Hairy Scary Hands

This rigtale is brought to you by Noelle. She shared this story several months ago after making a job on a small jack up rig. Upon stepping off the personnel basket and into the dispatcher’s office to receive her room assignment, Noelle was met with opposition.

 

The dispatcher looked her up and down, declaring “You’re going to be a problem.” This statement refers to the difficulty to fine accommodations for a female on such a small rig. She was placed in the supervisors room with the company men and drilling engineers on the rig. In theory, this is the nicest room the rig has to offer.

Noelle describes walking in the room “There were 9 beds in there. 8 are occupied by other people, and the 9th is mine.”

Noelle went to sleep while waiting on the rig to be ready for the wireline operation. “Normally when someone comes in to wake you up, they will like… try to call your name, maybe poke your shoulder or something. This guy comes in, and puts his dirty, greasy, hairy hand on my pillow right next to my face and says ‘Time for work, GIRL!’ I didn’t just wake up… I sat up GASPING in terror.”

 

Ladies of the oilfield….

 

Loose Ends and Strangers

The last several weeks have been an emotional whirlwind. I’ve cried and laughed. I’ve screamed. I’ve even become violent at times. Now, I feel completely at peace and happy about the way certain events transpired. The goodwill in Houma has inherited several pounds of my personal belongings. My life in Houma has been shaken, shattered, destroyed, and all loose ends neatly tied into place. I have friends and enemies. There are people I don’t want to leave, those I can’t wait to meet soon, and some I never want to see again. I’ve come to realize this is all part of life.

I am lucky to have a supportive family. Aunt Sesame stopped by New Orleans a few weeks ago. We visited about my move and she gave me unforeseen pointers:

  •  Bring all your medications, from prescription to TUMS. You may not find a replacement for simple medications and don’t want to be stuck without them.
  • Take enough shampoo, conditioner and toiletries to last several months.
  • Bring any comfort foods you may have. Nothing is worse that being stuck in a different country and not having your coveted gummy bears or whatever your snack is. In this case, I will bring a cooler of Chick Fil A breakfasts and spicy chicken sandwiches.
I am lucky to have supportive strangers. An engineer transferred to the North Gulf Coast recently, and I had the chance to get to know him before leaving for Qatar. The beauty of a stranger is they have no ties to your life. They know nothing about you other that what is in front of them, what you choose to share. Being a stranger, you have no reason to filter what you share. I have made a new friend out of a stranger, but feel he will remain a stranger, as I am moving across the world.
 
After months of anxious limbo, I finally have a set timeline of events. I have a work visa, I have my shipping and storing of personal items arranged. I am waiting on my degree to be authenticated by the US ministry of foreign affairs and US embassy in Qatar. This process will take roughly 2 weeks. After this, I am all flanged up and ready to move. I have two suitcases, a large purse/laptop bag, and a violin. I have my wits about me; I have peace of mind. I have support from strangers, friends, co workers, and family. I have everything in the world that I could ever need.

Party City

I turned in my keys and cleaned out my desk. I told Dennis the Menace I was not coming back to work, and I have not. I have been trying to clean, only to make a bigger mess. Hoarding is a habit. Though I am struggling with my hoarding tendencies, I’ve decided I am not a hoarder, but rather a collector. I collect novelty items which turn into sentimental keepsakes. I keep them around me and it creates my unique ‘space’ no matter where on earth I may be.

Today is St Patrick’s day. Yesterday I went to the parade in New Orleans. Decorated in parade float spoils, I celebrated along Magazine Street, soaking up the beautiful weather and dodging packets of beads being hurled at my face.

Green Pearls

The floats threw all sorts of goodies including:

beads. lots of beads.

cabbage

flags

flowers

plastic pipes

carrots

underpants

footballs

ramen noodles!

I caught tiaras, clover crowns, and shamrock headbands. I kicked around a dirty cabbage with my friends like it was a soccer ball.

Now the street looks like this:

Mounds

Trash mounds create a hilly landscape across the land. The aftermath of all this party and festivity is a filthy street, covered in useless novelty holiday costume pieces and a stickiness which can only be achieved by spoiled produce and green beer.

Sadness

How Far Into Memphis, Son?

I’m finally back in Houma, after two months of vacation, training, and personal time. Today, I received my official transfer letter to Doha, Qatar. I sat in Dennis the Menace’s office, holding the stack of papers and staring blankly at the wall. I’ve had over a month to process this, but I’m feeling a little overwhelmed.

“Are you nervous?” Dennis asks me. I nod my head. I am beyond nervous. I think back on just the last two months and how completely splendid they have been. The night before I came back to Houma sums it all up:

I had the chance to meet one of my heroes. Mary Chapin Carpenter and Shawn Colvin (LOOK THEM UP!!) were playing a show in Lafayette, LA. My dad used to make me copies of his Mary Chapin cassette tapes, to eliminate risk of me destroying his. I memorized all her songs, and as I get older I am finding new meaning in them all the time. This was an important show to attend. I decided not only that I had to go, but I had to take my dad. Not only did I have to take my dad, we had to get VIP tickets and meet them backstage. I let the compulsion consume me. Work be damned; I have dreams to fulfil!

A Celebration of Friendship and Music

A Celebration of Friendship and Music

I tactfully played hookey from work for three days, prolonging my training in Oklahoma so that I could drive back to Louisiana on Wednesday, instead of Monday. My dad and I drove south all day Wednesday, sharing funny stories and new perspectives. We stopped for a crawfish pie on the way.

The meeting backstage was simply magical. A few years ago, I waited in line pissed off for 4 hours to meet the Disney princesses at Disneyland and left giggling and smiling. This experience was nothing like that. I drove 6 hours happy as a clam, did not wait in a line, and left a ball of floating energy, with not a care in the world. Shawn Colvin introduced herself and asked my name. My dad introduced himself by saying “I’m her father”, which makes me laugh. Mary Chapin Carpenter held out her hand and asked my name. I then asked “May I give you a hug?” I then found myself being embraced by her. WOW!

Dad and I then had our picture taken, watched the concert, and drove to New Orleans, where we stayed the night before he had to leave and I had to come back to work. We walked down Bourbon Street to eat some classic New Orleans dishes. Walking back to our hotel, my dad said “We should get a hot dog too.”

One of many New Orleans traditions

One of many New Orleans traditions

I split a lucky dog with my dad on Bourbon, after meeting Mary Chapin Carpenter and watching a PHENOMENAL live acoustic performance with her and Shawn Colvin. The world stopped for that moment. Dad and I stood on this filthy street, in the cool dark night, eating a hot dog. THIS is living, I think to myself.

Today I sat in Dennis’s office, gripping a stack of pages detailing my near future (which I will, in turn, detail in a post soon). I stare blankly at the wall and think about all the amazing people in my life.

MCC and Shawn sang a cover of this song. It’s been in my head.