Womens & Mens Luncheon schedule update…

Last week I posted a poll for the location and for the date of the next Gate Guard Ladies Luncheon. Normally I think we usually meet on Wednesdays, but since that falls on July 4th this time (not sure that makes much of a difference out here in this job) I decided to give everyone an option.

The overwhelming majority voted they wanted to meet on July 3rd, Tuesday, 1:00pm at the Cotulla DQ.

Sounds good to me. I just love my Cappuccino Heath blizzard!

And since Susan and Bob Alton will be heading to San Antonio today because Bob landed a great job opportunity, looks like I’m heading up the guys luncheon plans… at least for now. My Bob does not blog so he can let me know what the plans are with his gender group and I’ll pass it along here. Right now, the next Mens Gate Guarding Luncheon will be on Wednesday, July 11th, 1:00pm at the Cotulla DQ.

I’ll also post plans in Andy & Miss K’s MyOldRV.com forum.

Have a great weekend! We will miss you Bob & Susan… Good luck in your new adventure!!!

Vicky

P.S. If you want to be on a luncheon announcement list (for details of future luncheons) please use the form below to send it to me and put Mens List or Ladies List in the subject line.

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The only certainty in life is change…

How quickly life can change. Literally overnight, our job location and gate guarding company changed. I’ve heard stories of people who find a nice, long-term position on a ranch plus great equipment and service. I often wondered just how they find these opportunities.

I’ve come to the conclusion that timing, luck, and perhaps the grace of the guy upstairs has much to do with it.

That said, we have a new gate location and we will be here for a very long time. We also left Gate Guard Services and joined a new company… Riata Oilfield Security, out of Cotulla.

All set up at our new location. Except for when we go back to visit family in Houston & Teague, this will be our long-term home. Love the big pads to keep us out of the dirt and mud!

With the neat 8×14′ heavy vinyl pads provided by the ranch, we will not have to worry about tracking in mud into the rig or the car. Yipee!

We have a brand new Onan generator, 12.5k. Same size we have onboard the Silver Bullet.

We are extremely excited about the Onan generator since it IS made to provide power to RVs and household appliances. As a matter of fact, we found out our dishwasher is NOT broken again after all. With the Onan generator providing our power, it works flawlessly. Gee… I wonder if we could have saved $168 on the new board we bought last march??? Guess we’ll never know…

Our support system behind the Silver Bullet… 1500 gallons fresh water and 1500 gallons black & gray water collection tank to be pumped out as needed. Rancher did not want the leach-line draining tank on the ground.

Yesterday we got a tour of the ranch and it is awesome to see the set up they have all over this place. It’s huge! With all the drilling, fracing, and tank batteries going on out there in these ranches, it’s easy to lose touch with the history in this land. On our tour yesterday Justin, our ranch manager, took us to a special place. I did not take a picture of it, but it was two grave markers of the Gardner children.One young life was from 1892-1896 and the other was 1905-1910. A black wrought-iron fence protects the tiny cemetery. Justin goes into the space and clears away the overgrowth from time to time. It was a reminder of years gone by… when living out here was hard, hot, and remote. I can’t imagine where they would find a doctor a century ago or more. Could take days–one way! Families were large because many did not have a long life.

I’m so grateful we live now and in this great country.

It’s so nice out here in the morning, listening to the Bob-White serenade me. Of course, about 11:00am the sun starts heating everything up. Then it’s in and soak up the air-conditioning!

We moved to our new ranch location on Tuesday. Wednesday was my first time to attend a ladies gate guard luncheon. It was so much fun to put a face to the names. Many write blogs also so I felt as though I already knew them.

Gate guarding women sharing stories and swapping experiences, June 20th.

We met at the DQ in Cotulla. I’m always up for the DQ and this one is a good one!

One of the wonderful items provided by the energy company managing this lease, is our light tower. It makes the night shift so much less scary!

On our first morning in our new location, as the sun was coming up, I decided to go turn the light tower off. As I walked across the caliche road I noticed  something in the grass and looked like it could be a snake. I froze… then started backing away so as not to disturb this fellow. My heart was pounding so hard I could hear it! After a few hours I did not see it move and birds were walking all around that area. I imagined it was not a snake after all, but would wait for Bob to get up and walk over there with me. Just in case…

The mesh insert usually found in the middle of cattle guards so you can safely walk over them. This was an old, wavy one that was laying in the grass.

What we found was the above mesh insert sitting on its side. It had been in the grass for a while so grass was all interwoven in it. Bob agreed, it could look like a snake in the early morning. I wonder if he was just humoring me???

Termite update: As we were taking the ranch tour yesterday I noticed that termites are EVERYWHERE! Their mud-saliva-dung solution was clinging to sticks, grass, and prickly pear cactus bases all over the place. They are natures brush cleanup crew. Last year there was a fire and now the termites have moved in to eat their way through the dead debris. Who knew… they are actually good little critters. Just stay out of my rig 😀

I best be getting ready to get some shut-eye.

Till next time…

Vicky

Next gate guard ladies get-together…

When would you like to have the next ladies gate guard get-together in Cotulla?

Where do you want to meet?

This poll is open for a week. After it closes, I’ll let you know what the general consensus is for date & place.

Vicky

What do you do on a slow night?

I just love a slow night. One rig moved out Sunday and the other is tripping pipe so it was a pretty quiet night. So I cooked and had a great time.

Bob will drool when he gets up as he will be feasting today on Stuffed Peppers with red, yellow, and green peppers stuffed with grass-fed beef, mozzarella cheese and wild rice. Ran out of time to cook the brownies. Dang!

Grab your fork… stuff your napkin in your shirt and let’s eat!

All you cooks out there, care to share what your favorite dish is to prepare (or one of them)? Bon Appetit!

Till next time,

Vicky

Introducing Hector & his friends…

Our little adopted friend, Hector the Horny Toad Lizard. He’s very tame. I tried to upload a new picture, but it just won’t publish. Go figure???

Hector is our new pet it seems. This picture is taken next to our step and he just sits there as we go in and out. Actually, I’ve just researched this little fellow and he’s really a lizard. Better yet, they eat ants.

And that is great news since we are up to our axles in a termite field. When we first got here last week I noticed these strange mud tubes going all over the place on our pad. Not only on our pad, but the whole field around us and across the drive where we park our car. When I stepped on these tubes I noticed little white ants… TERMITES… YIKES!!!

Mud tubes/tunnels on the ground. The termites travel system.

Overview of the mud-tunnels termites use to move around and live in under less than ideal enviromental conditions… like out here.

Subterranian termite tubes. All of these pictures are taken from our pad site, field, and driveway around us.

Now when I hear the word termites I really panic. You see, my parents just lost their battle with the termites in their 160-180-year-old house in Illinois. Over the years my dad knew he had termites, but he always assumed the house would outlive them. Guess what, as my old room upstairs started to join the living room below and the kitchen was becoming a landmine of where to step safely, suffice it to say… THE TERMITES WON! They just sold part of their farm and bought a charming house in town. Mom is in heaven with central air-conditioning for the first time in her life.

This is how they travel all over by building their unique structures to protect them.

A termite colony on the move.

Termite colony on side of our gate driveway.

Back to our little pad co-dwellers… the termites. We called an exterminator who came and sprayed (Cost: $65) and told us they were not the kind that typically goes into a home and does damage. Huh?

He also said he didn’t think they were subterranian termites. Bob can’t remember what he called them (I was asleep). So I did some research and they definitely ARE subterranian termites. Now with our house being up in the air, it does make it harder for them to get into our home, but we plan to be very vigilant in our fight against them.

Just in case they are subterranian termites, the exterminator suggested we get buckets to collect the water dripping off our roof onto the ground (from the A/C units running). Water definitely attracts these fellows. Bob also opened the bag of lime we had in the car and spread it around the perimeter around our rig. When I go to town Wednesday (for the ladies DQ get together in Cotulla), I will go to the Ace Hardware store and get the spray and a sprayer. They recommended a spray for us to use to protect our RV.

We will be looking for mud tubes in the basement or even in the main living areas above, or what looks like areas of sand. Both would be signs of termite infestation. At that point we would need to have a tent fumigation done.

We are crossing our fingers and hoping these little creatures stay on the ground and will keep spraying to kill any near the coach. And y’all thought rattlesnakes, scorpions, and tarantulas were your biggest threats! Ha!!!

Talking about freak things that happen in the oil patch, we had a gustnado, well actually it was a powerful dust devel, go through here yesterday. It was a freaky thing for sure! Last winter out at the Nye ranch we saw many small dust devils, but this thing was way bigger and more powerful.

Bob was working and logging in a truck outside the door. I was sitting at my computer at the kitchen table. All of a sudden, the whole rig was shaking and the window awnings were vibrating. I looked outside and could not even see Bob or the truck just 10 feet from the coach. All I could see was a thick cloud of dust swirling around. After it was over, Bob had to go search for his sun hat in the field.

We had one of our two drilling rigs move out today. They will finish up tomorrow. Up until this event we did not have much dust and we were feeling pretty smug. But with all of the big trucks in & out today we have caliche dust the consistency of talcum powder and it is accumulating all over the inside. We now run two air filters and that is helping some. We’ll take any help we can get 😀

It certainly has been an eventful week. But we are keeping our cool and doing just fine and that’s all that matters!

Till next time,

Vicky

Now this qualifies as a bad day…

Things started early today. Rig 3 is moving 15 miles to their new drilling location. This poor guy went to Rig 47 instead of Rig 3 and realized it when he got to the top of their pad entrance. So he proceeded to back down but things went terribly wrong!

The only thing that prevented him from turning turtle was the 70′ trailer hooked on behind.

At least no one was hurt and no equipment mishaps occurred. It was fun watching the tow truck pulling him out. It took a while. The dirt off the side is so loose that he slid very easily.

All worked out okay!

Till next time…

Vicky

Reporting for duty…

After spending two months fixing the rig, the car, enjoying kids & grandkids, shopping where there was actually a large selection and eating at restaurants (together… as a couple… imagine that) and moving Bob’s elderly mother to a personal care home in Katy, Texas we are back at a gate, deep in the heart of the south Texas brush country.

This little fellow (a horny toad) was our welcoming ambassador… at least it was not a rattlesnake!

This little horny toad came out from under the sewer trailer to greet us. Welcome to the neighborhood!

Thursday morning for us started like any other morning. After getting up and having breakfast, we planned to get the Silver Bullet ready to roll and head out Friday morning to our home resort (membership campground) in Canyon Lake and enjoy some R&R before heading down to work on June 13th or so.

That was until we got a call from a GGS service guy in the Cotulla area. He sent us a text… he knew it was a bit early but he had a gate he needed to have a guard at ASAP. He knew what we were looking for and this one sure fits the bill after our first gate over the winter. I’ll explain…

We can now see behind the rig with our newest toy… a closed circuit camera. This is the newest of the two rigs we have been assigned to. Sunset Saturday night.

After spending three months guarding a gate, for two fracing wells, that was 9.2 miles (45 minutes) from the highway, this one is a dream come true being only a few miles just outside Cotulla and about 100 yards from the hard road. Yee Haw!

I like the little town of Cotulla. There is not much there, but the Dairy Queen is a really good one to go to and I can have packages delivered to the Ace Hardware store which is right across the road from the Post Office. It’s so great that the Ace store does this service for the workers out here. I do a lot of online buying and would be lost without it.

I don’t like Super S as well as HEB, but from here, Pearsall is quite a ways to go for groceries. I admit I do get Whole Foods Market and Central Market withdrawals around this area. I filled up my fridge & freezer on Wednesday with grass-fed beef and great organic foods.

I intended to have this blog post done our first night here. I was going to take a nap after we got set up on Friday. I did not want to do the 24-hour staying up gig like last time. Takes too long to acclimate to being a night person this way. So like I said, I was going to take a nap.

We arrived at about 3:00 pm on Friday with a new GGS service guy waiting for us. He’d been watching the gate until we could get there. I’d warned Bob to drink plenty of fluids on the drive down because it would be hot and I did not want him to dehydrate while he was setting things up. You see, Bob used to be a traveler who did not like to make stops while he was traveling… said it would slow him down too much… too many stops. But, I remind him often that we are now retired (semi-retired anyway) and we can stop as often as we want. We are not on a tight schedule anymore.

The stage is set…

As I was finishing getting the inside all set up (slides out, 5-gallon water bottles moved, chairs put in their places, and sensitive electronics all removed from the bed and put in their places) Bob came in with a very red face and sweating profusely. He was getting pale and clammy. He was drinking outside but not replacing any of his salt or electrolytes. I gave him some Powerade but I forgot about the salt.

I got the blood pressure machine out and had him take his vitals. Blood pressure was pretty high, especially for him, but his pulse was fine. So I had him keep drinking and he laid down for a bit.

A little later he got up and was even more pale. He had a coat on and could not get warm. As he took his pulse & blood pressure, his BP was down to normal, but his pulse was 161. Alarm bells sounded in my head!

You see, in 2004  Bob developed an atrial flutter and his pulse was around 161. An electrocardiologist in Dallas did an ablation on his heart and it corrected the problem. Only restriction is he cannot have any stimulants, including regular coffee.

It was looking like he had developed heat exhaustion (just short of heat stroke thank goodness) and that had thrown his heartbeat out of whack. I immediately called 911 to have an ambulance sent. Bob thought we could drive, but I was not sure what we were dealing with and did not want anything to go south on the drive to the hospital. David, with GGS, came to watch our gate until we could get back. This was around 10:30 pm. Thanks so much to David for his help.

The ambulance showed up and evaluated Bob. They decided he needed to go to the hospital in Dilley. Now I am a city girl and used to big city hospitals. I’m not sure I’d even consider this a real hospital in many ways, but at least it was a starting place to get Bob properly evaluated and treated or transferred if needed.

They gave him four baby aspirins and a nitro pill and ran his blood work and EKG. After about an hour his pulse began to level out and got down to a better rate. At 2:00 am they released him. His lab work all came out fine, no heart attack! We were back at the gate by 2:30 am. We released David. Poor guy had been up since 3:00 am and was exhausted himself.

Of course when we got home I let Bob get to bed and get some much-needed rest. By the time I got to bed later I had been up about 26+ hours. I was beat! While Bob was sleeping and the next night I could not keep my eyes open. I hate it when I can’t stay awake. Fortunately, this gate is not very busy right now. What a blessing!

Then today, I got up at 7:00 pm and proceeded to get ready to go on duty. As I was getting ready, our GGS generator died suddenly. Oh crap… it’s hot out there! We called for a GGS service person to come. Unfortunately, we were not the only ones with a dead generator. Help would be coming… but not any time soon.

We started our on-board genset and 10 minutes later it died. Oh great… now what??? Of course, this is when we got a slight rush at the gate with no lights and the RV is getting hotter by the minute. We found candles for light (which also produce more heat) and turned on the inverters to keep the fridge blowing cold.

The GGS guy finally got here a couple of hours later,  another one was already taking care of two other generators that died in this heat. He hosed off the radiator grill and it started back up–thankfully! He also said he’ll give us the name of a mobile mechanic that the rigs use for their generators so we’ll call him and see what is wrong with our generator. I gotta tell ya, I don’t like being out here in the middle of nowhere and no operating back up generator. Doesn’t give me a warm, fuzzy feeling… not at all!

One more blow, our dishwasher died again. This happened last time we got on the company generator… first use after getting on the generator. It blew the control board, $170. OUCH! Bob found out how to replace it with a new board. We just need to order it. It seems these boards are very sensitive to megahertz fluctuations. It happened on the first use on the generator again this time. This is getting expensive!

If any of you fellow gate guards has had a problem due to the external generator fluctuations, please send me a message and let me know if you were able to do something to resolve it. We have a surge protector, but this is not a surge problem. It’s due to the megahertz fluctuations. Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks 😀

I’m still dozing off so I’ll wrap this up for now.

Till next time…

Vicky