A tribute to a gentle soul…

I never had a brother… but I had the next best thing. My brother-in-law, Richard Heron.

Richard in Arkansas, September, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012 is a date that has changed our lives forever. That’s the day we found out Richard had departed this world (way too soon).

Before I continue, I want to share something most of us feel pretty comfortable about. It’s that unthinkably bad things happen to other families–not our own.

I used to think that. I was wrong.

Several years ago we met a man who was just coming out of a tragic family situation. His brother suffered from undiagnosed bi-polar disorder and one day, he tried to kill his two sons. One died, the other one recovered. His brother is now serving time.

Our friendship grew because we listened to his pain and we  helped him through a very rough time in his life. Sometimes you don’t know why certain people enter your life, they just do. We like to think there are angels working all around us…

Now we know why this man came into our lives as we find ourselves in a similar situation. You see, my Bob’s brother Richard, was murdered by his own 32-year-old son, Richard Jr., on November 18th.

Las Vegas Review-Journal article

KTNV Channel 13 Las Vegas Richard Heron video and report

The cold-hearted brutality of this act was so unthinkable, that the story was on the front pages of Las Vegas newspapers and was the top story on the news broadcasts yesterday. I’m not going to go into detail here, you can click on the links above for that.

It is so sad when good, decent people are struck down needlessly. Richard was a gentle, quiet man. He always treated me like his sister. I never saw him raise his voice or his hand to anyone.

He was enjoying being a “grandpa” to his 8-year-old grandson, Evan. I know he enjoyed playing out in the yard with him when he came over to visit.

Richard was Bob’s younger brother by three years. They sort of drifted apart over the years as families sometimes do. That is until 1997. Bob took a trip to Las Vegas that year (just a week before we met) to see his brother and get re-acquainted. And from then on, their relationship was rekindled. They became very good friends.

Over the years we have gone out to visit with him many times and he has flown down to Texas to see us. In September he met us in Arkansas for the memorial service we were having for Ruth, their 98-year-old mother who died on July 4th of this year. We were so glad to spend time with him. Our two Chihuahuas, Jack and Jesse, were permanent fixtures on his lap. You know what they say about animals and children… they can tell who the good people are!

Richard was a gentle and kind soul.

You’ll be missed little brother. Say hello to Mom for us. We’re sure you are enjoying a Manhattan with her now for happy hour 🙂

As I write this we are on the road in our RV (home on wheels) and on our way to Las Vegas. We have a lot to do to get Richard’s affairs settled. We left the oil patches of South Texas yesterday to begin this journey.

We will be spending Christmas with our daughter Julia and her family. They also live in Las Vegas.

Right now we are taking everything one day at a time. If feels so unreal. Loss leaves a deep hole that only time can fill.

Till next time,

Vicky

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Gee… we were just discussing this & shazaam!

A funny thing happened this week and I want to share it with you and get your opinion…

A few days ago, Bob and I were sitting around & talking about the fact that there are so many “reality” shows on TV these days. Personally, we avoid them like the plague! It all started when we were trying to watch the Weather Channel. I used to love that channel when it came onboard the cable line-up back in the ’80s. It was all about the weather so you could tune in and find out what you needed to know and move on when you were done.

Now you have to wade through all kinds of reality shows just to get a glimpse of any weather information for your particular area. And successful shows eventually grow up and produce baby shows, called spin-offs. First came Coast Guard Alaska and then came Coast Guard Florida. We were members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary before we became full-timers so our hats are off to the members of the Coast Guard.

But, it all gets rather tedious and repetitive after a while. Just like the logger shows… and the fishing shows… and the inside-look-at-_______ type shows. Who cares!

Personally, I could not care less about Kim & her sisters & their personal discussions & dilemmas. The Kardashian family is phony in my opinion. Kim’s marriage to the basketball player last year was a sham. They ought to be ashamed of themselves… but they aren’t. In fact, they are making money hand over fist. I just don’t understand it???

I used to watch Deadliest Catch back when it started. I used to love to watch it in the early years… before it became a grind and the bickering became unbearable. I must admit, I was in tears during most of the season when Capt. Phil Harris was dying of his massive stroke. Although, with his high-stress load and chain-smoking, it was not a big surprise. It’s not a lifestyle or responsibility I’d want for sure.

I quit watching the season after Phil died. I tried to pick up on the next season, but it was just not the same. I don’t even know if it is still on anymore to tell the truth…

I tried to watch one of the spin-offs, “Hilstranded,” but it just seemed scripted and put on. Each episode was about different fishing adventures with Jon & Andy Hilstrand. I’m sorry, but how many fishing shows can I stomach! I like the Hilstrand brothers, but this was overkill.

I just Googled “Honey Boo Boo” tonight to see just who or what a Honey Boo Boo was? I watched a few clips of interviews with the pint-sized, overweight starlet-wannabe and her mother and was instantly very sorry for doing it. Apparently Alana Thompson is Honey Boo Boo and she is originally from the reality show Toddler’s and Tiara’s. Really? You could have knocked me over with a feather on that one! My first impression was that someone needed to turn her over a knee and teach her respect and manners. I can only imagine the kind of teenager, and then adult she will become.

I digress on my rant…

So Bob and I were talking about how we were surprised that they did not have a reality show about full-time RVers. Especially one following gate guards. There could be lots of drama in that one.

We both agreed, we have a nice quiet life as is and we want to keep it that way. I have no aspirations about sitting and chatting with Jay Leno, wearing a dress that sticks to me like it is three sizes too small. I recently saw Kris Kardashian-Jenner on tonight and she was constantly holding down her dress when she sat down so she did not give a surprise showing of what was underneath 🙂 You know, it’s refreshing when you see a star come out dressed appropriately and comfortably. And, they don’t look like a plastic blow-up doll. (But that’s another rant I won’t go into right now.)

It wasn’t two days ago we were having this conversation. Then, yesterday we were perusing through the Workamper News daily Hotline that comes to our email and what did we see?

>>>ANNOUNCEMENT

RV Owners: Major TV Network Wants to Hear Your Story! 

Major Cable TV network is currently seeking RV owners for an upcoming pilot. If you live in any type of home-on-wheels and love the open road, we want to hear from you! Seeking all personalities and lifestyles. Whether you have a unique story to tell, or have an RV like no other, please tell us a bit about yourself by emailing XXXXXX@XXXXXX.XXX

 Thank you!

Casting Team<<<

OMG–Here’s the next population segment they are going to exploit. This ought to be good!

I wonder if we will see anyone we know… Hmmmmm?

I can say with ABSOLUTE certainly, it will NOT be us!!!

Would you be on a reality show about RVing? What are your thoughts?

Till next time,

Vicky

On being thankful… tis the season!

As I sit here tonight, I’m struck with awe that I have an Internet connection that is not konking out every 5 minutes!

Seriously, I have many reasons to be thankful. We have a good way to earn extra money to supplement Bob’s retirement income. Especially since I cannot draw my checks for 4 more years. Granted, doing what we do is a grind at times, but it’s still a lot better than  cleaning toilets for a parking spot or minimum wage!

I’m thankful that I was able to meet the love-of-my-life on the Internet in 1997. Think back to that time, dial-up (broadband was not even born yet) was not 56K yet, I believe it was 33.5K (or something like that). Match.com, eHarmony, PlentyOfFish.com, ChristianMingle.com (and about 10 variations thereof), FarmersOnly.com, and the latest trend for seniors, SilverFishing.com did not yet exist. The only way you could fish or surf for a prospective partner was to locate personal ads. Imagine trying to do this without Google or Bing or MSN!

You’d have to know my Bob to appreciate just how miraculous it is that we met at all. You see, he is a very shy & quiet person. Once you get to know him he has a refreshingly unique sense of humor and a cozy, loving nature.

So, back in January of 1997, I decided to try to find the kind of person I was looking for in the Houston area. That’s where I lived back then. So I trolled the online personal ads. I met a couple of frogs in public places, and resolved that if I was going to find my ideal match, I would need to cast a bigger net… so to speak 🙂 I never once doubted I would meet the person I was looking for… I just did not know where… yet…

I included Dallas and San Antonio in my searches. I knew I was looking for an RVer and a boater. He needed to be less than 10 years older than me and be good with kids since I still had my daughter living at home. I also had my first grandchild on the way.

One week I had sent out several inquiries/responses to ads. Out of those I received one reply and I could tell he was not the one.

One week later, I received an email profusely apologizing for taking so long to respond to my inquiry. And who was this weird person (just kidding Honey)?

Bob. Up until this point no names had been mentioned so I had no clue what he was responding to since it had been at least a week prior.

Long story short, we corresponded via email and telephone for two months before we actually met in person.

We agreed to meet at the Cross-Eyed Seagull in Houston at 8:00 pm on an agreed upon night. Well, we were tested from the git-go! Bob was living in Denton, Texas at this time. The night he came down he did so during the worst rain storm I’d seen in a good long time. Remember, we did not have our handy cell phones in 1997. Bob had to periodically pull over to a pay-phone and find out the conditions he was driving into.

Finally, I-45 was flooded so I had to guide him into town using the Hardy Toll Road. At that time it had recently opened up. Our good fortunes were holding.

With all of this inclement weather I figured he would be at least 2-hours late.

To this day I don’t know how he did it, but he arrived with a goofy grin on his face and 5-MINUTES EARLY! The goofy grin was because he was extremely nervous. (And I wasn’t?)

And the rest is history… we got married in March of 1998.

How did I know he was going to be such a good match for me?

Easy… he worked for an RV dealer and he owned a boat. Cha-ching! We had things in common. He was also divorced and the father of two girls and a boy, and I had two boys and a girl. Brady Bunch!

We went on to become full-time RVers in 2008. And today we have 10 grandchildren. 5-boys and 5-girls. Funny how that worked out 🙂

And we are gate guards in South Texas.

We are in good health as are our families. And for all of this, we are thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving y’all 🙂

Till next time,

Vicky

All quiet on the gate… Whew!

Alas, my prayers are answered… no swine visitors tonight!

After last night’s tense situation with wild pigs just 20-30 feet from our front door, we decided to turn on another light on the light plant. This one shines behind the rig so at night I can see if there are any illegals, snakes, wild pigs, or coyotes lurking about.

I don’t like surprises in the darkness of the night!

Switching gears, I’ve been out and about two days in a row… what a wonderful break. Tuesday I went to the HEB in Pearsall. Yesterday I went to Cotulla and had lunch with my friend Lynette, a fellow gate guard.

It was great to catch up on the last few months in each of our lives. We ended up talking for nearly two hours. That certainly flew by!

After we went our separate ways, I filled water jugs at Lowe’s, picked up a package we had sent to the Ace Hardware store. These people are so nice to provide this service for gate guards. As a full-time RVer and especially out here in the middle of nowhere, I rely on online ordering for so many things. Since many places will not ship to a PO Box, Ace Hardware in Cotulla plays a critical role in helping me get the things I want and need. And they are so cheerful about it!

Today I asked if they had Christmas rope lights. The office girl informed me that they don’t stock them but they can order anything I want and have it delivered to their store.

Now that’s customer service!!!

They are using a very good principle here, if I do something for you, you will feel obligated to do something for me.

Many times when we go to pick up packages, we end up spending money in their store. Today I needed a couple of buckets, a funnel, Christmas lights and a few other things. We always seem to need something they sell at their store.

One thing I’ve noticed is Ace Hardware seems is reinventing themselves. They are a great alternative to Lowe’s and Home Depot. We’ve noticed the customer service is diminishing at these two “big box” stores while Ace is really ramping up their cheerful faces and helpful attitudes.

When we stay at our resort in Canyon Lake, we find excuses to go to the Ace Hardware up there. They are so helpful and have so many things available.

Kudos to Ace… in this time of economic distress, they have their act together and may just survive to better times. (I hope better times are ahead–and soon!)

We just found our GG company is bringing us BBQ turkey tomorrow for Thanksgiving… WooHoo!!!

Big thanks for the thoughtfulness 🙂

Till next time,

Vicky

Roll call please…

I just noticed that my blogroll is almost wiped out. I think I did that when everyone sort of went dark earlier this year.

I’d like to promote your blog on my blogroll. If you want to be listed, just send me a link to your blog and I will add it ASAP!

Thanks!

Vicky

Lions, Tigers, and Pigs… OH MY!!!

Wait a minute…

From the Wizard of Oz, wasn’t that phrase: Lions, Tigers, and Bears… Oh My!

Yes, it was… but here in the oil patch (in the heart of the south Texas brush country), I changed it to PIGS, as in wild pigs.

I went to Pearsall for groceries yesterday and on my way back I saw a big wild boar on the side of the road (alive). He panicked as my car drove by so I slowed way down. Those fellows can do major damage you know!

Then, this morning at about 4:30 am, my motion detector inside the gate area (where we reside I might add) started going off. I put my jacket on and headed for the door.

No one there. No truck… nothing.

So I went back to doing dishes. The alarm went off again. And again, no one was there.

The third time this happened the pranksters appeared… wild pigs. Last year I saw Javalinas so I know these were not them. I started hyperventilating and broke out with goosebumps.

You see, I grew up on a farm in central Illinois. And we had pigs. Even though they were domestic pigs, I still learned a healthy respect for these guys. When I was 4-years-old I somehow took my toy baby buggy to the pig yard and left it there. Don’t ask me who was not watching me, I have no idea.

Long story short, those dirty pigs totally destroyed that toy buggy. I think they were new mammas and that is a very dangerous situation.

So even though I grew up on a farm, it doesn’t mean I’m brave when it comes to animals… wild or not. I don’t like the cows that come around our rig either. One almost wrapped himself up in our flag yesterday.

Thankfully, I have not heard any coyotes. As you all know by now, these guys REALLY FREAK ME OUT!

You’ll be glad to know I’m fine now. I took a chill pill (really, I took a B-vitamin-Inositol which is a calming vitamin) and I feel better now. Much!

Perhaps I should switch to decaf??? 🙂

Does the local wild life unnerve anyone else? I know Bob B. is totally unnerved by snakes and Debbie B. is an arachnophobia sufferer (add me to both of those lists :-))

What about it… what are you afraid of? I’d like to know I’m not the only coward wearing a glow-in-the-dark vest that screams, “Here I am… come and get me!”

Till next time,

Vicky

Play time is over… Back To Work!!!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted and all I can say is sometimes life can get hectic… even when you are semi-retired!

After we left the oil patch in August, we went to Teague to visit the granddaughters there, and then on to Katy, Texas to pick up Bob’s mother’s belongings at the personal care home where she passed away (in July) at the age of 98… and to pick up her remains (ashes) at the Funeral Home.

Next stop was on the road to Mountain Home, Arkansas to scatter Mom’s ashes in the White River as per her request. We stayed at a campground along the White River that was aptly named Blue Heron Resort. Imagine that 🙂

Bob’s brother came from Las Vegas as well as Bob’s three children… each from Iowa, Missouri, and Nevada. It was a beautiful, clear morning for Ruth’s memorial service. Bob’s daughter Heather bought a bunch of red roses so we could toss the petals into the water after scattering her ashes. I wish I could post a picture of the rose petals floating in the water, but my connection is too slow. It was a very nice touch… thank you Heather! By the way, red roses were very appropriate since Red was Ruth’s favorite color. From jewelry to shoes to coats, Ruth had a lot of red in her closet.

Heather also brought me a load of tomatoes and peppers from her Iowa garden. I froze every bit of it for cooking and for smoothies. In August I finally got the Vitamix I’ve been wanting, like forever. Now Bob is enduring all kinds of healthy concoctions. He sure is a good sport!!!

We left Mountain Home for our new location, Hot Springs, Arkansas. VACATION!!! There we enjoyed a new treat… a salt water pool at a new resort, Catherine’s Landing. Let me tell you, after swimming in that saline water, I never want to step foot in a chlorine pool again. Yuck! The salt water did not make my skin all dry and my hair didn’t feel all stiff.

While there, we bought some pure, homemade soaps, ate yummy pancakes at a local pancake house on Bath House Row, visited a local winery (yes, of course I got some delicious wine), and embarked on a dinner & dancing cruise aboard the former paddle boat, now motorized, “Belle of Hot Springs.” We also enjoyed a birds eye view of the Hot Springs National Park from the observation tower located in the park.

On our cruise around Lake Hamilton aboard the Belle, we learned that the city of Hot Springs is actually part of the Hot Springs National Park. They just dropped the last two words for the city name. But they count every visitor to the city as a visitor to the national park.This was my 4th visit to Hot Springs and I’d never heard that little tidbit before.

Next stop… Teague to visit the granddaughters for a couple of weeks. Then on to Iron Horse RV in San Antonio for some upgrades we wanted to have done. First upgrade was to install a Dish HD unit on the roof. Now poor Bob does not have to put up the portable dish and line it up everytime we move. We just turn the unit on and it props itself up, searches for the three satellites needed for HD and parks itself when it is done! How cool is that!

Then we replaced the two remaining tube-styled television sets with flat screens. Now I have more storage behind the TVs. Bob is building shelves for me behind one of them. We have more we want to do on this rig, but all in good time. Iron Horse does great work!

We began our wait with our new gate guard company on October 1st. We knew we would not be first on their list since we were new to them. Over the next five weeks we kept in touch with our contact and finally on November 5th we got the call. At this time we were at our membership RV park, The Summit, near Canyon Lake. So out of three people they called we could get there the quickest… translation… we got the gate.

We arrived in the Millet/Cotulla area on Monday afternoon, November 5th.

We were glad we finally got a call since we had been waiting for about five weeks. But in that time we’ve been having fun in the San Antonio area. We went to Whole Foods about four times (woohoo) and country dancing at the Wild West club. We also got new western boots with slick soles for dancing.

I normally wear Ariat Fat Baby boots when we are working and they are so comfortable, but they have a non-skid type of sole. Definitely not good for dancing.

We have a nice pad to park the Silver Bullet on. We have good equipment with plenty of horses to power our rig and the attached light plant… and our guy Brad said I could also put up all the Christmas lights I wanted. Hmmm–I think I’ll do that this year!

I have a question I’d like to ask other GG’s… Does anyone else have a dishwasher in their rig? If so, do you have a problem with running it on these industrial generators? The reason I’m asking, is at our first company we thought we blew the circuit panel in it. We replaced it for $240+. Long story short–turns out the dishwasher works fine on shore power and with our Onan generator. However, it konks out on these industrial generators. Just wondering if anyone else is having this problem???

I HATE washing dishes 😦

I must say, it is still plenty warm for November, but we are in Texas afterall.

The drilling rig moved in the day after we did… on election day. They have been “rigging-up” all week. It was nice to have a night to get on our schedules and get set up without interruptions.

Since we’ve been in Teague, Canyon Lake, and San Antonio since early August, I’d like to catch up with everyone. Is there a ladies or mens lunch in Cotulla anymore?

As I write this I’m struck by the holiday shows and advertisements flooding the channels already!

Is it my imagination or does the Christmas season start earlier each year??? I’m watching the Hallmark Channel tonight and it is jam-packed with Christmas shows… and Thanksgiving isn’t even here yet, Geesh!!! And now I hear some stores are announcing their Black Friday specials. Waiiiiiiiiit a minute… I’m not ready for this just yet*&^^$$#^*@

Today is grocery day. Gotta go get ready to get out of here… for a while anyway!

Till next time,

Vicky