I came to work early today…

To update this blog. I wanted to post about O’Hershes, as he is a character worthy of his own post. I will also be going offshore tomorrow (We think). I am learning that doing offshore jobs is not something you can really plan around. It is very much a “hurry up and wait” type of scenario. Today I will be checking tools for the job, driving 2 hours to Baton Rouge to obtain my explosives license for the job, and then taking an 5 hour course on well control.

We have a system in Whataberger for incident reporting. You write up hazardous situations, near misses, and observation/intervention reports. Some offices have a quota for the number of reports you must write. O’Hershes made a mockery of the system. The following are some stellar RIR’s in the system. I apologize if they are difficult to read. After viewing the page myself I discovered If you click on the photo, it will display in full size. Totally worth reading- in my opinion.



There was a stray cat the office adopted.


Of course, paint the cat!




……. My personal favorite….

I could spend all day searching the system for hillarious reports, however, I have a job to prepare for!

“In case no one told you, you don’t write REAL RIR’s”-Cookies, engineer who sits next to Albert and myself.

“I put under my job preferences: No shitty places.”-O’Hershes.

Ditch, Ditch, Ditch!

Friday, I completed my offshore survival training course. This involved waking at 5 am, driving 1.5 hours to Lafayette, eating subway, sleeping in class until noon, waking briefly due to choking on a starburst I was eating to try to stay awake, and then a practical simulation in a swimming pool. 

“Now in the Gulf of Mexico, this water would be 50 degrees colder, and there would be waves.”

The blue vessel in the back is the helicopter. The big orange thing is a raft. On the left, there is a tower that we jump off.

 We were placed in a helicopter, dunked in the water, and flipped upside down. Then we had to open the doors and windows, unbuckle our seatbelts, and escape. I learned at this training that Larry and Jeaux were on the deep water horizon hours before it exploded. The Whataberger crew was on the well, realized something very bad was happening, and requested a helicopter in the middle of the night. The company man on site refused to get them a helicopter, they called people from Whataberger, and had a helicopter sent for them to leave the site.

This weekend, I spent some time moving in to my new apartment with Alice and Gertrude. For the first time in my life, I own some cool stuff. I splurged on memory foam rugs for Gertrude’s and my bathroom. Alice splurged on a 60 inch TV. The TV is glorious, as are my bathroom rugs. Our apartment is located behind a Chuckie Cheese. It is also behind the Chick Fil A. We are currently watching Little Fockers while we wait on hold for the Comcast lady to fix the cable.

My next post will include a new character, O’Hershes. It will also include some photos of my new home.


“Now, a shark does not see you all as a bunch of oil hands.”- Instructor

“You get in a survival circle. If it is cold, put the smallest person in the center of the circle. You leave the service hands, Whataberger, Baker and Haliburton on the outside.”- Instructor

“What speed is that TV?” -Albert

“What, I don’t know…. BIG?!”-Beverly, one of the engineers. Beverly is a man.

“You moved all that by yourself? Why didn’t you call a friend. You’ve got friends. I’m your friend.”-Skipper.

I have finally placed how to describe Skipper. He is a fusion of these two beings, add BudLight platinum and periodic outbursts of “PLATINUM” every few minutes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gT_gxpyavag

You Got the Goods?

Yesterday and the day previous, Trevor brought a purse to work. The purse held dozens of little scented wax samples, a few travel tins, and some hanging scents for your rear view mirror. I never thought in the middle of a well site, where the boy’s club headquarters board of trustees meeting is held on a daily basis, they would be losing thier sh!t over Scentsy. Junior’s house is apparently littered with Scentsys in every room, while Dave is interested in getting “manly” Scentsys for his apartment. I feel the back story is neccesary….


This is a photo of Trevor's purse, Junior lunging into the truck and grabbing car hangers, while Dave dodges out of the way.


Dave is engaged and will be married soon. The boys were discussing going to Vegas for a bachelor party. Trevor chimes in “No, I’m already going to Vegas for a Scentsy convention”. After several minutes of  ruthless mockery, we all calmed down. Trevor explained that his wife sells Scentsys, and he goes to the conventions with her. He urged that if anyone wants to buy Scentsys, buy them from him. Junior confessed to having several Scentsys in his home. The next day, Trevor brought a catalog, samples, travel tins, and car hangers to generate some business. Junior and Dave poured over the catalog, opened every sample, and made careful selections of what Scentsys they wanted. The next day, Trevor came back with little packages of Scentsys for everyone.  Junior ran up to the truck, opened the door and demands “You got the goods?!!?”…..

Here’s a photo of me arming an explosive gun. This photo is for your viewing pleasure only.

This is me attaching electrical wires to a detonator, then attaching the detonator to an explosives chord. The cord is attached to charges that explode and put holes through the metal gun, then through the steel casing, and 36 inches into the ground.

Here’s another

I Want Sticker

Other than living in a hotel, I rather enjoy Elk City. The work is cool and the co workers are even cooler.

"Ah, another oilfield sunset..."-Chuckie

This is a view from the logging truck around sunset time. You can see wind farms in the background. It is strange how in the middle of no where, the land is seemingly dull yet there is so much energy.

I now have sticker on my hard hat. Allow me to explain:

In oil field, there are so many companies you can work with on a particular project. On this particular site, for example, there is the client, who owns the well and the oil/gas/water that comes out of it. There is the fracing company (Their green pumps extend off to the left in this photo). There is the wireline company with perforating guns (That’s us!). There is the company whose plug is on the bottom of our gun string (That’s the guy who looks like Milton from office space and whose hard hat is seen in the reflection of the window in this photo). Since this well is deviated (meaning it is L shaped and goes horizontal in the ground) the wireline needs to be “pumped down” with water to propel it down the horizontal portion of the hole. There is another company who does the pump down (Their truck is behind the red box on the right of the photo). The well head sees quite a bit of pressure. We have to use gear to open and close the well, and additional gear with a wireline and gun string. We rent this gear from another company (The arm on the truck is blocking the view of the pressure gear, but it sticks up tens of feet off the well head). The client also hires a consultant who hangs out on the site. They are another company. I am sure there are several more companies involved in the operation- those are just the ones I have counted so far.

Now, the important part of all of this, each of these companies carries around stickers. When you work with people, they will give you stickers and you put the stickers on your hard hat to show you support them. I have acquired a sticker.


Over the Hills and Far Away

This is a sample from the CD we listen to in the pick up on the way home:  http://www.wesstjon.com/music.html. Please listen to the last song in this list, “Service Hands”. This is my life. This is thousands of people’s jobs. [Checking over this page, it seems to be giving me hiccups. If you are also experiencing problems and would like to listen to oilfield music, go to the home page, click on oilfield music, and navigate from there.]

For the job I am on now, we use explosive guns to blow holes in the ground, called perforating. Before we perforate, we set a plug in the well to separate the zones. The plug we are using is from another company. They have a tech out with us. He helps out with our operation. This man looks like this:

Now imagine if this man had a (tobacco) ball in his cheek, somewhere between golf ball and base ball sized

One of the other men on location is a consultant to the client. Let’s call him Chuckie. He used to work for Whataberger. I am fairly certain he is missing a small part of his jaw due to chewing tobacco. This is purely speculation. Chuckie is extremely cool. He wears an American flag hard hat. He is also understanding, informative, and interested in talking to people. I am told not everyone on site is as nice. The company man is a Canadian Hindi, who went to Mississippi State. He is laid back as well. He wears no PPE (hard hat, boots, coveralls), and just walks around the well site checking up on the different operations. He is awesome.

Today, I sat in the fracking truck during their operation. I wanted to take a picture, but feared that would make me look like a tourist. I am not a tourist; I’m a gosh darn professional!  This truck looked like the control room for some high-tech spacer operation. I intended that to be a hyperbole, but as I think about it, that is exactly what this truck was. I felt like I was on a field trip in school.
While I was sitting in on the frac operation next to Chuckie, he asked me “So how long have you been here?” I replied by pointing down as if to gesture to Oklahoma “How long have I been here…?” I asked to clarify. “No, how long have you been in The States?”Chuckie specified, obviously. “Hahaha. I was born here. I’m from Dallas.” Chuckie back tracks, “Oh, good for you! I thought you were born over seas.”  Chuckie was so nice, I was not even offended. But after thinking about it, my reaction is, “Seriously, Chuckie? I don’t even have an accent?!?!?! And what a bold assumption. You could have eased into that one with a more broad question, such as “What is your ethnicity?” Like a regular person!!!!” I digress, this is completely normal for oilfield seniority in west Oklahoma.
“Kids are the coolest pets you’ll ever have.” -Guy at the office
“That’s my Indian name, Two Dogs Humping.”-Trevor
“Dave, if you have a kid within the year, you have to name it after me. If it’s a girl, name her Junior-ita” – A man named Junior. He is the guy we rent our pressure gear from.
“I have as many credits in philosophy as I do engineering.” -Hindian
“Why is that?”- Chuckie
“I got burnt out on engineering and up and changed my major.”-Hindian
“Yeah right. You went and rolled some marijuana and went to class….The teacher askes, ‘What’s your philosophy on that?’….’My philosphy on that is I don’t give a sh!t!!!'”-Chuckie

You Better Not be a Spy….

I arrived on the well site this morning around 6am. I left around 1 am. Today, I chewed a piece of gum intil it dissolved in my mouth.

I am the only woman I have seen for days (besides the front desk lady with kids shoes at the Motel 6). Apparently, people are nicer to you when you’re a lady in the oil field. The company man (guy on location who represents the company who owns the hole in the ground and everything in it) offered for me to use his nice bathroom in his trailer. “That bathroom everyone else uses gets pretty nasty, feel free to use my bathroom in the trailer.” None of the guys recieve this sort of treatment.

My crew was hillarious. I have much to say to describe them, however, I am tired. We will just settle for some quotes.  The operator I worked with most of the day is named Daniel. The engineer is Dave from yesterday.

“Why does he have to piss in the f*$%ing Kool-Aid…. We’ve all got beanies!!”-Daniel

“Did I tell you about the time I peed on Cupcake? I was over there pissing, and he came up behind me. ‘Don’t you f*$%ing do it!’ I says ‘I’m serious, I drank a pot of coffee today, and I really have to piss.’ And then he just kicked me in the back of the shin. So I just turned around as I was pissing and ran after him. ‘Ill piss on you, you fat f*$%!!!!'”-Daniel

“My old lady”-Daniel referencing his girlfriend

“Well, we got into a fight because I put two slices of cheese on her sandwhich instead of one. She was being insane, It was her time of the month. So she is screaming at me, and I’m trying to tell her she’s being a moron. I finally sit her on the couch and am calming her down, then there’s a knock on the door. I walk over to it…. and ask ‘Who’s there’. ‘Elk City Police’ I think it’s just Josh f*$%ing with me. But then I look through the peep hole, and there’s three officers with thier guns drawn. ‘Holy sh!t’. They come in and start asking her if I hit her, and she just starts laughing. ‘No, you guys are f*$%ing retarded!'” -Dave

“Would you stop f*$%ing apologizing to her!!”-Daniel to Dave about cursing in front of me

“Are you a spy?”, Dave says to me, very seriously, “Because if you’re a f*$%ing spy, I’m going to lose my f*$%ing job.”

“You have a blog?! You’re gay.”-Daniel

“Are you going to blog about all our homo-sh!t?”-Trevor, other operator out with us today.

Green Hatter

Finally. After roughly 4.5 months of being employed in the oil industry, I have been to a wellsite.

It was glorious. My boots are dirty. The picture above is of some pressure gear on top of the well opening. We will run our equipment on top of it. The clusterf*$% of green pipes belong to another company, who pumps some other fluids into the well to create permeability within the formation after we blast it open with our explosives. That process is called fracturing (frac-ing). Hippies think fracing causes earthquakes. I think hippies should stop using energy.

  I have to be at the office tomorrow at 4:30 am to go out with the crew and do the job. The crew here are very engaging with me. I mostly followed around an engineer named Dave. Dave will be the engineer tomorrow as well. More photos to come.

“My coffee smells like turkey”-Manager, James

“Then I got so mad, I couldn’t cuss right.”-Operator, Spike

“We’re out of green helmets.”-Dave

“Well, stop using them as ice scoops! I’ve ordered more.”-James

“But they are perfect for ice scoops…”-Dave

“I’s glowing like a diamond in a goat’s ass.”-Randall, describing a previous drunken state.

“Come on, Laila. Don’t listen to those fags. I’ll teach you everything you need to know.”-Dave.

“What’s your e mail address?”-Dave

“L-E-L-hyphen-A-S-H-M-A-W-Y @slb.com”-Laila

“Holy sh!t”-Dave

The food in Elk City is sad. The work in Elk City is really great so far. The Motel 6 is scary. I don’t spend too much time here anyways. The people in Elk City are very friendly. The extra curriculars are non-existent.

Elk City…

Second to the Budget Inn off of 35 in Waco, and beating out the Empress Hotel in New Orleans for second place, this is the most questionable hotel I have stayed in.


The area is fine. It is just a small town in Western Oklahoma. Upon driving up, this is what I saw:


This is a giant truck, parked in not a parking space, between the front door and a handicapped parking space.

The front desk lady wears children’s cowboy boots. She is also missing a few teeth, which may be one more thing she has in common with children wearing her same boots. Despite a small language barrier and a serious computer misunderstanding, she was quite friendly. I will be living in this hotel for about 10 days. I incorrectly assumed there would be shampoo in the shower. I went out to explore Elk City and possibly find a cool local eatery. I was blessed with no such luck, as today is Sunday, and everything awesome is closed on Sunday. I did drive down route 66.


Not 5 miles away from my hotel is the Historic Route 66 museum. There is also a little old town scene with an opera house and several mock old buildings. After walking around the little old town with a fake jail and rail road carts, I stumbled upon this place:


When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in Elk City….have no shame. Eat at the Chinese buffet, no matter how unlegit it may look. Be sure to sit alone at your table and blog on your phone the whole time. This place IS legit because they have Chinese Zodiac place mats!  After leaving, I opened my fortune cookie:

imageAll I can think is “I hate myself…. I could have gone to Subway”

Last night, I was able to spend a few hours with my sister and cousins, Srirracha and Paula Dean. Paula Deans friends joined us briefly.

My sister playing “Kissed by a Rose” on the guitar. We all sang with her.

I also got to hang out with my sister’s cat…..

When the cat is not trying to sit on your face or chew on your hair, it sits in the shelves...

Return to YMCA, Loan to Elk City, and Intro to Houma Staff

This last week at work has been very busy. I overcame my brief bout of loneliness by joining the local YMCA!

“I think I’m going to join a gym.”-Me

“Just use the gym at your apartment complex.”-Mom

“I know this is probably bad, but it’s important for me….I want to join a gym for the social aspect. I need to interact with people outside of work.”-Me

“Absolutely, you need friends.”-Mom

Many of you already know this about me, but for those of you who may not: my first job ever was working at the YMCA in my home town. I loved the YMCA so much, I worked summers during college there. I even worked briefly in the YMCA in Tempe during my freshman and sophomore years in college. This gym in Houma is called Bayouland YMCA, and they have offshore rates for rig workers. I have an awesome discount!

I found an apartment. I will be living in a three bedroom apartment with Gertrude, and Alice. We all work for Whataberger and will all be working offshore. I have an address, I am hesitant to post it on here, in fear that random people will start to TP my building during the night and leave me and my roommates creepy letters. If you would like my mailing address, shoot me a text.

I am currently on my journey to Elk City, OK. Whataberger has pretty stringent journey management practices. I had to enter my trip online, asses the risks, and seek approval. When taking my trip, I have to call the journey management center every two hours to check in. During my trip, I saw this:

This red Prius has a black racing stripe.

 I am stopping the night in Dallas, where I will see my sister and cousins. Tomorrow, I will continue on to Elk City. I hear it is quite cold. My manager let me borrow her puffy onesy to keep me warm. While I am there, I have a list of objectives. Most seem like a recon. mission where I spy on Elk City and report back to my manager on what they are doing better than us. I am also supposed to learn the old software, and try to explain it to incoming engineers, not unlike myself, who have only learned the new software.

Gertrude’s Birthday dinner:

Albert playing with his food....

“I want to eat the whole thing! Even the shell!!”-Albert

The Houma shop is fantastic. It is unique from other locations for several reasons. The most apparent to me is that many of the engineers and operators are much older. They have been working here for decades. Skipper is one of these operators. I had the pleasure of working with a couple other operators yesterday, Jeau and Larry. Jeau is pronounced like Joe, but it’s spelled the Cajun way. The operators at the job also like to play the “finger” game, that is, flicking people off for fun.

“Well, when they don’t see you, you just do this” *finger* “Then they see you!” -Larry explaining how to communicate across a busy work area

“That f*$%er is wearing red!!!”- Harry (Not to be confused with Larry), enraged at someone else in the shop for wearing San Fransisco colors when they were playing the Saints.

“I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about….”-Andy, the engineer I followed around Friday morning, talking to someone on the phone about certifying Shell cables (see below).

approximately 10:30am: While Andy was working, he casually opens his desk and pulls out a sandwich, plopping it on his desk. “Now, it’s snack time!”, he declared. I followed suit and went downstairs to eat some of the Tuna salad sandwiches brought to us that day.  

 I am already starting to display biases towards the oil companies, and I have not even been offshore to their rigs. Today on my drive, I found myself seeking out certain gas stations and avoiding others, based on things I’ve heard at the shop. The following is a quick summary of the what I understand so far, from an oilfield services perspective:

Shell: Shell is a HUGE client, with many specific requests. These requests often cause a headache for the staff at the shop. For starters, Shell does not allow green hats on their rigs. When you start out as a trainee, you wear a green hat for about 6 months. I am a green hat. I can not go on Shell jobs. Shell requires a specific water survival course. It is farther away than the local class, and is tougher to schedule. I am still waiting to take this course and therefore can not go offshore for anyone yet. This is partly the reason I am going to Elk City. Shell also has very stringent requirements for the cable you may use to log their well. It has to be sent to a special testing place, not the local one. The cable must be recertified after ever job. When a Shell job comes in, it is a scramble to find which cable we may use for it. Shell also has several other meticulous requirements.

Chevron: I have heard nothing but good things about them. They are a big client. It seems like we get a lot of their jobs, and they give us little trouble. This is just what I think, from less than 2 weeks of working.

Exxon: They don’t like Whataberger for some reason. I do not think we get a lot of jobs from them. I avoid Exxon gas stations.

BP: Nightmare. They require all sorts of specifications on the tool sketch in the software. This causes lots of running around the shop with tape measure, cross checking tool lengths with the software , and weighing of everything. I think they have some other crazy requirements too.

There are several other clients, they are not as recognizable at the pumps though.

Blogging at Work is Very Bad!

Reasons today is awesome and awful at the same time:

This morning, there was a tray of Chick Fil A chicken minis in the office. We have companies that we rent certain gear from. They like to bring us food. A few minutes after I devoured chicken minis, I returned to the snack area to have some more. I was quickly disappointed as the minis were gone. The heartbreak did not last long, for in their place was 3 boxes of donuts. Next to the donuts was rolls of french bread, lettuce, lunch meat, mustard and tomatoes.

This makes me so happy. I am currently sitting in the data archive room, waiting for files to upload. That is an appropriate time to blog, right?


“What the sh!t”- a company representative giving us a presentation on their lift testing website we use.

“Do you have a place to live?”- Lauren (manager). This may not be funny alone, but she walked over to Albert and my desks, and very abruptly asked this. We all started laughing.

Good news, I will be pimped out to Elk City, OK. This means I will be driving through DFW next week. yay!!