One of the things I like about myself is I have never been scared of change. I’ve changed careers, wives and hair styles with with aplomb and grace. Don’t bother me a bit most times he said with an almost straight face.
Back in February 2011, Me and Little Blondie decided to do the oil field gate guard thing and we stayed in the Barnett Shale until the following January. The Barnett was closing down; we were such rooks we didn’t even realize it until months later. We were working for Gate Guard Services out of Corpus at the time making the then standard $125 per day. GGS is a wonderful outfit if you are a noob just getting your feet wet for the first time in the oil patch. We were fortunate to choose them initially and I still recommend them for first time gate guards.
When the Fort Worth GGS office had no decent gates left to give us, we called the GGS office in Carrizo Springs, South Texas and sure enough they had a gate for us — in Far West Texas! We ended up outside of Iraan /Ft. Stockton / Balmorrhea for the next few months. I am glad we didn’t stay any longer than that. West Texas is a different environment if you are an oilfield gate guard. The distances are greater, everything is more expensive and gate assignments are not as plentiful –all for the standard $125 a day. We both loved West Texas but certainly did not care for being a gate guard out that way. I would not recommend it. I hear the gate guard companies are now having to pay a premium rate to get gate guards to go out that way. I guess word got out, huh?
Three months out there and GGS got outbid on the contract and we were huntin’ another home. Ended up this time outside of Catarina, Puckerbrush Country, South Texas by providence and the grace of God. We were still with GGS, still making $125 a day. Well sir, we asked for more money. Other gate guard companies were beginning to see the light and pay their guards more; not GGS. Then they came out with their non disclosure agreement and it chapped my ass–bad! After a year or better outside of Catarina for GGS, an opportunity came up at a gate 30 feet away from us — at $200 per day. I had been watching the goings on at our neighbors for a good while and I knew that other gate guard company did not have the choice equipment nor provide the support that GGS did. I also know that I was a low drag gate guard who took care of most of the problems in house and we were a no snivelin’ household. GGS knew this but they didn’t care to pay for it. Why not jump ship and get paid handsomely to do what we were already doing? Ummm, do the math! 300 days average per year on the gate for GGS equals $37,500. Same number of days on the gate for the new outfit equals $60 grand. That NDA BS punched our ticket as far as I was concerned. Adios Gate Guard Services.
I am going to do something uncharacteristic here and name some names because they deserve it. When we jumped ship we went with KC Services out of Laredo. They paid top dollar for gate guards at the time – $200 per day. They are still at the top of the scale as far as I know. That was 2 years and 3 months ago. Along the way, we had to take care of some problems ourselves and do without the hand holding that GGS is known for. You have to have your Big Boy pants on to work for KC. We knew that going in and whenever we had to deal with a problem or there was a minor glitch in the plan, Little Blondie would look at me and say “That is why we are making the BIG money!” ‘Nuff said! KC Services number is (956)-791-0064. Anna is the office manager. Kim is the Boss Lady. These are GOOD people friends and neighbors! I loved them alot. Before you go rushing for your iPhone to call ‘em up just be *******strongly********* advised that if you are an inherent whiner or a sorry slacker this is NOT Repeat NOT the gig for you. They will eat you alive and spit out the bloody pulp. In the same vein, if you are a noob, stay away. Get that first gig with GGS or somebody that don’t mind holding your hand an itty bitty. I don’t care how full of yourself you are, how you really believe down in your hearts of hearts you and wifey are going to be the best gate guards ever, the Puckerbrush and the daily grind of this gate guard job have a way of turning even the best intentioned folks inside out.
So along about the end of September, the Ranch Manager drove up and the window slid down indicating it was time for a chat.
Him: “You heard anything?” He usually starts a chat like that.
Me: “No sir. You?”
Him: “Got a call from Houston. They are replacing your company here on the gate. I told them you needed to stay because I don’t sleep good at night when you are not here. You know this.”
My mind was going a hunnert miles an hour. Talk about left field! I had no clue this was coming down the pike.
About all I could do was say “Well thanks. I appreciate that.”
Him: “They said they were going to call you and the new gate guard company was going to be in touch with an offer. Let me know what you decide, OK?”
Me: “Yes sir.” The window went up and he drove off. He don’t say much.
I got a call from Houston Corporate three days later and they did in fact want me to remain here with the new company. They told me who the New Folks were and that they would be in touch. Alrighty then. 3-4 more days go by and I am wondering why the New Folks haven’t contacted me. The separation date was October 6 and we were pushing right up on it. Hell, I was out most mornings hauling detritus collected over two years off to the trash trailer. I was picking stuff up and storing it away in the DTB. I even got the go ahead from the Big Man here on the Ranch to pull the No Princess Palace over to his facility and squat for a week or so if I got blown out of here. In the meantime, KC called me with an attractive assignment down on the border that was just a daytime gate. Real tempting……
I just kept waiting on that phone call from the New Folks. One hot ass afternoon I was sitting in the cool of the inside and I spied a strange Superduty tentatively deciding if they wanted to come in the gate or not. When you been at the same place for over two years, vehicles that don’t belong just scream back at ya. I grabbed up the clipboard and stepped out into the furnace to see what they might be wanting. It was the New Folks. They decided they might oughta check out this gate guard that Corporate rated so high in person instead of blowing it off with a phone call. Extra credit for them.
The next 2 hours was just a blur of stacks of paperwork, shirts and pants and an iPad. Then a few minutes of “We are the new sheriff. Here are the rules.” Boil it all down and I have to wear khaki pants and a logo’d shirt and cap….. and use an iPad instead of paper logs. On my end, I got a raise on my single guard daily rate and I am an employee with full benefits in 90 days. I welcome the help on the taxes –that was getting to be a pain!!! and it will be nice to get some company health insurance. They also do direct deposit weekly - that is sweet! The iPad that everybody carries on so about? I signed on to do a job that uses an iPad. I knew that going in. That’s all I’ll be saying about that.
I am 10 days or so in with the New Folks and I have had to make a few minor changes. I can’t wear a short sleeve t-shirt out in this UV. Already too much sun damage on the old bod and I don’t need no more. Next thing is I am gonna give them back those khaki pants – too Wal-marty cheap for me. Last few years when I am not Wearing the Wrangler 13MWZ Jeans, I like the 5.11 Men’s Cotton Tactical Pant . They wear like iron and they feel substantial on this wrinkled old ass. They just do. (I appreciate it when you click those Amazon links folks. The light don’t stay on here without a few pesos to pay the bills)
End Note: Undone by Nathan Hamilton from the Receive album.
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