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Sleep Walking

Dammit, I had good and faithful intent to serve up a fine blog this morning.   Ain’t happening.  I am tired to death of myriad details of a burdensome few weeks.  It has been cloudy, drizzly, sprinkly, cold down here in the puckerbrush for four days straight — or maybe eight; I don’t exactly recall.   I do know that when you take a caliche rock road beat down and compressed harder than Little Blondie’s heart and add days of moisture on top of that hardpan you end up with a caliche gruel that just sloshes and slides across the top of the road.  It doesn’t run to the low ground and it doesn’t soak in.  It just is.

Border Outlaw

Border Outlaw

A production schedule here in the oil patch is invalid just ’bout as soon as it comes out of the printer.  I was rocking along lovin’ life on Oil Patch Easy Street with a handful of traffic that was entirely predictable every day.  Life was good.  Got a frac scheduled for February and then the drilling rigs roll back in ‘long about March.  I can dig it.

On 12/23 sorta late in the day I looked up when the Dakota Alert Break Beam chimed inbound and my heart sunk to my toes.  It was a Halliburton F250 and around my house that only means one thing — he is scouting out a frac.  Sure nuff friends and neighbors; sure nuff.  A frac was descending on me well ahead of schedule and there wasn’t a damned thing I could do to ameliorate the fallout.  So the procession of big motors and pumps and tanks and all such as that descended on me — all day Christmas; all that next week – all day New Years and it ain’t let up one iota till yet.

I ain’t no cherry when to comes to working a frac,  no sirree.  This is the first time I have worked one solo however… and it pretty much sucks. With the mud and cold weather as added fun, I am jumping up every few minute, slipping on the mud clogs and my vest or a coat and runnin’ out the door to catch a truck coming or going.  That repeats over and over and over about 22 hours of every day.  Mud shoes on. Mud shoes off.  Muddy dog feet.  Towels on the floor.  Rain on my glasses. North wind howling.   I am so sick and tired of these no driving border outlaw sand haulers poppin’ the clutch about the time I head around their front fender or trying to pull away in high range while the traffic stacks behind them to the point I could snatch one outta the cab and beat the snot out of him.  I swear the next one that tries that no habla crap on me I am gonna turn his ass around and send him packing back out the gate.  Maybe he will comprende that!  It is situations such as this that turn gate guards into slackers and they get derelict in their duties.  Ain’t happening on my watch.  Just gotta buck up and deal with it.

mud shoes

mud shoes

Now, it may seem like I am whinin’ — or maybe even snivelin’.  Not hardly. Y’all know there is no snivelin’ allowed in the oil patch.   I am grousing  – world of difference and totally allowed.  I can grouse with the best of ’em when I put my mind to it and the situation warrants.

I haven’t slept in the bed of the No Princess Palace since July ’cause the logistics just don’t work when you have to jump up out of a sound sleep to answer the gate.  I sleep too sound in the bed and sleeping on the couch is more like a nap and a short nap is all I  have been gettin’ of late.  A few more changes were mandated when I went from a duo to a solo.  Back in the day, when we first started gate guarding I figured out  those service station dinger alarms would drive me to distraction- real quick like!  We picked up a couple of Mighty Mule Wireless Driveway Alarms. They were cheap and probably worked good 95% of the time. As one of us was usually conscious while on duty, they worked just fine for what they were.  If they happened to miss a truck, usually the human caught it.  Running solo I couldn’t stay awake 24/7 but I still have to monitor the gate.  The Mule at 95% did not cut it.  I upgraded to the Dakota Alert breakbeam I mentioned above.  They are pricey rascals but I am telling you now they are worth every penny.  I have been running the one at the entrance gate for  six months and I can honestly say it has never missed a vehicle – not one.  Since they are solar powered I don’t even have to worry about replacing batteries!  I knew I had to replace the Mighty Mule that was set to alert on my outbound traffic.  Sometimes it missed a truck and sometimes I missed hearing it. The Dakota is about 4X as loud as The Mule for those of us that are hearing challenged. Well sir, you can add a transmitter set to the Dakota receiver and that is exactly what I did.  ( Dakota Alert Wireless Break Beam Sensors) The inbound chimes one way and the outbound chimes a different way and it is a killer set up let me tell ya.  The Ranch Manager here is a fine fella but he don’t cut no slack.  I guess he has bouts of insomnia ’cause he shows up at the oddest hours to see if I am paying attention.  So far the score is Me – ALL; Him – NONE.  Another thing I love about the Dakotas is they catch them sneakers that park out on the county road and walk in on me.  I would venture a guess that they would alert to illegal alien intrusion mighty good.

As I sit here putting the finishing touches on this entry the sun has come out and the San Antone weather man says the rain is over for the next 4 or 5 days.  About damned time!

 

End Note: The Weary Kind by Ryan Bingham from Junky Star

 

 

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7 comments to Sleep Walking

  • Jim

    We hear ya about the rain. The only issue we have about the site where on is there is no warning on vehicles in or out. It’s highway, cattle guard, us, pad in less than 100 feet. Can’t let the trucks stack up on the highway, but can’t have them rolling 50mph when they come thru either.
    Well at least with a frack you’ll get some catered meals!

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    • Andy

      RE: frac food

      This is a first. Halliburton has an onsite caterer for this frac crew. Complete with a kitchen trailer, trailer with assorted pits and smokers and an RV for the caterers to stay in. Never seen that before.

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  • Joel

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    • Andy

      Good one Joel. I caught Fogerty on AXS one day last week.

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  • Wallace

    Sleep deprivation is a form of torture. You need your sleep, brother!

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  • The downside of solo gate-guarding sounds unfun. Hasn’t Halliburton heard of the decline in oil prices? The weather sucked up here in Austin, too, but then the sun came back. Still cold, but sunny.

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    • Andy

      Dick,
      Anything that is paid for ie already in the operating budget, will probably go forward.

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