Be Prepared

This gate guarding business isn’t a complicated job. The environment is our primary challenge.

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Given that, it pays to be prepared. I’ve already gone through all of the weapons in our attack and conquer closet but there are also practical, everyday ways to be prepared – or so I’m told (by Heidi).

I was in Brownies. I liked it quite a lot. (I’m the one on the left w/o glasses.) This picture was taken in 1966 as you could probably guess from the car across the street. It was the summer before I turned 10. I think we were marching in the 4th of July parade (there were more than 2 of us – the rest of the troop must have been somewhere else). 😀

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I can’t remember why I only was in Girl Scouts for 1 year but I apparently it wasn’t in long enough to fully absorb the always Be Prepared Scout motto.

Heidi, who dropped out of Girl Scouts after 1 week because they wouldn’t let her light her own Bunsen Burner, was born with Be Prepared tattooed on her brain. She was the kind who would start her term paper the day the assignment was announced and have it done weeks ahead. She used to be an English teacher so you get the picture.

Heidi has a system for everything. She asked the Safety guy to redesign the log sheet, despite the fact this oil company has a standard form that everyone uses. He did! I guess her constant supplies of baked goods are persuasive. 😀

She Velcroed a pen and a clock to the clipboard. It couldn’t be easier.

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And in case of rain, she has a separate, waterproof  container to keep the log sheet and pen in.

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Rain has been a new thing this year. We didn’t have any last year. As y’all know, the drought in Texas was terrible.

It’s been raining lately. A lot in the sense that it’s rained a lot of times, not a lot at a time (with a couple of exceptions). One minute the sun is shining and the next minute the sun is shining (it refuses to give up down here) but it’s also pouring.

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Anyway, when we’re anticipating a weather event, which is what locals call rain, Heidi get’s everything ready. She bungees down the lights. She has a dozen boulders anchoring down the fake grass carpet to keep it in place. She keeps her rain coat in the closet, right inside the door, and an extra set of dry clothes and shoes ready to change into.

All day long, even during weather events, she works while I sleep and things go seamlessly.

Heidi goes to bed early – 7-ish.

Then I have a weather event, like yesterday. I’d forgotten to get dry clothes. I have a jacket but I didn’t take the time to put it on. I forget about the special blue case. All the ink ran and the page was so wet the pen ripped right through it.

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I have no explanation, really.

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I blame it on being a Girl Scout drop out.

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This is the last portion of the English translation of  Robert Burns’ poem To a Mouse which could also be rightly be retitled ‘Ode to an English Teacher’:

But little Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often awry,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

Still you are blest, compared with me!
The present only touches you:
But oh! I backward cast my eye,
On prospects dreary!
And forward, though I cannot see,
I guess and fear!

Of the Ilk of Cerberus

We are of the ilk of Cerberus. You’ve probably seen him around.

According to the Encyclopedia Mythica he’s quite a beast:

In Greek mythology, (he is) the three-headed watchdog who guards the entrance to the lower world of Hades. It is a child of the giant Typhon and Echidna, a monstrous creature herself, being half woman and half snake.

Originally, the dog was portrayed having fifty or hundred heads but was later pictured with only three heads (and sometimes with the tail of a serpent). Cerberus permitted new spirits to enter the realm of dead, but allowed none of them to leave. Only a few ever managed to sneak past the creature…

In Roman mythology, the Trojan prince Aeneas and Psyche were able to pacify it with honey cakes.

As most of you know, my colleagues and I are hired to guard the gate by oil companies in various stages the process, from exploration to completion and beyond (don’t ask, I don’t know, they never say).

We’ve actually only had one gate. That one was on a hunting ranch outside of Tilden.

We usually just guard cattle crossings, although you never know what the next job, should there ever be one, might bring.

To those of you who have been kindly asking, no we still aren’t working. We knew the day we arrived here in the yard what our next assignment was to be. The only surprise has been the length of time it’s taken to get it.

This is a photo of the gate we were on a year ago today. Those big trucks took their toll.

With the repair work finished, we returned to the lot on Monday Feb. 27th, just in time to replace some Winter Texans that were leaving on the 29th. That was two weeks ago. They changed their minds and are staying until the rig finishes the hole and moves on to the next one. We just found out today that the move will take place on Tuesday! Hurray!

I was thinking we must be getting pretty poor. I wasn’t surprised when Heidi made homemade bread because she likes to do that.

I was surprised when she started making pudding and jello and even coffee creamer from scratch! I’d decided if we didn’t get back on the payroll next week, we’d be churning our own butter.

Then Heidi tells me tonight that it’s not the lack of fat in the budget, it’s the fat in my diet, that she’s tackling. OK. Well, I do think coffee is a condiment for creamer. 😀

And that brings us back to Cerberus and honey cakes.

We aren’t exactly in the ilk of Cerberus – although we did have Festus, the fierce guard donkey once.

And, there is the fact that Heidi was a high school English teacher. I have no idea why that is as terrifying as a 3 headed dog, but it seems to have the same effect on people. Don’t even TRY running her gate!

As for me, there was a time when I might have been open to a honey cake, but, alas, not now on my new, made from scratch without fat diet.The pudding is pretty good. The jello is a little unusual. As for the coffee creamer. I think it’s time I learn to drink it black. ;D