Davy Jones

I am currently at work preparing for a super high profile job that I can not go out on because I am lacking 1.5 more years of experience. It’s exciting and depressing at the same time. As Mr. Boxes put it to me “[Client Name]’s stock will fluctuate depending on this job.” That’s heavy stuff. The crew leaves Wednesday and there are SEVEN third party inspectors here looking at all of our gear. This includes people inspecting all of the lifting gear on our equipment. I am doing a lot of that paper work. There are also people inspecting our tools for cracks and faults. The crack inspector looks like this:


He sprays the down hole tools with some space age bright pink substance, then covers it with his cloak and shoots it with a space ray gun to reveal any cracks. This is important because our tools will see ~30,000psi’s and some pretty high temperatures as well. They will be journeying to the center of the earth to log measurements. The well is nicknamed “Davy Jones”, and I am SOOO bummed that I can’t go. So I am trying to contribute as much as I can.


In other news, people in the Bayou think this is my name:


It is my goal to keep this blog  as rigtale relevant as I can; however, this post is going to take a turn for the worst right after these quotes.

On this last job, the company man sat inside the logging unit with us. We has a pretty nice speaker system set up, and I was playing Pandora radio on a country station.


“George Strait…. Women LOVE George Strait.”-CoMan

“Everyone should love George Strait.”-Me

“I don’t!” Harry1 whips his head around and declares boldy, “I like Ozzy!”

“One time I was at a bar and these women were going crazy talking about George Strait. I told them ‘you know, George Strait is gay.’ They went nuts! It almost started a fight.”-CoMan

“Plumbers only need to know four things: right is cold, left is hot, shit flows down hill and payday is Friday!”-CoMan

The last job was very exciting.  I did more work than ever and conducted two safety meetings with the rig hands. I also caught fish, which you may see in previous posts. Upon returning to land, I spent the morning Friday preparing to go out on another job, only to find out that they do not allow women on the platform, as there are no locking bathrooms. This news came as a major bummer to me, but no matter, I quickly began working on another job. This work lasted into the evening Friday and into the day Saturday. Today I woke up to find that this job had been canceled. After sulking for a few minutes, it was time to carpe diem. So carpe diem I did. I finished putting together my room:

The following pictures are of my reading chair area in my room.



“You really like buying chairs…”-My dad on the phone.  My sister made the painting that is on the wall. It says “El-Ashmawy” in Arabic. You may notice the snake wrapped around the chair. The Jungle Book is/was my favorite movie. My family took a trip to Disneyland when I was 6. I take the snake everywhere I go.


This photos is full of personal mementos, which I will keep forever. I won’t describe everything, but here are some highlights of the featured items above:

A leather mouse my mom gave me after a painful day of shopping with her and my grandmother. My sister received a similar elephant.

Two tigers my dad got for me when he chaperoned my first grade field trip to the Ft Worth zoo. I remember begging him to come and him hesitantly agreeing. I don’t think my dad realizes it, but those two stupid tigers mean the world to me.

A wooden bunny my mom got when I was born.

A pink dinosaur Rabbit and Ke$ha gave me on my 21st birthday. It spins around and ‘dances’. I remember dancing around like the dinosaur all night on my 21st birthday.

A Texan cowboy boot my mom gave me when I was homesick in college.

A stone my mom and I got from a flea market outside of San Antonio a few summers ago. The Native American man who sold it to us “blessed” it first with smoke from the Sage he was burning.


These things, simple as they are, make me happy every day. I was going to post some photos my my awesome new bed and gigantic Egyptian flag hanging on the wall in front of it, but that is for another day.


Oilfield Shower and Diabetes Rap


I am on another Hercules rig. It is a jackup rig and when it sways, it sounds like nails on a chalk board. Luckily, the only times I’ve slept, I’ve been too tired to remove my coveralls or boots, much less be disturbed by a squeaky rig. This leads us to the oilfield shower. Let’s get personal for a minute: I have access to a private bathroom; however, I haven’t used it. After nearly 36 hours of being on this rig, I thought “I should brush my teeth or something”… I reapplied deodorant, brushed my teeth, washed my face, reapplied eye liner (because that is important for both hygiene and vanity), and changed my shirt. Now I am so fresh and so clean.

This is my first job to make with Harry1. It’s awesome. He has become one of the many reasons I love my job. While up all night logging, Beverly and I chatted on the Whataberger instant messenger:

Me: Harry1 is hilarious.
B: He’s a character for sure
Me: He reminds me of my grandpa, if my grandpa could run, jump, and climb, chain smoked, and liked to cuss and throw things.
B: So…. Not at all like your grandpa.
Me:No. I guess what I’m trying to say is “I wish Harry1 was my grandpa.”
B: That’s creepy.
Me: yeah… I have loggers high. It’s like runners high, only it happens to you when you’ve been logging all night.

Later on….I told Beverly I would write a rap about his diabetes pump taking a dump. He replies with the following freestyle rap. More affects of logger’s high. I want to dedicate that rap to Rabbit, my other diabetes pump friend.

If my pump takes a dump

while my tool is in the sump,

will I get a night flight?

Shouldn’t have had that cookie bite.

I might have to pull out of hole.

Is that cancer or just a mole?

Blood sugar is all out of whack.

Need to log, bonus for crack.

Morning update must be sent.

[Beverly’s] pancreas is spent.

He won’t make it back alive.

You’ll find the logs on his thumb drive.

“I could use another cigarette. You could use another cigarette.” Harry1 rallys the crew to hang out in the smoke post. *points and nods at me*”She could use another ice cream cone.”

“When I retire, I’m going to take up smoking. I’ll just be sitting on my porch smoking joints. Who is going to arrest an old man??”

“You need to start using your lady-ness to get things done around here.” Yikes, another female engineer, offers me some guidance. “They said they weren’t serving cheeseburgers last night. They made me a cheeseburger.”

“They had a mandatory BP meeting with the sales rep. I didn’t go. I told Cooper[one of the managers] ‘I ain’t going for health and safety reasons.’ He looked at me and said ‘What do you mean health and safety?’ ‘For my health and the sales guy’s safety.’ They Cooper looks at me and says ‘Alright, you were in the meeting.'”-Harry1

I learned about a new type of canoe: http://www.unclejohns.com/boat/

I also heard about Hurricane Katrina from a Cajun perspective.

“If you take a map of New Orleans from the 1800’s and lay it over top a map of Hurricane Katrina, the parts that used to be swamp were flooded. The parts that were the city, did not.” All the older sections of the city did not flood. This makes sense; however, I never thought about that possibility. For some reason, my conception was just that everything was under water.

“Whataberger was going to pay me and my family to move to Houston. I said- Are you kidding me?!  No way. My in-laws and parents will have a heart attack. They’ve never been out the state of Louisiana. I can’t take them to the city. They’ll die!” -Harry1

“Have you ever travelled for jobs?”-Me

“Yeah, I went to Alabama once and to Texas.”-Harry1

It’s Mardi Gras!!

Some brief and not so brief thoughts on the Mardi Gras:

1.These is the nicest port-a-potty I have ever seen.

2.This is the grossest port-a-potty I have ever seen.

3.These all women parades do not throw me cool beads.

4.One day I will have an adorable baby with a mohawk, too.

5.I have the urge to steal foam footballs from children.

6.I have a serious urge to pick up trash, even though it’s a worthless cause.

7.Shouldn’t these kids have a curfew?


Houma has the second largest Mardi Gras in the state. Mardi Gras entails two weeks of parades. Each parade has a theme and lasts forever. They throw beads to the crowd. In Houma, it is fairly tame. I did not go to New Orleans, but I am told it is sheer madness. I went to a parade last night with Gertrude, Alice, Albert, Beverly, Cookies, Selina, Skipper, Canada, and Blake. I met many new people too. Including a man named “Frog.” No joke. We went to a tent set up on the side of the road by an oilfield services rental company. It was a fun family time with many children and babies. After the parade, the tent played various dance tunes and people hung out for a while.

Highlight of my night: Imagine standing outside of a tent and hearing Michael Jackson’s Beat It. You turn to look inside and see a little pudgy blonde girl, who I would suspect to be between the ages of 9-11, breaking it down alone on the dance floor inside the tent. She awkwardly flails around like no one is watching, and it’s beautiful. She continues to do this for several songs until the Wobble line dance plays, prompting all the older women crowd the dance floor.

Much later after the parade: Cookies, Gertrude and I sat outside to enjoy some quality people watching. South Louisiana is a great place for people watching. The streets are a sea of purple, green and gold beads swimming with little plastic shot containers, cans, plastic bags and various trash. An old man and young girl walk along the curb filling up their rolling cart with beads. Some people collect all the unclaimed beads and sell them year round. Some people make their living doing this. While this was interesting to learn and see first hand, the schism in classes is glaring. Amid senseless consumerism of festival games, an old man collects the trash on the sidelines to make a living. I think about how much more I could be doing if I was not caught up attending festivals in my free time. I think about things my mom does in her free time, and things she took my sister and I to do in our free time as we were growing up. The homesickness is daunting. [Segway to….]Luckily, I am consumed in work more often than not.

“You don’t seem like you do any people watching.”-Cookies, to me. I was surprised to hear this.

“You’re always so happy and laughing. I can’t see you being moody ever.”-Canada. I was even more surprised to hear this.

“It’s 70 dollars if you try to take my hat one more time!!”-Lady to Skipper at the parade.

“What is their nickname…”-Mr.Boxes (another engineer at the shop), trying to recall the nickname Skipper gave to Albert and me

“Beavis and Butthead!”- Harry1

“HAHAHAHA. No, he calls us Hansel and Gretel!”-Me

“Whatever. This is Curly-Top!”-Harry1, pointing at me.

“An operator can make or break an engineer. You remember that, Curly-Top….”-Harry1 pulled me aside to tell me this. It sounded threatening, but I think it means he likes me. Harry1 is one of the older operators at the shop. He is sometimes very intense. By sometimes, I mean always. He is the operator who was on the Deepwater Horizon the night before it exploded. Harry1 has many quirks and ticks. I am sad that he will soon be retiring.

At the end of the day, Harry1 rand up to my desk and grabbed my hard hat from the floor. He returned it with this:



I work with 5 people named Barry, Carey, Gary, Jerry, and Larry. I have decided to call them all ‘Harry’. They will be Harry1, Harry2, Harry3, Harry4, and Harry5 in no particular order.  Harry 2 calls me ‘Curly’. It’s catching on…

The last job I went on was successful, I learned a lot.

Hours before we were supposed to start our job, I felt the drillship swaying. This prompted me to take 2 *non drowsy* sea sickness pills. When the time came to begin the job, Beverly worked while I sat slumped over unable to stay awake. My solution was to eat several cookies and assorted desserts and drink some soda.

I shovelled several pieces of dessert into a napkin when I heard a voice across the meal room. “Hey! You stay out of there. That stuff will make your hair curly!”

After the job, Cedric, Harry, Beverly and myself sat in the TV room waiting for our helicopter. We watched Sports Center on ESPN.

“That reminds me of me when I was about 15…”-Cedric

“Back when you played in the NBA…?”-Beverly

“Shoot, I may not be able to run anymore, but I can still sink em. Just give me about two 30 minute time outs, and I can be out there playing too.”-Cedric

While watching CNN and discussing Whitney Houston’s history of abusive relationships…

“She should have married me. I would have taken care of her.”-Cedric


I eat olives with every meal. I fill up my salad bowl half way with a mix of green and black olives. Cedric’s views on olives:

“I don’t know how you eat them olives… those things give me the creeps!” 

“Ah-Ha… No olives!” One day I buried the olives on the bottom of the bowl with lettuce.

“One rig had towels on the floor in front of the doors because the floor was wet. I walked in, slipped, fell and set off the fire alarm when I caught myself on the wall!”-Harry1

Frog Legs and Propeller Hats

I drove home from the shop today and saw this at an intersection:

These busses are full of people who will be on floats during the parade later.

The first signs of Mardi Gras….

I tried to explain how a helicopter works in my previous post. I was very tired and impatient with the slow internet connection. Allow me to paint this picture. Please follow along!  A helicopter flies like this:

Imagine your head is inside this hat. Also imagine that you had to be weighed before getting into this hat, which left you feeling terrible about your life choices.As you are inside this hat, you are not permitted a cell phone or camera. However as you look out the window (which you are fully prepared to bust off this air craft, if need be) you see a scene similar to this one:

A view not unlike that which I saw from the helicopter.

The excitement of flight has now worn off, and the steady hum of the helicopter through your two layers of hearing protection is putting you to sleep. Your head sits stiffly in your life jacket and you nod off to sleep. Not one hour later, you wake up to this:

You have arrived.

This drill ship is very similar to the one I just left.

As I type this post, I received a text from Beverly. The key words are “big job….. super high profile…..deep water….most important client…..23k ft”

I did alright to contain my passion for food this time offshore. However, the cookies are amazing. As Beverly explained to me, once you eat one cookie, you can’t stop yourself from eating a cookie every change you get. If you can refrain from eating that first cookie, then you’re golden.

Frog legs are served as often as shrimp or fish. They taste like chicken, but look like frogs.

Our president dines like a rig worker.

I am starting to gain an idea of things to keep in my offshore bag.  Always bring a blanket. My Snuggie has become my offshore blanket. If taking a boat, bring a pillow. In either scenario, bring a pillow case. Wear a digital watch and set it to military time. Never forget your positive attitude!

When running our operations, we communicate with the rig hands via walkie talkie. Everyone has a walkie talkie, and is constantly talking to each other on it. We hear all their conversations and they are rarely addressing Whataberger.

“I should have a conversation with myself on this thing…. ‘Whataberger, do you copy?’..’Yeah, this is Whataberger. We copy.’….’Whoa, is that you running the winch, you looking good!!!'” -Beverly

“I’m going to feed the fish.” Cedric, preemptively explaining himself as he leaves the meal room and sees Beverly and I in the hallway.


“These cookies aren’t for me. I’m going to feed the fish outside.”- Cedric

“If they gonna take their time, f*$% it. Let’s go eat then. When we rigging up they say ‘you need anything, let us know’ now we trying to rig down and they’re no where. That’s ridiculous.” -Harry. He said this or something to this extent.

“I like it when Harry calls the shots.” After waiting around for the rig hands to move our equipment with their crane so we could go home, we got fairly testy and decided to go eat lunch since they were taking so long.

“Yeah, Harry has been on every rig and knows everybody. When he starts calling the shots, don’t say anything. Just follow him.” -Beverly

“You’re not going to grow eating like that!” -LunchMan’s response to me eating vegetables.

Not an Airplane

Today I rode in a helicopter to work. The ‘runway’ at the heliport is not like an airport at all, but rather like a parking lot. All the helicopters line up next to each other and take turns hovering in the air and taking off. Unlike an airplane, a helicopter does not go really fast on the ground before lifting off. It casually levitates, then proceeds to accelerate forward, lifting off into the sky. The helicopter is very loud. Everyone wears ear plugs and large ear protectors. The helicopter vibrates violently the whole time.

“Have you ever flown in a helicopter?” Pilot, to me. I shake my head. He points to Harry, the operator riding next to me. “You’re responsible for her.”

I am out on a deep water rig with Beverly, Harry and Cedric. Deep water jobs are different from shelf jobs. Also, this rig is HUGE compared to Hercules 202. This rig is called the Deepwater Pathfinder. The safety meeting briefing lasted an hour. The client we are working for is called ENI and apparently they are the Italian national oil and gas company. Unlike Hercules, taking photos on this rig is actually illegal. You need more than permission from the company man (who is seriously named Scooter and he has a chia pet in his office). To take photos on this rig, you need a permit. If you are caught, you will be kicked off the rig. Sorry friends, no photos this time.

There are several types of offshore rigs. Some have legs which sit on the ocean floor. These are called “Jackup” rigs. Hercules was a jackup rig. Other rigs are connected to the well by a long string of pipes, but do not sit on the ocean floor. Instead, they have pontoon like mechanisms and sit in the water. These are called “Semi-submersible” rigs. Deepwater Pathfinder is a semi-submersible rig. It is also a “drillship”. It is a giant ship. During our tour, I saw more pipes and systems than I thought would be on a ship. I also saw a tan colored liquid being disposed of from the rig into the ocean.

“What’s that?” I asked Beverly.

“That….. is one of the many benefits of being this far offshore. It’s probably food or poop. They are allowed to just dump it. If you’re closer to shore or on the shelf, you can’t dump food.”

Unlike Hercules, which did not have enough beds to accommodate us, Deepwater Pathfinder has plenty of rooms, nice rooms. My room has two beds, but one occupant (me!) There is a flat screen TV mounted on the wall. I would guess it is about 30 inches. I have my own bathroom and thermostat. It is basically a cruise ship. There is a gym somewhere on this rig. I will find it tomorrow.

“Wow, Jiffy, It’s your second job and you’re already in over a mile of water!”-Beverly. He calls Albert and I “Jiffy” because our current position is JFE, junior field engineer. Sometimes, Beverly calls me “Killer”.  This rig is over a mile deep ocean.

The waves are bigger out here, and I can feel the rig rocking subtly. Looking out over dark ocean, I see little glowing beams all across the horizon. The oilfield is a very large community. I liken the feeling to star-gazing. Countless sets of lights flickering at respective distances represent some oilfield operation. I think about all those crews. While each individual rig is a rather isolated place, there is a strange connection between thousands all looking out at each other through the night.

Among exit routes and lifeboat assignments hanging on the walls, the living quarters and offices sport many a magnet. The magnet is shaped like the little ribbons saying “Support our Troops” and “Save our Boobs”. However, it is blue with 11 gold stars on it and it reads “Deepwater Horizon“.

Little Things

I’ve made several new aquaintances at the gym. One lady works for the sheriff’s office and I may teach her to swim soon. Another potential friend likes to run with people. The last connection I hope to make at they gym is with the sports director so I can volunteer to coach soccer on my days off. The following are some short annecdotes for you to think about.

The sheriff lady story:

Sheriff lady talked to me this morning and was very excited to hear I work offshore. “I used to work offshore!” She exclaimes, “as a cook. I worked on a production platform for Shell. It was like a cruise ship.”

“One year I was there, they made enough money on the first day of the year, that the rest of the year was nothing but profit.” This fact is sick. The cost of running a rig includes more than merely the equipment to pump and produce. Daily, the client is paying for helicopters, paying service companies (that’s us!), paying for the energy to run everything, paying for maintenance, paying rig hands and personell, paying for ships to bring equipment, paying for A LOT OF STUFF. I am not sure how to get the point across properly. Many tickets we have in just wireline services cost the client millions of dollars. That is for a single job, it maybe lasted a week. We are one segment of one service company. Our jobs do not put a dent in the company’s pocket compared to some of thier operating costs.

 In one day, one rig made enough money off the oil in the ocean to pay alllll those bills for 365 days.  

The bag lady story:

I noticed a while ago that everyone has big blue bags with their names embroidered on them. When I asked someone “What do I need to take offshore?”

They all looked at me, “Do you have an offshore bag?”


“Go see the bag lady!”

The bag lady is a lady who sells offshore bags out of a portable building which is an extension of her house. To get to her house, you drive down the road from the shop, turn on what looks like a long driveway, and you will see a little sign hanging off someone’s fence which reads: Bags Unlimited. I now have an offshore bag. I have yet to get my name embroidered on it though. This bag cost $55 (which I will be expensing to Whataberger).

Half this town works offshore. They all need bags from this bag lady. Bag lady makes bank running a shop from her backyard.

The swamp people story:

The swamp people are local celebriteis. Two of them live in Houma and like to watch the show when it premiers at Buffalo Wild Wings. Cookies was telling me about them.

“There’s one guy who arm wrestles. They had an arm wrestling competition at Buffalo Wild Wings one night and he was there.”

“They go watch the show there when it comes out. They just sit and laugh at themselves.”

“One guy comes up to me and asks me ‘do you want [swampperson]’s autograph?’ ‘uh….sure’. Then he says, ‘Okay, it’s 5 bucks.’ What?! No I don’t want his autograph!”

The show holds auditions locally. One of the operators from Larose, (like Houma, but Whataberger runs open hole operations from there) was selected to be on the show. Then the producers thought he cussed too much and couldn’t put him on the air.

The DJ story:

One of our operators used to play in the NFL. Now he works for Whataberger as an operator and at night he is a DJ in the nieghboring town, Thibodaux.

“He’s a DJ?! We should go to his club and see him.” -Me

“We would, except he straight up told us we were too white to go to his club.”-Cookies

“One time, we had a driver dropping us off at the dock and he was in a hurry so he could go see Winnie in Thibodaux.”- Cookies

Land, Ho!

I returned from the ocean Saturday night. Before I left, I asked Chuckie (the company man on this rig is also named Chuckie) if I may take photos.


The boat did donuts in the water while waiting for us to pack up our gear.

The boat waiting for us to be hoisted down with the personell basket.

Getting onto the basket to leave the rig was far less scary. I was excited. I hopped onto the basket with Selena, Reginald, and Cedric. We high fived and celebrated as we were carried through the air and dropped onto the boat. This boat ride was FAR more sickening than the ride out. I took two Dramamine, stood outside and focused all my energy on not barfing up the tuna sandwhich I had stupidly eaten right before we left. I stumbled into the boat and fell asleep for the remainder of the ride.

“Those birds are gross! They are eating old McDonalds!!” – Alice

This week, I will go to a deep water rig. This time, by way of helicopter. Here are the precise statistics of me dying in a helicopter crash!