On the road back to Texas!

It has been a while since I’ve posted. When we left Texas on November 26th for Las Vegas, we thought we’d be gone about 30-days to take care of the details we needed to tend to for Bob’s brother who was brutally murdered. We ended up being in Las Vegas for 60-days. Our saving grace was Bob’s daughter Julia and her husband Chris, and of course our two grandsons, Austin & Ben. We went to shows, went bowling & golfing, and out to dinner a lot. So with all the bad came a lot of good.

Bob’s children all came to Uncle Richard’s funeral and that was a big help. We also enjoyed spending some time with our ex-sister-in-law Carolyn.

When we first arrived in town we were overwhelmed with all things we needed to do to get everything settled. We took it one day at a time and eventually got everything done that could be done at this time. Being there during Christmas and New Year’s delayed our ability to procure the legal documents we needed. That and some repairs on the rig made our stay stretch out to 60-days. We did get the new window made and installed (the first one did not fit so a second one needed to be manufactured). This was the window behind the couch that a rock totally shattered.

We had the annual maintenance done on our hydro-hot system and it took them three attempts to get that all right. It all worked great until they did the maintenance. Sometimes it get frustrating getting maintenance done! We had all the oil changes done and all the filters changed.

We bought a new vehicle… one we had been drooling over for some time. We bought a new Chevy Suburban LTZ at Henderson Chevy in Henderson, NV. We had some major problems with that place, not professional at all. The SUV is great but they were not. We would never buy from them again!

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We were blessed on many levels. The Las Vegas Metro Police were wonderful to work with. And they put the Victims of Crime in touch with us to help guide us through the whole maze of things to do and helped with expenses. Even in the darkest of times, silver linings do shine through. It’s amazing.

Our son-in-law, Chris, sells discount tickets on the Las Vegas Strip for Tix4Tonight. So we enjoyed a Christmas concert by Mannheim Steamroller (I have their CD’s). We saw the Country Superstars who are very talented impersonators… they performed Wynona Judd, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw and Big & Rich. My favorite was their rendition of Big & Rich. Lots of energy in that performance. We saw the musical History of Las Vegas and it was great! It was kind of sad to see the original icons of the strip come down, like The Sands & many other historic casino/hotels. Lots of nostalgia in that show!

We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with Julia & family. Christmas Day we prepared a big meal. I bought a 26 pound pastured turkey at Whole Foods and we roasted it and had all the trimmings.

On New Year’s Eve we were going to cruise the strip on foot (they close the strip to auto traffic at 6:30 that night because there are so many people walking around), but Chris ended up in the ER with the flu and I had a nasty sinus infection. So at midnight we went outside our rig and watched the fireworks at the Stratosphere. Our campground is right across the street. Fantastic fireworks!!!

On January 6th, we bought tickets to see Penn & Teller. I’ve been wanting to them for two years. We almost got to see them that night… I don’t know if I got the flu or the Norovirus (both were making the rounds) but 5 minutes into the show I was in the bathroom going at both ends. After 20 minutes I told Bob we need to go home… NOW!

I spent the next six days in bed with nausea and other maladies. Finally, I got well.

We drove up to Mt. Charleston and ate dinner at the ski lodge. There was lots of snow up there!

Then, finally, on February 4th we went to Penn & Teller and got to see the whole show. It was fantastic. If you go to Vegas, the shows are great. I did a little gambling, but I found it boring and did not enjoy throwing money away. But we did love the shows!

We were afraid we would not get to see Penn & Teller before we left, they were out of town for the week before we left. When we got to Phoenix we realized why. We were watching the Dr. Oz show and there they were on his show.

20130211-115026.jpg This was up at Mt. Charleston.

Finally, on Feb. 6th we got to leave Vegas. We spent four days in Mesa/Apache Junction. The Mesa/Apache Junction KOA is a very nice park! I got to spend time with a dear childhood friend, Angie Darzes-VanDaele. She now publishes a bridal magazine for Arizona brides. We spent several hours together and even though we had not seen each other in probably 45+ years, it seemed like all that time just melted away. It was so good to see her ūüôā

We strolled through the Mesa Market Swap Meet one morning. I found a cute little powder blue golf bag that I just had to have. My current bag is a 25 year old style and weighs a ton. This one is nice and light weight. I’ll take it out to Big Cedar Country Club in Teague and go golfing.

Chris and I golfed at the Desert Rose golf course in Vegas. By the 13th hole I was getting very discouraged as I was majorly topping the ball and could not get under it to save my life. Finally, Bob suggested I take my glasses off. You see, I wear trifocals and they were messing up my depth perception. As soon as I took them off my game improved! Who knew!?!?

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Bob is going to take a few lessons to see if his back will take golfing okay. Chris lent him a few left handed clubs. I sure hope he can do it!

In Mesa we found a quaint but very busy farmer’s market, recommended by the staff of the KOA. Superstition Ranch Market. I bought vine-ripe strawberries at 4 lbs for a dollar, big red peppers were 3 for 99 cents as were green and orange peppers. We bought vine-ripe tomatoes and raspberries, fresh cauliflower and sweet potatoes. I pressure cooked the sweet potatoes last night and they were so good. All of this stuff is grown locally and it shows. My freezer is stuffed… I prepared and froze all of the fruit & peppers. YUM!!!

The day before we left the Mesa/Phoenix area, my cousin Spencer and his wife Lois invited is over for a visit & dinner. They are RVers too. Remember, I came from a family of RVers! They love to take their two sons and go to the Dunes in California (near Yuma, AZ) and play in the sand on their 4-wheelers. We had a wonderful visit. Time went so fast… we were embroiled in telling old family stories about our grandparents, uncles, and cousins ūüôā

We really liked the Mesa/Apache Junction area and it was full of “snowbirds.” We may come back & spend some time during the winter months. You never know…

Yesterday, we left Mesa and headed out on Superstition Highway (60). It was a scenic route and very pretty. We even saw more snow, but not on the road… thank goodness ūüôā

Wednesday we will pull into San Antonio where we will go to Ironhorse RV and have a water filtration system installed, complete with a UV light and sediment filters. Since we go all over, it’s much easier make sure we are drinking pure water without having to haul bottles around and keep filling them.

Are we going back to the gate guarding gig?

Probably not.

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Mt. Charleston photos…

We did not realize the damage the commercial generators can do to a rig. We burned up two 50 amp Surge Gard surge protectors. Thankfully one was replaced at no charge since we took out the extended warranty on it in August when we bought the first replacement. Better to burn up those puppies than to fry all of our electronics! On the last gate we gained 30-45 minutes a day on our clocks. That is dirty power… megahertz are too high.

When we were in Vegas our washer/dryer would not work right. When the repairman came out he found many melted parts in our washer and the plug and outlet were scorched. So we had a new outlet installed and had to buy a new washer/dryer.

Also, our dishwasher never would work on the industrial generators. It would throw a fault code. But when we go to a campground or use our generator, it works fine.

Bottom line, our rig is our home and it is just not worth ruining it. I don’t miss the shifts, the bugs or the DUST… nor the coyotes, Javalina’s or the wild pigs. And thankfully, I never saw an illegal or a rattle snake… but I knew both were lurking out there.

I’ll keep you posted on what we are doing. In the last two months, I don’t think I had my computer out over a dozen times and that was not for very long. We put 1400 miles on our new Suburban in the time we were in Vegas. We were very busy getting things done and playing.

There are things we will miss about the gate guarding. It was a hard call for us to make. But when Richard was murdered, we decided life can be short… you gotta live while you have the chance. We are starting a new chapter now.

Till next time…

Vicky

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Penn & Teller stage.

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The Las Vegas KOA at Circus Circus where we stayed.

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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 ūüôā 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¬†ūüôā

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 ūüôā

Till next time,

Vicky

What I just learned about life in the brush country…

Ah, the ubiquitous mesquite trees. You can find them in north Texas, South Texas, and many places in between.

Serious barbecuing Texans from every corner of the state revere the mesquite tree as the Holy Grail of wood when it comes to cooking meats (especially brisket) in their smokers.

With their tough-as-nails thorns (sometimes up to 2″ long), these hardy trees are the bane of ranchers. However, as I’ve just recently learned from one of the ranch workers, they can also help save ranch wildlife, as well as cattle, in times of drought.

Mesquite Seed Pods hanging from the tree. Who knew these were edible???

You see, ranch-worker Ronnie told Bob that you can eat the¬†pods produced by the Mesquite tree. In fact, he said natives to this region used to pick the pods from the trees (you don’t want to pick them up off the ground since bugs love to eat them too), dry them out, then grind them into flour and make a type of cake out of it.

Don’t harvest the pods on the ground. They are usually infested with insects. And the Termites just love to cover them over with their mud tunnels and¬†devour them… it’s the cellulous fiber they want!

I figured¬†Ronnie was pulling our legs… it’s pretty obvious that basically we are city-folk. Don’t get me wrong… we like it out here, but we love it too when we get to go back to our roots in the city (aka: civilization).

Now I’m a very curious person by nature. Many nights you can either find me writing (trying to get started on a novel), reading, or researching all kinds of stuff on the Internet. I can’t imagine what it was like before having this unlimited wealth of information at our fingertips. After all… I met Bob on the Internet…

So I set out to look¬†up Mesquite Pod Flour and the beloved Mesquite Tree.¬†Regarding the flour, sure enough… it does exist!

Imagine that… Organic Mesquite Pod Flour! I don’t even have to collect it & grind it!

Let me share this¬†interesting fact: Mesquite grows in all regions of¬†Texas except the East Texas Piney Woods (ground is too wet)… this includes more than 56 million of Texas‚Äô 167.5 million acres of land, stretching from the Rio Grande River to the Texas Panhandle, across Central and North Central Texas, and into much of West Texas. 76% of all the mesquite found in the United States resides right here in the Lone Star State.

As I was reading about the food quality of Mesquite Pod Flour, I was astonded! It is almost a superfood. In fact, the ranch manager informed me that if I pick some of these pods, please leave plenty for the ranch animals. Take a look at this…

“The sweet pods are a good source of calcium, manganese, iron, and zinc. The seeds within are 40 percent protein. Mesquite flour made from grinding the whole pods produces soluble fibers, which are slowly absorbed, without a rapid rise in blood sugar.” (taken from http://www.desertusa.com/lil/mesquite.html)

Have you ever heard the old-timers say… it’s too dry to rain? Well, according to our ranch manager, over the last¬†4-years the Brush Country did not get any measurable rain. Yet these bean pods were everywhere. As a result, the wildlife here made it through by eating these Mesquite pods, but they were very lean.

Mesquite trees supply not only food, but they also supply cover for wildlife including quail, dove, raven, turkey, white-tail deer, mule deer, wood rat, kangaroo rat, chipmunk, pocket mouse, rock squirrel, ground squirrel, prairie dog, porcupine, cottontail, jackrabbit, skunk, peccary (javelina), and coyote.

As many of you may have already guessed, I’m what they call a health nut. Actually, I just want to keep the doctors and drug companies from enjoying my hard earned money… and I don’t trust either one of them!

So when I learn about natural things I can do to take care of our health and make our quality of life as great as it can be, I absorb it like a sponge. At one time I was on about eight medications or more and now I’m on two. And I feel so much better.

Before I go off on a tangent, I’ll wrap this up. I plan to learn something new everyday. Today’s lesson was about Mesquite trees and Mesquite Pod Flour! Who knew…

Till next time,

Vicky

Saying goodbye… a tribute to Mom…

At 10:10pm on the 4th of July we bid farewell to Bob’s mother, Ruth. She was 98 1/2 years old.

For anyone who has had a loved one with Dementia or Alzhiemer’s, I don’t have to tell you what a long road¬†your loved one travels till they get¬†to the end of their journey. It’s a slow, torturous trip (for all involved). And as we watch them decline to the point they don’t even know us anymore, it’s hard not to feel… simply helpless.

Mom’s 98th birthday, April 2012. From left to right, granddaughter Katelyn, Bob, Ruth. We celebrated with festive table settings and a Dairy Queen ice cream cake!

Our daughter Bobbi and grandaughter¬†Corynn¬†enjoyed the party… great ice cream Corynn!

Ruth was a very sophisticated lady. She wore high heels every day well into her 80s. She hated giving them up, but when they became a fall hazard for her, she grudgingly did so. But oh how she missed her high heels! A couple of years ago, while she was in the nursing home, she got her hands on a newspaper and noticed Dillard’s was having a sale on… you guessed it–high heels!

In her dementia, she grabbed her walker and trotted down to the front desk and demanded her car be brought around. Dillard’s was having a sale on high heels and she was bent on going and getting herself some new shoes! The staff retold that story many times.

In May we moved Mom from a nursing home into a personal care home. She was already on Hospice for her dementia and was in late stages of the disease at that time. My long-time friend and adopted sister Brenda had just opened up her own personal care home and Mom was really her first client. Actually, it all worked out so well for all of us. Brenda was an experienced nurse and had worked as a Hospice nurse a few years earlier. She had also run her own day care center for years prior to this. She is indeed a natural care-giver.

Mom and Brenda playing a harp.

Mom received 24/7 care and Brenda rented a very lovely home for her new business. This house was perfectly laid out for this purpose. As she opened it up, everything she needed was provided¬†by different people… it had to be a divine plan for sure.

Mom was finally able to rest in comfort in this personal care home. We wish we could have found a place like this many years earlier. It would have been a much better alternative to the nursing home.

Mom’s comfortable room for her final days.

Mom finally had comfort and personal care for her final days. She had dignity at last…

Hospice is truly a caring organization. They are focused on the comfort and dignity of the dying. We learned a lot during this final journey with Mom. I used to fear what the end would be like. For me it was pretty much an unknown entity.

I feel much calmer now that I know there is a way to go with grace, dignity,¬†and peace. A way to go with God…

Goodbye for now Mom… we’ll see you later…

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 ūüėÄ

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

Till next time…

Vicky

We escaped… they can’t get us now!

Seriously, we finished our first assignment as south Texas gate guards in the Brush Country near Cotulla & Artesia Wells, Texas. It was an eye-opening experience to say the least. Now, when we hear about pipeliners, fracing (everything from Frac to Finish you might say), we know exactly what is being talked about. Been there done that.

First, this job was supposed to be a 3-day job. March 28th marked our 3-month mark on that job and we were finally released (they closed the gate) on April 3rd.

One thing we will not miss is the 9.2 mile caliche road from the highway to our gate. That got old. In fact, our first stop after leaving the ranch was the San Antonio KOA. While in SA, we went to Firestone and put new tires on our soon to be 3-year-old car. They still had some tread life in them, but they did take a beating on the roads, plus we needed a front end alignment. Like the new tires much better, they are not so noisy.

We took advantage of being in civilization and treated ourselves to a belated anniversary celebration at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. Man, they do have good food there! I found my new favorite wine too… Movendo Moscato, Italy. I usually like Moscato wine, but this stuff has a sparkling kick to it. YUM!!!

Bob and I at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in San Antonio, Texas. Celebrating 14 wonderful years together!

We left SA on Monday after getting some repairs done on the Silver Bullet, at Iron Horse RV. We’re visiting my best friend in Katy, Texas tomorrow so we are staying at a nearby campground in Brookshire, Texas. That whole west Houston area has grown so much since I move away in 1997. It’s amazing!

Then Thursday we will mosey on up to the Lake Conroe/North Houston KOA for a few days. My son James and our two granddaughters, Bree & Aidree, live in an apartment across the street. Looking forward to seeing them. It’s been a while.

Saturday we will head on up to our home-base in Teague. We plan on heading back to the gate guarding lifestyle around the end of May/early June. Yes, it will be hot, but then again… it’s hot all over Texas. What else is new?

Update on Captain Jack: As I wrote about earlier, one of our Chihuahua companions, Captain Jack, developed epilepsy recently. He has been on Phenobarbital for a month now and is doing very well on it. We had our vet in Mexia (Dr. Bennett) call in a refill on his medication to the Katy Walmart today. We did not want to risk running out of his medication as that would probably bring on more seizures. I’m so glad we can get his medication on the road.

I’m going to Whole Foods in Houston tomorrow. The store in San Antonio sells out of their grass-fed beef as soon as they get it in. So I’m getting to the Houston location on Wilcrest & Westheimer tomorrow morning… they get their shipment in on Wednesdays. Grass-fed beef is actually quite healthy for us to eat. Much better for us than grain-fed beef, and God-forbid… the pink slim we’ve been hearing about in the news!

That’s a wrap for now.

Till next time,

Vicky

Back in the saddle again…

I know it’s been a spell since I updated my blog, but I’ve been busy on a couple of fronts.

First, we got pretty slow a couple of weeks ago and I think I was driving poor Bob crazy with my cabin fever. He eagerly suggested I go visit my daughter and three granddaughters who live in Teague, Texas. After all, we had not seen them since mid December. Lily is now almost 18 months old and Katelyn (5 1/2 years) had another ear infection and was very sick and wanting her Nana. Who could say no to that?

Also, my little fawn colored Chihuahua, Capt. Jack, developed epilepsy and was having seizures more frequently. We called the vet in a nearby town, but they just don’t seem to have time for our little pets. They have a lot of country to cover regarding ranch animals. I decided to take Jack to his regular vet in Mexia, Texas.

After a seizure Jack was shaking a lot, so I wrapped him up tightly in a receiving blanket and put him on the couch. He calmed down and fell asleep. (This was before we got him on meds)

Bobbi, Kate, & Lily with me at the Subway inside the Walmart store in Mexia.

While in Teague, Katelyn made a visit to the ER at 4:30 am Saturday night with severe ear pain and fever. The following Tuesday Bobbi (my daughter) took her to her ENT (ear, nose & throat doc) in Waco and he scheduled her for tubes in her ears (this makes the third time) for the follow Monday. She failed her hearing test. They said she had the hearing of a 90-year-old person.

Katelyn--we call her our little Pixie because she reminds us of Tinkerbell spreading pixie dust all over, wherever she goes ūüôā

I know when I was there if you were not looking at her she could not tell you were talking and she had Sponge Bob blaring on the TV. She has gotten quite good at lip reading and her big sister, Corynn, is teaching her sign language. Thankfully, they do expect her hearing will return to normal after she gets her tubes in.

Space saving 48-can collapsible cooler for hauling perishables home during the extreme summer heat. Folds up flat for easy storage.

While I was back home, I found this cooler that is perfect for the RV in the upcoming summer season. As we all know, Texas is hot and down here in south Texas it is about as bad as it gets. Right now, with our remote location, getting to Cotulla is over an hour and a quarter drive. I go to Super S in Cotulla for many things, but meat is not one of them. To get good meat (not the pastured kind I would like to get but better than Super S has available) I must travel to the¬†Pearsall HEB, which is another good jaunt away. So, while I was back home I stocked up on meats at the HEB store in Mexia. I put them in the deep freezer at Bobbi’s house and packed it all in this wonderful cooler bag for the trip home. To my surprise, not one thing came close to defrosting on the 7.5 hour trip home.

I even stopped at the DQ in Cotulla and picked up a blizzard for Bob and one for me to enjoy when I got back to the ranch. The blizzards were perfectly frozen when I arrived at the rig. Wow… this will be very handy this summer!

As for Jack, the vet put him on Primidone and that night he had a grand mal seizure. It¬†was heartbreaking to see this happen to my little fellow. The next day I requested the Vet put him on Phenobarbital and he did. I’m happy to say Jack is not having any more seizures. He’s a bit sleepier than he used to be, but no seizures!

Sunrise over the workover rig at Well #2. They are getting the production string, tank battery, gas separators, and driers all installed.

Last Monday, while I was gone, Bob called me and said our gate was getting very busy so I better get back. Tuesday morning Jack & I headed back to the ranch. We are now back on two shifts and steadily busy. They are installing the finishing pipeline touches and the permanent tank battery, driers & separators.

Moving the living quarters from Well #2 to Well #1. They move these mobile homes around like they were mere travel trailers. Sometimes it's a tight fit but they make it with ease!

Two mobile homes were brought in to house the workers and we have a company man on the premisis again. Today they moved the mobile homes from Well #2 to Well #1. And yes, the caliche dust was thick around here today.

We just found out from the company man that our 3-month long “3-day” job will probably end by next Friday. They’ll likely be all done by Wednesday and begin moving stuff out and cleaning up. So Friday will most likely be our release date. I can truly say we are ready.

Being back near civilization last week was so nice. Shopping, restaurants, vets… it was nice. And to actually be able to go out and buy things I wanted instead of mail order was a treat indeed!

We will take some time off and we will come back. I truly have appreciated the ACE Hardware store in Cotulla. They graciously allow us gate guards to have our mail order packages delivered to their store free of charge. They even call us to let us know our packages are there. I don’t know what I would have done without this service. We use online ordering to get a big majority of things we eat and use and we do so regularly.

Are there other places that let gate guards to do this? If so, please send me the information and I’ll list it all on a new page in this blog so all gate guards will know where they can have packages sent to via UPS or FedEx.

New update: Now that our twin gate neighbors are gone and activity at night is light, the coyotes are back and howling. I forgot just how much they unnerve me! Thankfully we have not seen any snakes. Although we did buy snake guards to wear. If we see snakes, we will put on the snake guards… count on it!

If anyone has a pet with epilepsy, I’d love to hear how you deal with it. What medications do you think work best? Is your pet on more than one medication? Are they living seizure free or close to it? This is all new to me and I want to give Jack the best quality of life possible. He’s only 4 1/2 years old and he should have many good years ahead. Thanks for your input!

Keep cool ūüôā

Till next time,

Vicky

Had your “Booty” checked lately?

I’ll try to keep this one brief. It’s not the most interesting subject matter, but one I feel must be mentioned.

Since the first part of October, I’ve been posting about how we are getting ready for our new life as Gate Guards. In previous posts I’ve mentioned how we are getting things done like RV maintenance, doggie check-ups & teeth cleaning, and tuning up our bodies.

Well let me tell you, we are both glad this week is over. Being over 50 means you need to have some not-so-pleasant exams done every few years or so. This is our year to get our big “C” exam again… or as our gastroenterologist¬†called it, a booty check. I think you get the drift here… So here we are in Texas, the doc has his cowboy boots on under his scrubs (no lie :D) and proceeds to tell me what he’s going to do to my “booty.”

I almost rolled out of the bed with laughter. Good tension breaker though!

Seriously, after witnessing two uncles (blood relatives) deal with, and thankfully survive, colon cancer, I began to get my¬†exams done starting at age 49. I also have acid reflux so I get it from both ends. Bob only gets his booty checked (he’ll kill me when he see¬†this–LOL).

We had a new doc this year. The one we had the last couple of times died this year… from colon cancer?*&%$#>>> What??? I was in shock over that one. There is something just plain wrong with a gastro doc dying of colon cancer!!!

Anyway, the new guy was wonderful. And we both had great check ups and don’t have to repeat this glorious event (I say this with tongue-in-cheek) for another 5 years! Hallelujah!

So for everyone who reads this post, please get your booty checked if you have not done so in the last 5 years and you are over 50. Colon cancer is such a preventable disease. The prep is not fun, but you get some good drugs and sleep through the exam. In all, isn’t it worth a couple of days of your life every 5 years or so to prevent this deadly disease?

Get ‘er done!

Vicky