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Archive for December, 2011

2012 Budget $1000 per Month

December 28th, 2011 at 12:26 pm

If I can manage to keep a gate all year this coming year I'll bring in $42,000. That is with no taxes with-held. I'm hoping this gate won't end until at least April when it's peak season and there are many other gates available. I've based my 2012 budget on $37,000 just in case I'm out of work for a month and half or so.

Monthly Expenses:
Phone: 150.00
Satellite: 65.00
Groceries: 100.00
Toiletries: 5.00
Gas: 75.00
Auto: 70.00
Pets: 50.00
Medical: 60.00
Son/College: 100.00
Gifts: 25.00
Misc. 50.00
Gate Help: 250.00

My phone bill is high as I pay my son's phone bill of $50.00 per month as long as he stays in school and I pay $20.00 a month to have internet/personal hot spot on my iphone through ATT so I can connect my laptop to it. I just got sattelite television a couple of months ago and will keep it as it's not nice to be totally disconnected from the outside world when you are in the middle of nowhere for days on end.

Auto, pets, and medical are based on my expenses for 2011, hopefully the dogs will only have to go to the vet for their yearly shots and checkup but I've added some extra as you never know when something like a snake bite etc. could happen especially being out in the country like we are 90% of the time.
Auto counts yearly tags/inspection, oil changes and some for just in case. In 2011 the mice/rats chewed the wiring in my truck and I had to pay for that and the brakes needed a bit of work. This amount also includes yearly registration/tags on my travel trailer.
Medical includes quarterly checkup, prescriptions and testing. I have no insurance, thankfully I've had no major medical problems and hopefully this continues.

I have cut my grocery budget in half for 2012. I tend to over buy and waste things especially produce. I have cut out soda and junk food, I don't eat it much anyway and end up throwing chips, cookies etc out after only eating a few.

I've alloted $250 for someone to come sit at my gate two times a month. I don't know how this will work out, I might need more than that or I might not, we'll see.

Gifts I plan on buying and giving used this year, I think that amount should be plenty, I will adjust it or pull from Misc if not.

Misc is for any entertainment, eating out, clothing, books dvd's and everything else.

Now the question is whether I can do this or not. I think I can if the Good Lord's willing and the creek don't rise!!

One Of The Best Christmases Ever

December 27th, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Was when my youngest child was 12 years old. He is 20 now so that was about eight years ago.

I'm not very good at telling stories, I'll do the best I can.

It started the week before Thanksgiving that year when I'd locked the keys inside my truck and didn't have a spare set. My purse was locked inside the truck. I called the locksmith and was waiting for him to show up and told my son "this is going to cost $35 dollars and that's exactly the amount of money I have in my wallet!". The locksmith came, unlocked the truck and I payed him. I didn't think anything else of it.

A few days later, around six oclock or so while my son and I were having dinner the doorbell rang. It was the mother and father of my daughters best friend. The mother was a teacher at the school that my son attended and the father is a pastor at a charismatic church. They had a HUGE box of food. We are talking like over a weeks worth of food. Apparently the teacher had asked at school if there were any families that didn't have money for Thanksgiving dinner. My son raised his hand and told them that we didn't because we had spent it on the locksmith. When I told him that the 35 dollars I had was all that was in my wallet he thought that I had NO other money. After trying to get them to take the food back and trying to explain that there had been a misunderstanding and after alot of embarassment they persuaded me to keep the box of food. Just to name a few items that were in the box was a turkey, boxed stuffing, bottled juice, rice, canned goods, beans and lots of other stuff. We always went to my folks house for Thanksgiving and Christmas so we didn't even cook. Our cupboards were overflowing after putting the groceries away. My son couldn't apologize enough, he really thought we had no money for anything.

In December I found out that a young girl that worked at one of my stores had been living in her car with her three year old as she could not afford to rent a place on her own only making minimum wage. To make a long story short I found someone at one of the stores who agreed to take them in as room mates. I would pick up my son everyday from school and take him back to the stores with me until I got off work. He overheard us talking about Christmas and how she did not have money for Christmas dinner or presents for her daughter. On the way home that evening he suggested that we use the money that we would have spent on each other for gifts to buy the young girl and her daughter presents. (I'd already thought of this but didn't quite know how to approach him about it) It ended up that we did exactly that and gave her all of the food that we'd recieved at Thanksgiving also. My son had such fun picking out gifts for the little girl and he ended up buying her a 3 foot stocking and stuffing it full of coloring books, socks, crayons and many other items. I've never seen anyone as grateful as the young girl was and my son and even myself learned a great lesson that year. As it turned out with the other gifts we received you really couldn't even tell that we did not buy each other anything. We recieved many gifts from everyone else.

My son still is a very generous and loving person. I'm very proud of him.

I did learn one other lesson....to watch what I say around kids!

Merry Christmas Friends!!

December 25th, 2011 at 08:01 am

Merry Christmas may you all have a blessed day!!

Drab and Dreary South Texas Christmas

December 24th, 2011 at 04:06 pm

It's been raining still and it sure makes it drab and dreary. Not much traffic in today and very little going out. The oil rig is three miles into the ranch and the road gets very bad when it rains. It's nothing for eighteen wheelers to get stuck sideways across the road and then they have to call another company to come pull them out. I've wondered just how much it costs each company when that happens, not even counting every company who has an employee sitting waiting to get out behind them. Sometimes it takes hours to get them out and alot of times there are two stuck in the mud at a time. I imagine the costs are astronomical. Nothing that has to do with the oilfield is cheap.

I bought some chocolate and I thought I'd make chocolate covered oranges and orange peels to give to the rig hands and vendors next week as they come in and out. The oranges were free and I will never eat them all and don't want to waste them. If anyone has suggestions on what else I can do let me know because there is no way I can use them all for this.

I did get to the grocery yesterday but I bought very little, just eggs, milk and bread because I still have food left and I'd like to use it up. I have relief coming on Thursday and I'm going on a mini vacation.

I hope everyone is having a great holiday!!

Pros and Cons of Being A Gate Guard

December 22nd, 2011 at 08:33 pm

I have been working on this lease/gate since April of this year. There are pros and cons to doing this and this job is definitely not for everyone, especially if you work by yourself such as I do most of the time, as you can end up seeing very few people for days on end. You can get cabin fever very quickly when living in a 20 ft camper trailer! However, when there is activity such as now, (I currently have a drilling rig in) you can literally see hundreds of people a day. Most people that I see are very friendly and upbeat and it's amazing how generous they are. One day I had a man take out his lunch and give me a mango and an apple. I don't know if I just looked hungry or he just felt like sharing with me, I'm definitely not underweight by any means! I accepted and thanked him and he went on his merry way. I used to always turn down any gifts offered but now I accept because it really seems to make the gift giver feel good and everyone ends up happy in the end. I worked at one gate last year that the gauger brought me breakfast every single day until the job ended. He would not accept a penny ever no matter how much I insisted. Just today I recieved a donut for breakfast from the gauger, 10 pounds of oranges from the land owners cousin, a Sonic burger, tater tots and a medium drink, and a case of Dr. Pepper from the directional driller and two Reeses peanut butter cups from one of the rig hands. One of the guys had a blow out on his truck while going to town and asked if he could borrow my truck and ended up completely filling it with fuel after only driving it thirty miles or so. That means I don't have to fill up when I go to the grocery store now as I had planned. That was a savings of $50.00, I thought that was really nice and only expected that he would pay the actual gas that he used.

Another pro, which can also at times, can be a con, is that if you work alone as I do, is that you must be at the gate 24/7 so it's possible to have many no spend days a month. Any money I spend has to be done on planned days when I can get a certified security guard to sit at the gate while I'm away. I must get everything I need in that shopping trip and pay my bills on those days. Internet is hit and miss out here in the boonies and I've never been able to pay bills online while here. Usually I have two money spending days a month, I go grocery shopping one day every two weeks or so. Every now and then I will spend a few dollars when I ask someone to bring me a soda or newspaper from town but that's pretty rare. Usually even if I do they refuse the money.
Some other pros would be that the company that I'm contracted through provides a generator and water so I never have an electric or water bill and pay no lot rent.

Some of the cons would be spending alot of time alone, being in a fairly dangerous job, (many drug runners and illegals come across these ranches) getting stuck out here with no help for days on end as is the situation I'm in now. It's been raining and the roads are really bad so my help has not been able to make it out. I've not been grocery shopping in about a month and not been to the laundry in about that long as well. I had to wash a few clothes in the bath tub and it took three days for them to dry. I had clothes hanging everywhere in this small trailer. Hopefully my help will be able to get in tomorrow and I will get to town and get my errands and laundry done.

All in all I would say there are more pros than cons but I guess it really is all in the way a person looks at it. Alot of retirees do this during the winter months and seem to enjoy it and there are people my age that enjoy it also. I wouldn't trade this job for another job in retail for anything!

Glad To See This Year End!

December 22nd, 2011 at 04:51 pm

I'm glad this year is ending and I'm looking forward to the coming year being much better all around.
This year has been both a financial disaster and a personal disaster. I was married and divorced, my shortest marriage yet the most costly and dragged out divorce I've ever experienced, never want to go through all that mess again!!

I'm still working as a gate-guard in the oil fileds and all is going very well as far as that is concerned. I've been on this gate since April and it looks like I'll be here a couple/few more months at least. I always worry that there won't be another gate for me when this job ends but there doesn't seem to be a shortage of jobs in this field. It's just first come first serve and until the snow birds (out of state retirees) leave around April the openings for gates get filled extremely fast. After that they are begging for help and can hardly keep the gates manned. So hopefully this gate can last that long, they have several jobs and wells still to be drilled so as long as they don't decide to delay them all will be good and I will have a steady income for awhile.

I'm hoping I can stick to my goals and budget this coming year and I don't make any more stupid decisions or mistakes. If I can do that I should be just fine!