Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Job of Gate Guarding

I like what I do for a living. I may be an old curmudgeon but I do like meeting and interacting with folks. I also enjoy watching the process of producing oil from the ground. I do regret that my partner is not as enamored with the job as me. The workamping sites continue to have lively discussions over the issue of pay with the only agreement seeming to be that it is inadequate, at least from the workers point of view. I do know we could not make ends meet doing campground work. Unfortunately, making a living on the road is fraught with uncertainty and supplemental income is almost a necessity to make it happen. Which brings us back to gate guarding. Our struggles on the road only steeled my resolve to make gate guarding work. Perhaps the biggest obstacle keeping folks from becoming, or continuing as gate guards, is the commitment required. Very few jobs require a twenty four hour presence without a break for weeks on end. Detractors also like to break down the total hours worked, dividing the total, and claiming the pay is not worth it. I think a lot of them must not have tried to make a living on the road. I simply look at it from a different perspective, knowing from experience I can't make the same money elsewhere. We also have the luxury of taking time off between postings. I believe our attitude has helped us to continue to have gates offered to us on a regular basis. It remains to be seen if the petroleum industry recovers here in South Texas. Hopefully we can keep working for a while longer.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Creature Comforts and Toys

As varying as the work and job sites can be, there is a certain tedium to the work we do as gate guards. Besides taking occasional breaks, most all of us have to find something to keep from going stir crazy. Some paint, some sew or crochet, most of us read-you get the idea. It didn't take long after our first check in the patch that we decided to splurge on satellite television. When we were living hand to mouth, television wasn't even on the list of necessities. Since then we both have acquired smart phones and also now have satellite internet. Depending on your creativity; you can find ways of deducting most of that stuff when your stuck out in the pucker brush; miles from civilization. Just remember that I'm no tax expert. Recently I reluctantly retired my faithful 4 cup coffee maker; as Missy insisted we upgrade to a Kuerig brewer. This little miracle can make everything from coffee to soup. I've already grown fond of it. We've also indulged and bought a couple of quadcopters. I have long accepted and surrendered to the fact that technology has out run me (actually I think it ran me over and left me behind). These little quadcopters certainly confirm that fact. They have cameras and can take both video and still photographs. Most have four propellers, each rotating in opposite directions, which give them exceptional maneuverability. The learning curve has been steep and the caliche has been unforgiving. However; unlike the helicopters we initially tried to master, we seem to be able to control the quadcopters pretty well and see regular improvement in our skills. The one caveat being to not attempt to fly them if it's windy. If you get creative you can be comfortable out here and find things to keep you busy in your downtime.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Holiday Time?

I rolled into Wally World the other day to find a bizarre collection of Christmas and Halloween decor. Most of my dear readers know that this is precisely why I abhor the holiday season, especially in its current state. I am known to cut my visits to stores when the Christmas music starts blaring out of the muzak system. Seriously; it drives me bonkers and I don't do any serious shopping till it stops. Retailers continue to push their scheduling of the holidays further and further back, now trampling on Halloween. I even heard tell of an early "Black Friday" shopping day. I know I wax nostalgic a lot, but my childhood memories of the holidays seem so different. The way I remember it there was a distinct separation of the holidays and Christmas didn't really kick into gear till around Thanksgiving. Internet shopping is a godsend and tailored for Scrooges like me.

It has been an all too weird past few weeks as the Autumnal Equinox came and went, signaling the end of summer.

The never ending drama that is Hillary Clinton continued to drag on and still her ardent supporters remain faithful; seemingly oblivious to the lying and conniving that is her specialty. Will we ever get the bottom line and truth out of her on Benghazi? Somehow I doubt it.

The PTB have finally admitted they lied in regards to just about any maneuver they've attempted in the Middle East. The latest being that; after spending millions and millions of our taxpayer dollars, the arming and training of the rebels in Syria is in shambles and an abject failure. To add insult to injury, this bunch turned around and sold the supplies we sent them to Assad's military. I'm thinking someone noticed something around that time.

The Pope came to the US of A and addressed a joint meeting of Congress, something that has never happened. Apparently something he said had some effect, because the spirit moved in John Boehner. He resigned shortly after the Pope's appearance. Don't you wish he'd had the same effect on a lot of the other curmudgeons in Congress?

Adding to the weirdness, we also had a lunar eclipse and a super moon at the same time; an event that won't come around again till some time in the 2030's.

Finally, it appears that we're going to have a hurricane strike the east coast. Let's hope it's not another devastating October storm.