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Finite Lives

Close but no cigar…….

Just plain ol’  facts…..

  • We are all gonna die.
  • Anything mechanical will eventually fail.

I don’t feel like discussing that first statement this morning because I am feeling particularly froggy  on this first week of Fall. But now that second one– yeah, we gotta talk about it.

As oil field gate guards, 99.5 per cent of us are stuck out somewhere on a caliche  dust road with little or no customary amenities. We are dependent on our nurse trailer with its’ generator, septic and water setup.  Without that,  our sojourn on the gate would be plenty less livable.  Many of y’all are enjoying the Cadillac setup that Gate Guard Services provides.   As a matter of fact,   the ‘good equipment’  is the reason many of us work for GGS to start with.    GGS may be the biggest oilfield gate guard employer down here in the Eagle Ford Shale but they are by no means the  only employer.

When we were sitting that gate outside of Catarina,  we had neighbors directly across the high fence that worked for one of the smallest gate guard service companies.  Miss Kathy and I watched the shenanigans across the fence month after month.  Decrepit old equipment that was generally bought second hand, erratic deliveries of  fresh water  and pretty sketchy septic service.  We actually gloated about it just a teeny bit; not wishing those folks any ill will or nothing but we just felt pretty damned smug about the whole situation.

Less than optimum oil field gate guard setup — this is what we are dealing with folks.

Now the Good Book says plenty on the subject of being judgmental and looking down on your neighbor; it surely does.   We felt so good about our little gig with GGS until we found out what our neighbors across the fence were making.  I am not talking about $10 or $15 dollars more per day, I am talking mucho dinero mas.   Abruptly, their setup didn’t look so bad after all.

So it came to be the first part of August our gate with GGS closed down.  I called our Supervisor and he didn’t have a really good assignment right then for us so I told him I would holler back at him in the morning.   Miss Kathy and I had grown tired of the increasing layers of bureaucracy and politics  at Gate Guard Services and the non disclosure agreement they required us to sign was the icing on the cake.  We decided to call around a bit and just see what else was available.  Of course, we called that outfit next door.

Well, it seems we were not the only ones peepin’ across the fence.  The supervisor and owner of the small company were keenly aware of who we were and what kind of job we had been doing and they jumped at the chance to hire us.  As a matter of fact, they were so anxious to hire us they gave us the next door gate as our first assignment.  Our move was all of 100 feet, if that.

Miss K and I knew a higher daily contract wage came with more work on our part.  After all, we had been watching the other folks for 4 months.  We were both willing to put up with the extra work and increased frustration for the higher pay.  That is pretty much how it has been too.  We call for fuel with ample advance notice and they may show up on time and maybe not.  We keep 10 gallons of diesel in our cans just in case and we have already had to use it.  The fresh water is in a 275 gallon translucent tote that will grow algae between breakfast and supper if you aren’t watching real close so I have to stay on top of that.  The Frankenstein Generator has been problematic.  Due to its’ propensity to just quit making power at odd times and with no logical reason, we have managed to put about 50 hours on our generator.

But you know, it is all good.  I needed a little more to do to get me out of the RV anyhow.  It really hit home when we got our first paycheck — direct deposit BTW!  If an itty bitty company like this can do direct deposit why can’t Gate Guard Services??  It sure is nice to end a pay period and  get your pay the next day.

The other week our service guy was out and we were fiddling with the generator yet again.  I told him I thought this rascal was on its’ last legs.  The voltage had started to fluctuate quite a bit and it was burning almost a pint of oil every 24 hours.  He asked me what I wanted to do….   I told him I planned to run it until it blew and then give him a call.   He told me they were in the process of buying some light tower / generator combos and he would see what he could do.  True to their clusterf*ck ways, Miss K got a text last week that said a guy was delivering a light tower and we needed to figure out how to get it off the flatbed trailer. When she asked the ETA, she was told 45 minutes!!    I was just coming off of shift and was give out and I certainly did not want to deal with this.  I just kept on saying ‘Remember the money!   Remember the money!’

The truck driver showed up and guess what?  He had SIX light towers to unload at our place.  Seems like the plan was to unload them all here because they knew we would find a way to do it and then pull them out to various locations.  One of them would remain behind for our use.  We got it done with the help of a gracious Company Man and his forklift and operator.

During the course of the unloading I noticed one of the light tower sets was different.  It was bigger than the rest.   I asked the truck driver what was going on with that and he said his instructions from the owner were to leave the big(ger) one here for our use.    Hmmmm  — I had to check this baby out.

Let me tell ya folks I am a happy gate guard these days for two reasons.  One, the new setup is a brute!  20kw diesel powered by a 32hp Isuzu diesel.  It is quiet and efficient and puts out enough juice to power 2 recreational vehicles easily.  I have — count ’em– 2 50amp hookups, 2 30amp hookups and 4 110v hookups.  Not to mention 4 brighter than the sun halide lights.  Whooooo eeee!  Let me tell ya, it is sweet!  The second reason I am happy is because the owner is noticing the job we are doing and specifically got the setup for our use.   Everybody likes to be recognized for the effort they put into the job, right?

Posts have been sorta spotty lately and one reason is our Wilson 801245 amplifier failed.  Came in the RV the other afternoon after doing some piddling outside and Miss K gave me a stinkeye and wanted to know what was up with our internet.  I glanced at the amp on the wall and the little green lights were just barely glowing  — not good, not good at all.  This is the third amp failure we have experienced but I have to be utterly fair  — the last failure was almost 2 years ago and the darned thing is powered on 24/7.  I also think all the jinking around with the Frankenstein generator hastened its’ demise.

A call to Wilson Electronics in St George, UT was in order.  When I got ahold of John in the Tech Department and told him the symptoms he told me it was fried and asked me for the serial number.  229 days out of warranty was what he said.  The next was totally unexpected…. he gave me an RMA number and told me to send it in.  They would replace it yet AGAIN at no cost to me.  Holy crap!  Who gives you that kinda service these days folks?  ‘Oh. one thing’ , he said, ‘We no longer make the model you have. I will have to send you the newer model with the adjustable gain and higher output power.’  Like I am going to argue with that!

The new amp identification is kinda confusing so let me try to explain this out.  Wilson upgraded the 801245 amplifier with a few more amps of power and adjustable gain control  which allows you to use it in an RV with less antenna feedback problems.  Wilson calls it the SOHO 60  but the model number is STILL designated as 801245.  My fried unit was an 801245 — the new and improved unit is 801245 as well…… jeez!   There are still some of the older model units floating around out there and they work just fine but all of you thinking about purchasing  a new Wilson amp need to get the latest and greatest.   Here is the correct Amazon link:

Wilson Electronics 801245 SOHO AG 60 Adjustable Gain Cell Phone Signal Booster

………and of course if you  click the Amazon link and buy anything during that session  even if it isn’t the Wilson amp, I get a little bit o’ cash and it costs you nada extra.   I sure do appreciate it as well.

 

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2 comments to Finite Lives

  • Joel

    “We are all gonna die.”

    And good health is merely the slowest way to die.

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  • cynthia trichel

    HELLO, IM GETTING INTO THIS GUARD BUSINESS. I WOULD REALLY LIKE TO KNOW SOME OF THE SMALL COMPANIES TO CHECK OUT. I’M A 53 YR OLD WOMAN, NEEDING TO PUT UP NEST EGG TO LIVE OFF OF. I HAVE A MOTORHOME AND WILL TRAVEL. CLEAN RECORD , NO DRUGS, AND A HARD WORKER. WAS A TRUCK DRIVER FOR 15 YRS, SO NOT MUCH WILL SURPRISE ME!!! THANK YOU FOR YOUR INFORMATION ON LINE. IT WAS VERY HELPFUL. CC TRICHEL

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