Sunday, September 21, 2014

PIck Me Up

    So, things being what they are, I find out that MD Anderson just left out some info that would have been helpful in beating this pud fucker down. Such as, between May and July of 2013, how not only did it come back, it came back all the hell over the place. I mean shit, what harm would it have done to tell me EVERYTHING instead of just beating around the damn bush with the "It's hard to say, a year, maybe less maybe more." At least I'd been able to mentally prepare for what was coming. Burns my ass that keeping this stuff from me, when it's my fucking body, not theirs. I just will never understand that level of CYA.

  So, Baxter is making a flying run at me. I can tell because my engine is running a little hot lately. It's a metabolism boost I've felt before, both healthy and not. Healthy it was a good sign that extra work out was doing it's thing. Now, it's the bench mark of Baxter D. Bastard making time with growth. Apparently it's how he lets me know he's still here and is growing his ass off, and it's starting to show. My stamina and strength went so fast this time, I was taken completely aback at the sudden loss of those two pieces of me. It got to me for the first time then. "Shit, I'm gonna die".  That kinda dragged me down a bit. I was missing something, road trip.

  Off to my field office I go. Wednesday last. Now, I know the guys are going to be busy trying to get ready for the day, but I went out anyway. It's a ride, 55 miles, but when I get out there, I got such a greeting, it makes the trip way worthwhile. Yeah, even driving Liz to and from games, so she can rest up takes tons out of me. So does the ride out and back. The guys all make it worth the extra pain, and exhaustion going to and from. Busy week out in the field, and I'm missing the all the fun that brings around. Being serious for a second, to me, that was the most fun I'd had working for such a long time, I feel like I got the shit end of the stick with this bullshit cancer thing.
 What comes around when I go out there are the guys I worked with moving up the promotion ladder. The guys I talked so many times with my boss Dennis. How much I respected them, and the choices they make in the field. The way they worked with me, trying to learn how to better care for their wells without just guessing. The men that stepped up, when they didn't have to, because it was the right thing to do, regardless of getting recognized for any of their extra effort. Well, not quite, Dennis and I noticed. So did Bo Nock.  My hope is that I helped these men out as best I could before the cancer got me. I've a feeling that is true, and asking around, I believe I had done all that I could in such a short amount of time. I've always felt I left the guys in the lurch. From my boss Dennis, right down to the newest pumper we'd hired just 5 days before I got nailed. I regret not ignoring Dennis and coming back for the Failure Meeting. Until I got over the "Dammit, I put this together so they run this one right out the gate." Dennis was right in telling me to stay home. It gave him a shot at hunting out my replacement weakness as far getting out of the Meeting without major blood loss. Sadly that wasn't the case. The next went smoother, and I'm sure by now things are easier than old hat. Man I miss that!!!! It turns out it was more work than the field guys ever dreamed it might be for them. The first Failure Meeting we had lasted 7 hours. The last one I made as a Well Tech lasted an hour and a half. Straight answers with a dab of paper to bind those answers. Hit the solution to the problem and we were finished. Gotta love that.
   Some of how Dennis and I worked when we were trying to build an Instrument Tech job into what we both thought it should be, and building it from scratch, kind of amazed the guys. I worked the field alone, excluding one month when we hired a company to gather fluid levels to help me out with the field pumping patterns. I shot every well, beginning with the routes that had significant drops in production, made rod designs and ordered rods for the new drills, helped rebuild a tank battery, ran dyno cards on D-Jax well controlled units, geez, so much stuff. One of the guys that came in from another area and I were talking. He said this is what we do now, and I'm looking over the protocols for well work, meetings, helping the pumpers, everything Dennis and I thought the Instrument Tech should be doing to support the pumper and wells (number one in my book), to make the meetings nearly seamless in how we present what we've checked, fixed, finished and double checked one more time. Sort of nonchalantly I said "Well heck, this is what I like. See how much info you can give out to everyone with less effert?" Brandon looked and me and "Bull shit, I've got help and this is hard work. You did ALL this by yourself, now there are 3 of us and we can't keep up." I never once dreamed that I had done all that alone. It was just what I did. No second thought, only two things drove me: (1) Be better than the self hype you worked to get the job. Be Better, Be Smarter, Be Available.
(2) Do the wells that need attention first, every time. Make the men the priority, their wells are their priority. Help them optimize their time.
  That's the only thing I did. Time didn't mean much, the outcome meant everything, every time. I put in a lot of hours, some I didn't charge out. Not to be a showman, but as a way of my giving back a bit to the field that I ended up loving to work in. My men made it so. I say "my men", because I feel responsible for them in a way. I always felt like we would be working for ourselves to make this a field each of us could hold pride in. I do now, I hope my men do as well. I've been so blessed with the people I worked with and for over the years. These are some of the best around, bar none. We had a miserable, angry start out there. No one wanted to change, they didn't see the importance of the big picture as they did so much the little world. It was a very very very hard time. Lots of head butting, bad words, my worst temperament in years. I got pissed enough I settled in to outlasting some of the fuck weasels that had been with us. One boss quit, I was nearly fired. Enter Dennis Billington. Hard nosed fucker anyway. He got us headed in the right direction, gave me a shot with the proviso "Don't you fuck this up". Not on your life. He and I got along great. We argue, we fix it, we move on. How it is supposed to be. if either one of us was wrong, we'd apologize and move forward. For God Sake, if two grown men can't argue the merits of what they want done, without holding a grudge, then it all works. Carry a grudge, and you might as well stay put and pound the clown, because you'll get nothing done but mope and back stab. I'd had enough of that with my last boss at Anadarko.
  I'm so proud of those guys, and for what we all accomplished over the last year I worked, and in the nearly two years since I had to leave. It's a turn around that to me is just shy of amazing. I was blessed to be a part of that time frame. Man, the beginning of a new area, rebuilding and brain storming. There are parts of that field that used up every ounce of surface, down hole, unit knowledge I'd gained since July 1, 1975, and frapped that down into "You don't know shit", or so it seemed. It was slow, painful for some, releasing for others, but it was a a grand time to be there. We worked new ideas, refleshed some of the old school shit I know, tossed it all in the blender, and in my mind what came out was a "Bust Ass Attitude" to continue to make this field one to show Midland how well it would work.
Loads of My Men moved on up, up and over, or were picked up by other companies. The promotions were fantastic for me to hear. Being stolen from Apache? Well, they took the men we trained, so they only took the intelligent guys. We train, our men take over, and do great things with someone else. That's an unbound honor to be chosen for being some of the best, isn't it.
  Well, I'm home now. I have been renewed a bit. My spirit feels softer around the edges. My heart is at ease. It's going to help me out down the road since the Cancer is determined to beat me down again. It's going to happen, my body simply will not survive. My spirit, I hope, gets around and is either a comfort, or a kick in the ass when it's needed. The simple fact of setting back and talking a little shop with the guys I work with beat therapy 1,000 fold. I needed to see the guys badly, and for me, it worked like a charm. I feel better.

  Got bit by the wordy bug, it seems.

Thanks all of you who have my six from the entire world, fucking amazes me, and I so truly appreciate it. Be generous with yourself. Some folks need a little extra of you, even if you don't think so at the time.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

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