Sunday, March 25, 2012

Chapter 17: The Magic City - The top of the hill.

The Magic City

We drove all night long. We got to Minot, and stayed the for 3 or 4 days in the basement of Ramanda and Michael Nash. Ramanda is Rondee's older sister.  They were kind enough to let us stay with them.

I struck up a deal with RNI trucking in Williston to wash their trucks, as well as Western Petroleum in Tioga.  Once we got the business, we needed to find somewhere to live.  This was not going to be an easy task in Minot, North Dakota.

In 2011, there was a massive flood here. 10,000 people lost their homes.  During that time, the oil boom in western ND continued to push east, arriving in Minot as well.

There are 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom shacks around here that are renting for 2,000 dollars per month.  And even those are hard to find. You have to know somebody, or kill somebody usually.

The morning after I struck up a little deal at Western Petroleum, I went to work on finding a place for us to live. I found a phone list of property owners and managers at a local housing authority. I started going down the list. We were at Starbucks, making all these phone calls, getting shut down.  I think it was only about the 5th or 6th number I called, the lady who answered had 3 available units for rent, one for 800, one for 1200, and one for 1400. I told her I'd see the one for 800.

No one was available to show the house until the following Monday, but she gave us the address so we could drive by it.  It was the smallest house I'd ever seen (in the United States).  It was right across the street from the college, right in town, at the end of a dead end street on a hill.

I jimmied open a window and crawled in. Chett didn't really like it at first. I really liked it. It was a roof over our heads.

Saturday came, we toured the house officially. I gave him a deposit right then and there. We got a place to live. We moved our sleeping bags and cots that night from Ramanda's to our new place. We all crashed in the living room of our empty house.

We washed some trucks at Western for the next two days, then drove back to Utah in another one shot trip.

Sometime during that week, my girlfriend decided to break up with me over a text.  She didn't even have the decency to call. She texted it to me.  On top of all I was dealing with already, she dumps me with a text.  I was busy enough that I tried not to worry about it until I got home.  Getting home was just as hectic though. I had to get a truck going to bring back with us, and get another powerwash trailer ordered. It was also thanksgiving, so family was out, and that was adding to stress.

It was amazing. Perfect. It felt like we were 17 again, best friends, laughing and talking about everything and nothing. She was so beautiful. A sight for sore eyes, would be a fitting description.  I didn't want her to leave.  But like all good things, it ended.

I couldn't get a hold of Nyckie for an explanation. She kept avoiding me, or making excuses not to meet me.  The night before I was to drive back up to ND again was when the whole ordeal went down, when she threatened to call the police on me. That didn't make me feel much better.

We made it back to Minot again.  It was getting colder. We kept powering through the cold, washing trucks here and there, trying to get by on pennies.  I was trying to find more work, trying to keep things from freezing, fixing things that did freeze or break. In the mornings when the guys were asleep, I'd be out driving around town looking for parts or tools, or places to get things fixed.

It was getting dark every day at 4:30 in the afternoon, and it was very depressing. I had no money, as I had put everything I had into this crazy idea.  I didn't know how I would pay rent, or pay for fuel, or sometimes eat real food. My girlfriend had just left me, and I had received no explanation.  I was falling apart emotionally.  I'm not sure how I made it through December.

Christmas came.  We drove back to Utah, again.  Christmas was even more hectic than thanksgiving.  Rondee had had some serious medical problems which some people may have heard about, so she was at home in Neola being taken care of by Reed.  I was trying to set up new deals, trying to find more equipment and another truck for ND.

The one plus side of going home, apart from seeing my family. I did get to see Lee. We hadn't seen each other in maybe 8 months.  We decided to meet up for a milkshake at Marion's. I think we were both equally as nervous and apprehensive about how it would be.

The one plus side of going home, apart from seeing my family. I did get to see Lee. We hadn't seen each other in maybe 8 months.  We decided to meet up for a milkshake at Marion's. I think we were both equally as nervous and apprehensive about how it would be.

We hit it out again, in one shot. I was driving a new Dodge Dually diesel. Reed followed in his car.  I walked in the door to the house here in Minot, and passed out on the floor for a few hours. Didn't make it to my bed.

It was an unusually warm January.  We had some very warm days, and it helped us out a lot.  We did some work at Western and RNI.  It got us through.  But half way through the month, the temperatures tanked.  There were a few days that we were out spraying and it was -5 degrees outside.  We couldn't feel our feet, or our hands, or our faces.  The machines would freeze up within minutes if we shut them down.  It was stressful. Cold. Painful. Miserable. Expensive.

Again, barely making rent. Behind on personal bills. Stress beyond belief.

I flew into Salt Lake towards the end of February. I had to pick up another truck in SLC, and pick up another wash trailer in Roosevelt.  I drove through Denver on the way back to ND to get a couple days of rest and relaxation.  It ended up being almost a whole week.  It was sorely needed.

I went to dinner with old friends. I went on several dates.  I slept in til 9. I got a massage with my homegirl Chantal. It was the best week of vacation I can remember having.

I hit out the drive from Denver to Minot again in one shot.  I'm getting pretty good at that.

Home Saturday night, out spraying on Monday.  We're slowly getting things caught up, bills, invoices we owe to other people.  I landed a new client out at Cascade Tanks, which has lately been keeping everyone busy.  In January, I was forced to get a personal loan, just to keep my head above water, pay the rent, and all my personal bills.  I didn't want to do it, but it really saved my neck.  Just recently, we had several thousand extra dollars. I was going to use it to pay the guys, pay myself, and catch up on a few other debts.  For the first time, I was going to pay myself money for the last 4 months of blood, sweat and tears. All those sleepless nights, wounds, tears, and heartaches would finally be paid for a little bit. I was so excited. It was a perfect day.  Everything was going to be caught up. Are rent would be covered. Trailer leases paid.

Or so I thought.

I checked the account after getting home that night. Uncle Sam had stepped in and taken all of it. Some kind of tax deal from another business account.

 Long story short, everything was gone.  I just started laughing. I told Chett what happened. It was one of those weird laughs, half insane, as if you can't be sure if the person laughing is about to flip out and shoot people, or if they really think something is funny.

I stepped outside, sat down on the ground at the edge of the backyard, overlooking the city. The hill drops off right there steeply, giving a great view of Broadway and the MSU campus.

I sat at the top of that hill, and cried my eyes out.  It's all I could do. 

If you had been sitting on that hill next to me, what would you have said to me? Would you have put an arm around me? Would you have left me alone?

Oil Field Romantics, this is your question of the day. Answer it well.

With all my love,

The Oilfield Romantic


  1. dude you know i would've made you think of the mish and the most down times you had in the mission. think of all the lowest of lows you have ever felt and then think of you more highest of highs. the best of times are the sweetest and the lowest are most painful but you get up dust yourself off and become the serpiente you were destined to be. I would definitely put my large brazo around you man and talk you through it ha ha. you are my brother from another mother. word

  2. I am officially caught up on your blog. I figured sinced we didn't get to see you this evening, that I might as well read your blog.
    You have accomplished SO much in these past few months. Setbacks are inevitable but are the best teachers. It's been a rollercoaster experience for you but as an observer, I have seen the Lord's hand in your life here in ND. Nobody gets a house that easily. Things don't fall so perfectly into place for everyone like they have for you. Keep your chin up! "ALL things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good." (I guess a pep talk is what I would do in this circumstance and a hug.)Love ya like a brother!

  3. Sometimes all you need is someone to let you cry on their shoulder. It works for me most of the time. And remember how hard you have worked to get here. You aren't a normal person who gives up, you keep fighting until you have what you want!

  4. I would have let you rant, rave, cry, scream...whatever you needed to do at that time. (I, in fact, encourage rock throwing & Brad Pitt a la Fight Club-esque gesturing.) And then, if you were receptive, gave you a hug & make sure you know how proud & in awe of you I am. (After all the emotion, if you needed a moment alone, you would get that too.)
    G, you have such an incredible, determined spirit and indomitable faith in trusting that you will be led through the unknown to a better place. You have followed your dreams, no matter where they've taken you, and in the face of that, have grown & experienced things most of us never will. (I can honestly say that I don't know anyone right now that has followed their passion into fruition.) That makes you an inspiration to me.

    We don't have much choice sometimes to take things moment by moment, being forced to slow to a stop so we can re-evaluate what comes next.
    (Then I'd kick your foot, tell ya to get up off your uh, "tail," and let's get ready for another day b/c life doesn't stop for us. So we best be ready. And in the most cliched terms, brah, you are NOT alone. Let's roll! do it...DO IT DO IT)
    And that I love ya, cuz!

  5. G2 .. seems that ERH summed it up well!

    "This too shall pass" ... or say 'pshaw! it's only money' and join you in wailing and weeping abit ... and do what you seem to do best, just keep on keepin on!

    Thanks for sharing, yet again. Much Love! Auntie