Thursday, March 24, 2011

And My Other Car is...

I'm a working mom with a difference.

"Duh", you say. "You already told us that difference. Thirteen kids is quite a difference there, too."

But, it's even differenter than that. Yes, I understand "differenter" isn't a word. It's a throwback to my childhood, a chuckle of remembrance of my kid's word choices (when they were younger, of course), and a nod to the great man and Inventor of new words himself - hey, words all originated somewhere! - Winston Churchill.

I take a jet to work. An Alaska Airlines jet leased by the oil companies to bring their personnel to work and back to Anchorage.

Working on the north coast of Alaska, in a place called Deadhorse, but more commonly referred to as "Prudhoe Bay", it's about 850 road miles from my home. And unless you're an ice-road trucker , you're not gonna drive here during the winter; which sets in the end of September and here at the end of March there is no end in sight.

The actual Prudhoe Bay is about three miles north from where I live and work for two weeks at a time.

I work in a three-story "Man Camp" that is raised up on pilings to keep the heat generated within the building from transferring to the ground, which is a thick gravel pad. That gravel serves to insulate the ground, and prevent the permafrost from defrosting. This would be bad, as it would remove the only solid structure within the ground that holds up the buildings, on ground which is otherwise mucky.

And yes, that is a bear at the bottom of the stairs looking for something to eat. My office is right above that post.
There are reminder signs posted to take care when opening doors to the outside, as they like to go under the building. The brown bears are seen in the summer when they come down from the Brooks Range to the south.

Built in the hey-day of the North Slope building, the building decor is mid-80's and looks like a massive mobile home from that era, right down to the panelled wallpapered walls. Despite the age, it's held up rather well, and the rooms are like being in a college dorm. There are 4 double-wide lockers, and two under bed drawers, and two beds in most rooms. Each occupant gets the use of one locker and one drawer. When on R&R, we put our locks on and hopefully leave most of our stuff at work. That's why one sees so many people traveling with small bags for their two- or three-week hitches.

Ideally, the dorm room serves as home for 4 people; 2 sets of alternates; but not everyone has an alternate, and shift changes vary and change and 10-25% of our population is non-permanent: waiting for rigs to move or jobs to start, or are inspectors, are workovers, etc. And then there are the seasonal changes, with January to March being "Exploration Season". This year's Exploration Season has been a bust with good-ol' Obama closing up American exploration and giving the opportunities to his buddy, George Soros, who just happened to invest $900 million into this company, Petrobras .

But I digress.

I'll bet George Soros' other car is a jet too. But I'll also bet he doesn't have to sit in the middle between two healthy oil men.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Nothin' Like the Present

So I start a new blog... only to not post. How like me to get so busy with the every day I forget to have the fun too. At least I used to write for fun.

Or did I?

Or was it because it provided cheap counseling?

Eww. That wouldn't be a very good idea, counseling oneself. That sounds like a quick trip down the path of self-delusion.

Ah well, I'm sure it wouldn't be the first time... nor would it be the last.

That said. I have now gotten thru the dreaded first post. Where's the bottle of champagne?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I'm a Working Mom

Ho hum. There are a lot of working moms in the world. From the mom who is a CEO to the stay-at-home mom who humphs because she's a working mom too (just doesn't get the paycheck), there are a LOT of working moms. I'm just like them. And then again, not.

Even a-a-a-all the way back 25 years ago, when I only had three children, and was a working mom who also went to college. There were those people who looked me over closely with squinting eyes and demanded, "HOW do you DO it?" or would tilt their head as tho' trying to imagine how the pieces of the puzzle fit together and ask, "HOW does that WORK?!"

And over those years, there were many, many challenges, mostly medical in nature. Some so severe that I have few to no memories of a handful of those years. And the questions still came. And I had no answer... I just kept waking (most) every morning.

And here I am, 25 years later and finally have the answers:
I don't.
And it doesn't.
But it has to.
So it does.

People eat, bathe and breathe. I struggle to complete a thought. Most of the time they are interrupted by the interjections of children, dogs, telephones or something burning.

I go to work. Sometimes for two weeks at a time. 867 miles away. On the north coast of Alaska 3 miles from the Arctic Ocean. I know what some of you are thinking. Probably because I thought it first.

This is just the beginning... and this is where I explain it: not how it works... but how it is.