Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chow Time

One of the things we were told when we took on this job of gate guarding was that we could count on getting the feed bag on once a month or so. Supposedly someone was going to come out here in the middle of nowhere and cook us a meal. As my faithful readers know we are truly in BFE (you figure that one out) parked in a cow pasture. In fact, one of them came sauntering by yesterday morning and strolled past the rig, stopping under a shade tree for some cud. Whatever they're paying me, I'm not wrangling cattle, so I let him mosey on his way. But; I digress. Back to chow time. Someone did indeed show up at my gate this morning towing a catering wagon. He asked me how many of us were working the gate and went on in. I'm not cynical or pessimistic most of the time, but I did wonder if we would really get fed. And would it be whatever they could scrounge up when they had fed all these hungry workers?? Well, when the caterer left he stopped at the gate and handed me two Styrofoam takeout boxes. One at a time, which I found out was because of their weight. I woke ole Missymoo and lo and behold we opened the boxes to find a feast. We each had a half dozen shrimp, and close to a pound of fresh fried catfish. Plus sides!! Yummy! Now I can add to my lexicon-I'm getting paid while I sit here watching television, surfing the web and eating FREE catered food. Dust, wind and lack of rain not withstanding-life is good.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Life Off the Grid

We were warned before we considered this gate guard job about living off of the grid (not being connected to a traditional water, electric and sewer system). Specifically whether we had any experience at it or not. Well, we have "boon docked" a lot and have spent a week or so down in Terlingua with no hookups at all. We have found this to be far easier than we were warned. We are off the grid, but have a support staff that is second to none. Our little nurse wagon has a very dependable Perkins generator and a large tank of water. Our water consumption is rarely over 20 gallons a day. The water is not potable and having to keep 10 gallons of drinking water around requires getting used to. We have a second wagon that handles our sewer, so we don't need a regular visit from a "honey wagon". Being appreciative of machinery,  I keep a pretty good eye on the generator. Even though we know it's out there, we rarely notice it. I guess what I'm trying to say is that while we may be off the grid-our little nurse wagons more than adequately fill the role.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Living in Someone Else's House

As she is fond of doing, Mother Nature let us know who's in charge out here. High winds scared us into getting out of bed and stowing the awning; even though it was tied down. Several homes were damaged near here, so I guess it was prudent. Missy is still adjusting to night shift so she wandered outside only to find our camp chairs covered with small to medium scorpions. Her shouts drew me to the scene of the crime where a brief battle ensued-the scorpions lost. I have reminded myself and Missy to shake out shoes and bedding forthwith. Then our cat discovered a field mouse and harassed it till I ended her fun and released it in a field. If you add the cows wandering about; much less all the oil workers and their equipment, we are definitely not the "King of the Roost". Thirty miles or so doesn't seem so far, but it sure is a long way from civilization. We definitely are living in someone else's house and Mother Nature is in charge.

Friday, September 16, 2011

New Digs

We have been relocated by our company to a tiny berg called Gillett-or at least somewhere near there. We drove about thirty miles, turned off the main highway and headed down a gravel road for at least 3 more miles. We are literally parked in a cow pasture. The owner has given strict instructions that the gate remain closed at all times. I hope it's only cows grazing here-the fence is ten feet plus high with a barbed wire topping. This will be our gate-we were the first in other than the workmen that laid the pads and roads! Today we got to observe the very beginnings of an oil well as they drilled for the first time. As I've said before it's boom times here and they have to follow a schedule-the rig up from us has just about finished and that rig and crew is headed our way. We are getting a crash course in oil exploration and the monikers that are attached to it. We have "company man", "tool pushers", "roustabouts", "roughnecks", etc. We are enjoying the experience and getting paid well for our labor. We have the "icing on the cake" of being employed by a good company with outstanding support personnel. We're looking forward to cooler weather and are ready to hunker down for the winter.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Slow Times on the Gate

First, we now have internet! Our MiFi from Virgin Mobile works like a champ. Our DISH is aimed and hooked up and the a/c is working well. We started on a gate the day after we got here and organized chaos reigned for about a day and a half.  The rig we were assigned to was coming down and we replaced the guards that follow the rig, It was interesting watching the dissassembly and the amount of men and materiel it took. At one time we must have had fifty to sixty trucks lined up in here and out on our access road. The third day things slowed down tremendously as all that was left was some pallets and miscellaneous equipment. Yesterday, there was minimal traffic and we got to watch the NASCAR night race without interruption. We also got a full nites rest. Very unusual in the gate guarding business. Today we are sucking up the a/c and watching football. Unless they frack or find something else to do, we'll probably be out of here tomorrow. If not, we'll gladly keep an eye on things and enjoy the peace and quiet. I'll update again soon.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

We're Here!

We relocated to Southeast Texas, (as threatened) and began our work as Gate Guards on an oil well. We were put to work the morning after we arrived. Let me first say, “Everything we encountered was as I had researched.” It is dusty and hot. Your sleep and rest expectations will require adjustments. If you haven’t lived “off the grid” for an extended period of time, you may have trouble adjusting. Gate Guard Services or GGS (the company we contract with-and; I hope, they don’t mind me mentioning their name), has exceeded our expectations. About GGS-they want quality, dependable people and will cater to you if you put in an honest, hard day’s work. In exchange, we have a dependable water supply (not potable), a generator and a septic system. A team of really nice, hard working individuals keeps all that “ginning along”. A phone call gets any assistance you might need. We were even offered a cell phone booster at no cost should our signal not be strong enough. (something not previously mentioned) The pay is a minimum of $125.00 a day (more is paid for multiple well sites) and you have to file for your own taxes. The Eagle Ford Shale deposits are booming right now and the local infrastructure is struggling to keep up. It is boom times here right now.
Back to full timing and RV’s. Our trip south for the winter cost us about $300.00 and took an easy two days. Jesabel ran well and drank diesel at around 10 mpg. Not bad for 35 feet of motor home with a Hyundai Santa Fe towed behind it. Subtracting the estimated cost of meals and a hotel for the same trip in a car makes it an even better deal. I was determined to find winter employment this season and have accomplished that. So far, so good. I’ll update soon.