First Time Gate Guarding – Days 34 and 35

Day 34

Today was another slow day, and I asked one of the regulars why, and he said it was because they were laying some kind of pipe.  These guys tell me stuff, but I still jhave no idea what they are talking about, and since they always seem like they are in a hurry I am hesitant to ask more.  Whatever the cause it’s been a nice break, and it was so slow we even saw a flock of huge turkeys cross the road in front of us and fly over the 8 foot fence.  I knew they could fly, but not that they could go that high and so gracefully.  It’s a bummer my camera was inside because it would have been a really cool picture.

Since it’s slow and I don’t have much else to share I am going to have Lee answer a question from a reader.  Darryl asks, “You and Lee have been in the RV long enough to give a “GOOD” feed back on how is the RV holding up? Are your walls 3″ thick or less, is it worth having a generator on board, has the RV experienced delamination ETC… Thanks”  

I think it’s holding up pretty well. All RVs have issues, some bigger than others, and some sooner than others, but mostly I think the trick is to be gentle with them. They’re not made of tough stuff, mostly. The walls on our rig are 2″thick. I definitely think it’s worth having a generator. We don’t use it much, but when we do, we’re glad we have it. No delamination or issues with decals, although there are a few very small cracks in the outer skin where there’s stress. They aren’t growing, they’re just where there was too much flex for the skin. You can’t really see them unless you’re looking hard, and I’ve just sealed them up with silicon so moisture can’t get in and cause problems. Eventually when we pass through Indiana I want to have the manufacturer take a look at it and give me their opinion on what caused it and if it can be repaired reasonably. I’m not sure what the “etc” is for, so feel free to ask more questions, if you have them. – Lee

Day 35

It actually rained a bit last night, first time that has really happened, but I only had a couple of trucks and the sprinkles were no big deal.  I woke up though to more blustery wind and I was really glad we had our Jim Jamb™©® solution in place since no one from the construction company ever came by.  Since it has been almost a week I am guessing they aren’t going to fix the gate and on a day like today that would have been pretty painful.  There is definitely something to be said for coming into these jobs prepared to “Do It Yourself”. We were initially handed a chain and a combination lock.  That would have been a nightmare, but Lee hooked up us with caribiners, metal stakes, and of course the Jim Jamb™©®, so we are doing well.

The one nice thing the company provides is motion sensors.  Some companies expect you to have your own (and pay for the batteries), but those were included in our setup kit.  We have been having problems with one of the sensors though, and are anxiously awaiting a new model they ordered for us.  Motion sensors really are key when you are working out of your rig otherwise you have to sit outside most of the time or always position yourself near a window.  With the motion sensors we are able to move around and then get outside quickly when we hear the chime go off. Personally I don’t like to keep people waiting any longer than I have to, but I am also not prepared to sit outside all night, every night so the chimes are a nice compromise.  Hopefully the new one will do an even better job, because for some reason the one facing the exit falses a ton in the daytime, and sometimes doesn’t go off at all at night.  In a couple rare cases people have actually had to get out of the truck and open the gate themselves and even though they never say anything I always feel bad about that.  It is our only job, after all.

Lee went to the library right after lunch to see if he could take advantage of their free wifi and upload some of the videos.  He has finished about 30 of them ranging from 10 minutes to 60 minutes in length and uploading those would really take a chunk our of our bandwidth.  Since he wants to share them with friends and family in chronological order we can’t even upload the smaller files, although if this library solution doesn’t work we may end up needing to do that.  Uploading them to You Tube is a pretty great solution, but early on we ran into some moral questions about what t share, and how. Ultimately Lee decided to make most of them private and send invitations to the relevant people for each one.  The difficulty with this though is folks have to have a You Tube account, or a gmail address to make that work, and not everyone has that, especially the older people.  So in those cases we might make them public but “unlisted”, but need to make sure no one is shown in a particularly unflattering light.

I know people sort of take that for granted nowadays and adjust their behavior accordingly, but in “olden times” video cameras were relatively new and I don’t think people really thought about how they might look in the future.  Plus people have gotten divorced or have died, so some of the material can be sensitive.  Lee takes all that pretty seriously and has reached out to several people personally and asked them if they wanted to see them.  In most cases the answer has been a resounding yes, but as they are uploaded and we expand to a larger audience that may not be the case.  And if those folks don’t want to see them, they definitely aren’t going to want them shared with the whole world.  I know to some people this may all sound kind of crazy and you might be thinking “just throw them out there and let the chips fall”, but that’s really not Lee’s style.  Despite all outward appearances to the contrary, he is a caring person and sensitive to people’s right to privacy. (Not true. People are the worst. I hate people. – Lee)  It’s probably all those years running a public access TV station, but these issue are ones he has dealt with in both his personal and professional life.  Plus he is doing this to provide people with joy, not to upset anyone, so it’s a fine line.

What he won’t do though is start cutting difference versions of events to suit different different groups.  First off that would be a ton more work, and secondly I think he definitely feels like it is what it is.  He has removed a couple of really stupid things, like someone complaining about their wife in the background, but mainly he just lets it go.  And it’s good we talked about this in advance because he is just now texting me from the library and the speeds are “blazing fast.”  Hooray for libraries!!!  Fast internet is one of the few things I really miss (along with bathtubs).   While Lee was gone I caught up on my blog reading.  I tend to read my blogs in batches, which is bad because I get behind on what people are doing, but I need dedicated quiet time to really enjoy those posts.  I can Facebook and play games and be interrupted repeatedly, but when I read posts I really like as few interruptions as possible. Many of our friends are seeing each other in either Florida or Quartzsite, which is nice to see, but a bit of a bummer because it’s always nice to see people.  That’s OK though, because we are seeing people in Vegas and then again in Oregon this summer.

So, it’s a blustery, overcast day, but the temps are in the 80’s and I am wearing shorts.  Since our friends in New England got 12″ of snow over the weekend, and then are expecting another 12-20″, once again I feel grateful.  Plus, no rattlesnakes, yet!! Oh and I am sorry about talking about everything except gate guarding, but there really isn’t much to say.  We open the gate, we log the vehicle, we wave, we shut the gate.  Lots of that, over and over.  I promise when things do occur that are unusual to talk about them, but most days it’s been nice and boring.  Which for us, right now, is a good thing! Along with getting caught up on blogs, I also scrubbed the bathroom.  Not my favorite job, especially with the claustrophobia, but definitely needs to be done.  When you are watching your water usage, you kind of need to plan this out, or at least I do because I use lots of water.

I had just finished cleaning the bathroom and was writing the above when a truck came.

The wind had really kicked up and I was struggling to push the side of the gate with Jim Jamb™©® back….. when it happened.  Wham! I fell through the cattle guard, both legs at once.  It was so fast and thank God I was straight up and down because all I got was a scrape on the left leg, and a bump on the right knee where it hit hard.  I was standing there, doubled over, and it took me a moment to pull myself out.  Then I hobbled to the chair and bent over, incredibly grateful that I was able to walk.  Not to be melodramatic, but I could have totally seen in that moment breaking a leg and being stuck in that grate.  Lee was gone and it was just me with no phone at hand to call someone.  And what did I just tell myself about NOT saying things were boring?  I was kind of kidding about that before, but not now.  My legs are OK, just throbbing a little, and my knee is pretty sore.  I need to go back out and shut the gate since it is standing wide open at this point, but I will do it very very carefully.  35 days I have been careful, but anything can become the norm.  It’s hard not to be complacent when you have done something hundreds of times with no issue.

Left leg scrape

Left leg scrape

The knee is a little swollen but doing ok

The knee is a little swollen but doing ok.  The dust marks show where the leg hit

I did drop a note to our Account Manager and explained the wind was blowing so hard the gate was still being pushed despite our temporary solutions.  She was really glad I was OK and said she would let them know. She called the oil company and told them what happened and got permission for us to leave the gate open when it’s really windy like this…hooray!!!   The company is looking for 100% compliance, which I get, but she countered with safety issues and common sense prevailed.  Thank heavens!!  We really do work for a good company that really seems to care about us.  That’s really nice. And as of this writing I am feeling OK.  My knee is a little stiff but not swollen much, and the stinging of the scrape was lessened by some Advil.  And, for the record, universe, nothing is boring, everything is exciting, and we have lots going on here lol !!!

 


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9 thoughts on “First Time Gate Guarding – Days 34 and 35

  1. So happy you are okay! Good for your account manager in insisting on your safety being the priority over standardized procedures.

  2. Hi. So sorry about your leg. That could have been so much worse. Glad it was not. Question. I guess your job is not covered under OSHA laws or anything like that? I know in my previous profession we had someone make sure our workplace was safe and possible accident traps well thought out. Just curious.

    • There are rules as set aside by the state and OSHA can inspect sites. As independent contractors though our recourse is limited. This company (unlike most) offers workers comp which is a good thing!

  3. Hi Tracy, Thanks for keeping up so diligently on your blog. I always look forward to reading them. We met you at the Sevierville RV rally last year (Kat and Bert). I just wanted to tell you that your blog has helped me with keeping the content of mine from getting too boring with just comments on campgrounds and our travels by adding a little more personal insight to it. If you have time to read one more blog, check ours out…Smilespergallonclub.com Hello to Lee and thanks for putting us in the video.

    • BERT!!!! Hi. So nice to hear from you. I’ve wondered how you guys are doing. I look forward to reading about it. Thanks so much for reaching out. Hope we get to meet again down the road some day.

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