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!