January 20 to February 14, 2014 NOMADS Project, Mercedes, MS

February 15 (Approximately) to June - Gate Guarding, TX or LA.

June, 2014 - Up to Alaska!

September - NOMADS Annual Meeting, Branson, MO

Saturday, April 27, 2013

How to get rid of a family?

Huntsville,  TX

As it really appears all work is about done at this well site, we hope to get the word soon that we are no longer needed.

But wait!  We have a problem.

Yup, this family has built a home and moved in on one of our slide rails.   What to do!  What to do!

Do they look old enough they will be leaving the nest soon?   If not, then what.

This is proof positive that we really have been sitting in one place too long!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

So ready for a view change

Huntsville, TX

We are in our 10th week of Gate Guarding here in Huntsville.    We have seen the drilling crew leave, next came the fracturing crew last week.  This week it is the work-over crew.  They are in the process of leaving today.   What is next?  The oil starts to flow into the tanks.   What happens to us?  We don't know but hoping within days we will no longer be needed.

Oh, for a different view than

Equipment in and out:

The cemetery across the road

The woods outside our door (although we have seen it change from bare trees to leafy green)

Our only visitors have been three crows who like our birdseed and leftovers:

A few birds such as this which I think is a Titmouse  (Judy?)

Mr and Mrs Cardinal

And young squirrels who REALLY like the birdseed:

We are getting increasingly frustrated with the medical community here.  Not the care but the competence of the financial and clerical personnel.   Both at the hospital and clinic.   But that's a topic for a future blog.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Still here working

Huntsville,  TX

Yep, we are still here at the gate.   Two months as of yesterday.  We were thinking we would be done last week.  Not so.   Last weekend things were slow as they were between phases.

As there was no traffic between around 6 pm until 5 am so we actually got to both sleep at the same time!  We felt almost completely alone out here.

This week a whole different thing.   It started Monday and hasn't stopped since.   All day, all night.

Trucks in, trucks out.  Equipment in, equipment out.  Workers in, workers out.   Well I guess that's what they pay for us.

 Now we are told two more weeks. Perfect!  We wanted to be done by first week of May.

As for Leonard.  His gout flare up is about gone and he has very little pain.   But his counts on the blood thinners for the clot need to be under better control.    Blood too thin, blood too thick.  Each Monday he goes for blood work, the doctor then reviews and makes adjustments on the dosage.   We do hope it gets leveled before we leave the area as we will need to find a lab and doctor on our journey north.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Thinking I've learned something.....

Hunstville,  TX

Next Friday will make two full months we've been stationary here in Huntsviile Gate Guarding.   As both of us cannot leave the site at the same time, it has meant no visiting restaurants, diners, fast food places, buffets... you get my point.

What I've learned.   We managed!   In fact I've not even missed it.

Oh a few times Len ran to a deli about 6 miles from here and got us each a gimantous cheeseburger and an order of fries.   The burgers were so huge neither of us finished the fries so last time we split an order.  Also twice while in town I've picked up "fast food" for lunch once at Subway and once at Popeyes.

We pay almost everything with a credit card and at least once a week I gather up the receipts, go online and pay everything off.   With our credit card for every $2,500 we put on it we get a $25. gift card.   There are several restaurants we choose from - Pizza Hut, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Chili's, Carrabas, Longhorn and others.  We have about 6 on hand now and I just ordered 4 more.

Back in 2011 when we bought our F350 we decided to put $20,000 down knowing we would be paying off the entire amount in a month when we settled on the house.   Instead of taking the $20,000 from savings we put  it on the credit card, got $200. worth of free meals and then transferred the money from savings and paid off the credit card all within a week.  We love free stuff.

This morning I went through our file of credit card receipts and tossed any a year old or more.  I thought about how many of those receipts were for eating out and decided - if we can live for two months without eating out, we can surely cut back a great deal once we leave here.   For the times when we really want to eat out there are those gift cards.

Hoping to increase the bank account and decrease the waist size  (and make heftier payments on the bill for Leonard's hospitalization.)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Back at the gate.

Huntsville,  TX

Here we are back into a routine.    There was no traffic at all coming through the gate over the weekend.

Leonard is getting around much better now.    His gout in one foot is about gone, the other still somewhat sore but much improved.     For a few days he walked using a cane and really looked like at old(er) man.  No cane the last two days.  There is no more swelling of the leg with the blood clot.

On Sunday he had blood tests at the hospital   On Monday he returned to the doctor's office for results   We can not say enough good about this medical practice.  Realizing he has no medical  insurance at the first visit they discounted the fee from $160 to $92.   Then on Monday the doctor told him to walk right on out the door past the financial clerk.   She also told him in the future when he goes for weekly blood work they will call him with the results of the blood tests and adjust the blood thinner meds if need be.  No more appointments in their office.  Of course there is still the fee for the blood work done at the hospital.  But how cool is that doctor!

Traffic to the oil rig started again before 7 on Monday but all workers leave by 5.    It is raining hard today and the last worker left a short time ago - around 2.   This morning I went to town and got caught up on laundry.   Len held down the fort back here.    How we wish we could both leave the site at the same time but that is not the deal.   At least this schedule means we both get to sleep at night.  For that we are grateful.

Texas in April

We can not thank all our friends and family enough for the kind words, phone calls, text messages and emails  and especially their prayers.    Life is good.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Getting back to "normal?"

Huntsville,  TX

Yes, we are attempting to get things back to normal.(Whatever that is).    Leonard got home from the hospital yesterday.   He had blood tests earlier today and has an appointment at a clinic this afternoon for results.   His blood must be monitored on a continuing basis to determine it is neither too thick (more blood clots) or too thin (bleeding).

In addition he is suffering a flare up of gout.   Yesterday both feet were very painful.  Today the right foot is much better and the left is improving.  He walks slowly with the help on a cane.

Our substitute gate guard pulled out this morning so it's me doing the logging in and out.  Fortunately at this time there is only day work being done back there and Leonard is able to drive himself for his appointments.  The workers arrive around 7 and leave late afternoon. Not sure if anyone will be working over the weekend.

Looking outside we see the activity of new families.   This fellow and his mate are often heard and in view.

On the way to town we've been admiring this beautiful sight.

And we are seeing more and more of these sweet things, newly born.

Okay, you Texans - how many of you know who this is?????

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Got a new attitude

Hunstville, TX.

I am sitting here at the hospital while Len finally getS some sleep.   He's been On blood thinners since Saturday but the counts keep moving up and down. Meaning blood is TOO think, blood is TOO thin.   They need to stabilize before he is released.   In addition, he now has a gout flare up on the left foot. It kept him awake most of the night.    This is the leg with the blood clot.   On a good note the swelling caused by the clot has gone down considerably. 

All my life I have been frugal with money.  I've never paid a bill late and would do without before my creditors would wait.    I've never been a person to be careless with how I've spent.   

We knew we were taking a chance having no medical insurance on Leonard.   We were on the road three months before he was denied the insurance.  We attempted three times to get him covered.  We considered going off the road and hoping he could be rehired with his old job at New Jersey Department of Corrections.   But decided to plow ahead.

Now faced with this situation - did we make the right choice?    At one time I would have worried myself to death about the huge bill we will be presented with.    Not now.   We will pay what we can and continue to enjoy our time together.  I am putting my faith in God and I feel strangely at peace.

In fact, it is almost a relief now that this has actually happened.  (not saying I am glad it did) What I am saying is I don't have to worry anymore about it happening.  It has.  Does that make sense?

Having worked for 30 plus years in Human Resources and knowing how insurance works, I have the power of knowledge.   I know that insurance companies get HUGE discounts.   I will fight to get everything discount that we can.   I will insist on an itemized bill.   We will pay as best we can and continue to  travel.  We have a lot yet to see!

So, now our focus is on getting him stabilized so we can get on with our lives.   Gate Guards have sent a replacement man to guard while Len is in hospital.  Means we are off the payroll but that's okay - we are not paying for a campground and using their generator and fuel.    Once Len gets released we will be back to work.

There is a crew working there now that only works during the day running lines.  (whatever that means).   They should be done by Friday.  The fracking crew does not come until around the 16th.  However, we are still scheduled to be there and will get paid even though there will be none or very little traffic coming in or out.   Sounds like a nice restful time.

Thanks for all the good thoughts and prayers and phone calls.  You people are the greatest!