Sunday, December 4, 2011

December 5, 2011

Well, I figured I better tell everybody how life in Australia has been, since you've all been asking for my news!  I had a pretty lame birthday this week, I'm not going to lie.  I did 2 jobs, one in the morning, and one in the evening.  It makes for a long day.  I did manage to get a cookie out of the whole thing - no birthday cake :(, but you can't have everything I guess.  I've spent the last 5 days out by Noccundra, QLD again.  Gotta love these jobs in the desert.  It's a long 800 km's out here.  Unfortunately this is the first well that I haven't been able to get down into the hole.  The hole itself was caving in, and the tool couldn't pass down.  A lot of effort, and very little to show for it.  I've been applying to more jobs in the good old USA.  :)  I will go to Abu Dhabi again in February, for another 3 weeks of training school, and then I have 3 weeks off.  I'm thinking that India is a nice place to visit that time of year.  We'll see though.  :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

August 20-October 7

Okay, too long since I've written on here, I know.  To summarize the last month and a half... busy?  I finished my job out in the desert in the Northern Territory - only took 13 days for the record, and I'm currently sitting in the Cooper Basin in the southwest corner of Queensland, another desert, finishing a job here.  Gotta love all these far, far away jobs with great pay!  Mostly, I've been working and working.  Hardly seems like there's a second for myself most days.  I'll stick to the positives though.  I had some days off at the beginning of September - 5 days of blissful time without work.  :)  I went to Mooloolaba, QLD, the beach!  Took a co-worker along and we walked the beach, ate good food, drank a bit, and spent more money than I've spent in the previous 4 months combined.  (Granted, the most exciting thing I've bought in the last 4 months was a calculator, so don't think I'm not being fiscally responsible.)  I had a great time, and it was all too short.  I payed off the first of my student loans in September, so all that great salary is at least going to something useful.  I bought a bike!  It's only an 8 minute ride to work, so I think I can handle it.  I'm searching for a new job, so if you know something about a good one in the States, let me know.  I've decided that while I like my job well enough, it's not my whole life, so changes need to be made. 
That's the long and short of it, and I hope to get on here to tell everybody that I'm doing okay, and I can't wait to be Stateside in less than a month!  Coming soon to America - this girl!  Home for three weeks, October 28-November 15.  See you then.  :) 

Friday, August 19, 2011

July 23-August 19

Well it’s been an interesting month since I last wrote.  I have completed step one of my Schlumberger progression!!!  I broke out on August 8th, and did my first job by myself.  It took exactly 3 months, but at least now I feel pretty good about doing these jobs.  The best thing about breaking out = times off.  At least that’s what they tell you…  I’m supposed to be having off the 29th of August -4th of September.  We’ll see if that actually happens.  If so, I’m hoping to get out to Roma, head to Brisbane, meet the family, drink some wine, buy some stuff, and generally, enjoy myself.  I really can’t wait.  I’ve been working for 84 days straight.  I’ve got at least another 6 on the job I’m on right now, I’ll talk about that in a second, and then I’ll have my 90 days on.  A new personal record for me.  I’m not exactly thrilled about this.  Oh sure, I’ve taken the occasional half day, but considering I’m usually working 10-12 hours a day, and that’s just counting the days I’m in the office, not the days I’m in the field, I’m pretty sure those half days don’t count.  I’m really looking forward to some me time.
I missed a pretty big event back home this past weekend, the weekend of my cousin Tori.  It’s the first really big event that I’ve missed since starting this job.  Thank goodness for my cousins, that had a picture of me printed out so I could ‘go to the wedding’.  I’m think I’m in more pictures than if I had actually been there!  I am truly blessed with a wonderful family.  I haven’t booked then, but I’m doing it tonight , flights to come in October/November.  I WILL be home for my next cousins’s wedding, my brother’s senior football game, and hanging out with people I haven’t seen in awhile.  Maybe a job interview or two if I can swing it…  Yeah, work is nice and all, but it’s not for forever.  I’m going to keep my options open, so if you have of something Stateside that I might be interested in, please let me know.  

I’m currently on a job near the Lucy Creek in the Northern Territory.  If you look this up on Google, you might have a hard time finding it, because even Google Maps tells me there is no way to get to it from Roma.  The road I took here, was…well, pretty much a 1 ½ car length wide and paved from Roma to Boulia (you can look up that journey on Google Maps), and from Boulia to the wellsite was pretty much just a graded dirt road.  Needless to say, an interesting journey.  We spent the first night in Longreach, QLD, home of the Sportsman’s Hall of Fame.  We didn’t get in town early enough to visit, but maybe on the trip back through.  Pretty uneventful drive.  Next we made our way to Boulia, home of famed camel races.  We passed by the Diamanthia (spelling?) National park.  It basically looks like big red mountains jutting from the plain.  Really beautiful stuff.  Kind of like the pictures you see of Ayres Rock.  We didn’t exactly have time to go hiking in them, but I can see where that would be a good time.  Boulia was small, and I mean small.  The one bar in town afforded us a nice evening though.  We set off for the wellsite at 6:30 AM, and the country was desolate.  It’s not a desert like I imagined it would be, just scrubby bush land, trees in abundance, but they’re short little things.  Cows and kangaroos are about all you see out here, and the occasional car that passes by.  Makes for some pretty boring driving, but I had Queensland rural public radio to keep me company.  It’s way better than NPR, no offense NPR fans, but this stuff rocks.  The crew with me is Crew Chief Kris and Operator Dan, both Aussies, and fellow engineer Pwapei, from Puapa New Guinea.  All real nice guys.  It’s been a good journey so far, if the job ever starts, then things will start to get interesting. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

June 6 - July 23

Yes, I know it’s been awhile since you’ve heard from me, but that just seems to be how it is these days.  The word for the last month could be…busy!  So much to learn, so much to do, job after job, and no days off.  :(  I’ll stick to the good stuff that’s happened lately though.  My friend and fellow engineer Nick, that I went to school with and is with me in Roma, just broke out this week!  He’s the first from our class, and he totally deserves it.  Good job man.  I’m a bit unhappy that it wasn’t me, but that just means that I need to work on my preparation and execution of jobs.  Hopefully by the end of this month, that milestone will be done!  I’ve gotten to talk to some of my favorite people back in the States lately, and that makes me super happy!  I’m still not sure if I’m going to be able to make it home in time for my cousin’s wedding in August, but I sure am trying.  If not, I’m taking a few days vacation in Australia I think.  How’s a trip over to the Sunshine Coast sound??  Hello cousins in Brisbane!  It’s been ‘cold’ here in Australia for the past few weeks.  As in, I’m wearing a hoodie and I think about wearing some gloves, but usually forgo them.  It’s maybe 40F in the evening, and up to 70F in the daytime.  Right around 5 AM it gets below freezing.  How would I know this you ask?  Well, that’s because I always seem to be logging at night.  No colds yet, and I’m one of the few at work who hasn’t been sick, so I’ll knock on wood after saying this!  I’ve been running every night that I’m in Roma town, and it’s been messing with my sleep schedule.  For some reason if I run for an hour, I need an hour’s less sleep.  Go figure.  Tiffany my roommate has gone back to the States to recover from an injury she received at work, but I have a new roommate Becky, from South Carolina.  Nice girl, but she’s only on loan here, so she’ll be leaving soon.  Astrid, from Mexico, and Tamara, from Russia, should be back from their schools soon.  I can’t wait; more girls to have fun with! Danielle, the senior engineer at my base, and I are going to a production of Grease at the end of this month!  I can’t wait.  J  Assuming I’m not out on jobs of course…   That really is the tricky part of this job, finding the time for a social and private life, and learning how to burn off all the frustration that comes along with that.  The running is helping in my case, and the eating healthy is doing its part too.  The social life part is a little tricky in Roma, but I’m figuring that part out as I go.  I haven’t made it to church since early June, so I better start to make some time for that as well.  It always seems to make the week go by quicker.  It’s pretty hard still, and with this injury that Tiffany had, it’s been even harder.  The Roma base is getting a lot scrutiny from the higher ups, and we’ve had a lot of visitors from the bosses.  Sigh.  It’s not that that’s a bad thing, but it makes it hard to make improvements when they just keep harping on the small things we’re doing wrong.  For instance, we’d like some new trucks, since the ones we have are pretty old, but a new truck costs over $1M US…  They just don’t seem willing to help us out with some of the things we know that we need to improve our base.  Well, it’s a work in progress, but it’s pretty hard going some days.  L  Keep in contact everybody, and if I don’t get back to you, I’m sorry.  It’s a struggle to get my laundry done, my dishes clean, and make it into bed some days.  Here’s to hoping it gets better after I break out! 
 I suppose I should mention the injury my friend Tiffany received at work on June 18th.  Tiffany was struck by the hoist of a crane on my hard hat and hand.  She broke a bone in her hand, and suffered a lot of soft tissue damage in her arm and neck.  She’s really darn lucky to be alive.  I went to the hospital with her that first day, and held her hand, and made sure she was okay.  It was not a good day, and honestly I’m still pretty upset about the whole thing.  Tiffany really could have died right there in our workshop, and I was doing the same thing with that crane only minutes earlier.  I am wearing my PPE, and I am following the rules.  I do not want to have a similar fate.  

Since everybody is always asking about the wildlife, I better give a report of what I’ve seen so far.  Spider: one huntsman spider spotted, in between the sliding glass doors to my side porch.  Freak out factor – pretty darn high.  Luckily they’re not poisonous, but they sure can freak you out.  Dingos: one, on the way out of a wellsite in the middle of the morning.  I was NOT happy about this one.  Apparently dingos are non-confrontational, but they tend to follow you.  As in, you’ll be merrily walking somewhere, they’ll spot you, and follow you until you fall down, and then attack you.  This is not very endearing to me.  Also, I run at night, and I have wondered about some of those dogs that follow me…  Maybe they’re dingos!!!   Don’t worry, I always carry my cell phone.  Someone will just have to rescue my ass in that case.  Kangaroos/wallabies: too many to count.  Mostly dead, but I have been privileged to see a few live ones munching on the grass.  They’re pretty darn cute, especially the babies.  I think they’re a worst pest here than deer are in the states though.  In one stretch of highway that I routinely travel on to get to well sites, I saw 30 dead.  Maybe it’s just cause it’s a rural area and they don’t clean them up very often, but that seemed like a high number to me.  I have yet to see the really big Grey Kangaroos; the ones that are 6 feet tall, but I’m really not in a big rush.  Platypus: none.  :(  Apparently they’re pretty elusive, but I’m going to keep looking for them.  Koalas: none.  :(  They don’t live where I am in Queensland, and they like these special type of eucalyptus trees.  New South Wales is apparently full of them.  Drop Bears: do not be fooled, this is not a real animal!  Ha, I’m not falling for that one again!  Aussies do find it hilarious to trick the foreigners though, so be alert if you ever come to Australia.  Cows: holy cow are there a lot of cows here.  Beef cattle, I should be more specific, are one of the biggest exports of Queensland.  They’re flipping everywhere.  They do have some really pretty red varieties, and some seriously messed up looking ones with big humps.  Emus: they’re so cute!  They’re always with a couple of their friends, and they’re pretty shy.  They taste delicious.  :)  Lizards: oh yeah, we have those too.  They keep finding their way into our office.  DISLIKE.  Mice: yep, Roma still has a mice infestation.  Sigh.  Luckily since it first got cold, I’ve only caught/killed 3 in the house.  That’s mostly it for animals, except for all the feral cats we have in Roma.  It’s an interesting place, I just can’t wait to get to the coast to see some of the sea life!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

May 19 – June 6

Well, it’s been an interesting couple of weeks.  I’ve been on another job, made some silver jewelry – by myself!, and experienced the town of Roma. 
There were two pretty quiet weeks that unfortunately coincided with the weeks my direct boss was done.  I really need to get some online training things done with him, so it’s too bad that all I did for two weeks at work didn’t get me any closer to getting that done.  I spent a lot of time at the base getting tools calibrated, learning how to drive in Australia, and keeping on top of my learning.  Now that things have picked up again, all that’s gone out the window.  In good news though, I finally went out on a weekend in Roma to experience the town!  Yeah….  There are some bars, and there’s one place to go dancing.  Honestly, I rather enjoyed it, but I don’t need to drink every night like some of my co-workers like to do.  Nic and I have decided that we need to have more game nights, so I think this weekend we’ll be inviting people over for some Phase Ten, Uno, and euchre.  I’m sure we can teach the Canadians euchre, but the Aussies don’t seem too interested in it.  I’m really enjoying living with Tamara and Tiffany, and I’m going to be sad when Tamara leaves us for school in Russia.  Also, it’s really nice to have someone younger than you that can help you with all the calibrations!  I really am going to be bottom of the totem pole next week!  Tiffany and I went to a silver making class at the community center in Roma one weekend.  I made a nice little ring and bracelet.  I will definitely be going back again.  I’ve also starting going to church in Roma.  I tried the Catholics, but I found them a bit stuffy.  I’ve found a church that is called a Uniting Church, and its theology is Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, and Conservative (whatever that means).  There’s a female minister from South Dakota that I’m fond of there, and I hope to be going back soon.  Admittedly with this job, that’s not always an easy thing to promise.     
I am working pretty hard on ‘breaking out’ though.  I know this job isn’t exactly fantastic for me, but I would like to be good at it, and part with it on my own terms.  In order to do that, I need to break out as soon as possible.  I’m on a job right now near Tara, QLD (if you want to look it up on a map).  It should be an interesting two days of job, and I have a good crew to see me through it.  I’m really missing home these days, but I keep trying to tell myself that this will pass in time.  I don’t really feel like that’s true right now; it just seems like I’m missing so much these days.  I missed 2 weddings of people I really care about, and the way things are going, I probably won’t make it home for my cousin’s wedding either.  I feel like it’s better to have a job in the States, and at least have the option of going home, than to be here, where I don’t have any choice at all.  I hope these feelings go away, and that I start to like it more here, and soon.  I’ve been homesick before, but this is worse.  Here’s to hoping tomorrow feels better.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May 15 - May 18

Home late makes Mary Kate a sleepy girl.  Also, that job was tiring.  Sunday is just another workday at Schlumberger, so I spent the morning finalizing my job.  Making new prints for the client, and getting things finished from the job.  I left around lunch, and had great plans to finally go see all the wonders of Roma!  ….  But, the other guys from work called up and invited the ladies over for some barbecue and beverages.  It’s was a pretty good time, but I am making it a goal to finally get out and see the city this next weekend!  The first couple days of this week have been pretty uneventful.  We, Nic, Tamara, and I have been calibrating tools at work, and hanging out with Tiffany in the evening.  Nic has been a mooch with stealing our Internet and food, but don’t worry, we’re going to make him make it up to us!  I’ve been running starting this week – got to stay nice and strong to do a good job at work!  I finally spotted a big spider, and darn those things are scary.  It was a good 3 inches across, and I almost walked into the darn thing.  I’m going to be sticking to sidewalks and roads from now on.  No walking in the countryside without daylight!  Life is going okay here.  I’m still missing things about the States a great deal, but I’m getting used to things over here.  Vegemite is never going to be my favorite though!