Thursday, December 29, 2011

Big Brother

Just a quick rant. One of the by products of contracting is that you're considered self employed and therefore responsible for your taxes. Even though the checks we started receiving when we began gate guarding were larger than anything we'd seen in years, we set aside our awe long enough to face that sobering fact. Unlike the rest of the tax code, paying quarterly taxes is fairly easy. You don't suppose there's a reason for that, do you? ( -: As I said, we kept our eyes on the prize and diligently sat monies aside every paycheck for tax purposes. Well today was our first day to actually part with the money and pay big brother. I was not a happy camper, however Missy promises me we actually may see some of it back. If you think the chunk they take out of your paycheck is depressing, try making a quarterly payment. Now, I know we can pay it in chunks (and in the future will), but we haven't been doing this long enough to do that. This has made me see just how much it takes as an individual to keep our mega government operating. It probably won't happen in my lifetime, but I'd love to see a flat tax and/or a national sales tax. Meanwhile me and my leaner pocket wish all of you the happiest of New Years.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Back to Gate Guarding

I've taken the liberty to use my "soap box" for all kinds of topics. My primary goal here was to hopefully enlighten people about my experiences workamping and full timing. My secondary, altruistic, goal was to give myself a place to rant, rave or whatever. If we learn from one another even better. So I thought I'd write about gate guarding. We have made almost four months in the oil patch and have somewhat settled on a routine. I say somewhat, because the hours can be irregular and are dictated by traffic. I like days and Missy wanted to work nites. After a couple of months here, and with a move coming up, Missy said she wanted to try days. So, after moving and settling in, Missy and I swapped. I wish traffic was more regular at nite, so I could just get used to being up through the shift. But it isn't and I have settled into a routine of catnapping. That's what I meant by somewhat. I elaborated on this because prospective gate guarders are always asking if we have to work 24 hours a day since we are required to have at least one person present at all times. The answer just varies, There are those that are fortunate to live a regulated lifestyle and lock their gate after certain times. I think they are the exception, though. I believe having experience at boon docking is extremely helpful. Our support generators and tanks are pretty reliable. Though it's rarely necessary, you should be prepared to be "self contained" when doing this. That is why I am extremely glad we have an on board generator. You should also be able to conserve to the point where it's a subconscious act. You would be surprised how fast 500 gallons of water can disappear. We researched quite a bit before embarking on this adventure. One thing that can be helpful, is to reach out to the people operating the rig. They can help you out a lot. You should at least know who the Company Man is along with the Tool Pusher. You'll find that most of this community will gladly answer any of your questions. Another thing we did was stock up on things to keep us occupied during the downtime. I bought a Kindle (love it), Missy bought a bunch of crochet supplies and we invested in a Mi Fi. The Mi Fi is invaluable as it allows us to get Internet out in the middle of nowhere. Once we got here and started making a few $$$, we invested in a smoker and radio controlled toys to help with the tedium. Some intangibles-you need a strong relationship as working together is paramount in this business, you should be independent and self motivated, and you have to be kind of a loner (there aren't a lot of people to interact with). You should also know that shopping can be problematic due to road conditions and length of travel. If I had it to do over I would invest in a cheap four wheel drive vehicle (we are looking around) as the roads can suck to and from the rigs. Which brings up mud and dust-both are in abundance in South Texas and you should be prepared for it. All and all we like gate guarding and I certainly prefer it to some campground work I have done.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Ruminate-to chew over or to ponder something. This Christmas Eve I thought I'd start a tradition. This year I am going to touch upon some of my pet peeves-here goes. Leaving a splash of milk, juice,  etc. in the refrigerator. Not putting things back where they belong. Those idiots that pull out in front of you and then rub it in by slowing up and making a turn soon after. Those of you in positions that require public contact and hate dealing with us, (why did you take the job in the first place?) Obfuscation of any kind. Can't we just be up front with one another? Along those lines, those of you that refuse to "man up" and take the blame when you screw up. Apologies would be nice, too. Something seasonal-man I hate the SPCA and other pet groups advertising with Christmas carols in the background while puppies stare forlornly at you. I love animals; but GEEE! Also, how come all these church groups and volunteers have to fly to Africa or some other remote spot to help and give aid? When was the last time someone checked out some of our inner cities or Appalachia? Makes me wonder why we send government funds to China or Russia get the picture. Hey, why do they upgrade video gaming systems and design it so that your current games won't play in it? That makes me wonder why my 5 mega pixel camera has a 14 mega pixel competitor, within a week of purchasing it? Pet owners that chain or tie up there dogs-have you seen pictures of embedded collars? Cops or other members of the judicial system who assuage there boredom by harassing the public over picayune infractions. Like a 5 mph over speeding ticket, mud on your license tag, hindering ( hey, I hate slowpokes too; but come on!), etc. Vets or doctors who put greed before attending to an animal or us. Celebrities who feel entitled. Celebrities that don't get the credit they deserve for their philanthropic endeavors. See, I can be fair ( -; How about those of you that judge us for our supposed fanaticism for our animals? And...don't even get me started on cellphones and personal devices. Finally, how come George Strait can't get the recognition he deserves.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Can an entity be guilty of recidivism? Normally it's associated with those that repeat their mistakes; especially offenders of the law. Congress continues to bumble about, further alienating the public they supposedly serve. Congress also continues to fund their pork in these tough times. How about how cocaine affects the sex lives of quail or millions of allotted road and highway funds remaining in limbo over simple clerical errors; such as SH instead of Interstate or CR, reversed numbers, misspelling, etc. or billions (with a B) spent on fighter jet engines that proved unnecessary? I heard today the House speaker was asked to allow a vote on the budget-Geeez! does he have that much power-and why? This whole party system has eroded to the point where action; or inaction, is no longer based on what's good for the people. It's become far more important to tow the party line. People will tell you that every vote counts.  However when that vote has to go to "he's (or she's) better than the alternative" or your just "voting the bums out" what good is that? I loath complaining when one has no viable suggestions to correct the problem. Unfortunately, "wishing" for political change is not going to make an appreciable difference on how our government works. It's become a cash eating monster that we're rapidly becoming unable to feed. My dear readers have read my rantings on how our founders created this wonderful system we live under. They also know that I believe we are trapped by the requirements they placed in the constitution when it comes to making changes. Getting change up to the point where a super majority would vote on it would require nothing short of a miracle in today's political climate. The lack of a viable third party also impedes the system. More and more of the respected, conservative folk I know are in agreement with me. Perhaps when our already failing infrastructure gives out and China quietly finishes it economic takeover of our economy (and country), people will be galvanized to action. The quagmire that is our political system certainly hasn't done it.

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”–Thomas Jefferson

It seems “We The Sheeple” have been asleep for the last 60 years in America. We went to bed soon after WWII and woke up in a land that we do not recognize. We are financially and morally bankrupt, engaged in senseless wars around the world, invading the privacy our citizens, completely shredding our US Constitution and all the while sucking the last bit of Liberty from once free AMERICAN CITIZENS. We have totally forgotten who we are.
Bix Weir

Monday, December 12, 2011

Yule Time Musings

We decided; OK I pushed a little ( -:, to purchase a quality electric smoker for Christmas. As most of my dear readers know I have dabbled with smoking meats for years. This smoker is insulated so well that it remains cool to the touch, even at its higher temperatures. The advantage is that it affords me control of the heat throughout the process. Best of all, you can control everything via a infra red remote. There is even a seperate chip holder that allows the addition of chips without disturbing the temperature. The first batch of  ribs and brisket is done and WOW-not bad! A few tasters have said that it's the best ribs they've ever eaten. And I promise we'll get better as we go. You have to keep in mind that Texans don't eat much pork-so I'll wait till I get a few more reviews to decide if they're really that good. Back on the Yuletide topic. My present to Missy was a day at the spa where she could relax and get pampered. It's a 40 mile trip (one way) to the nearest town with a spa. They happened to have a Buffalo Wild Wings there, so Missy picked some up to go for us. Well, that's where Santa's sleigh derailed. Shortly after she got home and the wings were consumed, I became deathly ill. Not to get graphic here, but I was unable to control my bodily functions and was up and down for about thirty hours. I'm still not chipper, but I am better. I guess I can be glad I didn't have the flu. On the downside, a fellow gate guard just down the road from us was almost killed when he tangled with a semi. He apparently tipped a few at the house and was headed somewhere when he blew the stop sign at the major highway that we connect to. Believe it or not, he made it across the thoroughfare unscathed. However, when he realized what he had done he turned right to get back on the road and collided almost head on with a semi. Just a friendly reminder to watch those Yule time toddies with your friends this season. Happy Holidays!
Here's a link to the smoker company.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Rain, rain go away!

It's funny how, even after a long drought, rain can get on your nerves. Since we work and live "off road" mud is an ever present product of the rain. RV's, due to there small size and set traffic patterns, seem more susceptible to mud soiling. Add in the dogs and you have a recipe for a mess. This even after we diligently wipe our feet and clean the dogs paws. The paw cleaning is another story in itself-we keep a "dog" rag by the door. Mother nature has doused us with a couple of good thunderstorms and added drizzle in between for the last four or five days. Consequently our access road is a sea of mud. It is virtually impassable even with four wheel drive. Our drilling rig is dependent on outside support (yet another story) and that includes eighteen wheelers. Since the county won't maintain the road without local financial input (you guessed it, yet another story) we have an impasse and the road remains a mess. Our major corporate investor has placed a dozer and operator on standby and he is staying busy extricating and dragging vehicles out of the mud. Before the road deteriorated completely, I took our Hyundai into town to stock up. If it wasn't the hairiest and most stressful drive I've ever made, it was in the top three. I don't even want to speculate what will happen if we need fire rescue out here. When our water and fuel start getting low, I may start to panic a little bit. I know I am NOT taking the car anywhere.