Today marks our 2 month anniversary on the Gate. I thought it was only fitting to do a little review of our adventure, there are pros and cons to everything…
Let me begin by saying we are thrilled with LOMA as a company!! We have had an excellent experience with them and would absolutely return to work for them again!! We have had excellent service from the water/diesel refills and poo emptying servicemen. All of our initial service calls were answered as quick as humanly possible and we did get the new generator that we desperately needed and have had zero problems since! All of our paychecks have been correct and on time!! When we inquired as to the difference in pay we were given a nice raise immediately with no negotiating necessary. LOMA has been a pleasure and made everything “corporate” about the job easy breezy. We wouldn’t entertain “trying” out a new company, if it ain’t broke…
The most important person to the Gate Guard in the ranch owner. We are ecstatic with our owners. We usually see him once or twice a week and he is always concerned with our well-being and always asks if there is anything he can do for us. We call him every time it rains to report in to save him a trip all the way out here. And when no one else could find the address to the ranch he made a few calls and had the county inspector come out to survey and get us the address. A very nice fella!! Those still in the corporate arena the ranch owner is the equivalent to the big wig president at your job. (On a side note…does the big wig at your job know your name and ask how you’re doing, genuinely, and do what they say they’re going to??) As with any owner or president they have the power to say who is going to be working on ranch (office) and who isn’t. If the rancher doesn’t like you, well the gate will not be your home for long!! We had a very good example of this during the pull out and clean up from the fracers. There were at least a dozen different companies subcontracted for one aspect or another of the fracing. There’s a lot of steps and things that go into putting on a production like that!! The company that has handled all the “poo” emptying for the residents was also contracted to handled all the lighting, trash and “potty” services during the frac as well. Makes sense. Well when the owner was down checking on things after the frac he noticed one of the guys from this company lose control of his trailer and plow through a fence. The guy didn’t attempt to fix the fence or call anyone regarding the incident. Needless to say that company no longer does any work on this ranch. Make the rancher happy and you’ll have a home for as long as you like!! Piss em off and you’re gone in a heartbeat!!
The companies we have been working with on the Gate contribute greatly to the overall experience as well. The Gate’s lease is held by Chesapeake. If you search the GGing forums you will find a lot of negative feedback on the company for several reasons. The first is that they are said to have a look down their nose attitude towards gate guards. Well, our experience has been that they aren’t the friendliest bunch of people we have worked with but they have not been rude either. More of an indifference I’d say…. Usually their visits are very quick and once a day, easily manageable. The second reason other guards don’t want to work a Chesapeake gate is the financial trouble they are rumored to be in. I haven’t done thorough research to see how “in trouble” they are but I did read they are in the process of filing for some kind of bankruptcy. Neither of these negative points have affected us so we give Chesapeake a neutral rating
Our residents with CCI are a completely different story!! Out of a possible 5 stars we give these guys a 10+ star rating!! They have been the nicest, sweetest, kindest most helpful bunch of men anyone could ask for!! They always ask if we need anything from town when they head out. And on more than one occasion they have saved our tushies but picking up this or that for us. They offer to take our trash for us. Their beautiful wives bake us goodies. And above all they are super friendly and treat us as one of the family!! Big Kudos to Ted, Rich and Chase for being super groovy and making our stay a pleasure!!
Now to the Pros and Cons of the job itself. Notice that some items are listed as both, a Pro and a Con…
The paycheck!!! – This has to be first…not many other workamping jobs have the pay scale of this one. But for us the money only offsets the Cons.
The seclusion. We are surrounded by desert brush and wildlife. It is easy to commune and meditate on the things that really matter and let go of what doesn’t here. This would be a great place for anyone trying to “find” themselves and determine the path they want their life to take! A break from society and civilization is a good thing. Tends to put things into perspective.
The wildlife. We have been able to observe, not just see, but really watch so much wildlife in its natural habitat. It’s one thing to see a bunny. It’s a completely different scenario to watch the bunnies nest, bring out their babies, fight off predators and play in the open!! (side note: They never did recognize the carrots as food. Very interesting!!) To see an ecosystem in full force is a very cool thing!!
The scenery. We both admit that we would have drove straight through this part of Texas if it weren’t for this job. We would have misses some beautiful sunrises and sunsets, interesting cactus, flowers for no reason and the overall amazingness of the brush desert. We both are glad we stopped for a spell to take it all in.
The schedule. We make our own schedule. We sleep when we want, eat when we want, go to town when we want…
The lack of constant supervision and rules. Like the freedom to make our own schedule we do not have anyone breathing down our necks…we just do our job! End of story!! We are able to be ourselves; wear what we want (I mainly wear sundresses), have tattoos showing, have piercings, long or short hair, smoke. None of it matters so long as we do our job.
Free time. We enjoy our free time here immensely!! Free time to do whatever we like. The majority of our time on the gate has been full of time to cook new recipes, read books and blogs, watch movies and of course Mr has had plenty of video game and comic book reading time!!
Safety. We are safe here. I feel safer here than I do in civilization anymore. People are crazy!! They blow up and shoot up public places for no reason!! I’ll take my chances out here with the wildlife any day over that!!
Togetherness. Part of this one is fulltiming I know but we’ve only fulltimed on the gate so… Our little family is together all the time. I love this!! I’m happiest with Chris and the kids. We feel like we have everything we need in this little 90 sq foot tin can, each other, our kids, food for our bellies, a roof over our heads, clothes for our backs… What else in life really matters??
24/7. Ok, I know I just said I liked the schedule… I like the freedom to make our own schedule!! I dislike that we have to make a 24/7 schedule. This is our 2 month anniversary, that means we have worked 60 days without a day off. And that’s not 60 8 hour or even 12 hour days, that’s 60 days 24 hours a day. We cannot sleep at the same time. We cannot lounge in PJs and sip morning coffee. We have to be dressed and ready to run to the gate as soon as the buzzer goes off, night or day. We cannot go to the store, movies, dinner together. This also makes intimacy interesting…I’ll leave it at that. The 24/7 schedule has been the hardest part for me. I miss Chris. Some may ask how I can miss him when I’m with him all day everyday… Truth is I am here with him but he isn’t with me. I spend most of the days alone “manning” the gate while he sleeps. Then we have some chitty chitty, dinner and showers then I’m off to bed myself. I imagine it’s like one of us is working a job on 1st shift and the other is working 3rd shift.
HEAT!! I know… We chose to come to southern Texas during the summer… But the heat is unGodly!! The AC struggles everyday to keep up. We have a dozen tricks on trying to stay cool but they only work to a certain point. There is no escaping it here. We both have lived in some pretty hot places but we always had somewhere we could run for relief when the heat got to bad. Nowhere to run here…
BUGS!! Bugs are different than wildlife. Bugs bite. Bugs get in the rig. Bugs are really big here too! When we first got on the gate the bugs were especially bad due to the extremely wet spring here. And recently with the rain the mosquitos in particular are back with a vengeance! I’m once again covered with bites. Ugghhh. No thanks, I’ll pass on the bugs! Thank God for the dragonflies!!
DRY CREEK BED (ROAD). The road to the highway sucks!! No two ways about it. I don’t care what kind of car/truck you have the 5.5 mile trek is awful. I know it’s not the worst that’s out there but it’s bad enough!!
DISTANCE TO TOWN. I like being out in the middle of the desert until it’s time to go to town. The dry creek bed of a road does play a big part but it took me 4.5 hours to go to the Super Walmart this week to pick up my glasses and do a little shopping. Ridiculous!! And God forbid you miss something on the list…there isn’t much worth going back for at those gas prices!!
A lot of you may be surprised with the lack of CONS. We have had some other challenges on the gate but those are due to our rig, not the job on the gate. We could easily see ourselves back on a gate in the future, just a 12 hour or one person gate.