This weekend I`m heading out to the chunk of land for chores, hunting, beer to drink, and to relax. Got so much I want to say and this is my time to say it. No thoughts of work, The Lady (sorry Babe, but I need the me time) my family, or any thing that requires responsibily.
Well I will be thinking of my loved ones. That never will change. Two days to reset. thats all I need.
Being back on the tools after so many years as a member of the plush and pampered bossy type elite is proving to be an enlightening and educational experience. Being in camp, having a set work schedule, riding a bus to the work site, and having to follow rules that were never really meant for the likes of me is well, different.
Taking this job by mutual agreement required pulling my union card out (O.Es) and having the new big dog name hire me. Not jumping the Que mind you, every one in my primary occupation is already working and I figured this is a good a time as any to pump up my pension.
One thing on my dispatch slip did have me give a little chuckle though. Camp provided. Haven’t been in camp since 1995. This will be a new thing for me. Cool. Hours of work 7:30 to 7:30. Cool I`m use`d to longer . Shift 7 days, 7 nights, and 7 off. Riiight. I haven’t worked a night shift since way back when I was going to school and I washed dishes on the weekend at a 24 hour restaurant.
I don`t work nights. That must just be boiler plate. And my first 14 were straight days. Nothing to sweat.
I`m on a short change. That means that fron the end of the day shift to the start of the night I have 24 hours to reset my internal clock. As I scribble this it is 02:35 and it is my plan to document my staying awake for 26 hours so as to be able to sleep the required amount, get up at 17:00, get to site by 18:00 (I did snivel my self a pick-up. That way I can get to work earlier and stay later if needed. Also it gets me off of that damn bus) and work my shift till the following A:M.
Backtracking on the chronological progression lets start at:
20:00- Through the gates of the site. Decide to go into Fort Mac. Do some shopping, grab a bite to eat and fill-up the truck. All good reasons to make a beer run. Some camps have a bar in them. The one I`m at don`t. Though they do have an ice machine. That, a Coleman cooler and a 24 of Labatts Light is all that’s needed for a 14 day shift.
22:30- Back at camp. A bit past my regular bed time. Marathon phone time with The Lady. She knows I have to stay awake and she steps up to the plate to help. We reached new levels in weird and twisted humor in our hour long gabfest. What a gal. And to all you other fellows out there all I can say is NAH NA NAH NAH NA, She hangs out with me.
23:59- Feeling very tired I head over to the Rec center. Lots of choices. I could go to the gym and do a cardio work out. Decide that I do four times the daily recommended at work so I pass on that. Could go to the weight room and pump iron with the sterdroids. Nah, gonna pass on that. those things look heavy. I`m not into heavy right now. Grab an extra strong coffee from the ever present urn (the quality of the food and the coffee are what a camps rep is for the most part based on). Pass the Internet room. no need , I have my laptop and free Wi-Fi in my room. Two TV rooms with humongous size screens , very comfy couches and chairs and every channel on Earth aren’t on the agenda tonight. Five minutes in there and I`m in La La Land. Anyways got a flat screen and all the channels in my room. I have my eye on an activity that is sure to get my energy levels up. I go for the game room. No pool, darts, foosball, video games or ping-pong for me. No sir dogie, nothing but the game of games for this Monster.
Adams Family Values. Didn’t check out the manufacturer. Hope it wasn’t Bally cause this table bites. Not only a poor design its way off proper pitch. Three bucks wasted. What ever happened to the great tables like F-14 Tomcats or Full House. I used to rock at F-14.
01:00- Grab another cup of coffee and decide to pace the perimeter of the barracks, count the barracks, then estimate the number of bodies that this place can hold. I estimate 2500 though with all the pullouts due to the fires there are only about 500 here now.
02:00- Surf the web a bit and start this post at 02:20.
03:00- Still writing. Feeling groggy so I pull my next trick out of my hat. Hot shower followed with a blast of full cold. I`m awake now. Shave and start getting my laundry ready. Laundry room is open to use at 06:00. Surf the Web till 04:00. Looking for a mini-hoe or skid steer on Kijiji. Do I need one. Uuuummm? yes I do. Except for spelling I am not editing this. When I`m not so goofy will this post still be the shining jewel of Blogosphere literature that It appears to be right now. If it isn`t will I care.
04:00- Been watching re-runs of The Nanny. is there any one alive that thinks Fran Dresser is funny. Or hot? Dawn Wells who was Mary-Anne on Gilligans Island. Now she was hot. And Betty. Allthough if Wilma takes her hair out of the bun and lets it hang loose she`s fairly smoking. Oh look its 05:00. The mess hall is open. Yee haw it`s -2 out there this morning. That`ll put some wake up in me.
05:00- Oh ya, breckie. Two over easy, bacon, a slice of fried balony, toast, juice and milk. No caffine now. It runs $195.00 per person per day for the company to keep a hand in camp. The way we eat you would think the camp owner was losing money with every plate served. Did The Lay say last night that she would or that she might go out to the chunk of land with me next next weekend? I do know that bringing her dog did come up. Dog meet cow. Cow meet dog. I like her dog. Half Lab, half border collie.
05:39- Digesting. Very very tired. Just a little bit more. than sleep. glorious sleep.
06:05- Laundry in the washer. can`t fall asleep now.
Where I last left off before the great Blog Me crash of 2011 The Lady and my self were moving along swimmingly. Now we haven`t seen one another for over three weeks. The last we spoke on the phone there was ice in her voice and if it had been a video call I would have seen the fire in her eyes.
What also is different is a major change in employment.
When last I was posting on a regular (more or less) basis I had re met The Lady and came out of retirement to help out my friend Dave`s company by putting together some bid packages and promoting some work. Got some things going for him and was more than happy to work on a job to job basis as needed. I had retired you know. And if your wondering how I was able to do that at 49, well lets just say it don`t take me very much to live on. And I`m really cheap.
I had previously worked for one of the big contractors in the Fort Mac area for twenty years. Was a great place to be till the suits moved in and took over. Most of that time I worked directly for the Regional manager for heavy construction and earthworks. Cool title, huh. My title was The guy who does stuff. Surprisingly his name was Dave too.
Dave too was great to work for. Left me alone to get things done. Would drop a construction package on my desk and maybe two or three weeks later ask me how it was going. Dream job for someone like me.
In the past few years due to the expansion of the industry a few new big players moved into the area. A lot of the old gang from the big dog I had previously worked for had gravitated to one of the new kids on the block. We`re talking from senior management on down.
Including Dave too. Last September he had called and offered a job. Doing the same as I had done before.
Would of loved to have taken it. Personal circumstances dictated otherwise. We talked again this April and I tentatively accepted. Had to talk with family and Dave to see if it would fit. The Lady was all for me taking it. Family was more than happy to get me out of town for extended periods. And Dave. Dave was the one that I felt that I was betraying. Doing any side work for Dave could put me in conflict of interest.
Didn’t need to worry. Dave was all for it. In his words “business is business and friendship is friendship. What they are offering you would be a fool not to take, and I don`t have any time for fools”. Thanks Dave.
The Lady and I have been through the wringer in previous relationships and neither of us want to put the other through that or go through it again. That’s why we are taking it slow. We both are growed up enough to know that nothing is perfect and that there will be rough spots. We can work through them.
After three weeks of pre-job rigmarole (another post that will be forth coming) I arrive at a work camp north of Fort Mac. Havn`t been in camp for a long time. Things have changed. Much nicer then it used to be. Working fourteen with seven off. Thats a nice long change.
More about what I am doing later, suffice to say it`s back in the field and on the tools again. I`m having a heck of a lot of fun. Except for the smoke.
Whining about the smoke from the forest fires in the region after so many people in Slave Lake lost every thing they had is the utmost in self centered behavior. Slave is a great town. Fantastic people and unbelievable fishing. Drank many a brew in the original Zoo. And more than a few in the Zoo two. They will bounce back. But the smoke up here is intense.My eyes are burning and my throat is raw. I know, suck it up butter cup.
There are several cardinal rules that The Lady and myself have talked about and have agreed that breaching them would do big time serious harm to the relationship that we are working to build. Infidelity, lying, hypocrisy, meanness, not listening, and trash talking about one another to some one else.
Most people think of work as 9 to 5 with weekends off. In the patch its 7:30 am to 7:30 pm (or vice versa for the night shift) fourteen or twenty four days at a go. Not much spare time to get into extracurricular naughtiness. Yet I managed to let my desires get the better of me and break trust in a major way.
When The Lady is working and I`m in town on her days off I would always tell her not to drive straight home after her shift. working twelve hours and then driving for five more down Hwy:63 is definitely not a good idea. Too many people killed on that road and I for one think fatigue to be one of the major factors.
That’s why my desire to see her led me to say on the phone one night ” What I could do is load the truck tonight and leave a little early from work tomorrow. You know to get a jump on the traffic. I could be at your place by 11:30″.
I didn’t need the the 40 below ice cold silence that blasted down the phone line, through my ear, and directly into the crisis control center of my brain to instantly realize the magnitude of my stupidity.
Do as I say not as I do. Hypocrisy. I know better than you. If I do something it`s OK, but not if you do it. Superiority. A multitude of sins.
The crisis center threw the stupid action recovery switch and transferred all verbal actions from little monster decision command to the some what less moronic upper some times thinks part of my body. A hard dose of please Lord don`t let me screw this up to settle the terror, and verbal control was reauthorized.
“Ah ah ah…. Well you know Babe that was just a thought. And not a very smart one at that”. Phone in my hand is only less frigid than it was an eternity long micro second ago.
“What would be a much better idea is the one you suggested Sunday Darling”. Still Antarctic though I know those beautiful blue eyes could burn through 2″ of hardened steel right now. Fire and ice.
“Where you thought that the best thing to do would be to go to camp and get some sleep then get up rested and drive in the morning is a much better idea. Right Dear that was your great idea Dear. Way better than my dumb one. Right dear?”. I sense a slight thaw. Dammit man, your sniveling for your life here. Play the submission card.
“Cause even thinking my dumb idea is totally wrong while your idea is the smart one and me thinking my idea when in the past I have told you different is way wrong and I know that I was wrong and will never do it again forever and will drive home according to your masterpiece of an idea and did I say I was wrong and will never do it again. Right my Love?”.
The phone is no longer frozen to my hand and the hum of two cornflour blue Phazers cycling up begins to subside when I hear The Lady speak the words I have dreaded to ever hear. Oh Lord how could I have let it come to this. “When you get home boy we are gonna have a long talk”. “Yes Dear”. “And it might be in your best interest to remember that I really like rose`s. Lots of rose`s”. “Yes Dear, what ever You say my love”.
Very sorry that I have not posted for a while. The blog being down and work have cut my writing time to a state approaching zero. I plan to get disciplined and with the program. New posts about the life in an oil sands work camp (full disclosure: this is the first time I have been in camp since 1995) and the goings on in my life and the thoughts I have on what ever comes up will be forth coming. Oh ya, let me know weather you like or dis-like the new format. It was a fight to get back up and I have still to un-scramble the archives. MONSTER
A quick note to let you all know that I have not disappeared and am working diligently to get the site back up. Trust me on this one it has not been fun.Got drafts that weren’t posted and lots more to carry on about, and old web friends that I miss hearing from. A full account of my task to reload will be upcoming once its running proper. Thank you for your patience. MONSTER