Monday, July 11, 2016

No Drivel Zone

Many a blogger has admonished fellow bloggers not to publish just for the sake of publishing. Such is the plight I have found myself in. I apologize that I've not regaled you with some sort of post for over a month; but not much is happening. When the wind got taken out of the sails of oil exploration; due to over zealous exploration and production (amongst other things), and things slowed to a crawl here, so did most of the fodder for my blog.

The writing was/is on the wall and it's foreboding as far as gate guarding goes. Not to blow my own horn, but I said repeatedly that slackers would eventually have a hard time finding work. Conversely, I also said that those that showed a little initiative and carried themselves professionally would fill what positions were left during/after the glut. Well, all that and more has come to fruition. Positions/gates are slim to none (even for summer) and only the best; for the most part, are filling them. We have supported and remained loyal to J&G and they have been very good to us. They gave us short term and 12 hour gates during our medical issues (plus free rent) and; during the worst of the slowdown, found us private security work outside of the oil field.

Knowing what we know, plus a host of medical issues, has provided impetus to our  search for alternative employment. Plus, I'm not getting any younger. Recently we tested the waters of the small business world; purchasing, repairing and selling drones. Things have progressed to the point that we have opened another outlet at a second flea market. This week was our best in sales yet! Logistics are slowing our expansion as we just don't have the room in the 5th wheel to take on more inventory. That may be for the best now, but eventually we'll need to figure something out. Wish us luck!

Finally, I find it hard to keep my opinions in check, what with the status of this country. We have two equally corrupt (each in their own way) candidates with no alternative choices. The old men smoking cigars in the backroom have reared their ugly heads as never before. The fix is in and the popular vote ain't going to mean squat this election cycle. I mean no disrespect to supporters of either candidate, but can you rationally step back and truly say yours is the answer to the crushing problems of this country? I mean, what does it say about us when all we have to offer is Trump and Clinton?

As far as race relations go; a lot of folks just need to get their heads out of their asses. And those that would turn this and other issues into a "gun grab' should be ashamed of themselves. I sincerely hope that the ambush and killing of police officers and other law enforcement personnel is not a portend of the civil war I have feared. There are deep rooted issues in play here; but the erosion of nationalism in this country; in my opinion, is the primary issue. Uncontrolled borders and lack of assimilation has destroyed what America is all about. Americans are not from Africa or Germany or any other country you might want to mention. We are simply Americans (or should be), united under one flag, and damn proud of it. Plus, I dare say, the vast majority of those calling themselves anything other than American, have not come within spitting distance of the country they supposedly came from. It's gotten to the point that displays of patriotism are a rarity and even looked down upon. How sad and "nuff said".

Monday, June 6, 2016

Experience has Changed Us

Well, we're back on a 24 hour gate, working out of our RV. We rolled in on pure chaos; a workover rig settling in and the equipment that follows a frack crew right behind them. All this in a sea of mud and muck and us just thankful we have four wheel drive to help position our 5ver. To add to the nuttiness, there is no pad here, just a grassy field softened by inches of spring rain. It seems like a long time ago and a distant memory when we could just dial up the area superintendent and have rock trucks and a back hoe make a pad for us. Boy, are those days gone. As it is, we are not cowered or the least bit disturbed (there's no sniffling in the patch) and set to making the best of things. Time was I'd drop setting up camp and attend to the flow of vehicles. Not so much anymore; I pretty much know who does and doesn't belong. As far as recording goes, the company should have got me here before the flood gates opened (no pun intended). My priorities have changed and I kind of have a system in place and getting settled is the numero uno priority. As far as the mud and muck goes; it ain't worth fighting and sweeps up when it dries. We have a bunch of old towels at the ready and we lay a couple by the main door and set one aside for the dogs paws. It's funny how things change when viewed from a different perspective. Somehow the traffic associated with a frack is no longer daunting and has become part of the job. There's a sense of comradery as you inevitably run into folks that you've crossed paths with over the years. The gate even settles into a routine as folks seem to know how we run things. Maybe it's because we haven't seen a drilling rig for as long as I can remember or maybe experience has changed us; a frack ain't no big deal anymore.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Set in my Ways

After almost 6 years in the patch I have reached a level of comfortability on a 24 hour gate, living out of our RV (home). We have worked shacks, windfarms, roving patrols (sometimes in our POV) and a variety of temp work in our vehicles. None of those compared with being able to walk out of the door of the RV, sitting in a chair and being at work. Recent illness has caused me to reflect on our profession as gate guards. We are parked at our company yard and working whatever job our company can come up with. Whether it's a temp security job or workover rig, we are doing it. Some are just a one day gig, but most last a few days. As is my practice, I will not comment on our pay; suffice it to say our security company is very generous. The jobs all share some things in common. It's almost always a long drive, in your vehicle, to the work site. The work day is usually 12 hours or longer; with the commute added in it's even longer and rest even more scarce and precious. Creature comforts are most time missing, making hygiene interesting. You have to be self contained as leaving your post is not an option; which can make a diet difficult to follow. Fatigue is a common partner, making trying to stay alert a challenge. You're exposed to the elements, with heat and cold the least of your worries. While we are grateful for the work (and free rent), it does wear on you after a while. Our health issues also have an effect as we fatigue easy and our stamina is not at full song. My hats off to you seniors, I'm not sure how you do the work. My fondness for working out of our RV has not waned. My distaste for 12 hour work has grown even stronger. Maybe I'm just set in my ways, but I can't wait to get on a traditional gate with my RV.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

An Easy Decision

For as long as I can remember, we were champions of J&G Security. We took some flack for it, but we persisted. So much so that some thought of us as paid recruiters. Although we occasionally were rewarded for our efforts, we were never on the payroll. Little did anyone know, but I actually was a "go to" guy for guards for several companies. I'm still doing that, it's just the phone doesn't ring as much these days. I took great pleasure in helping others and felt like I had to pay it forward after the help I received (thanks Andy!) J&G had a tarnished reputation because of dealings I'm not familiar with and won't comment on. Justin French was in the process of gaining control of the company when we signed on. Therefore. I think it's unfair to saddle past mistakes with him. We have seen the company grow from a half dozen gates or less to well over two dozen during the $100 a barrel craziness. Thankfully, during the current collapse and glut, our main customer rewarded J&G with an exclusive security contract, ensuring that at least a core group of us would still have work.

I could spend paragraphs citing examples where J&G went above and beyond to help us out and/or keep us employed. However, for me, the best example has to be their caring for both of us during our recent health issues. When I recently suffered a heart attack on a gate, they had subs in place before I could get in the truck to go to the hospital. Through the years at J&G we have been surprised by their candor and rewarded for our efforts. We always know where we stand, making the choice of who to contract out to an easy decision.