A cold start

I did not get out of bed quickly, I stayed in place protecting the small amount of heat I had been able to generate in my blankets.  The Goldie locks zone, I did not find.  However, to be fair, I did not sweat.  As I quickly typed that it had not been below fifty at night, I also did not check the weather for last night.. it was down to 45.  And, also to be fair, I think the blankets would have been fine, had I been wearing some PJ’s rather than just my shorts and t-shirt as if I was sleeping in a warmed house.

Oh well, I didn’t die, just got a bit cold. It did delay my morning though, with no consequence at all.  The next thing I learned as I prepared to get out of the bed the first time (the thought, if I got dressed quickly enough, it wouldn’t be so cold.) So I reached for my jeans neatly folded outside my tent (the tent is only big enough for the bed.) As I stuck my first leg in to the knee, I realized the jeans, with a slight bit of humidity on them, were also some where around the temperature of Pluto.

I revolted back into bed, deciding they needed to warmed first and pulled them in with me to warm under my legs, under the blankets.  As a fifty fifty compromise, I suppose the idea worked.  They were still cold and made me cold, yet I had the fuzzy warmth on the top of my legs at the same time.  Taking my mind off that I checked my phone for a few minutes (and wishing Justin a happy birthday) until I realized I was warm again, then donned my jeans and crawled out.

Crawled, without grace.  Getting up standing from the ground is hard.  For months, this was one of my worst fears.  Having to call someone to say “I’ve fallen and can’t get up”.  It happened once, but didn’t call anyone, I wouldn’t.  Luckily, it was a day that my boys had told be they were going to stop by, so I grabbed my phone (ALWAYS within reach back then,) and just entertained myself on the floor for a couple hours.

Now, this is getting better.  In fact with just the last three days, I’ve had an improvement with the practice.  It’s just how I start my day now, the first two days I used my cane for help, this morning I stood without the cane.  In fact, for most of the day I barely used it.  The cane is great for balance and stability, yet that very stability given, is stability my left leg didn’t have to work for.  Without the cane, I’m kinda walking like a drunken sailor.  And since no one knows me here, I don’t mind if people think I walk around drunk.

With every step the effort to raise my knee seems insurmountable.  So I was told to overdo it and raise my knee up like high school marching band.  At this part, I have to pull my left thigh in, as I’m unlearning my previous hip lift/twist walk from before my femur was relocated properly. Then as you step down, you have to unbend the knee just as much – actually more and really push back the knee, bowed back as much as you can.  Then with the perfect timing the ankle and lower leg have to be pushed out to the outside (else the left foot will step to center and I’ll have circle right to catch myself, the drunken sailer move) during the step forward, pulling up the toe, preparing to land for just a moment on the heel before the knee bends again to take the weight, and the toes push forward to support the weight without toppling, then pushing off the toe while..

The the right leg does it automatically.

Then I repeat the entire process with the left.  The bones are good now, all moving the right way, and passively my flexibility is near one hundred percent.  Actively though is another story, most of the muscles through my leg are tight, very tight, and weak, very weak. And only working them will make it better.

Those seven hundred words or:  Cold morning, standing and walking are still hard.  Eight words.. I like the first way better.

Anyway, the steak and eggs were still on my mind this morning, but I just wasn’t hungry (the Po’boy did the job!) I forced a boost and a banana and started fiddling with my HT (handheld ham radio.) It has an APRS feature to use its included GPS and send out a radio beacon alerting others (or your own other stations) of your location, which can be easily placed on a map.  However, here in Mathis – a place where you are twenty five miles from the three nearest Walmarts – there are no local digipeaters that can pick up my small (five watt) signal.

Which, for anyone following is why I wanted to get my own mobile digipeater up and running before I left.. However, here we are (and I’m still happy with my choice to sacrifice the mobile digipeater, for now, for that last minute chance to set up the solar server in Jackson.) It really just means I still need to build another digipeater, just need a raspberry pi (I brought all the other pieces with me,) and Google says I can find one in Corpus Christi, just forty five minutes away.  Not wanted the drive today, I’ll put that off til next week.

Another store run for a laundry soap, dish soap, a vape, and beer was my big outing for the day and coming back to camp by three in the afternoon, I didn’t feel like doing anything.  Nothing need to be done, so I just sat and played radio for a while.  I got the 20m dipole up yesterday (inverted V configuration, twenty foot center, ten foot ends.) And I’m still amazed how quiet the air waves are here, in Jackson I have a noise floor of S-seven.  That indicates how much “noise”, RF noise that is in the area.  Which is normal for the amount of electronic that are within a mile or two of me at home.

Here however, twenty five miles from the nearest Walmart, the noise floor is an S-one or less.  This is important, as from the many signals I might receive, if their signal strength (the S meter) is less than the noise, I can’t hear then.  So at home, I can only take to people and places that gave a signal stronger than S-seven.  That really blocks many distant and weak stations.  Here though, wow, the radio was full and I could have played all day.  I almost did.

And then I thought of my friend Autumn who just this morning posted that, among a million other amazing achievements, had ran at least two miles every single day this year.  I came to this campground so I could learn to walk my days away, and after remembering her, I didn’t want to wait until tomorrow.  My legs protested, already under extra work without the cane- and honestly, I was worried I might bite of more than I could chew, so I brought my chair with me.

Not my nice camp rocker chair, my tiny ottoman stool.  Small enough to carry it and my camera in one hand and off I went.  Taking the time to do each step right is hard.  And I should do it right every step.. and sometimes I get lazy and just bend my knee a little and let my hip swing my leg around- on this walk though, I was determined to do each step right.  Also, one of the challenges that I’ve been enjoying here is the lack of level ground.  With all the walking I’ve done setting up camp, has not been level ground walking.  Just slight inclines, yet my leg know when it’s just stepping forward or if I’m asking it to step up.  It knows.

I was just going to walk around my ‘block’, but once I got to the intersection, I really wanted to go down and see the water and dock area.  Also, this gave me the chance to take some photos with my new lens.  I have avoided my previous practice of taking a thousand test shots of anything and everything the moment I get a new lens.  This time, I wanted to make my self wait for the occasions to use it: when I go walk.

Should I mention the gunfire?  A new friend on the two meter simplex warned me not to be frightened at midnight.  This is Texas and apparently anything goes for about an hour either side of midnight.  The fireworks (the good stuff) have been going off since dark, about six pm.  Though I’m starting to hear lot more than fireworks now!

Camp is basically setup and done, still plenty of antennas and stuff that can be done and improved (like setting up the digipeater.) But really, I’m done. Time to start living and walking, I’m home now, nothing to wait for.  I can’t run two miles a day, yet.  But, I think I can walk two miles a day, with my chair for breaks as needed.  Pulled out my hoodie and PJ’s for tonight.  This year, I learned to learn a new way I think.  Solve each problem, each day.  No chains started, no chains ending up needing to broken later.

Tomorrow is a near year and I hope to wake up; and I hope to wake up warm!

Time to rest.

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