Thursday, October 11, 2012

Things you should Pack

If you're coming down to join our merry little gate guard community there are a few things you should pack or consider doing:

A small first aid kit-not just band-aids and ointment. If you're not familiar with first aid, reading up a bit is a good idea. A lot of gates are quite a ways from the nearest urgent care facility, much less a hospital.

In a previous post I suggested you get to know the basics of how your RV, nurse trailers and support equipment work. It follows you should have a toolkit to implement that knowledge, if the need should arise. Personally, I don't think you can have enough tools. However; a tool kit which includes a set of metric and standard wrenches, sockets and drivers should do it. 

If you want to save possible aggravation a filter wrench and a spare fuel filter are almost necessities if you have diesel power. Packing a spare set of belts and the oils your rig requires is also a good idea.

I highly recommend that you have some sort of roadside service plan. Good Sam has paid for itself many  times over for us.

I know space is at a premium, but a step stool and a small ladder are necessities.

Do you have the utensils needed to cook? This is not a weekend at the lake-you need to have everything needed on hand.

Books, puzzles, television/movies, etc. are a necessity. Or whatever hobby you may have. If you have Dish or Direct satellite add a receiver and work out how you're going to mount and aim it. Having weather and news, much less the entertainment is important.

Word to the wise-AT&T is the only provider that works throughout the oil patch.

Go over your camper thoroughly-I have not found a single knowledgeable and reliable RV mechanic anywhere near the oil patch.

Before you are assigned purchase water. However which way you want-bottles, quarts or bigger. Some rigs will provide potable water; but you should be prepared. While I'm on water-drink lots of it!

Bring a chair or two. The collapsible kind for camping are best. If you have the means, buy a cheap pop up and stakes.

A small freezer is a blessing to have. RV refrigerators don't hold much.

Rain gear, sweat shirts and jackets are important to have.

I'm sure there are many other things-but that's a few for you to think about.

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Almost 60 Degrees

Despite the San Antonio television stations saying otherwise, we suffered through 110 degree (or even hotter) days this summer. I also had several occasions where fellow gate guards confirmed this, having observed thermometers way above 100 degrees. Of course we were 80 to 100 miles south of town, so that made it hotter than the forecasted highs. Laredo weather is what the locals called it.  We are resting in an RV park near Van Ormy, just south of San Antonio, and temps are in the very low 50's this morning. Almost a 60 degree swing from our summer highs. I fired off the heat pumps this morning, mostly to make sure everything was hunky dory. They worked fine. Now is the time to make sure whatever form of heating you have operates and functions properly. Now is really not the time to buy a heater, but do it if you need one.  Unlike air conditioning, an RV doesn't require a huge heater (unless you're camping in below freezing temps).Our heat pumps are perfect for South Texas temperatures. The propane sucking furnace rarely fires off down here. Unfortunately everything from propane to kerosene (even firewood) is going to be pricey from hereon. While we rarely bundle up down here, it is important to pack clothing for lows in the 30-40 degree range. You don't want to be on a gate and not have a sweatshirt, jacket or coat handy. Most of the time we are comfy in sweatsuits. The cool down has been; and is, coming, so be prepared. This is also a great time to be working a gate, especially after last summer!

Friday, October 5, 2012


I'll probably be earmarked for some sort of police harassment if they get wind of who wrote this. But, curiosity has me wondering about some recent incidents in San Antonio and Houston. These are descriptions, not necessarily accurate, and just a recounting of the events as I remember them. Recently the news reported an on duty undercover officer shot and killed a "friend"s former boyfriend. She called him saying she was afraid her former boyfriend was going to harm her. The undercover officer picked her up (in an unmarked police truck) at work and took her home. Her former boyfriend was waiting in her apartment parking lot and fired several shots at them, wounding her. A pursuit then ensued with the suspect chasing the fleeing cop and then the cop chasing the ex boyfriend. Why he didn't head to the hospital or get some backup we'll never know. Anyway they ended up in front of the ex boyfriends house and a good old fashioned shootout occurred. The ex boyfriend was shot and killed. In Houston recently, a disabled man was shot in his wheelchair after he threatened and menaced a cop. It turns out he was only "armed" with an ink pen. After the initial reports, I have heard nothing further on the news. Are these guys still employed? If so, were they punished? We entertain ourselves with the local news from San Antonio. We call it getting our daily body count. This place is like the wild wild west and some of the stuff that happens is surreal.

Can't Hide This

I have a hard enough time accepting the status quo when it comes to politics these days. Every newscast and almost every broadcaster has his or her opinion. Polls seem to slant whichever direction suits the organization conducting them. Have you ever met someone who was polled? Point being, almost every poll I've seen of late has shown Romney trailing Obama. I've written about this before; but every once in awhile they publish a poll showing them tied or within the margin of error. I tried to watch the recent debate, but my interest waned towards the end. What I saw was solidly in Romney's favor. Apparently the newscasts and broadcasters could not put a negative spin on Romney's overwhelming victory. I guess we'll now be assailed with polls asking inane questions. Like; which candidate dressed better, who looked more presidential  who looked and acted more nervous...should I go on? Let's not forget Big Bird!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ticker Problems

I suffer from coronary artery disease, otherwise known as CAD. They love acronyms when it comes to cardiology. For instance, I also have had a by pass operation, which is referred to as CABG. Anyway,  I recently started having chest pains and angina flareups. Angina is how your heart reacts when its suffers from a lack of blood, which is generally caused by narrowed or clogged arteries.This manifests itself as chest pain and cramping down your extremities. Mine got so bad that I could not function without nitroglycerin which dilates the arteries and eases the pain. DO NOT TRY THIS! I self medicated till we were released from our  last gate and headed to the hospital once we got situated. As it turns out, I was fortunate in that I never suffered a heart attack. The cardiologist's determine this by checking the enzyme level in your blood. Ischemia (scarring on the heart muscle) also serves as an indicator. I was also fortunate in that I was down to my very last nitroglycerin pill. The cure to relieving the angina was having the aforementioned cardiologists (s) perform an angioplasty. Basically, they punch a hole in your femoral artery and use a wire to place a stint in the narrowed blood vessel. Besides an expertise in all matters coronary, you also want a doc familiar with the procedure and knowledgeable of the femoral artery. People can and have died from exsanguination (loss of blood) after having their femoral artery punctured or damaged. I was released from the hospital after a two and a half day stay and am feeling much better. My strength and stamina have been sapped a bit, but they will return in time.