Ok so I’m not new to the oilfield, my family has been in it for many years from jobs on rigs to jobs with the machines that go to the rigs…but let me tell you marrying an oilfield man is nothing like my family being in it.
I met my husband before he met the oilfield. He was a mechanic, WyoTech graduate, and a MMA coach in our small town, living a very average life…he never had thoughts of being in the oilfield, he was so happy as a mechanic, doing what he loved everyday. One day he decided he wanted an opportunity to make more money. He wanted to expand the gym and get out of debt, of course most guys in their 20’s, especially in Texas, find this as their solution. I had some connections through family to get him started in the field. He never had thought about doing it for more than a year…then he received his first paycheck. I will never forget the look on his face when he opened it…..
Ok so the money is good I won’t lie about that, the money is the reason my husband hasn’t left. The toll our relationship takes, the constant up and downs of the business, the distance…those are the toughest part. But I married him knowing every aspect of this. Over the years I have traveled with him so we didn’t have the distance, found jobs in the area we were in, put long term goals on hold so I could be closer to him, and I will tell you now I don’t regret any of it. In the time he has been doing this job working 12hr shifts for 28 days straight with no day off in that month, I was there backing him, making sure he always had 3 meals, clean clothes, and loving arms to come home to everyday. Being away from our home town was hard on both of us, it was the place we grew up, equipped with friends and family so me being there for him everyday was the best thing I could do to try and bring a little home to a place that wasn’t home and would never truly be home no matter how long we were there.
We wound up in West Texas area, now for me the transition was smoother simply because I’ve always had family in the area so I have visited there for my whole life, as well as my grandparents are still there. For my husband though he didn’t know anyone, it was starting all over for him. I always felt horrible for introducing him into this life, I have watched it take a toll on his body over the years working as hard as he does day in and day out in harsh weather conditions; I don’t know how many of ya’ll have ever experienced a West Texas summer…but it is normal to be 115 degrees…IN THE SHADE…it is so dry, you are literally in the desert, that even though you have 50-60mph winds its not cool air that blows, all it does is blow more hot air. I have seen this job literally age him, he has broken bones, he has become an entirely different person than when we met.
For 4 years I lived this crazy schedule of back and forth between Canyon Lake, our home, and Midland where he was working. We would stay in Midland the 28 days he was working then jump in the car and drive 300+ miles home for 2 weeks. In those 2 weeks we would see family and friends, do general house work on our home, and try to relax as much as possible before heading back out west. It seemed so odd to everyone around us and to this day some people still don’t understand how it works, but it worked for us…until one day I received a message that no oilfield significant other ever wants…”Babe they are shutting the rig down…we only have like 6 more days of work.” Of course this happened less than 2 weeks after we got engaged and he bought a new truck…I originally thought he was kidding, he wasn’t. Panic set in for me about the bills, the wedding we were planning for the upcoming year, moving back home where neither of us had a job, and simply what were we going to do? We had been planning for a 10 year oil boom and the next thing we knew we were in the middle of a major crash, which going into this I knew that oil booms and crashes, it’s just the nature of the industry, it didn’t make me panic any less nor did it makes things easier to try and simplify our lives. So we did what everyone else in this situation does, we packed up and moved home. I got a new job at a little local restaurant and started over, in less than 2 weeks the company he had been working for called him back to work. So now what? Well I decided with the US being in the current state it was in and the oilfield being the biggest question mark of jobs that I would stay home and he could go back to work and we would see each other on his days off….I will tell you now; HARDEST DECISION OF MY LIFE! I watched him pack his work clothes up, kissed goodbye, he got in his truck and drove away…I cried, no I bawled, for hours. How was I going to handle him being gone for 28 days at a time when we’d been living together for years? It felt almost as if I was single; totally on my own and completely heartbroken.
Despite staying home being the hardest transition I ever experienced it was for the best and we both knew that. The fear of him not missing me never left, the fear of him finding someone else was always on my mind, the thought of him liking being away from me more than being with me was deafening; but I had to trust our relationship was stronger than this obstacle. So we managed this entirely new schedule for a year and a half. In that time I planned our entire wedding; on an extremely frugal budget, even though he was still working the money was nothing like before, with the help of my mom and friends I handmade our decorations from centerpieces, backdrop, and all table décor; we also made the wedding cake and grooms cake; programs and letters for the newlyweds, and more. We ended up having an amazing October wedding on a friend’s ranch. It was truly beautiful and everything I ever could have wished for, but then 3 days after we said “I do” it was right back to work for him…just like that. You see the oilfield doesn’t care that your life just changed, they don’t care that you want to spend time together as newlyweds. The oilfield has no heart, no feelings, the oilfield is cold.
Skip forward to after the wedding, it was almost as if nothing had changed for us at least. I mean we had lived together for 5 years, essentially we were married before we had said I do. I was still living 300+ miles away from my new husband, working jobs that never really made much income, nor did they make me happy. We were still trying to make the best of the cards we were dealt, the distance became a little easier to manage, our feelings never changed, we treasured every second we had together on his days home, and I had learned what most oilfield wives go through every day. Most of them never get the chance to have lived with their husbands while on the job like I did for so long. I was so lucky for so many years. Our lives had become a series of snapchats, text messages, sext messages, and missed phone calls…but for our love, it never shook.
6 years now, here we are from the dating couple struggling to make our relationship and jobs work together to a married couple with our first baby on the way. I am sharing this part of my story with you because it gives some insight on why I manage my household the way I do. When I found out I was pregnant there was no doubt there was so much excitement for the both of us. Then came the question…”What do we do, do I move back out west with you or do I stay here?” For the first 4 months we managed from a distance, scheduling appoints around him working, I stayed home and would go up and visit when I could take off work…then one day he hit me with “Babe this is too hard, I cant keep my job up here with you gone.” So what was I to do? Well I did what any sane wife does, I quit my job, packed a bag, and put our dogs in the car and went west and this is where my whole new journey and story begins.