Warmer Weather; Busy Gate

Yesterday was jammed pack full of stuff, which I suppose is a good thing because I have been running out of things to write about.  The day started off well with an hour long meeting for our summer job, where I got more details about the position and some insight into my role.  I am very excited about it and think it is going to be a great summer, mainly because the people are nice and for a change in one of these jobs I will get to use my brain.  Let’s face it, gate guarding isn’t that mentally challenging.  On the rare occasion you might get something that takes a little thought, but mostly it’s get up, walk to the truck, write down the name and license plate, go sit back down.  Not tough stuff.

But that’s been ok for me, because I fill my down time with more creative pursuits and since I work nights I generally have lots of creative time.  Last night however was crazy busy.  The Frack phase ended and the work over phase began which meant a switch out of teams and equipment.  The traffic was at least four times what I usually get and there were lots of big trucks coming in and out.  The decent part was the weather has gotten warmer so I didn’t mind standing outside most of the night, but since this is our first time working between the frack and next phase I was completely unprepared for the volume.

Don’t get me wrong, I view this job as a job and make sure that I treat any downtime I have as extra, but I am also a human being and like I said I just wasn’t mentally prepared for that kind of volume.  I am not sure why they decided to do the switch out at 1am.  It might have been because a big storm was forecasted for the following day or maybe it was just to get it done before the weekend.  I wasn’t the only person surprised by that because the switch out crew all seemed surprised they hadn’t waited until morning as well.  It went fine, by the way, with people checking in and checking out, but by 3:30am when Lee woke up I was really tired.  Unfortunately I was also pretty wired and had a hard time falling asleep and then woke up very early.

The best part of the day was early on I had a hawk who was flying close by.  Seriously he was hanging out in the air over our rig several times and kept diving down into the field right next to our rig.   Beautiful bird and even several of the workers were watching it as they checked in and said it was really cool. I was able to get some shots with the long lens, despite the overcast weather, and it really was the best part of my day.

Picture taken as it hung in the area less than 15 feet above my RV. Very cool

The biggest bummer was I didn’t get to work on my book at all. My oldest daughter has kindly taken on the role as my Alpha reader, and her writing skills plus being outside of the RV community make her a perfect choice for this.  She is quick to point out when I use acronyms that make no sense to her and has given me some wonderful advice on structure.  With her generously donating her time, I feel the need to get through this second edit, so have mentally committed to a chapter a night.  Last night that just didn’t happen, because it is hard enough without being interrupted every five minutes. Just not a fan of the editing process as I have set this up, which means I really need to rethink that next time around.  Many people edit as they go and I think I am going to have to force myself to go down that route.  This definitely isn’t working as I find myself rewriting more than I am leaving alone and really slogging through it. Plus that energy doesn’t leave me much for writing the blog, although in all fairness it’s never fun writing this when not a ton of things are going in.  Basically I have found I have X amount of inspiration/time to write in any given day and  and I need to really think about which project to use that on. I’m still figuring it out.

Thankfully after a couple of days things really settled down and the pace has been nice and slow.  We get the occasional spike when lots of equipment comes in, but no where near the traffic from the turnover day.  With the slower pace I do find the days sort of blend together and I think more about the weather on a particular day than the actual day itself.  I have been watching the Olympics every night and as much as I am enjoying that it is certainly not helping me with the days.  Korea is a day ahead and I am constantly confused by which day I am watching lol.  Still all this time to really watch the events is really a luxury and I am truly enjoying it.

“Rush Hour” at the gate

No clue what this machinery does but it looks different than anything else we have seen.

A I am writing this it occurs to me I should probably take a moment and walk you through my shift so you get a feel for how things are for me. So here is what it looks like, keeping in mind that every gate is different.

  • 11am – 1pm – Get up.  My wakeup time is kind of all over the place and Lee just makes sure I don’t sleep past 1pm. Eat some toast, drink come coffee, take a shower.  During this time period I often cover for Lee so he can eat some lunch.  It’s nice to have a meal uninterupted and I like to do that for him when I can.
  • 1pm – 4pm  Check texts, emails and Facebook.  Run into town if I have an errand although I try not to go very often.  Blog, work on my recipe book, menu plan, make phone calls., basically any task that I can’t do while being interrupted.  During this time period Lee and I share the space, so I try to work around whatever he has going on.  If he’s watching TV I might work on the computer for example and if it’s nice outside I will often take over for him a little early and go sit in the sun and read a book.  I also eat lunch since I can eat uninterrupted.
  • 4pm – 7pm Work the gate, which includes a mini rush around 5pm (as the new shift arrives) and another around 6pm as the day shift leaves.  They must have a meeting or something because there is always a gap between when the folks come in and the other shift goes out.  This is by far the busiest time of day for me, so meals with each other is pretty much out of the question.  Occasionally on the weekend we will try to have steaks together, but it usually means I have to get up alot. I almost always do the dishes during this time period because that is an activity I can get interrupted while doing.  And sometimes I get hungry again and might eat something, but that just depends on the day.  Lee uses this time to eat his dinner and work on anything he needs that requires uninterrupted attention.
  • 7pm – 12pm – During this time period there is enough traffic that getting into anything too serious is frustrating because of the interruptions.  The Olympics has been perfect for that because I can watch and just step outside when I need to and I have also been filling this time with some crafts.  I also might watch a fluffy television show (like the Bachelor) or basically any activity that I can walk away from quickly.  Sometimes I will eat dinner, but other times just a snack.  It really just depends on how hungry I am.  Lee is worried I am not eating enough good food, and he has a point, but it seems like my body hasn’t really adjusted to the shift especially when it comes to meals. Lee typically goes to bed around 7 or 7:30 to watch something or read to fall asleep.
  • 12am – 3am – This is my slowest time of the night and when I can work on my book.  It’s great that it is so quiet, but not the optimal time for me creatively. Still I need to work with what I have and had been managing to spend an hour or so of this time writing every night.  The other time is spent watching more serious TV although I need to be careful about what I watch or I find I have trouble getting to sleep.
  • 3am – 4am – Lee gets up somewhere between 3am and 3:30am and as soon as he stirs I start the coffee.  Most days he takes a shower, gets dressed, and then comes out to face the day and I try to give him as much space as possible while he wakes up.  The traffic starts to pick up again after 3:30am so I handle trucks until he says he’s ready.  At that point I brush my teeth and head to bed, hopefully to fall into a deep sleep.  Generally I have been finding I fall asleep pretty quickly but some days it’s a little tougher.

Actually I’m kind of glad I broke all this down because I have been beating myself up a little over not being more productive.  I do wish I could get more done in the 12am-3am time period, but I have always been a person who worked best first thing in the morning.  Since my first thing in the morning is now noon (a very busy time at the gate) it’s not the best time to sit down and write.  Anyways, that’s all I have other than to say we think we should be done here by the end of the week and I am hoping we get a little break.  Even though the work isn’t usually difficult never having a full day off can wear on you a little.  You start to hear bells dinging in your sleep!  I’d love to have a couple of days to just chill with our friends, but we will see how it plays out.


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