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Writin' and Readin'


If you are going to wade into one of these gate guard jobs in Texas you need to prep yourself for a major lifestyle change.  Everybody I know that is doing this comes up with a schedule that suits them.  Miss K and I work 12 on/12 off.  Shift change is at 3am  / 3pm.   Miss K gets up around 11am or 12 noon and spends the hours before she goes on shift visiting or running errands in town like groceries, mail and laundry.  At 3am, she is ready for bed and usually heads that way within 30 minutes.   When I go off shift at 3pm, I lollygag around for awhile and then take a shower and get a bite of supper.  Sometimes I will fill in on the errand running chores.   I try to get in bed by 7pm because my 2:20am wake up call comes all too early.  I try to work on a chore list every day which usually means something outside concerning rv maintenance, dumping tanks, pumping water – just stuff like that.  With this interminable heat,  the chores need to be done no later than 10am.  Just gets too danged hot to be out in the sun after that.

1.10.2011 - Absolutely nothing to do with today's post. Just wishful thinkin'

It is the sameness that gets to ya.  Work. Eat. Sleep.  Tomorrow will be like today which was just like yesterday.  Mobility is very restricted because you cannot stray far from that gate.  Miss K is a foodie and she is busy planning future construction out Terlingua way so much of her day is spent on the internet and watching the DISH food channels and DIY programs.  If you are on a gate with a normal amount of traffic, you will have many hours each day to fill when the gate traffic is minimal.  We have found 3 things help fill those hours.

A good internet connection

Most of the gate guard locations I know about are back in the boonies so connecting to the McDonald’s wifi is pretty much out.   I have looked at the Hughesnet satellite internet for years now and I just can’t bring myself to take the plunge.  If you want 100% guaranteed internet wherever you are this is the way to go.  The systems are pricey and complicated and I just can’t see doing it when we have managed to get by with an aircard boondocking on the back side of no where for all these years.

I went through a whole process to come up with the aircard and Wilson amplifier we have now.  If you are the tech type, read about it here. Two years later we are still using the same system.

Here is what we have in the Old Girl:

Wilson Electronics 841245 SOHO Cell Phone Signal Booster Kit for Small Office and Home Office with Omni-Directional and Panel Antennas.   The booster takes the cell signal and amplifies it.  The amplified signal is then broadcast wirelessly throughout the rv.  It boosts the signal of our cellphones and the internet and it works for multiple users at the same time.  Miss K can use her iPhone while I am on the internet and everything works just peachy.  It is a known fact we have ‘zone’ around the Old Girl where there is a usable cell signal.  Pick up trucks pull over to make a call.  Truck drivers stop and get out to use their cell phone.   Fine by me.  They are not costing us any money or really using any bandwidth I pay for.

Cradlepoint CTR350 wireless router.  I plug the aircard into the router and voila!  We have a wifi hotspot for multiple laptops and it takes advantage of the boosted signal from the Wilson amp.  Easy to setup and it is smaller than a pack of cigarettes.

Satellite TV

I got by for years with just a basic DISH receiver.  Miss K bought me a nice flat screen TV and we upgraded to an HD receiver with a DVR.  I gotta tell ya I do not think we could do without that DVR with the schedules we work.  That HD dish was sorta tricky the first few times I set it up.  I did have to upgrade my satellite finder and my DISH tripod to keep the cussing within reason but it was well worth the expense.

Something to read

… and I am not talking about some page on the internet.  Books…….  I think we have gotten away from the enjoyment of just sitting down and getting lost in a good book.  I am not saying younger folks don’t know how to read — I just think many of them don’t get the enjoyment out of it that they could.   I am a voracious reader.  What to do with all the read books if you are in an recreational became quite the problem.  I had books stacked up in chairs, books in boxes, books in boxes in storage and it was just plain crazy!  Enter the Amazon Kindle.  I have had it for 6 months now and cannot really imagine life without my Kindle. Miss K reads it occasionally and I think it is growing on her by degrees.  When you are busy on one of these gates, you really can’t sit inside your recreational vehicle.  You would wear yourself out going in and out the door. It is much easier to sit outside in a comfy chair.  It is also easier on your sleeping partner who does not have to endure repetitive door slamming and a rocking rv as you enter and exit.

This is the Kindle I bought back in February:
Kindle 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 3G Works Globally, Graphite, 6″ Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology.

I am looking at it right now and the leather cover is all dusty and worn.  I have dropped it, it has endured the sun and dust and been flawless.  I also bought the Kindle Lighted Leather Cover which I think is necessary in this harsh environment.

In the interest of full disclosure—- When you visit MyOldRV, some of the product links take you to Amazon.   I like Amazon; I always have. They are also RV friendly; hiring hundreds of RVers at their distribution centers every Christmas season.  If you follow one of  MyOldRV links to Amazon and buy something,   I get a bit o’ money.   The first month it was $ 00.34.   34 cents.  Oh well, every little bit helps and it has gotten better since then.  Amazon doesn’t jack up your purchase price if you use one of my links, the just take it off the top.  The cool thing is that if you follow one of my links for say a  $5.99 air conditioner filter and during that same session you decide that you would really rather have a $1.2 million Donzi Cigarette Offshore Racing Boat ( just sayin’) I would get a cut of that too because you followed the link off of my blog.  Make sense?   I could buy more than a cold beer with that paycheck I do believe. Let me check the math just to make sure:

AC filter –  $00.24  commission

Donzi boat  $48,000.00 commission

Hoooo lawdy!  Would you look at that?  This internet is gonna make me rich still yet.  🙂



End Note: Don’t Be Confused by Bernard Allison from the Times are Changing cd.  A nice little bluesy rocker.  I like being able to understand the vocals without straining for a change.

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1 comment to Writin’ and Readin’

  • Blars

    I’ve got a kobo, one of the kindle compeditors. (selected on price — half price at a store closure) I don’t think I’ll be without an ebook reader in the future, although I may go to a different brand. (This ones showing signs of wear, and it’s only 6 months old.) Most of the ereaders give totally unrealistic estimates of how long a battery charge will last, they tend to be only good for 30 hours or less of reading, so that’s a week or less. I’ve had mine discharged in 3 days. Since then I try to avoid getting it discharged.

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