Some of you may know that we have arguably the most "cush" gate in the patch. When we stumbled into pipeline and construction work, we had no idea what was in store. We quickly found out that high traffic flow is not the hallmark of the job. Quite the opposite; three to five vehicles a day was the norm, unless supplies or material was coming in. They also rarely work nights and weekends, and even more rarely, on a Sunday. That provides us the added benefit of not having to be outside much, exposed to the elements. Did I mention that we only log after hours, on weekends and holidays? And then, only if they are not known to us. Finally, the lack of traffic has also provided us with the ability to supplement our income as one person can easily run our gate, while the other takes side work.
The recent onslaught of cold by "old man winter" has been a rude awakening; even to veteran guards. Add to that persistent rain and cloudy days and you have the recipe for a challenging work environment. You may have noticed that on the list of necessities that a lot of veteran guards provide noobs is long undies and insulated overalls and jackets. For some, that might have come as a surprise; especially after a summer in South Texas. While our current situation allows us some respite from the cold: we both are veterans of some trying, miserably cold shifts on a gate. Oddly enough, my worst experience was an overnight shift on a gate within spitting distance of the Rio Grande river. Who knew that that far South you could get freezing rain and sleet? It unfortunately was a very busy gate, further adding to the misery. Nights like that test your resolve to perform your duties.
We recognize and are grateful for the situation that we find ourselves in. Especially considering that so many guards are sitting and making no income at all. However, winter will eventually pass and high temps will be the rule, not the exception. Hopefully, you have found ways to stay warm-gate guards are nothing, if not creative. I, for one, will welcome the heat. I'd rather sweat than shiver any day.