Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Endorsed Items

Our Top 10 products in use EVERY day while boondocking or gate guarding.


All ads other than Amazon have been removed. Thank you for using my Amazon links like the one above for your online shopping.



You're not in Kansas anymore.

Vela Von at one year old

A coupla years back we scheduled a week or so off the gate and on the appointed day the relief gate guards the company had selected showed up so we could be on our way.  The old man that crawled out of that F-250 so slowly concerned me.  He was all hunched over and stove up, walking with a cane.  He had to turn his head sideways to look me in the eye and he must have noticed some concern on my face because he said ‘Don’t fret,  I been to this rodeo before.’

When we got back to the gate and the regulars started to come in and out,  I asked them how the Old Man and his wife did.  To a man, they sang his praises.  It took him forever to come out of the RV with those steps and all; so he didn’t.  They said he sat outside the RV all day long in a chair with an umbrella so he could check them in ricky tick and this was May – and it was hot.  I could hear the respect in their voice when they spoke of him.   He would do to ride the river with in their mind and that level of respect don’t come easy in these parts.

And that is pretty much how it is in the oil patch.  A man walks into a bar in Moscow or Memphis or Mexico City and he overhears a conversation about the oil fields at one of the tables.  He walks over and says ‘Hey fellas, can I buy you a beer and join you?  I done my time in the Barnett, Permian and Eagle Ford.’  Just watch how quick another chair is pulled up and the stranger is welcomed to the group.  It is a brotherhood, a fraternity, and those survivors know exactly what I am talking about.

Back when the bottom dropped out of the shale oil fields and people were crying they were going broke at $75/barrel, I told ’em to just wait and see what happened next.  In  the oil business you adapt, adjust and overcome regardless of the magnitude of the task that faces you.  It has been thataway since Spindletop and it just is.  Regardless of where you go in the world, the technology, equipment and smarts they are using to get that oil and gas out of the ground more ‘n’ likely originated in Texas.  So I knew damn well those smart boys in Houston would adapt and figure out a way to make money on shale oil at $50 or so a barrel  – and they have.  The Eagle Ford is picking back up.

Over the years, I have maintained these three constants when it comes to being an oilfield gate guard in Texas.

  • The job is not for everybody.
  • It ain’t rocket science.  Don’t make it so.
  • There is NO snivelin’ in the oil patch.

So it was with some interest I started reading a blog from gate guard noobs.  It was so predictable…………  problems with water, fuel, work schedule,  just exactly what their  job duties were etc.  I even went so far as to write a long comment to one of their posts:

An observation from someone who has gate guarded for more than a few years………

I volunteered to change the oil and filters on the company generator. I am on a slow gate and have the time to do it.I text my service guy 4 days before I need fuel. I have 10 gallons of emergency diesel on hand just in case.If my water guy misses a delivery, I run off my onboard tank. He usually shows up the next day. No biggie.If my generator craps the bed at 11pm on Saturday night, I drag out my little Honda 2000 and fire it up. If it is cool weather, most likely I will call on MONDAY and tell ’em I need a fix. If it is hot and I need AC, I call Sunday and have the nurse trailer buttoned up and ready to go when they get here with a swapout.

Why??????? My experience has been the fellas that service the needs of the gate guard people work really hard. Erratic hours, weekends, call outs when there is a problem etc – they always seem to have more on their plate than they can get done. They work hard and the job can be pretty thankless.

Most new gate guards think establishing a good work rep enhances their employment opportunities. Maybe not so much if you think about it. Gate guarding is not rocket science MOST of the time. You show up to check them in or out in reasonable time and that is pretty much the crux of it. Easy peasy. That may not be the case if you have an emergency onsite. Perhaps a fatality, serious injury, H2S incursion, distillate tanks blowing up, fires or serious oil leaks can change the game in a matter of moments and you best be ready to bring your best game at that point. Things can get deadly serious in a heartbeat and your role will be important and pivotal. Been there and done all those things listed at some point in the past.

What really counts as far as job security and steady employment in this business is low drag. The less burden you are on the company, the fewer resources they expend on you, the less time they have to spend on your comfort, necessities, well being etc the more valuable an asset you are to the company. When the bottom dropped out of the Eagle Ford in early 2014, you better believe when all the gate shuffling was over that the remaining gate guards were most certainly of the low drag variety. I joke with my supervisor that if I EVER call him, his next call will probably be to 911. He laughs but he KNOWS and I KNOW what I am really saying.

Sorry if this went on for too long and please understand I am not preachifying. I enjoy your blog and it brings back some (good) memories when I was first starting out and trying to understand this oil field business and the odd culture that is so important to its’ success. Keep up the good work y’all. God bless ya, your hearts seem to be in the right place.

February 2011 – Our very first gate that saw up to 1000 vehicles pass per day. We stayed until it closed. Man up or go home.

I was trying my damned best to be helpful and clue them up that complaining and telling  the Company Man or your Service Guy how to do their job doesn’t cut it down here.   I was being diplomatic because I coulda said ‘Nobody gives a damn how you did it up North.’   But I didn’t;  +1 for the curmudgeon.

But the bitch-fest was far from over.  They got a new Company Man. I don’t know if he is new-new or their old Company Man just rotated out for time off.  Anyway,  he laid it down that the gates now had to be closed at all times and the butthurt reached new heights.   Stuff like that wasn’t in the job description and it increased their workload xx seconds per vehicle ( they actually did some sort of spread sheet on that;  Christ on a cracker!) and the wind blows the gates and it is basically hell on earth and the RULE MUST BE CHANGED.  Yeah, right, good luck with that.  Remember that adapt, adjust, overcome thing??

More from 2011

So I made another comment and suggested they only open one panel to admit a 4 wheel vehicle; only open both panels for the big trucks.  They received probably a dozen suggestions about how to cope with opening the gates and replied to each one and said ‘No, that won’t work because……’  Folks were honestly trying to help out and they were dismissed out of hand because these people had been horribly wronged when tasked with closing the gates and that is the thing that must change.  I even mentioned in my comment that it might be more productive to solve the logistics of closing the gate VS. going butthurt ballistic about a change in job duties.  Hellfire, they were keeping hourly statistics and had fallen down the fatal wormhole of trying to equate the workload in relation to an hourly pay rate.  You get paid BY THE DAY, you have no rent or utilities and you decide who is going to work and when.  That is the job  -nada mas.

To give the noobs credit, they did figure out a way to keep the gates closed without chasing them in the wind and they did follow my suggestion about only opening one panel.  At the same time,  the mindset changed from trying to do the best job possible to retaliation.  I.e., if this is the way they are going to treat us (butthurtness showing)  I am going to back off and do just the minimum to get by.  OK,  eighty percenters,  you lost my support right then and there.   Nothing chaps my cheeks worser than an intentional slacker!   You do not complain and whine and bitch and slack your  job behind your employer’s back and still take his money on payday.  Ever.  If it is that bad, leave with dignity.  Now. That is why your house has wheels.

I really hope they clue up quick and they make a showing down here, I really do.  Most of the tribulation they are experiencing is due to the foreign work environment and bein’ in South Texas.    They are 30 days in right now and an enlightenment is overdue in my book.   In case it doesn’t, this is how it will play out…..  Someone from the guard company will call up or show up and tell them they are being replaced.  No reason given.   They will be told to go to a company yard or find a spot at a local RV park to wait for their next assignment.  Except there won’t be a next assignment; not from their current company anyway.  Gate guards are seldom fired out and out;  they are just allowed to sit and rot away.

Why I am bagging so hard on these poor folks you are probably thinkin’………….. after all, it is not my circus, not my monkeys.  I can almost guarantee you somebody who is researching about gate guarding in South Texas is reading this right now.  If I can only impress upon those prospective noobs that you go along to get along at first and that you listen more than you run your yap, the whole process will be more pleasant and decidedly more successful for them.

That’s why. You either get it  – or you never will.  It is what it is.

End Note:  Jump into the Fire by Harry Nilsson from the Nilsson Schmilsson  cd.   This song came up in conversation with BFF Cait.  Seems it is the opener for the new season of a show we watch.

I texted her:

‘ Sad part is I remember when this album hit the streets. (1971)’

She texted me back:

‘That is not sad.  That is legit.’

So, I will take the compliment.  This video is truly odd but well worth the bandwidth.

If you want the full leaded version with a driving bass line and incendiary drum solo, do this one.


VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (15 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +14 (from 14 votes)
You're not in Kansas anymore., 10.0 out of 10 based on 15 ratings
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...






14 comments to You’re not in Kansas anymore.

  • Ken

    Way to go.Nuthin chaps me so bad as lazy and entitled. They take up a job that a good hand needs and wants. They get their knickers all knotted up and whine. Hell, go whine sommers else.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • Mike

    Can’t understand that attitude, have seen it before, but still can’t see how people don’t get the fact that if you work for someone and take their money, you do things the way they want them done. Even when I became self employed that focus just shifted to my customers.
    They just don’t get that it is not about them, it is about doing the job.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • Paul Dahl

    Seen the same attitudes while doing some volunteer work for the Army Corps of Engineers. We always went beyond what was required of us gladly, knowing that we were helping make the campgrounds a better place for the folks (tax payers) to enjoy. It wasn’t hard to do, we enjoyed the work and were very appreciated by the overworked and under paid rangers. Yet there were others that did exactly what was required of them and not a minute more, some even scammed the work and did less than that. Thankfully these people were few.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • EC

    Been following the blog in question, was wondering if you were and would comment, Im glad you did. I fear those folks will never make it at work camping, same attitude most gigs. Thanks for giving the new folks a honest perspective.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • AstrosFan

    Been reading your blog for over a year. Finally decided to give it a try. Been on a gate in South Texas for only 3 days. Your information was a great help to let us know what to expect. Your blog removed a lot of apprehension on the part of my wife. Thanks for taking the time as it provided much information prior to starting.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • bull nutria

    Hi Andy,

    I thought about you today when I sighted in a scope that I put on one of the Remington pump 22 rifles I purchased from you a while back. little rifle shot well. I hadn’t read your blog for a while and enjoyed the “Not in Kansas anymore”. You definitely have a way with words that is entertaining and informative! I appreciate your blog and informative posts. I don’t have a generator but if I do get one it will be a Honda, I have used them before and they are worth it! dam sure won’t be a yamerha!!
    Good Luck to ya!
    Bull

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • Andy

      Thanks Bull,
      Hope those little rifles are doing well for you. I packed one up this week in one of those longterm VCI milspec storage bags. I got the rifle on my 16th birthday in 1971. At some point, it is going to skip a generation of use and go to the grandboy.

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • bull nutria

    Well a buddy of mine wanted one of the two rifles so I sold it to him for what I had in it. I have 3 of the 572 now, 2 newer ones and the slick one I bought from you.

    I have been away from your blog a while and just read the story you referenced about the Chezks. I really enjoyed that as I think I am Polish. My grandpa Yakupzack came from the old country in about 1918 to Ellis Island. we don’t know if it really was Poland but it was in the area somewhere. My dads sister said that they received letters from their kin before WWII but none after the war, I think the germans sent my kin to the concentration camps?? I don’t know a word of Polish, granpa married a Cajun and separated and moved to New York and was never heard from again. I am about 3/4 Cajun and 1/4 polish so I say I am a Polass which is across between a coonass Cajun and a Polock.

    I enjoy Texas and have visited many times I really enjoyed your discussion of bar be cue, I was LOL cuz it if funny the way folks carry on with all the rubs and marinades etc, You captured it perfectly.

    thanks a gain for the interesting Blog!

    Bull

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • Andy

      It is hard to beat that old iron Bull. I am trying my best to get a Remington Model 8 in 35 Remington right now. I figure it will be a hog thumper for sure.

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • bull nutria

    yes a model 8 in 35rem would be a hog thumper but may be tough to find since they haven’t been made for almost a 100 years. good luck, I have seen recent gun mag articles about that model 8. I have a Thompson Center single shot break action in 35 whelen that is a thumper also. You know the REM model 760 was made in 35 whelen and 35 rem if I am not mistaken. I have a 760 in 30.06 and it is very accurate. May be easier to come by than a model 8 in 35 caliber. I would stay away from the 742 REM autos they have a nick name jamomatics.

    Bull

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • Andy

      I am dead set on a Model 8 Bull. Besides being designed by John Moses Browning, it was the FIRST semi auto center fire rifle ever produced.

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • bull nutria

    I didn’t know Browning designed the model 8 also, I have 2-SA 22s, that old Browning designed and a 1911-45ACP.I read a book about him he was a genius and never finished high school. He designed most of his early guns without power tools–with a file and other hand tools. he Helped win WWII with the Ma deuce 50 cal machine gun! Many of his designs are still in use today and have been modified. won’t be another Browning!!!He is a hero of mine.

    If I run across a model 8, i’ll sure let you know!

    Bull

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • bull nutria

    http://thegreatmodel8.remingtonsociety.com/?page_id=8

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Leave a Reply

 

 

 

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>