Circus Peanuts

The rest of my last job was equally eventful as the first part. All the details are highly technical. The only thing that matters is: I was ready to go home.

You may remember, dear readers, that I went to the gym for a short period of time a few months ago. During my short lived membership at the Y, I met a man named Pastry. Pastry is a helicopter pilot by day and a step class instructor and fitness enthusiast by night. When I say “by day”, I mean every other week; “by night”, every other week.

I got the CoMan to sign the ticket (for which I had to, again, assign myself no bonus), and headed outside to meet the chopper. Lo and behold, holding the door for me outside was Pastry, the friendly fitness instructor. “Laila!”, he cried, “I haven’t seen you at the gym in a while.”… Totally busted. Mr. Boxes eyed me as I hugged the pilot and explained that I had started to meet my exercise needs in the outdoors (*bed*), and was working offshore a lot. “Well, I guess I will be taking you back home!”

“Did you meet that guy at a bar??”-Mr. Boxes.

“I met him at the gym, you a-hole!”-Me

The soft humming of the helicopter put me to sleep yet again as we traversed the waters from above the clouds. In a matter of dreams, I was home again. Pastry and I made plans to play soccer the next day. Back in my comfort zone and among my friends, we decided to go to New Orleans to both commiserate and celebrate the completion of my “break out job”. The “official” break out is pending on my manager’s approval. We went to eat at a fancy place with a set menu. I ate a filet, rare per usual. We went to a place called “Rock and Bowl”, which is just as it sounds. This venue is a bowling alley with a stage on the side, and a huge dance floor. We watched some live music and met up with Englewood and his fiance. Albert, Alice, Beverly, DWShorty, Chelly (a Columbian open hole engineer who just transferred from Holland), Englwood, his fiance, and myself danced and hula hooped the night away. All my worries from the Development Driller 1 (DD1) job melted away.  

We woke the next morning and ate at our favorite bagel spot before heading back to Houma. In the car, DWShorty received a call from Lauren. She instructed him that we have to go back out to the DD1 for additional service to the well. “You need to be at the heliport at 3:00 pm.” The time is currently 12:34pm. I received a text from Pastry, “I thought I was done. I may have to go off to DD1. Be back by 5:30.”….”I’ll see you at the heliport,” I replied.

The crew out here now is Jeau, Harry1, Winnie, DWShorty, and myself. My first day back on the rig, nearly everyone I passed in the living quarters or in the galley said to me “You’re back!?” or “Where’s Mr.Boxes?”

“Oh, I’ll get it stuck just as good as anybody. And I get it unstuck, too!!”-Jeau on driving the winch. On our last trip out here, we had trouble getting our tool back up the hole and had to leave it at the bottom. This is a product of “getting stuck” in the well.

“I had a nightmare… They woke us up and said ”get up, you’re going home….on a boat!'” -Harry1

“Well, f*$%, I can’t let an empty chopper leave the rig!” Jeau’s reaction to the announcement that a helicopter would be leaving carrying no passengers.

“Ha-Haaah! Snack Pack, you crazy.”-Winnie

Yesterday, I was popping pop corn in the galley before going to the theater to watch a movie with DWShorty and Jeau. I watched the microwave intently as my snack prepared, kernel by kernel. “WHAT YOU DOING!!!” I felt someone shaking me from behind and I jumped into the air, hitting my knees on the cabinets. “JESUS!!” I yelled in terror. I turned around to see one of the galley hands laughing hysterically. Everyone else in the room laughed too. “Whoa! I didn’t know you could jump so high!” This was both frightening and embarrassing.

“I shouldn’t have answered my phone! I could be at home drinking beers right now!”-Harry1

“No, Harry1, I always need you to answer the phone!!”-Me

“Yeah, it’s not so bad, at least I’m offshore with you.”-Harry1

“I may run out of cigarettes”-Harry1 noted as he pulled out his inventory from his offshore bag. I immediately began to panic.

“We can get some more sent out to you. Just let me know and I’ll call someone on shore to send some.”-Me

“No, I’ll be okay.”-Harry1

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, I’ve got a full prescription of happy pills ready to go!”

This morning, the CoMan woke us all up at 0400 so that we may have time to eat breakfast and connect our tools and get it together. Winnie was woken up first and he had to go around and wake us all up. While we were eating he explained his encounter with the rig had who woke him up.

“He asked me, ‘What room number is the engineer in?’ I says ‘234’. He says’…This is 234′. Oh, DAMN it’s early.”-Winnie

“I thought ‘I hope this isn’t a dream’ What a f*$%ed up dream would that be!? If I got up and woke everybody up!!”-Winnie


“Winnie is going to drive the winch for the whole run, so let’s let him go to bed now. Once we start running in the hole, you and Jeau will take turns sleeping.”- Me, reviewing my fatigue management plan with Harry1

“Not me, I’m about to jump overboard.”-Harry1

It is now 1015 (almost lunch time)…. the rig still has two more hours until they are ready for us to perform our service. We have been done and sitting around since 0730.

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