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

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

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