The Curve

Upon return from vacation, I saw I had an email from Dennis the Menace, my manager. He asks me to call him as soon as I can. Bracing myself for bad news, I respond to his request.

“I’m going to cut right to the chase… I have a transfer for you to Oman. What do you think?”

I’m thinking….

 

 

 

This news shocks me. I still feel shocked. It has been 24 hours. After discussing pros and cons with my parents, and consulting Turgey on the matter, I decided to go. I already miss Houma…

This is the phone conversation I had with my grandfather:

Me: My company is transferring me to Oman.

Grandpa: Where?!

Me: Oman

Grandpa: Where?

Me: Oman, the country next to Saudi Arabia

Grandpa: You’re going to Saudi Arabia?

Me:….yes

Grandpa: Will they pay you like an American

Me: They pay me more

Grandpa: More as in 3 cents?!?!

For those of you unfamiliar with the region, I found this wikipedia page fairly useful. Additionally, I talked to as many people in my company as I could about the location and work there. Feedback ranged from “Don’t go! I will miss you so much!” to “You’d be an idiot not to jump on this opportunity.” My feelings are somewhere in the middle. Here is what I know so far:

March 1

6:3 weeks rotation. During the three weeks off, Whataberger will fly me wherever I want.

1.6 multiplier on my salary

It is a desert land location that is high volume. This means I will be working on a truck instead of offshore units. I will also be driving a lot.

I will live in a “camp”.

I had every intention of this post being about my kick ass vacation in Prague and Cairo, but alas, the job has firmly gathered up the reigns and directed my focus otherwise. And just like that…. all my plans are haulted.

The Man With a Dragon Tatoo

This rigtale comes to you from the last job I made, when I was stranded offshore with no life jacket. During this job, I met a hand who works for Halliburton, let’s call him Lester. Lester is a colorful loquacious fellow from the Bayou. He is followed around by a silent apprentice. Lester tells many stories and shows many pictures.

“Santa just put all the gifts on the couch!” Lester explains while showing us a photo of toys strewn about a living room. “My little boy woke me up and said ‘Daddy! Santa didn’t wrap any of the presents!’…. That lazy bastard.”

Later, we are sharing a meal together in the galley. Lester is wondering if we would like to play any games to pass the time on the rig. “Oh, you play dominos?! I love dominos. We used to play in jail all the time, it would get heated. We would say ‘lay your biscuits on the line!’ Because in jail, they give you little hard biscuits in the mornings for breakfast. So when we played dominos at night, we would bet our biscuits on it. You may hear me say that when we play ‘Put your biscuits on the line!'”

During the job, the CoMan asked me if I had any tattoos. I said no, and everyone was surprised. Lester took this opportunity to share his favorite tattoo with us. “I have a dinosaur on my arm!” Of course, I thought this was a joke. Lester lifted up his sleeve to reveal a dragon on his right bicep. This dragon was his dinosaur. Lester then disclosed his plans to get a triceratops and t rex fighting on his leg. I do not think this was a joke….

Many of you readers may be wondering if I ever made it off that rig. I did. Later on New Years Day, the helicopter company sent out a little helicopter just for me. It had only four seats on it, and I got to wear my own headset and talk to the pilot. I also snapped this shot of a placard on the wall of the helicopter:

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happy deciphering!

I was so happy to leave that rig, that I took vacation immediately. While driving to Dallas, I wrecked my truck in the rain:Image

This unfortunate event happened one day before I am to travel out of the country… my sister picked me up from the scene of the accident, and today I depart for Prague, then Cairo. An unusual timing of events…

Candy Bars and Mars

I am presently on a well dubbed with the nick name “Candy Bars”. The name is all too misleading, as this job experience has been less than ideal. To avoid going into grubby, angsty details, I will instead just give a chronological outline of the last week or so of my life.

Monday, December 24, a day known to many as Christmas Eve. Laila drives herself 500 miles or so from Atlanta to Houma. (This trip should be several posts in itself.) Theoretically, there are two more days left in the coveted ‘days off’ week, before she is to report to work Thursday morning.

Tuesday, December 25, this day is a national holiday called Christmas. Laila gets a call from her manager, explaining that a job has just called in. She is go to offshore tomorrow and blow some stuff up in the ground. Englewood will prepare the job today and ship out all the equipment. Laila is to coordinate with Eglewood the details.

Wednesday, December 26, this is the last day of Laila’s days off, however she reports to work just to see what is going on. No one seems to know anything about the timing of this job. Laila asks “what rig am I going to?” Only to find out that there is a lot more equipment needed to do this job than was prepared. Laila and managers scramble to get equipment organized and sent to the dock. Then Laila and her crew get to the heliport all before lunch time. Crew is on the rig for dinner.

Thursday, crew gets up at 04:00 to greet the boat with all the Whataberger equipment on it. While unloading and setting up the wireline job, Harry4 realized we are missing some pieces. Laila calls Houma. Meanwhile the company man on the rig calls the heliport to hold it for our remaining pieces. We get our pieces, rig up, and proceed to blow things up in the ground. This operation continues until…

Friday, 15:00. In theory, the crew should be on a chopper…

Saturday to go home. The rig decides, a $40,000 helicopter trip is not worth it to bring home the Whataberger crew. They are scheduled for a flight on..

Sunday. This morning, the crew hears that the helicopter has been turned around. A few moment later, the rig announces “The helicopter for today has been cancelled.” Laila goes to company man to investigate. It turns out the rig may need more wireline work and asks Laila to organize sending more equipment out. Meanwhile, the crew will stay on the rig in the event more work needs to be done. A frenzy of phone calls ensues.

Monday. Crew is still kickin it on the rig waiting to hear if they will get to work or not. Monday evening, Laila gets news that the rig will not be requiring more wireline work, and she and her crew are scheduled for a flight the next day.

Tuesday, New Years Day! Crew wakes early, packs bags, reports to heliwait room, watches safety briefing, greets incoming passengers, dons life vests, and boards helicopter. All the passengers sit waiting for the helicopter to depart, excited to spend the first day of the new year on solid ground. Instead of a departure, they hear an announcement that there is one fewer life vest than passengers. One person is asked to volunteer to stay. Laila thinks, “I’m probably going to have to stay, but I’m not volunteering until I’m told for sure.” Sure enough, five minutes later, the Helicopter Landing Officer gets on the chopper and asks “Who here is from Whataberger?”. Realizing her fate, Laila raises her hand saying “I’ll stay”, unbuckles her seatbelt, and walks back inside the rig. Depression sets in.

This brings us to present time. I should have left this floating vessel days ago, and I feel worlds away from home. I sit in the conference room on the rig angrily assigning myself holiday bonus for all the shenanigans. The rig dispatcher assures me he is working on getting a special flight just for me, as the helicopter company “owes” them free flights. “Let me assure you, that Captain was very embarrassed having to come down here and explain that they did not have enough life vests.”