Sunday, November 12, 2017

A Tribute

Carol Rae Bass is gone. At least she no longer physically fills the lives of all those she knew and affected so profoundly. Almost everyone, when speaking of a mother, will speak of her in superlatives. To broad brush my mother  like that would be a mistake and disservice to the legacy she leaves behind. It is truly difficult to explain and describe how much in words she meant to those that were blessed to know her. She was an aunt, a sister, a mother, a grandmother and great grandmother and truly the matriarch of our extended family. Great people do things out of kindness with regularity and seek no notice for their deeds. That was my mother and the void she left behind is impossible to fill. As an Air Force family we travelled the world together and my mother was put in the position of raising and caring for the family. There is no way that my father could have achieved the things that he did without the strong woman that was my mother at the the helm of our family. My fathers duty to country simply kept him away too much. Strong, caring women with innate leadership capabilities were the hallmark of the Keene family and all of my mothers sisters were blessed with it. God could not have provided a better example of the "older sister" and she filled those shoes with grace. To me her legacy will be the shepherding of so many people through the difficult path that life sometimes puts before us. Especially the lives of her grand children and great grand children. Rest in peace Mom.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Mixed Feelings

Sometimes, when you read or hear "mixed feelings" it has a negative connotation. In this case I simply have a bunch of feelings that are all mixed together. Perhaps you could call it information overload. We are heading out into a brave new world; life outside the confines of gate guarding. We have strayed before, but it was performing basically the same vocation; protecting a wind farm instead of a petroleum site. One might ask the roots of these mixed feelings and I would have to say it is the scam that is workamping itself. Let me first state that things may have changed since we  "workamped", but I somehow doubt it. When we did it, pay and benefits/perks were downright awful. I don't know how anyone can do it without a secondary source of income such as retirement and/or social security. Our best compensation package was $1350 a month, with a site provided, between the two of us. From what I have gleaned from watching workamping opportunities over the years is that things are even worse than before. Wages have remained stagnant and more and more facilities are asking that the already beleaguered workamper pay for his site. Let me clarify that there are seasonal opportunities out there where RV'ers can make decent money. These include selling Christmas trees, fireworks and pumpkins, assisting with the annual beet harvest or working for Amazon. I will say; if you can make it work, that it is a challenging and rewarding vocation. The "catch 22" is that most of us will be in the autumn of our lives, probably in declining health, when we achieve that secondary income stream. We were determined and set out to workamp after my cardiac issues began to effect my work. Those were some of the toughest years of my life. We were at the brink of failure, worn out emotionally  and beaten down when gate guarding came to our attention. We pulled into Whitsett, on a bet, almost seven years ago with maybe $100 between us. So, leaving gate guarding is not easy; especially for me. Even though the demands of the profession  mostly require some one's presence 24/7, I have mostly enjoyed life on the gate. I enjoyed the challenge and meeting new people, along with learning what it takes to extract oil from the earth. I also will never forget how we scratched and clawed to get by before we got here. It makes someone both wary and grateful. The difference this time (hopefully) is that we are on firmer financial footing. I have retirement income and we have a burgeoning business. Still; I am both wary and excited. There is so much to do, picking up and moving all our belongings, much less relocating ourselves and a business. Thank goodness the Internet and modern day communication negate the drawbacks of relocating a business. We will remain at the same address in cyberspace, if that's what you call it, and our e-mails and phone numbers won't change; for now. I really enjoy life in the pucker brush and Texas/Texans themselves. I am also very excited to return to Florida, where most of my family resides. I love my entire family, but I especially love my mother and look forward to seeing her on a regular basis. I also have a sister that has grown from a sworn enemy (when we were much younger) into a trusted friend and confidant. Then there is my niece and daughter and their kids that I relish to spend time with. All of them have supported me unconditionally over the years. So; we are not saying goodbye permanently (unless you ask Missy (-; ); just so long for now. I finish with a grateful thank you to all of you that have supported this blog and my Facebook page. Knowing that there are those of you that actually enjoyed my drivel over the years has rewarded me immeasurably. Thanks so much; there will be more! 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Life Happened

Somewhere along the line I accepted the fact that I would not be some famous, remarkable person blazing a path for society. I didn't give up, I simply accepted my station in life. My biggest frustration has been my inability to grow and develop ideas; leaving me a frustrated dreamer. My father was very successful and accomplished any number of things (not the least of which was his service to this great country). My greatest successes in the "nine to five" world were marred by my inability to navigate the world of corporate politics. Chasing the proverbial carrot left me mostly living paycheck to paycheck and bereft of the freedom to go places and do the things that others so easily did. My failing health, amongst other things, led me to the world of workamping. I struggled mightily at that vocation which eventually led me to the world of gate guarding; basically providing security for the oil exploration industry. This job requires a person(s) with initiative and a sense of responsibility as you are given very little, if any supervision. It is a job; mostly performed by partners out of their personal RV, that requires dedication, as someone has to be on duty 24-7. I enjoy the solitude and especially not having someone constantly breathing down my neck. The job also pays well and has allowed me to start and build a small business, refurbishing and selling drones. I also met and married a wonderful lady along the way. Now circumstances find us leaving this job and Texas behind. We are headed to Florida, for at least the winter, to be closer to friends and family. That all started when we were gifted with tickets to the Nascar race at the Homestead Miami Speedway. Since the race falls in the holiday season it also made sense to try drone sales in Florida. We also have the security of knowing that, if all else fails, we can return to gate guarding. Reintegrating with family will most likely be a challenge but one that I relish and look forward to. The last ten years of my life have tested my mettle, but also have been some of the most rewarding. I have been blessed with wonderful partners, both in business and life. I look forward to the fresh start and inevitable change on the horizon.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Musings are Back!

I acknowledge that our current President can be bombastic at times; which, unfortunately, alters the intent and purpose of his message(s). It stirs a variety of emotions in people but the worst (IMHO) is not taking him seriously. What stirred my emotions was the stand POTUS took in regards to patriotism and the protests of Colin Kaepernick and others, including the unflattering comments of Seth Curry. He disinvited Seth  from coming to the White House and may have included his teammates. Additionally, POTUS advocated disciplinary action against the NFL players that refuse to conform, including firing them. First off, in my opinion politics, religion and whatever personal beliefs one may have, and your job shouldn't mix. Freedom means many things and you can express your dissent without shaming our flag and anthem, especially in public events. What you acknowledge by at least standing and facing the flag is that you respect it and your country. Somewhere along the line nationalism got wrapped up in things it never was all about. It pains me that respecting your country and its sovereignty has been broad brushed with every "hot button" issue of the day. So, if you remotely think like me (and I believe a lot of you do), don't be ashamed by showing your patriotism and respect for this country and the values it REALLY stands for.

On to the rash of hurricanes a lot of the planet have been affected by. Kudos to the grass roots uprising that resulted in untold lives being saved after the flooding in Houston and the surrounding metroplex. Unfortunately, it takes a disaster of this proportion to galvanize people and for their best to be exposed. Apparently, we need a second wind as some of the areas literally destroyed by Harvey and Irma's wrath seem forgotten. So, here's a gentle reminder to remember places like Port Arthur and Rockport, where some people apparently are so distressed and baffled, that they are attempting to live in the squalor that is the remains of their home. Finally, a proud nod to my niece, her mother and a whole lot of other folks who have coordinated with local charities and are hand carrying supplies to the devastation of the Florida Keys. The best part of this relief effort is that it goes directly to those that need it the most. No executives and self important people here, diverting funds from where they belong. Just a group of local folks that care about their fellow man. Which brings me to several large corporations that I solicited for just a little bit of help. What I got, in reply from Coca Cola, Publix and others was a dissertation on all the monies that they had donated to the Red Cross and others. I had a previous experience when I requested assistance from American Eagle, a Budweiser distributor. After a few short questions they were all in and donated more than I ever needed. Kudos to them. It shows it can be done at a local level when you empower your employees to do the right thing. If you feel so inclined you can read about one of the charities that my niece supports at www.brightseasons.org.