hundred mile drive from Gold Beach to my sister’s home on the outskirts of Tucson in 2 days. There were warning signs all along the way.

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Even the names of the tiny towns made us wonder if it was foreshadowing?

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After spending a wonderful Christmas with my Sis in Tuscan (our first in over 20 years) we set out for San Antonio.

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… or so we thought. We headed toward San Antonio. We had campground reservations. We hadn’t’ been living in the RV for a year. We kind of stuffed things in and hit the road. We planned on using the “Just get to Texas and we’ll call you when we have something” time to organize, stock up on groceries, water etc..

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We drove 755 miles and stopped the second night in Junction, Texas where we dropped the U Haul (on purpose). 😉

I forgot to mention we’d given the Saturn to my son,  bought a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee with 200,000 miles on it while visiting Heidi’s son in MN.

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We were told we couldn’t tow the Jeep, so we rented a U-Haul ramp thing and pulled it through the mountains. $900 later, we dropped it in Junction at a U-Haul spot

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We got an early start, heading for San Antonio to begin the wait. I hopped in the Jeep and we drove the last stretch of our trip separately – sort of…

Heidi wrote about that day so I’ll link to her post instead of rehashing it all: Car 54… Where Are You?

To summarize:

  • Heidi and Henry took off in the Class A down Interstate 10
  • I followed in the Jeep
  • 57 miles later, we pulled over to check directions to the RV park
  • Heidi and Henry took off in the Class A
  • I didn’t follow in the Jeep
  • Eventually Heidi noticed
  • The Jeep battery was dead
  • Heidi called 911
  • We didn’t know where we were so they couldn’t find us
  • I walked a quarter-mile to find a mile marker
  • It began raining –
  • The guarding company called while H was talking to the 911 operator
  • Heidi called Jamie back while waiting for the police
  • We had a job that day IF we could get to Tilden before dark
  • A police officer found us and jumped the jeep
  • He told us to follow him to an auto parts store
  • He raced off across the grassy median
  • We didn’t have time to get Henry
  • We left Henry locked in the RV on Interstate 10
  • We got a new battery in Kerrville
  • We got lost trying to get back to Henry and the RV
  • We found Henry and the RV
  • We took the VERY bumpy “short cut” the auto parts folks suggested
  • We didn’t have any food or water
  • We left Henry in the RV in a church parking lot in Jordanton
  • We went to Pleasanton in search of supplies
  • We left Walmart and went the wrong way
  • We lost Jordanton altogether
  • We lost Henry and the RV for the 2nd time that day
  • We found the RV and Henry
  • We called Jamie for directions
  • We lost the phone signal
  • We found our 1st gate,outside Tilden, in ankle-deep mud in the rain
  • We had a 20 minute set up/training session
  • The training was: Here’s the clipboard, wear your vests, do what I did
  • We had no phone and no internet
  • We had no water (J. didn’t set it up right and we didn’t know how yet)
  • We had no septic (that would come a couple of days later)
  • We had no clue what we were doing… or why 😀

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And there you have it. We now think of things in terms of  LBT – Life Before Texas and LIT – Life In Texas. We’ve been living LIT for a year and a half now.

But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because they’d have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on — and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end. ~ J.R.R> Tolkien