A River Runs Through It

A river runs through it, or at least it did … all night last night.

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And all night a solo vacuum truck came and went, hauling the river away.

When the CM said he had a vac truck coming in to do some clean up, he wasn’t kidding!

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It worked kind of like a gigantic shop vac, sucking up thousands of gallons of water.

And all night, the guys on the rig continued to work. It’s such a regular part of life on a drilling rig, no one even comments.

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Except me, since I’m not quite as Texas-seasoned as the rest. I surely appreciated  having an automatic awning. When it wasn’t windy, it helped. When the wind picked up, it came back in.

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The rain stopped just in time for Heidi to meet 15 semis of casing  yesterday morning. By evening, most of the remaining river had seeped into the greedy Texas ground.

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During the storm, not being remotely mechanical, I worked in the dark, in the rain, without outside lights or a bell. We’re so close to the rig, the lack of lights wasn’t a big deal.

But no bell meant I had to keep the shade up all night. I felt a little like a mannequin with poor posture and an ugly orange vest in a window display after closing time at Macy’s. Not that anyone was looking. 😉

I know how to reset the switch on the generator. And I did. Several times, but it would trip instantly. I’m easily resigned to fate.

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Heidi, on the other hand, lives to problem solve.

By the time I got up yesterday afternoon, the problem was solved. 😀

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I know it worked because it stormed again tonight and the lights stayed on and the bell rang at many appropriate times!

The bugs in the above picture are kind of like Texas-sized flying ants and are so thick the ground looks like it’s moving.

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Two-legged creatures we are supposed to love as we love ourselves.  The four-legged, also, can come to seem pretty important.  But six legs are too many from the human standpoint.  ~ Joseph W. Krutch

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Thanks to all of you gate guards who kept in touch. In spite of the wind and the warnings, it sounds like everyone came through it OK.

And so ended another action packed day here on the ranch.

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In a couple more days, we’ll be back up to our ankles in caliche. If we could just get the vac driver to swing back around for that:

He’d be riding a gravy train with biscuit wheels.                              (odd Texas saying)

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When your dreams turn to dust, vacuum.

Rig Move Day 1 Photos

Rig move day 1 of 2. I’ll try to describe what’s happening for those of you who requested more information. Every oil company and even each individual rig does things a little differently. This describes our experiences. Other gate guards have different stories.

By the way, if you’re interested in taking a closer look at the activities on the site, you can click on these pictures to enlarge them.

So here we are on the left, sitting on top of a little swamp that the oil company filled in and made a pad for us. I can hear the frogs at night. 😀

Our gate guarding company provides two service (nurse) wagons. One holds a generator, our diesel and a water tank. The water is fine for a shower, but woe to any who dare to drink it! The other wagon is taken up by the big green septic tank.

The white trailer on the right houses the 24 guys that comprise the drilling crew. They work 12 hour shifts (usually – sometimes longer); 6 day guys, 6 night guys; 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off.

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This is the Company Man’s trailer. We have four: 1 day guy, 1 night guy for two weeks. Then two other Company Men for the other two.

They typically have an office in the front with all the monitors. The other 2/3’s of the trailer is a living room and kitchen area, two bedrooms and a bath. It’s not fancy but it’s quite a step up from the rig crew.

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The Safety Man’s trailer is being lowered into place in this photo. The oil company has their own safety guy on site all the time. Billy is here for two weeks. He’ll go home and Eric will be here for the nest two.

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The trailer for the geologist was a tight fit. He won’t start for a couple more days.

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I missed the shot where the guy on the left fell into the water. And I missed the shot where he threw his soggy boots in the air behind the tanks. 😀

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The picnic table has a misting fan at the end, just like at the state fair. As the weather heats up, it’ll provide a brief respite for hot weary guys.

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There’s no distinction between day or night or weekend or holiday on an oil rig. There’s just work.

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H & P (the drilling company) has a Rig Manager (sometimes called a Tool Pusher). I can’t tell you how surprised I was a year and a half ago when someone pulled up to the gate and said: I’m just here to see the pusher. 😉

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I love it when Heidi’s does the talking! People seem to be a lot more intimidated by an English teacher than a counselor. Imagine that!

Actually, we’ve found almost everyone we have contact with to be unfailing nice. It’s been one of the biggest surprises of the job.

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Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all. ~ Sam Ewing

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We’ve been with this rig for 6 weeks and this is the 7th or 8th time they’ve brought us dinner. They have caterers come in for the SPUD meetings and rig move days, but also at just random times, like tonight. They feed everyone on site – even the gate guards.

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We’ve already established they love their meat in Texas. One of the perks of working with all men is they have a double sized idea of what constitutes a serving! We can always get at least 2 meals out of each one, sometimes 3!

That’s it for Day 1 of the rig move. It was the last quiet night I’ll have for however many weeks this hole takes.

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Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.  ~ Thomas Edison