First Time Gate Guarding – Days 60 – 62

Day 60

Last night a storm front came in very fast and you could actually see this cloud moving quickly towards us.  Thankfully I had enough time to open the gate and snap a couple of pictures because it quickly started pouring and then the lightning came.

Lee said he saw an angry face in this cloud. It did look like it was coming right for us.

Once the lightning was on us I stayed in the rig and poked my head out to wave trucks through.  I take lightning very seriously, because I know personally two people who lost family members to lightning strikes.  They were both in their teens; one was killed at an outdoor concert and another was killed on the beach.  So I stay inside with lightning and I was very glad that when I threw the question out to our gate guarding group everyone agreed that you open the gate and then stay as safe as possible.

The storm continued on and off for a few hours and the water accumulated very quickly.  For the first time the small drainage ditch beside our rig filled with water.  Speaking of that ditch, the road runner has finally gotten used to us and now runs along the fence in that ditch even when we are sitting outside.  We just lower our voices and don’t make any sudden movements and he will wander about for some time.  Really enjoying that.

The rain finally stopped and everyone was gone by 8pm, so I had another quiet night.  Taking advantage of the quiet to do some more writing because we are not sure yet if the crew for the next few days will be working just days or 24/7.  They did bring a new sign out and now we have a totally different name and number.  The good thing is hopefully that will stop some of the wrong gate traffic we have been getting since the old rig that was here has now moved to the ranch down the road.

I also should mention that a couple of days ago our stereo stopped working, so we have only been able to get our sound from the computer speakers, which are not so good for watching movies or TV. Lee was using headphones when he watched things while I was asleep so as not wake me, and he thinks that somehow the stereo headphone jack is stuck, and cutting off the sound to the speakers. He doesn’t think there’s a way for him to fix it and even though it would be covered by warranty at this point we are not going to mess with all of that.  Instead Lee went and tried to find a reasonably priced surround sound system, which is something we eventually wanted to add anyway.

Day 61

I was tired last night and it was really hard to stay awake, especially since I knew no one was coming until tomorrow.  I did all the standard stuff I do to stay awake but it was practically impossible. I was so very tempted to go lay down in the bed and go to sleep, but just didn’t feel right about it, just in case. And it was a good thing because at 3:30am a truck pulled up because they were at the wrong gate.  That’s exactly what I thought could happen.  Seriously, the directions these guys are given for the ranch down the road are always wrong.  They say things like go on this road and stop at first gate (which is us) or go to end of road and stop at gate and since we are so close to the end and it’s hard to see the other gate I totally get why they stop here.  Ah well.

One good thing was I had time to go through my emails and saw the iBook version of the book was approved already!  It only took a couple of days, which is great, and is available for purchase or preview in the iBooks format from this link. And by the way, I wanted to thank everyone for taking the time to reach out and congratulate me.  No matter what happens with sales, I feel good about the accomplishment and really appreciate the validation I am getting from everyone.  I don’t ever want this blog to just be about selling stuff, and I always worry people will get turned off by anything commercial, but the nice comments really help.  I  am just feeling my way here with all of this and I know you guys will tell me if I take a wrong turn.

I woke up at noon to a little bit of sunshine, but by 1pm it was raining again.  The direct result of all this rain is more delays to the fracking schedule.  Also, everything is really green, which is a nice change of scenery, and of course the dust from the road is pretty nonexistent.  I think the ranch down the road has turned into a mud pit, judging from the looks of the trucks coming out of there, but our brand new road is actually holding up pretty well.  We have heard that farther back things get pretty muddy, but we still haven’t seen it so couldn’t say for sure.  One thing I know I will regret about this assignment is the fact that I still really don’t understand what is happening.  Without being able to see the site and only getting to talk to people who know their own small piece of the puzzle, it is just impossible to put together an accurate picture.  I know I could research the process on the internet, but when I learn about jobs I like first hand information.  That is the business analyst in me.  The only reason I mention it is every time we have asked our company to provide an overview we have been told “you will figure it out.”  I think at this point I can unequivocally say, “No, we won’t, lol” And  again, it’s not like we have to understand the big picture to do our job, but I am a big believer that everyone should understand the big picture, so from an ideological standpoint, I don’t agree with it. It doesn’t keep me up at night or anything, but if you are a person who absolutely has to know what is going on this job may not be for you.

Lee left right after I took my shower  and went to get us some surround sound.  He went to several stores and ended up with a Sony HT-CT180 Sound BarHe got a good deal on it as it only cost $150, but he was worried on the way home that it might not fit.  It was absolutely perfect and we spent some time figuring out where to put it. 

Day 62

Last night something really exciting happened.  My favorite author, Michelle Sagara, put out a blog post that she was offering a few perks for a Pixelproject fundraising campaign.  The Pixel Project  is a non profit dedicated to stopping violence against women worldwide. Several female authors are offering autographed copies of their books or other extras, and Michelle was offering either a short story written with an idea the buyer suggested or a 30 minute one-on-one Skype chat.  I absolutely adore her writing and had read everything she has ever written so either one of those sounded fantastic to me.  The items were going up at midnight with a set price and it would be first come-first serve on who purchased them.  I definitely wanted to check it out, but I wasn’t sure what time zone it would be so I checked at numerous times through the night but nothing was there.  Finally at 3:10am my time the items were up,  The short story was already taken, but the Skype chat was available.  I grabbed it immediately and  made the purchase!!  

The price was $200, which is well beyond what I would normally spend on anything for myself,  but I just couldn’t pass the opportunity up.  (I have taken her to Vegas several times to try to change this about her. Nevertheless, she persists. – Lee) Plus my father sent me $100 for my birthday which I never spent, so really I was just spending $100.  It has been a dream of mine to write a fantasy series since I was in my early 20’s, and although I have some outlines I have never felt confident enough to start writing.  You have to create a completely separate world to write a fantasy series, and that is an intimidating prospect.  Since hers is one of the most complex I have ever read, and has the most well-developed characters roaming in it, I can’t wait to ask her about her process in developing it. Plus it is for a great cause and is tax-deductible, which is nice. 

So. I am incredibly excited especially since I have been spending time every night writing about our experiences.  The timing is just perfect and it should be a wonderful experience.  She seems like a very nice person, someone you could hang out with, so I am sure she will be very nice about it. I just need to make my list of questions in advance so I don’t completely geek out and forget what I wanted to ask her about.

After waking up this morning, all of the workers left the site by around 1pm.  Yesterday they worked until 8pm and today until 1pm so we never really understand what the schedule will be.  It finally stopped raining and a couple of guys who owned the ranch next door stopped by to introduce themselves.  Really nice young men, and they warned us than in a couple of days we would be getting “swarms of mosquitoes”.  Apparently there is a low-lying area where the mosquitoes breed very close by, and they wanted to give us the heads up so we could stock up on bug spray, foggers etc.  OK… I mean how bad is this going to be?  Either way it was nice meeting them and I appreciated their stopping by and introducing themselves. 

After they stopped by Lee started the process of putting in the new speakers.

We both loved the idea of putting the speaker above our fireplace, but were both concerned with how the heat might impact it over time.

So Lee decide to remove the existing system and put the sound bar here

Since the black covers are just a simple wood frame and acoustic fabric he was sure he could create a new one that could cover the entire space

Once he removed the stereo though he realized he actually could open it up.  (As a side note, see how dusty everything is.  (#GateGuardingisDusty)

He was able to remove the front panel. He also hasn’t had a haircut since the first of November.

He’s pointing to the headphone jack, and on the back side is a small circuit board with a removable wiring harness. (Originally I though that there might be a short in the metal connections for the headphone jack, and I was going to just cut the headphone wires, since I can use the headphone jack on the computer instead. But then I saw the wiring harness and was happy that I could just unplug it. Once I got it unplugged, I reconnected the stereo and the speakers worked just fine. Then it occurred to me that perhaps, maybe, just maybe, disconnecting and reconnecting everything might have caused a hard reset, and I plugged the harness back in. Still sound from the speakers. I still don’t plan to use the headphone jack, because if it happens again, I would have to pull everything apart again, but at least now I know what the deal is. – Lee) 

So he removed the headphone jack wiring and voila!

All is right with the sound again!

I was pretty excited, because after trying the sound box all evening I wasn’t that impressed with the improved quality of sound, plus the stereo allows us to play music on outside speakers, and has an input for the iPod and none of that would have been in place with the new sound system.  So everything is going back in the box and being returned to the store,and we just saved $150!!  There was never a doubt in my mind Lee could fix it, but he was thinking the box would be all one unit and disposable rather than repairable.  We were both pleasantly surprised to find out that wasn’t the case.  And the trip to get surround sound wasn’t a complete loss, as now we know what is out there and in our case, it just doesn’t seem like a great fit.


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4 thoughts on “First Time Gate Guarding – Days 60 – 62

  1. I’m so excited for you to meet your favorite author! Not only that but the money you spent is going to charity. A great win..win..situation. I hope that it’s everything you hope it will be or even beats all of your expectations. Stay clear of the mosquitos and if you have any recommended repellants I’d love to know them.

    • We’ve been pretty lucky so far, managing to mostly stay clear of mosquitoes even in Alaska. Deep Woods Off works ok but really what works then best is being somewhere where there is a breeze, staying indoors during the twilight hours, and smoky campfires. This is one of the big reasons Lee is fond of arid environments. Hardly any bugs

  2. That is neat you will be able to have a skype chat with your favorite author. Be sure to write down a bunch of questions before hand, so you don’t get excited and forget what to ask.

    Plus, you can have Lee give you the $150 he saved by fixing the speakers and you will be $50 ahead after your $200 purchase. Like my logic?

    • LOL I do like your logic and actually thought the same thing!! Seriously though we try to mentally keep purchase in their own category because floating money back and forth can get you in trouble. Sometimes though you just have to say screw the budget!

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