the icebox


The picture above was taken this past Sunday. Sam had the huge project of skirting the trailer to prevent pipes from freezing. He didn’t expect any help, but guys stepping out for a smoke (on their only day off) ended up coming down and working all day. It was quite the party by the afternoon. It got dark before the job could be completed, but we never could have got so far without them. So grateful.

It wasn’t supposed to happen…by all estimations and conjectures, we should have been able to make it to the weekend. Well, this morning our nifty little trailer toilet didn’t refill with water. The kitchen sink offered no help in the coffee-making process. The pipes didn’t freeze- but the water hose did. Poor Sam. I just had to wake up early (4:15a.m., to be exact) and interrupt his paperwork with the discovery.

He trudged outside like a champ (no coffee in his system) and started about solving the problem. He always knows what to do. If it were up to me I probably would have done something crazy like try to thaw out the hose with my blow-dryer (there are outlets outside) or boiling water (from water bottles, of course). Creativity is good, but I find comfort in Sam actually knowing how to do something efficiently, and correctly. He is an incredible carpenter and knows just about everything related to fixing or building things. It’s such a gift. I admire his talent like a jealous friend, dissatisfied with my own skill set and wishing I could be an expert in something too.

I have a job interview today and had one yesterday evening. All the hype about North Dakota and Williston is true. There are TONS of jobs for the taking, and there are men being hired by the droves. Key word being, “men”. I don’t have a CDL, I’ve never operated heavy machinery and I know I wouldn’t make it in the fields doing general labor. So, that leaves restaurants, bars, and office jobs. There’s nothing wrong with working in a restaurant or bar- if you’re alright with being endlessly hit on (and the dangers of the bar scene). From what I understand, the tips make it well worth it. For me, those options are less appealing.

I graduated from college the year of the economic downturn (2008, in my mind) and could not find work- any kind of work. Restaurants said I was over-qualified (a BA in Journalism and a Business minor is apparently, as fancy as it is useless) and I had too little experience for anything else. I lived at home for a couple of years, working several non-paying journalism internships, nanny jobs, as a barrista, and even did a brief stint in telecommunications engineering (the company folded a few months after I started). Those years gave me some time to grow, to reflect on what I really wanted out of life. I decided to do an accelerated, one-year Master in Initial Education program. Last July, I started my first ever stable job as first grade teacher. It was a wonderful, stressful, exciting and exhausting year. Mostly exhausting. The school year was over in May, and I moved home to get married. Now I’m here. And job searching in the oil boom still gets me.

I worked so hard for those degrees, for the dream. You know, graduate, get an amazing job and pay those student loans off, buy a new car and get married and live comfortably, if not a bit extravagantly, in an over-sized track home as you climb the corporate ladder towards a beautiful retirement. Ok, so that wasn’t exactly MY dream, but fairly close. I had something a bit more eclectic in mind, like a lighthouse or an old Victorian for a house, but you get the point. So far, my resume certainly isn’t going to get me there. Just like at home I’m over-qualified or under, or both simultaneously, which is weird. I desperately want to use my skills in a job where I can grow and actually be great at something. I do want to teach again, but let’s be honest- teaching isn’t going to pay the student loan bill. Not even hardly. I’m hoping that today will be the start of being great at something. If I ever had a chance to get close to the “dream”, being in the oil boom is it.


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