Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Weather Conditions; Cloudy, 95 degrees
We haven’t posted lately because our work here has been kinda boring.
This park isn’t as entertaining as the park we worked last summer.
We recently received news that our park will be closing for the winter in order to make repairs to the park entrance. No gate attendant work for us this winter!
We still have a contracted obligation for next summer. That will be our last season here as gate attendants. We’ve enjoyed the gig but we’re ready to get back on the road!
After some discussion, we decided to sign up as volunteers for the winter. We’ll just stay here at our present location and be park security while the park is closed and do whatever it is they need us to do.
We’re planning on a few short trips this winter but we’ll drive the truck and stay in a hotel.
We have learned a few things about ourselves while being gate attendants this past year. One being, we’ve really missed the gypsy lifestyle. We miss exploring. We are from this area and so there’s NOT much exploring here to do.
The fact that the lake levels are so low makes the camping business here kinda of slow. The heat doesn’t help either.
Anyway, we have filled out the paperwork to become park volunteers and have passed the background checks. We should be in business as soon as our summer season contract is done.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Weather Conditions; Sunny, 85 degrees
People often ask questions about our jobs as gate attendants and want to know the process for getting this type of gig.
I’ve covered a little bit of this information in previous post, but will give a little more detail for those interested.
The first step is to apply for and receive a DUN Number, Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) provides a D-U-N-S Number, a unique nine digit identification number, for each physical location of your business.
D-U-N-S Number are FREE for all businesses required to register with the US Federal government for contracts or grants.
The DUNS will be needed to begin your registration prior to entering SAM.
It may take several days or more than a week to receive your DUN number.
My experience was with Dun & Bradstreet was not pleasant. After waiting for over a week, I had to make several calls and talk with several people over the course of a week in order to finally receive my Dun number.
Once you have obtained the Dun number, you can proceed to the next step.
Next you must register with SAM to receive a number.
The System for Award Management (SAM) is the Official U.S. Government system that consolidated the capabilities of CCR/FedReg, ORCA, and EPLS. There is NO fee to register for this site.
You can register your Entity (business, individual, or government agency) to do business with the Federal Government. To register, you must first create a user account.
This registration takes time, so be prepared to sit at your computer for a couple of hours. (also, this is a government website and you must have a secured connection in order to be able to complete the application) I tried using my laptop with air card and it did not consider it a secured connection.
Your SAM number must be renewed annually. Failure to renew on time will cause you to have to go through the entire process again.
Keep these numbers handy so that you can access them. These numbers are your lifeline to government jobs.
Once you have you have completed these two VERY important steps, you can now go to Federal Business Opportunities website https://www.fbo.gov
This is where you search for government business opportunities.
Once you find the items you wish to bid on, the real FUN begins!
You will select the opportunity, open the presolicitation. Look at the synopsis which will explain in detail what the contracting office is asking for.
These can be very lengthy. I believe the last gate attendant bid we did was almost 200 pages. There is a questionnaire and a lot of legal jargon!
By the way, you will be bidding on a particular year and season with an option period. For example, if you bid for next summer the option period will include the following summer. That makes for 2 summers! Generally they exercise the right to accept the option period as a done deal.
You’re required to fill out the questionnaire. You’ll be instructed to submit the questionnaire, a resume, application and bid document. This will be submitted to the contracting office via email as a PDF file by the deadline posted on bid.
The bid amounts are different from season to season and from park to park. In this area, summer bids pay more than winter bids.
There is also an evaluation form that needs to be filled out by a recent former employer. That evaluation form will be submitted separately by the person preforming the evaluation.
The information I just gave you applies to the US Army Corp of Engineers Fort Worth District.
I know that some districts require pictures of your RV be submitted with your bid.
I realize this can be very overwhelming. It certainly was for us the first time.
Meanwhile, you’ll need to obtain a VIP (Volunteer in Parks) surety bond. This is not as easy as it sound.
Not every insurance company has underwriters that do these kinds of bonds.
The bond requirement is $5,000.00 and the cost is about $100.00.
You will have to periodically have to check the FedBizOp website to see if there any changes or updates to the presolicitation. You will have the check on it after the deadline to see if it has been awarded.
You will be notified via email if you are awarded the bid. Once you are awarded the bid, you will then be instructed to have your surety bond and a copy of your auto insurance available for submission to the lake manager.
Besides being paid monthly, we are furnished a covered RV site with full hookups. They also provide a 10x12 storage building at our site.
Duties for gate attendants for the US Army Corp of Engineers at this lake are required to collect money for Day Use and Camping, make reservations for walkup campers, patrol the park several times per day (in your vehicle using your fuel) reporting any problems and maintenance issues.
We work 4 days on and have 4 days off. Our hours are 6 A.M to 10 P.M. someone must be in the gatehouse at all times during your shift. You’re actually on duty for 24 hours a day during your 4 day shift. You’re on call in the event anyone has a problem.
There are periodic police and park ranger patrols from 6 A.M to 10 P.M.
You will be evaluated periodically on your performance. There is the occasional audit of cash drawer. Gate attendants are required to have their own opening cash. We started with $50.00.
At the end of our 4 day shift, we take the monies collected and buy a money order. That money order and reports are mailed the NRRS.
We are required to buy our own office supplies, money orders, cleaning supplies (cleaning supplies are for the cleaning of the gatehouse) and postage.
We have enjoyed the work but would not want to make a career of it. The hours are crazy long and during the week, the days can be very slow.
The gate houses vary in size. Some are very small and some larger. Our current gate house is roomy enough that we aren’t sitting on top of each other.
This gate house is equipped with a computer, printer, cash drawer and a safe. We have a restroom too. That is important!
We brought in a microwave and the other gate attendants brought in a mini fridge.
There are different requirements for each district and I have experience only with the Fort Worth district.
I hope this information has been helpful for those of you that are considering being gate attendants for the US Army Corp of Engineers.
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Weather Conditions; Sunny, 65 degrees
We had friends stop in and visit with us on their way home from Rockport, Texas. Bud and Betty spent a week with us. We unfortunately had stormy weather while they were here.
We were able to have dinner out one evening and Dawn cooked up a nice dinner on another evening.
Dawn spent the afternoon cooking. We had smoked beef brisket, smoked pulled pork and sausage. We had baked beans, slaw, rolls and cake. Betty brought apple pie and Maxine brought German potato salad.
We invited our friends Jerry and Billie, Jim and Maxine, my brother, niece and niece’s boyfriend too. The weather was a bit windy but we were able to enjoy dinner outside.
It was great to spent time with our friends and family.
We came home one afternoon to find fried pie wrappers all over the floor. Seems a few fur kids found the tote where we keep our snacks. They helped themselves to coconut, chocolate and banana cream fried pies. It appeared that everyone was in on the feast. The wrappers were all over the floor and dried fruit filling was everywhere. They all laid low as we picked up wrappers and moped the sticky mess from the floor.
There was this one fur kid that seemed to be very proud of himself. He was grinning with pride!
The following day I was cutting the dried fruit mess from their faces and paws. Luckily no one got sick!
Last weekend we spent time with friends Ginny and Dena. We spent the afternoon at Lone Star Park. We watched the horse races and enjoyed the buffet.
None of us are big gamblers but we did place a few $2.00 bets. I won $18.00 dollars on a $2.00 bet. I sure felt rich!
There were 9 races for the day. Dawn and I went all out on the last race of the day. We bet on a horse with 25 to 1 odds and several other horses to Win, Place or Show. That decision really paid off. We won $135.00 on the 25 to 1!!!
We all had a great time.
Monday we ran errands and did laundry. Monday night as we were getting ready for bed, I fell down from the second step in the trailer. That’s right; I fell from the second step.
It doesn’t sound that bad and it I wasn’t that far to the floor. The problem however was that I fell landing on my left side.
I guess I need to explain. I’m recovering from a sinus infection and also have fluid in my inner ear. If I bend over or turn too fast it causes me to become dizzy.
Anyway, I was standing on the second step talking to Dawn, who was in the bedroom. I turned to come down the stairs and became dizzy, lost my footing and fell sideways on my left side hitting the floor hard enough to knock the breath out of me. I came to with Dawn asking me if I was all right and the dogs staring at me.
It took me a few seconds to get my composer and a few minutes to be able to get to my feet.
I didn’t break any bones, Thank God. I am very sore however.
Today we are back to work as gate attendants.
Friday, April 18, 2014
Blanket of Blue Bonnets in our front yard
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