I took a Facebook post that my sister shared this morning and adapted it to fit our life. The original post is here. I’ll start by sharing this video giving you an in-depth look at my husband’s rig through this very interesting (somewhat mind-blowing) 3-D animated tour:
Oilfield Families vs. Other Families
I look forward to the 5.5 months out of the year that I get to see my husband in person while other wives complain that their husbands have worked late all week and they have “barely” seen them.
Some days we are LUCKY if we get an hour of time to talk between his schedule and mine within a 24-hour period! The first two weeks are always the hardest because he doesn’t get off work until 1am my time and his break is during the boot camp class I teach so I usually sacrifice sleep to stay up and talk to him for a while even though I have to get the kids up 4 hours after we get off the phone. My heart is grateful during the few times my phone rings and it’s him. Other wives complain that their husbands don’t call to check in enough even though they often talk to their spouse 5+ times a day. I MIGHT get 5+ quality conversations longer than 2-3 minutes per WEEK.
My husband was home 3 weeks from the time our kids got out of school for the summer until the time they went back to school! He’s been gone for 18 days and I’ve got 10 days left until he’s home… Other wives whine to their friends about how much they miss their men already because he’s on a business trip for a few days! My husband’s longest hitch was 63 days on a crew in Africa and he had TEN days at home before going back to work.
Other wives feel bad for their husbands when he has to deal with heavy traffic on a 45-minute commute to work. My husband has to drive an hour to the airport, go through airport security, sit and wait to board, take a 90-minute flight to get 3 states away, spend the night in a hotel to leave on a van at 4am headed to a heliport where he’ll ride a chopper for over an hour to FINALLY get to the rig which sits 8,000-10,000 feet above the sea floor where he will stay for 28-35 days with 200 other men and then reverse the process to get home.
My husband doesn’t get vacations. He doesn’t get sick days. He has worked for nearly 2 weeks to finish out a hitch with a swollen jaw because he needed a root canal because he knows you don’t leave that rig until your hitch is over! He has to endure difficult weather while trippin’ pipe, running/pulling riser, etc. Other wives think their husbands have it hard at work…
Our husband’s lives literally depend on how cautious and aware their coworkers are and any miscalculation or miscommunication can be detrimental. A mistake doesn’t mean you get written up — a mistake means someone’s entire BODY can be crushed or an extremity can be lost! So when u start yellin’ about oilfield trash or complaining about the oil industry, just make sure you remember us when you’re pumping your gas and say a prayer that our husbands make it home safely… because when there is a simple mishap or loss of concentration on an oil rig, this is the LEAST that can happen:
My husband works HARD on his feet for 12 hours at a time and goes back to a dorm-sized room with bunks but is in a fantastic mood when he gets to call home. Other wives justify their husband’s horrible attitudes because he’s tired from working on his feet for 7-8 hours before coming home to a nice hot bath, a home-cooked meal and a king sized bed with 300-thread-count sheets! My man has 12-hour days in the blistering heat or the freezing cold in boots, coveralls and hardhats with NONSTOP work whether or not he got a good night’s sleep or is dog sick while other husbands can call in to work and either sleep or go to the doctor. THE OILFIELD DOESN’T SLEEP OR GET SICK!
Other wives can afford to miss a call from their husbands — they can forget their phones at home or leave their ringers on silent; they can ignore their husband’s call to finish what they are doing and decide to call him back when they aren’t so busy. I will turn around and drive home to get my phone when I realize I don’t have it and I make sure that my ringer is on LOUD and that my phone is within reach of me 24/7 because if I miss his call, I might not get to talk to him until the next day and you better believe he will not be happy about having to go to work or forcing himself to go to sleep without knowing if his wife and kids are okay!
Most husbands have a set shift to work. My husband has to switch shifts halfway through his hitch and his body has to instantly adjust from working noon to midnight to working midnight to noon — they literally “shortchange” their sleep in order to make the transition!
Other wives welcome their husbands home every evening and their men know they can rest their heads in their own beds. Oilfield husbands never really have a set place to call home – they’re always in between the rig and the house they share with their families and they are ALWAYS away more than they are home no matter what their schedule is because two of their “home” days are always spent traveling to or from the rig. We joke that my husband is “visiting” each place because he lives so much of his life out of a suitcase and by the time he gets settled in one place, it’s time for him to bounce back to the other.
Other wives don’t worry about whether there is danger at their husbands’ workplaces because in the event of bad weather they just go home or in the event of a fire, they just evacuate the building. I live with the constant reality that if there is a catastrophe, there is nowhere for my husband to evacuate to.
I sleep on my husband’s side of the bed in one of his T-shirts to feel closer to him because I sleep without him more than I sleep with him while other wives sleep next to their husbands more often than not.
Other wives’ husbands belong to them and they have the flexibility to switch shifts with someone or take personal days when they have an important event. I have to share my husband with the rig and we schedule our life around his hitches — they dictate what we do and when; not the other way around.
Working offshore in the oilfield means that my husband completely misses a whole MONTH surrounding birthdays, Christmases and other holidays, anniversaries, sports seasons, milestones, etc and people whine about their spouses having to work 8 hours on certain days or the day before! And if oilfield husbands work over, they don’t get to stay home any longer because they have to go back for the start of their hitch NO MATTER WHAT so instead of getting 4 weeks at work and 4 weeks home, my husband will get 5 weeks at work and 3 weeks at home! But the weeks he gets at home are bliss. The kids and I cherish every moment and appreciate that we have a strong man in our lives that is willing to sacrifice so much of his life for his family….
Stop complaining and don’t take for granted how lucky you are to be able to share so much of your life with your spouse because, much like military families, oilfield families have to share most of our lives over video chat or through emails, phone calls and social media updates! I am a proud oilfield wife!!!
This is where my husband lives when he’s not home. His rig is a semi submersible that houses around 200 men and operates year-round in what’s referred to as ultra deepwater at depths up to 10,000 feet in the Gulf of Mexico drilling for oil:
Let’s give that a little more perspective, why don’t we?
And… a little more. That little green circle? That’s a helipad for choppers to land.
And not little choppers. Big choppers. The rig is MASSIVE:
This one isn’t my husband’s rig but shows was rough waters out there look like…
There are perks to offshore work, though…
here are some pics my husband got during his Africa hitch and 3-day pitstop at a resort in Curacao!