Pass It On

I have learned to listen to my dreams and premonitions. That doesn’t mean I always undertand them, but I’m not surprised when the event occurs. It was one of “pass it on” experiences.

A few days before we went travel trailer hunting I felt a vehicle accident was going to occur. I dreaded going out in the “big city” traffic and was even more worried when we actually bought a trailer and brought it home. What did the universe have in store for us? Whatever it was, I knew when I least expected it was when it would occur.

A trip to San Diego and back with the trailer resulted in no event, but the one-day adventure without the trailer to Moab did not. On the way home we’d decided to go the back way on the byways we most enjoy. A stop at the Hite overlook resulted in a visit with a pair of Ravens who got the rest of the popcorn and loved it. They are creative, fun and mate for life. Deciding he had enough pictures of the pair, Tracy and I ventured on up one of the most remote sections of highway in the U.S.

She was standing by the side of the road in front of her little red Ford Focus Wagon. The hood up, tail gate up, doors open and a jack behind the front passenger side wheel. If you didn’t notice the flashing lights you could certainly tell something was wrong. The skid marks on the rural, isolated highway implied an ugly incident and the bent and twisted highway sign appeared to have saved her life.

As we pulled up and stopped she looked scared. Should she talk to these strangers with Utah plates? Alone on a trek from West Virginia, she was on her way to Natural Bridges when she lost control, almost went in the ditch on one side, over corrected and almost went in the gully on the other albeit for the sign. Result – two tires blown out and only one spare.

She struggled in making a decision, get in the truck with strangers and try to get help or let them get her some help and stay with her broken down car alone, in the dark, with no cell service, 26 miles from the nearest town, population 215. In the end she gave us her name, cell # and other pertinent information and we set off to town. We hated to leave her there, but it was her choice and it was obvious she needed to make it.

Small rural townfolk are used to helping out at all hours of the day and night. And the tow company in Hanskville, Utah was used to calls helping tourists on their adventure around Lake Powell and the other backcrountry byways. This night was no different even if it was the full moon. They picked her up, got her into a hotel room and some folks would see to her vehicle on Saturday.

Little did she know, she was one of our “Pass It On” opportunities from our roll-over accident in 1999? Or was this for our daughter who had an incident with a U-Haul trailer and a man stopped and fixed the problem by giving her a new hitch to get her on her way, wouldn’t give her his name and wouldn’t let her pay for it? Whichever, we were glad we could help.

We headed home knowing we had two and a half hours to get to Escalante, UT. The roads were good, the full moon helped light our way, and the animals stayed off the highway. We traded text messages later that evening and she was fine. Holed up in a hotel room, car to be repaired, and on her way the next day. I reminded her that someday she’ll need to “pass it on”. Her response – “I look forward to it”. I know she will.

Until next time – – –

T-Mobile – Please Port My Phone

After many calls, emails, and letters, I think I understand why T-Mobile won’t agree to port my phone number, even though Congress says it shall and the small phone company who has the number can’t refuse and doesn’t have an exemption.

Problem: I live in a remote section of southern Utah where cell service is all roaming and T-Mobile does not have a porting agreement with the local carrier. Why? Because we are not in their service area. Okay, but you provide me and others in town with cell service. In fact, it’s the most reliable of all the carriers.

Solution: I need T-Mobile to initiate a porting agreement with South Central Communications in Escalante, Utah.

Background: South Central Communications used to provide cell service but shut down their system and sold their tower in 2012. This co-op based company is “locally owned and operated” but forgot what local meant when they shut off the tower.

When they quit providing cell service they told us they “sold that portion of the company to Verizon”, then it was they recommended you transfer your cell service to Verizon. However, Verizon could not provide the same level of service because they wouldn’t buy the tower and couldn’t provide the service. After they got us roped into expensive agreements you could not rely on having phone service, including our Ambulance/EMT providers.

I filed an FCC complaint requesting Verizon let us out of our contracts without buyouts and we’d find another way to solve our phone needs. They argued with us until I finally asked the man from corporate to log on to their own website and click on the page that allows potential customers to get service and put in our zip code of 84726. What did it tell you? Sorry, we don’t provide service in your area. No duh, nor does anyone else, because of the tower issue, we’re all on roaming. We understand that, so a large number of us went back to landlines.

We’ve closed our brick and mortar retail operation and gone mobile but I can’t take my phone with me. T-Mobile will not port my business phone from South Central because there is no agreement. The suggested resolution from South Central Staff – get a number with Verizon and port it there and then port it to T-Mobile. Sorry, that still won’t solve the problem.

South Central Dir of Sales and Service told me it is not in their best interest to port numbers and won’t without an agreement but it’s T-Mobile’s responsibility to initiate an agreement. The staff in the Number Transfer Center at T-Mobile slipped and told me I’m not in their service area so they don’t have an agreement, but South Central must release the line.

Maiden Voyage

I used to have a check list in the RV for what should be there and what needed to be loaded each trip. I can tell I’ll have to go back to that model.

We’re home after 7 days of trailer life. It’s been 8 years since our last trip and, like any sport, the needs and quirks come back to us quickly. We were so organized (or so I thought) when we departed for San Diego. This was the maiden voyage and we’d be in a major city so we could acquire whatever we forgot. With the trailer loaded, the mail on hold, and the buildings double locked we departed.

We tried to take advantage of the “vacation watch” the local police offered, but the folks at City Hall knew nothing about it. We were given his phone number to call and arrange it with. It was vacation week so he wasn’t on-duty. Off we went.

Tracy hadn’t worked with this type of trailer hitch before, so after 1 1/2 hours of beating, jumping, rattling and swearing, he finally got it loose enough to hook up.Jerking the truck back and forth worked the best.

Finally in Cedar City, we stopped at the dollar store for the items I knew we needed to fill the cupboards – measuring cups, plastic travel mugs, can opener, etc. Too bad we hadn’t tried to have lunch first. We woul have discovered I left the trailer cutting board on the counter in the house. Or that my “list” didn’t include a sharp knife. And that Tracy had left himself open for constant frustration – he left his pocket knife in his other pants. When we got into St. George, Ut we stopped at Harbor Freight for a tarp for when we got home. Big lots was right next door, a set of cheap knives and a small plastic cutting board was added to the drawers.

Now, we’re set. Off to Overton, NV for the night. We’d fiddled around so long we’d never make the planned destination of Henderson. Good thing there was a Maverick store right across the street from the RV park – we forgot to think about a water hose.

After a simple meal of soup and salad it was off to bed. It got down into the 20’s so the quilt was a great idea. Unfortunately, it was the one Grandma made me and was made for a narrow bed. In order for it to cover both of us from side to side we had to turn the short way head to feet. The quilt doesn’t cover your shoulders. I about froze to death the first night and got up and got sweats on. Tracy got to share that experience on the return trip. A different quilt is already on the bed for the next adventure.

The RV park in Overton was still open by 4 minutes going to San Diego it was closed on the return trip. When we got to the Viejas Indian Reservation Campground, Ma-Tar-AWA (which means house in the open) the office was closed and the security gate locked. Luckily another RVer went through and we followed to our reserved spot. It was earthen, uneven, and Tracy hadn’t brought enough blocks to put the trailer up on one end to get it level. Tilt the first night, but he got it fixed in the morning light.

Showing respect for the last living elder (my mom) felt good and was the right thing to do. We always went to Grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving growing up and it was wonderful to be able to do it now. It’s been many years since I had and having celebrated her 91st birthday last spring I knew it was time once again. I didn’t feel in my 60’s until I ran up and down the trailer steps for 7 days. I was glad to get back to level ground and my own bed.

All in all, it was a great trip. We talked a lot, read a lot, planned for our next adventure and generally enjoyed being retired from retailing. Now if we can get ourselves put together for online and on-the-road selling we’ll be set. and we’ll also be better prepared next trip, including a check list.

—– until next time.

Wishing You “Enough”

Family Circle Magazine of November 2013 published an article entitled “Attitudes of Gratitude” by Janet Taylor, MD. It was short, sweet and to the point – “the simplest way to experience more happiness in your life is by deciding you can have it.” She suggested creating a “bliss list” and checking off the good times one by one ( a much better bucket list).

So what’s on your “bliss list”? Mine is centered around my gratitude for “enough”. I have enough yarn that I can knit hats, scarves and baby sweaters and give them away. I’m blessed with wonderful children and the best spouse and business partner I could ever have imagined. And I’m grateful for a loving relationship with my mother after many years of discord. I’m blessed that my best friend from High School is back in my life. And I’m grateful for my health being adequate to see me through the end of my journey.

I didn’t come upon all these blessings by chance. I sat down and decided what was enough. Enough money, enough time, enough yarn, enough travel, enough love. I listed what was enough for me, not my neighbors, my peers, or my friends – just me. Otherwise life becomes about guilt and envy. Every ad on television, radio, or in print seeks an emotional response to motivate you to buy something based on envy or guilt. One of Mo’s columns dealt with this subject and I am sharing his list of countdown to Christmas words (written in this order):

“Guilt; gift-giving; gift receiving; re-gifting; more guilt; stuff; more stuff; a little more stuff; guilt about having stuff; drinking; guilt about drinking; eating; guilt about eating; envy; jealousy; insecurity; overcompensation; guilt; additional guilt; and fear that the neighbors/relatives/friends will have a better Christmas.”
Yes, we pile on emotional calories as well as literal ones. Do you stop eating when you’re full? Do you overcome the emotional/impulsive response by knowing how much is “enough”. Do you need more? Do you want more? Now is the time to decide. Decide what is enough and take the extra and give someone something they need who doesn’t have enough. Make it about being turely grateful for the blessings you have in your life and the people you love and who love you back, not because it’s expected.

We don’t “do Christmas” anymore. We tell our friends and family how much we love them at Thanksgiving. We count our blessings and share what we have over the “enough” level. And we leave the guilt and gift-giving routine to others because the meaning of the season is deep and abiding love for each other.

I urge you to determine your level of “enough”. The freedom from guilt and envy and the joy of sharing the extras are blessings beyond any reward of tangible receipts.

When was the last time you told everyone in your life how blessed you are to have them? Never? Maybe this is the time! If not now – when? Is it time for you to help them determine what is “enough” in their lives?

From our house to yours – We wish you enough!

Social Media lives on – 1/8/2014

Social Media – Not New, Just Different

Petroglyphs - Social Media

Newspaper Rock,UT

Mankind has been depending on social media for hundreds of years. Beginning with the Petroglyphs and Pictographs of the early American Indians, Newspaper Rocks are everywhere in the desert southwest. Hyroglyphics are found throughout the European nations, and even Spain has a collection of messages. These early tweets are no less difficult for us to understand than our grandparents have with hashtags.

We advanced from scratching on rocks to printing on paper. Thousands of trees were cut and processed for paper. Paper for general interest publications, magazines, tabloids, catalogues, you name it and it was created. Until WWII, then the government controlled the use of paper and ink and frugal families began to think carefully about it’s consumption. Newspapers started being recycled through the use of rollers that made fireplace logs. Burning them was better than putting them in the landfill. But change continued to march through.

Lodges became the next “social media” opportunity. Eagles, Elk, Moose, Masonic – thousands of lodges opened around the country. These were places for like-minded folks in their 50’s + to gather to dance, party, and share the tweets of the day. Today, as I travel around the west I see many of these buildings abandoned, closed, and in worse shape than the newspapers. Their members have passed on or changed their social habits to be “in touch” with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Many carry cell phones and have learned to tweet to their families.

Today social media continues to grow. There are so many different “sites” available it’s hard to keep up. Each new provider appeals to a different age group or area of the world. Different languages, different cultures, and different life styles. Religion continues to play a major role in social media, as do crime and greed. The continued advancements of technology adds to the many changes in social media. More Newspaper Rocks Online – fewer general interest printed material – less need for TV and their “news/entertainment” centers. More direct communication, but less personal. Much like the original “Newspaper Rocks” – chipped by a lone member of their tribe, sent on it’s way by the occasional visitor, and pondered over by future generations to ask, “just what was the purpose of the hashtag?”.