Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Multiple Posts

My internet is wacko and intermittent at best. If you received multiple posts of my last blog entry I apologize.

Swaying the Vote

Do you think the “suits” holding the caucuses in Washington already have a winner in mind for this presidential election? Whether you believe it or the not the news media has a way of slanting things to their way of liking. It can be subtle or even subliminal and it seems as if it’s always slipped into the news between the “real” news of the day. For several nights now NBC has said that Obama holds a solid lead over Romney based on polls I’ve never heard of. The most recent one was a quickie inserted between the Colorado shootings and the civil war in Syria. I am not a big fan of statistics or polls-Nielsen has never asked me what I watch. And I don’t recall ever participating in any polls. My concern here lies in the fact that our electorate (that’s you and me folks) seem pretty fed up with the state of affairs in this country. That affects the voter turnout, which is pretty pathetic on its best day. All we need is for someone to propagate that the election’s a done deal and really turn people away from the voting booths. Let me say here that I’m a Libertarian held hostage by our electoral system. By not choosing Republican or Democrat, I am limited on not only who I can vote for, but also the issues I can vote on. And seeing that we don’t have a viable third party I don’t see it changing anytime soon. I am not versed enough on the goings on in our government to be judgmental. I do know that something is very wrong and we need to change course soon. Whoever gets voted in needs to be able to get some fence mending done muy pronto and get things clicking again. The legislative branch of our government has turned into a morass of diatribe and endless debate. The house has spent untold millions of dollars repeatedly passing a bill rejecting the Obama health care initiative. Like thirty plus times-I mean REALLY? And everyone knows it’s dead on arrival in the senate. Meanwhile the judicial branch-specifically the Supreme court- has turned rulings on issues presented before them into a crap shoot. Forget liberal or conservative; their reasoning behind the decisions has become borderline wacko. Their support of Obama care was explained as not wanting to contravene the congressional approval of the bill-in effect legislating from the bench-which to them reflected the will of the people. It must be really windy in D.C. because there are a lot of people bending with the wind. I love this country so don’t interpret my criticism as anything otherwise. Therein lays perhaps my biggest source of consternation. I just don’t seem to see any grassroots rebellion growing here. As mad and frustrated as people seem to be there seems to be no unifying effort to get our concerns aired and acted upon. I feel as if there is an attitude of resignation sweeping this country. There are so many issues that polarize and divide us. It seems to me that we need to get back to our roots. I do not want alienate, irritate or disenfranchise any portion of this great country. It just seems we were so much better off when immigrants assimilated with us, families did things together, nuclear families still existed and basic civility and morals were the order of the day. Finally I’ll add that I’m uncomfortable (if that’s the word) having to preface everything that seems non PC with conciliatory and apologetic comments. 
BTW As I go to publish this the news just posted a poll saying 36% of the population disliked Romney...REALLY?!?

Friday, July 27, 2012

The RV Lifestyle Dream...or not

The economic conditions of today enhance the allure of chucking it all and heading out on the road in an RV. The hard truth is that you must be creative and resourceful to succeed at it. I have written previously about workamping and the difficulties we encountered when first starting out. That perhaps explains why you find those that still maintain a stick built home and hit the road part of the year. You will be better served if you have some sort of income to fall back on - maybe a pension or social security or both. One of my regrets is not having made the plunge into gate guarding to begin with. I had made a call to Timekeepers from their posting on the Workamper News website. At that time they required you to make the trip to Boerne to apply with no promise of employment. I just wasn’t willing to risk it and our funds really wouldn’t allow it. After discovering Andy’s site at www.myoldrv.com I realized the potential of the job; but that’s another story. Our experience with workamping was mostly disappointing, with pay at or below minimum wage. Also most places won’t work you more than 35 hours to keep you from becoming a fulltime employee. That keeps you from earning any benefits. Some do not even offer workman’s compensation. We do know a few folks that have established a rotation between jobs working up north in the winter and south in the summer. That is another difficulty in Workamping. Winter employment is difficult to find as everyone wants to head south for the winter. You must acquire summer employment by late fall and winter employment no later than spring or early summer of the year previous to the one you wish to work. Occasionally opportunities present themselves that do not require such advance planning. Either way it pays to have a resume typed up and saved along with some pictures of your rig, wife/partner and any animals you may own. We really enjoy gate guarding and have modified our lifestyle and plans around it. We have just not been able to find a job that pays as well in the workamping world. We are working on taking about 60-90 days off next summer. We may or may not work, depending on the pay and/or location of the opportunity. That will hopefully help us miss some of the extreme summer heat here in south Texas.
Unfortunately, there is no update on the motorhome. We are at the mercy of our mechanic and he does not like to be rushed. Payday is just around the corner and I’m sure he won’t mind a visit from us then. I am a bit concerned that the motorhome has set so long-they do not like not being used! I’ll update you as soon as I know something.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cyber Space and Nuts and Bolts

We have finally got internet back! As some of you know, we arrived in the oil patch with Virgin mobile phones and Mi Fi. That worked fairly well till we ended up west of I-37 out Tilden way. Sounds like a ballad, doesn’t it? The “cell phone company de jour (or is it de reguir)” is AT&T out here and, when someone says they can’t get their phone to work, it inevitably is some other brand. That meant another investment in phones and an air card. We were trying to get by for a while, and were keeping our Virgin equipment active, by using an AT&T “burn phone”. This was just too impractical for the long term, especially for perusing the internet, hence our current status. One reason I mention this is because the “burn phone” was already in use and it became mine. So my Virgin number faded into cyber heaven. I mention this because it is frustrating to some people that my number seems to change every once in a while. And it drives my poor mother up the wall. Just for the record, our original phone number has remained the same and is the one with the 417 prefix. Anyway, we are back on line, but heavily restricted on our usage. I am doing as much offline as possible using Word, my cellphone and willpower. We’ll see how it goes.
The saga of the motorhome engine replacement project continues. Our purchase of the replacement engine was mostly delayed by funding. (or the lack there of) The first replacement engine was a dud, with profuse oil leakage emanating from the cylinders via the exhaust. When there is a hiccup in a major project like this you are looking at least a ten day delay. Chunks of time just waste away. Let me say that if we had had the funds we probably could have gone to Cummins or Freightliner and had the job completed by now. The tab would have been close to double what we will end up paying though. Therein lies the rub. As the clock ticked and our funds dwindled, it became necessary to get back to work. Once we did that we lost day to day control of the project. Now logistics rears its ugly head because it is a 160 mile round trip to the repair shop. My dear readers that follow this blog should also review my previous missive concerning the “manana” world we live in down here. I have confidence in the mechanic, I just doubt he has the same sense of urgency that I do. Now that we have a replacement engine and everything is a go, I hope we see some progress…soon.

Friday, July 20, 2012


I am writing this outside, on the gate, in hopes that it can be copy/cut and pasted to my blog. I have failed to keep everyone updated primarily due to lack of internet access.
The motorhome saga continues as the replacement engine showed signs of oil leakage (which the mechanic furthered substantiated by tearing into the engine) and would have cost too much to repair. I paid a premium price for that motor, but knew the company that sold it to us would stand behind its products. Sure enough another engine has been sent. Unfortunately it keeps drawing out the length of the repair. That also means a longer stay in our rental trailer. I don’t wish to sound ungrateful, but 2 dogs. 2 cats and 2 persons is just too much for a sub 25 foot travel trailer. I also wanted my readers to know that we have been good stewards of your donations. In fact they were extremely helpful in getting us over the hump when we were not working and completing the purchase of the engine. This saga started over five weeks ago and we have burned through almost six thousand dollars. We have left some funds in the account for miscellaneous expenses which I’m sure will occur. Sort of an out of site out of mind thing. I think there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I have my fingers crossed that the replacement for the replacement engine will be a sound product!
We are on an EOG gate and love the folks we work with. We wound up with the same crew we were working with before Missy took her sabbatical. This after we were told we couldn’t follow the rig. Something to the effect that EOG doesn’t do that. We further broke the mold by accompanying them to our present location. Seems the company men both really like us. Speaking of EOG; we had a HS2 (I think that’s the name) leak on the valve of a pipeline right behind our location. I told the company man that something was stinking up the pad we were on and he came down to verify it. Talk about all hell breaking loose! Our field superintendent was notified and people appeared like magic and disturbed ants on an anthill. Two truckloads of roughnecks were rousted from nearby jobs and told to report to our pad to help us relocate. I mean the sh*t hit the fan buddy! They delivered gravel, cut out a new pad and leveled it and had us relocated in under two hours! I thought a company man cut a wide swath, but it pales in comparison to what a field superintendant can accomplish.
I cannot complete this blog entry without extending a profound thanks to all who have supported us as we go through this process. That includes Good Sam ERS who towed us three times to make sure we got where we needed to be. It also should include J & G (I am NOT promoting them-just stating the facts) and Justin French for keeping us in mind and fixing us up with a trailer, so that we could get $$$ coming in. Plus, I don’t know how long we could have remained in our coach with no hookups! Finally, both Missy and I are moved by the kind words we have received, especially the ones that came from those of you who donated despite hardships of your own. Very cool!! I hope to have an update soon; hopefully one which states we are back in our motorhome!