Jim and I share the 24/7 duties of being a gate guard. For us we have found a 12 hour shift each works. And since Jim is naturally a very early riser, we change shifts between 3 a.m. to 4 a.m. We don’t set alarm clocks or anything, but Jim usually wakes up about 3 a.m., gets shaved etc. while I make the first of two pots of coffee. He walks Poncho, drinks a couple cups of coffee and usually relieves me around 4 a.m.
I immediately go to bed, take my sleep aid pill, insert my ear plugs, tune our XM radio to some “white noise” station like Spa and read my Kindle for a few minutes and go to sleep. Unlike Jim who only needs 5-6 hours of sleep, I’m need a good 8+ hours, so I wake up around 11 a.m. or noon. That usually holds unless it is Friday when I meet Linda Mossman in Pleasanton for either a “girls day out” or to do laundry. In either case we always have lunch somewhere and I bring back dinner for Jim. So on Thursdays Jim relieves me early so I can get to sleep by 2 or 3 a.m. and get up at 10 a.m. on Fridays.
Our usual routine is for me to dress, have a fruit and veggie smoothie and go outside and help Jim log the vehicles in and out. I don’t get much traffic going through at night so Jim’s gets the bulk of the work while I’m sleeping. So when I get up I help him right away to equalize the workload and let him take a break. We usually sit outside together and I scribble info on the small clipboard and then I recite the info to him to write nicely on the form….Jim has much better penmanship than me. During the lulls in traffic I read my Kindle and Jim messes around on his Smart phone. It’s a pleasant way to spend the afternoon.
Jim or I will make dinner so we can eat about 4 p.m. and be finished before the night shift arrives around 5 p.m. We stay outside till all the day shift leaves about 6:30 then we come inside and watch a little TV before Jim goes to bed at 8 p.m. I record all the 8 and 9 p.m. TV shows for him to watch in the early morning hours.
During the night it usually is quiet after 9 or 10 p.m. so I have plenty of time to watch the daytime TV shows I record, knit, write our blog and surf the web till 3 a.m. when Jim gets up.
As you can see this is not a hard job….you basically write down the full name, company, license plate number and destination of each vehicle coming into the property, making note of the time they leave….usually on the same day. We are here to make sure only authorized people with business on the property come in. No general public or “lookie lou’s” allowed.
Tonight things are different. The drilling rig is moving out real soon so tonight I have a lot of equipment going out….and it’s raining…so instead of using the clipboard I’m using our micro recorder to record the pertinent information from the drivers then I come inside and “play” the recording and write down the information on the form. Caliche dirt roads become slick when it is wet and I have to be careful not to fall or have the wet goo pull the shoe right off my feet. This job is not nice when it is raining or when the dust is blowing….but we have to do the job in all kinds of weather.
Many of the workers who stay on the property go out for dinner every night and some go out for groceries once a week and cook for themselves in the mobile housing provided on the property by their companies. When they have a company barbecue they always bring us a couple of plates, which is very nice of them. I bake cookies and pass them out as a way of saying “thank you”. During frack there are catered meals every day; sometimes twice a day and we are always included.
The pay is good for those of us on social security (or as Jim says “the check of the month club”). The extra income pays for fuel and RV park fees for the rest of the year. We probably will not work as many months again as we did this time. These four months we worked to pay for the high insurance deductible for Jim’s hernia operation. From now on we will probably only work 6 to 8 weeks in the fall and that will pay for RV park fees for the winter.
We have less than three weeks before we leave for Louisiana for a month’s “vacation” at Betty’s RV Park in Abbeville. Jim and NanC Tidball will be there at the same time and we are really looking forward to seeing them again and enjoying all the seafood, Cajun and Zydeco music and wonderful people of the area. After that we will start heading back to Colorado.
Hope you enjoyed reading about our day and maybe I answered some of the questions many people have asked us about gate guarding.
Remember, you are loved.
Read the story behind the saying HERE