I’ve Been Everywhere

This first video is the original by Brian Burns. The video at the end was shot by someone who visited every town in the song on a motorcycle! Actually, it seems I’ve Been Everywhere (in Texas, that is), has inspired many a road trip.

After a year and a half in Texas, I was surprised at how many of theses places, that even most Texans haven’t heard of, I lived in or been through.

Remember, as with most videos, once you start playing it, you can click on the partial square in the bottom right corner of the video and it will full screen.

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I’ve been everywhere in the song, almost, and tomorrow I’ll be somewhere else. 😀

We’re done here drilling here in Concrete. There are still legions of trucks coming and going as we begin to rig down.

Tomorrow we head SW (out in the country between Beeville and Kenedy) about 75 miles. This would be kind of bad news to us overheated Yankees in Texas, in the Spring (which is really summer since it’s already 90’s every day), except that we’re moving with the rig and we have such a great group to work with!

We’ve been on the same ranch (2 different holes) since March 5th.

The day we moved to this site, it looked like this:

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I’ve been to Waco, Hico, Hondo, Navasota, Winnsboro, Jacksboro, Hillsboro, Santa Rosa, Austin, Houston, Galveston, Texarkana, Frisco, Buffalo, Conroe, Corsicana,
Goliad, Groesbeck, Glen Rose, Red Oak, Post Oak, Live Oak, Lone Oak, no joke…

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Before long the pad was filled to overflowing.

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I’ve been to Kruegerville, Pflugerville, Van Horn, Val Verde, Brackettville, Bartonville, Beeville, Bulverde, Bear Creek, Cedar Creek, Mill Creek, Mineola, Maypearl, Monahans, Telephone, Tuscola, Redwater, Round Rock, Round Top, Round Lake, Sour Lake, Southlake, Spring Lake, for Pete’s sake…

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I’ve been to Greenville, Gatesville, Gainesville, Alameda, Kerrville, Kellyville, Bastrop, Benavides, Somerville, Smithville, Stephenville, Prairie View, Luckenbach, Longview, Plainview, Idalou, Justin, Junction, Panorama, Pasadena, Angelina and Lorena…see what I mean-a…

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Two nights ago the semi lights stretched for miles waiting for their turn:

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Now let me see I’ve been to Valley Mills, Pine Mills, Dime Box, Duncanville, New Home, New Hope, New Deal, Liberty Hill, Rockport, Rock Creek, Bridgeport, Brownwood, Cleburne, Comanche, Cut & Shoot, Cottonwood, Bayview, Bayside, Baytown, Bay City, Falls City, Center City, Bridge City, what a pity…

It’s wildly busy tonight. I’ve had about 40 trucks in the past hour so I’m giving up on the computer and shifting my attention to tucking away fragile things.

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We’ve packed up, backed up and done everything but hitch up. Tomorrow begins another grand adventure!

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I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

I know an old lady who swallowed a fly
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly
Perhaps she’ll die

I know an old lady who swallowed a spider
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly
But I don’t know why she swallowed the fly
Perhaps she’ll die

Well, you know the rest. If you don’t, I’ve added a video of Judy Collins singing this on Sesame Street.

I’m feeling a lot like the old lady in the song. I’ve never swallowed a fly, as far as I know,  just a few moths and at least a half of a spider, but I am combating entomophobia with a touch of DOP.

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I don’t know what these are but we’ve had thousands of them!

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Two different conditions are recognized that relate to an inordinate fear of arthropods like insects and spiders. Entomophobia (“entomo” = insect + “phobia” = fear) refers to an unreasonable fear of real arthropods. The key here, as with other phobias, is that the fear involves a real stimulus, in this case an insect or spider, encountered in everyday activities. For example, a spider found inside the home might trigger this intense fear reaction.

A condition called delusions of parasitosis (DOP), or delusional parasitosis, on the other hand, is a severe, debilitating reaction to an imagined infestation. Delusions are a mistaken belief and in this case the person believes, wrongly, that they are infested with an insect or mite, or that they are being repeatedly bitten.

~ Jack DeAngelis, PhD, OSU Entomologist

My latest troubles began with the bee-like thing with pincers that nested in my hair while I was logging in a truck and burrowed into my head. The harder I pulled at him, the deeper he went. I had a sore head for days. He’s looking a little worse for wear in this photo. I took a picture in case I broke out in hives or went into anaphylactic shock (which was more likely to happen from eating the crawfish, but still…). That way if  Heidi found me passed out on the floor, she would know what bit/stung/pinched me.

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Of course, there was that cricket the size of a Dorito thumping the mouse trap.

The last few nights have heightened my entomophobia. There was the furry spider on the door, the creepy spider with white spots that lives on the night lights and the red spider that spins in the wheel well at night.

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Then, night before last, it was the giant winged thing that came in stealth-fully (again, probably in my hair). I’m beginning to redefine hair-net as: my hair that nets every winged creature! He came in quietly. I didn’t notice. Hours later, he dropped down on my head from somewhere while I was reading. I can’t tell you how much I hate arthropods dropping on my head.

You can’t really get a true idea of this from the picture but he/she was about the size of a monarch butterfly when it spread it’s wings… and u g l y!

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He fell on my head. I jumped out of the chair. Henry flew out of his bed. The giant flying thing went all kamikaze on us – bouncing off the walls and ceiling and even under the table.

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Henry isn’t much of a mouser but he does go after bugs, but this one was too much for him. He couldn’t get to it. I was disappointed to wake up and have Heidi say the winged creature disappeared shortly after she got up. He resurfaced just  few hours ago. I was a little more prepared tonight. I knocked him out with one of Heidi’s Crocs before he could get fully airborne.

I carried him outside.

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We’re pulling out of the hole right now which mean there were non-stop cement trucks and tankers. By the time I’d logged everyone and returned inside and sat down to read again, my DOP kicked in big time.

Although I knew it wasn’t possible, I felt the giant winged thing crawling down my back.

It wasn’t possible. It wasn’t that giant winged thing. It was a this giant winged thing.

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I’d rather have DOP, but I don’t think I do. So far, everything I’d hoped I was just imagining was crawling on my skin, was real and worse than I’d imagined.

I may have entomophobia but there’s something about being phobic that implies it’s a little irrational and I don’t think that’s that case either.

I think I just have boundary issues.

And, all things considered, I think they’re pretty reasonable. I’m saving the snakes and frogs for another day. I actually love the frogs but I wish they’d eat the giant winged things.

It’s supposed to be in the 90’s this week. Still, a hoodie is starting hold a certain appeal!

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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.

Warning! Tornados! Floods! Lightening Strikes!

Well, this is interesting.

We’re currently under:

1. A Tornado Warning

2. A Tornado Watch

3. A Severe Thunderstorm Warning

4. A Severe Thunderstorm Watch

5. A Flood  Warning

6. A Flood Watch

7. A Hail Warning (but not Hail Watch).

Seriously? I don’t know if the weather service just can’t make up its mind or if it’s because we’re in the thick of it right now with a lot more on the way? I’m afraid it’s the latter

Y’all take care out there.

You other gate guards – sure would like to hear that you’re OK.

Bob and Gabby, I know there was a tornado near you.  And John and Terry, sounds like things were rough in Tilden. We hear they’ve shut down some of the rigs around Karnes City.

Not ours, so far…

The little hummer seems to be undeterred, though! He must be a Jim Rohn fan. 😀

How long should you try? Until. ~ Jim Rohn

Mayday! on May Day!

Yesterday was May 1st. That means yesterday was May Day, except in Texas, where not one single person that came through our gate (maybe 150 or so all told) had ever heard of May Day.

Heidi baked a big batch of warm cookies for the 5:30 meeting. We cheerfully passed out candy to everyone who came through in, greeting them with a hearty Happy May Day!

It quickly become apparent that no one had ever heard of May Day. Is this just a Midwestern thing? May baskets made with pipe-cleaner handles, filled with candy and sometimes flowers that you hang on the front door knob or leave on the Welcome mat in the case of no knob. Then you ring the doorbell and hide in the bushes until your friend opens the door and sees their gift! 😀

I did it. My kids did it. My Facebook friends assure me that it’s still happening in Iowa, but in Texas, not so much. Clearly there’s no point in Tap to create event here. We did have one Californian who’d heard of it but he was probably a Midwest transplant.

Anyway, everyone was happy to eat the candy and cookies and it didn’t really matter to them what the occasion was. They did make it known that they know what Cinco de Mayo is. They’ll be pretty disappointed when they come to the gate on Saturday if they’re expecting Margaritas!

Last night, Henry and I were having a Mayday of our own.

 Mayday is an emergency procedure word used internationally as a distress signal. It derives from the French venez m’aider, meaning “come help me”.  ~Wikipedia

If you’re a regular reader, you know, we’ve had some mighty mouse duels. Heidi – 14, Mice-0 at last count. Henry and I have enjoyed weeks of peace until last night. We both heard it at the same time. As usual, the sound started in his food dish.

Henry, who had been long asleep in his bed, switched to his high alert mode, ears straight up. He took a few tentative steps toward his dish. I took a few steps toward his dish. The sound changed from the rattle of dog food to the familiar stuck in the sticky trap thumping.

At this point, Henry changed course. He’s a perfect, certified, pet therapy dog. He’s not a watch dog or a mouser.

I’ve never seen him hide between the footstool and the chair before. This caused me to become a little alarmed at just what was thumping the trap up and down under the cabinets. But not alarmed enough to look. Just alarmed enough to build a protective barrier to prevent it from thumping out onto the kitchen floor.

I knew a mouse could easily squeeze between the water jugs, but I didn’t think he’d be able to drag the trap through. For, oh I suppose an hour and a half, the thumping persisted. Henry continued to look alarmed behind the footstool. I turned on yesterday morning’s GMA to drown out the sound.

I made periodic trips to the coffee pot to make sure the mouse was still safely ensconced. You can’t really do catch and release with mice and the only traps that have worked for us down here (and believe me, we’ve tried them all) are the sticky ones.

When we caught the first mouse under the sink, I was going to take it out, but I saw it’s heart beating and I couldn’t finish the job. Heidi has no problem with this whatsoever and considers every mouse caught a personal victory.

I was relieved when the thumping stopped. This was a change in the pattern. It usually goes on night. This mouse had also been blessedly mute (not a bit of squeaking).

I decided that either the mouse was very, very tired or sleeping or inexplicably dead. I slowly pulled away the water bottles.

A cricket almost the size of a Dorito had been thumping the trap all over the floor.

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Seriously, don’t let anyone tell you everything isn’t bigger in Texas. We need a mouse trap for our bugs!

Rig Move Day 2 Photos

The trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close-up. ~ Chuck Palahniuk

OK – that’s probably true so I’ll try to share a mix of both the big picture and some close up shots. Hopefully, you’ll be able to click on any of these images and take a closer look around.

Because the gate is busy and the computer and I are still at odds over posting photos – tonight will be a few more shots from Day 2. I’ll try to get a final Day 3 slide show in the hopper. I made a dozen attempts last night but the pictures kept floating off into… well, I don’t know where. One minute they were here and the next they weren’t there. 😀

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As you can see, the derrick comes in backwards.

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It gets put together like an everything is bigger in Texas Lego.

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This gives you a bit of perspective on just how huge everything is.

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Either you run the day or the day runs you.  ~ Jim Rohn

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Everyone has his day and some days last longer than others. ~ Winston Churchill

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Every morning at 5:30 and each evening at 5:30, there’s a meeting of the minds. The day shift and night shift rig crew, the rig manager, the safety guy and the day and night Company Men talk.

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Heidi made creamed filled cupcakes for their meeting. It didn’t take any time for them to go through 2 dozen cupcakes!

The guy in the white shirt is our head Company Man, Jimbo. He’s the second CM we’ve worked for from Louisiana and both were named Jimbo! Funny! Must be a common name there. Next week he says we’re having a craw-fish cookout. 😀

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Well, that brings us to the close of the second day. One more slide show to go to show you the last day of rigging up.
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Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in, forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day… ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
The rest of that sentence –  Tomorrow is a new day and you shall begin it well and serenely –  just seemed a little discordant with life on an oil rig.
Although, when no one is snaring wild hogs 10 feet from my window; the cows aren’t eating the satellite cables; the donkey isn’t guarding the gate; there aren’t any tarantulas in the crock pot or rattlesnake loose in the truck bed, it’s pretty serene. Surreal sometimes, but serene. 😀

The Night the Lights Went Out in Texas

It was the night the lights went out in Georgia Texas. And Oh What a Night it was!
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I’m writing as lightning gives the illusion of dawn.
We lost the outside lights and bell hours ago.
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It took me a long time to remember I have scare lights and a porch light.
There’s a remedy for the lights but it’s hailing and I’m already soaked so wading over to the generator will have to wait until morning. My mega flashlight is adequate for tonight.
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The rig is set to move tomorrow so the traffic has been non-stop all night. I unplugged the laptop (old storm habit) and it’s running low on battery life.
This is just a quick post to say I hope you all are OK?
The hospital Heidi and I used to teach for in Creston, IA was hit by a tornado yesterday. Thankfully, no one was killed, but six in Creston were injured, one critically.
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We were able to get in touch with our friend, Jean, for whom we did dozens of seminars over the years. The roof was ripped off of the building at the college which houses her office is but everyone is OK.
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The guys on the rig are wet and weary but no injuries.
There’s much to be thankful for!
Our Tuesday move is to a swamp.
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It was a swamp before the rain.
Hmm…
We’ve been here for almost 5 weeks.
Yesterday, for the first time, they watered the road. 😀
Ya’ll take care. Stay safe. I’ll try to write a real post soon.