An Alaskan Adventure

An Alaskan Adventure #oilfield #oilfieldwivesTomorrow I drop my husband off at the airport and won’t see him again for 6 weeks.  Maybe 7.  We aren’t entirely sure.  He is starting his new job in Alaska on the North Slope. Oilfield stuff. Electrical oilfield stuff to be exact as he’s an Electrician.  Frankly, I don’t really know what he’ll be doing except it pays well.

How did we get here?  When I applied online for this job on his behalf (I’m the one that uses the little box where they keep the internet) it kind of seemed like a joke.  A “ha ha, wouldn’t it be cool if…” thought but certainly not an eventuality.  But wait, back up, why was I even trolling the internet for obscenely well-paying jobs a world away in the first place?

We all know what happened in ’08.   Shit went bad.  Well, in our hometown in New Mexico, it went really bad and we still haven’t recovered. Here there are two industries: tourism and government.  There used to be a thriving market for building custom homes for rich folk who enjoy playing golf in our high desert, but that industry disappeared when the bubble burst.   We don’t make anything or grow anything here.  Well, that’s not true, we make art and we grow moonchildren and as I understand it, even the art market isn’t so hunky dory these days.

So basically, jobs for tradesmen are hard to come by and even harder to find if you want them to pay your bills.

Hubby had quite a few hoops to jump through first: a background check, a drug test, a physical test, and he had to obtain an Alaska Certificate of Fitness (which I think is just card saying they verified that he holds a journeyman’s license in a state Alaska has a reciprocation agreement with). Sounds easy, but when you are dealing with an office a few thousand miles away and you can only go to approved offices for your tests (he did his physical in Amarillo) it’s a bit more tricky than you’d think.  Oh, did I mention that from the time they told him they wanted to hire him until the hire date was only two weeks?  And we didn’t want to buy a plane ticket to Anchorage until they said he’d passed all his tests, so it’s been a busy and tense couple of weeks!

I hope we are doing the right thing. He will be working 4-6 weeks on, 2 weeks off.  I feel like our marriage is strong enough, I’ll miss him, but we’re strong enough.  I worry about the kids the most, though. I worry about hubby, too. I’m afraid he’ll be lonely, I’m afraid he’ll freeze to death (or at least lose an appendage to frostbite) or that they’ll put him on some teeny tiny bush plane that will go down in the middle of nowhere,  I’m afraid they’ll work him too hard or that he won’t like it. Heck, I’m afraid he’ll get attacked by a rabid reindeer!  It’s amazing how much geographical distance adds to our worry for our loved ones.  It’s not like I accompany him to work here, creating an impenetrable force-field around him everywhere he goes like some kind of anxiety-riddled superhero, so I don’t really understand why the extra distance scares me.  I think a great deal of my fear comes from the unknown.  Until now, we both worked in similar industries and occasionally on the same jobsite so I understood where he worked.

But I’ve never been to Alaska.  Even the cute moose (mooses? Meece?  What’s the plural for a moose? Maybe it’s like sheep…) can kill you there, right?

People keep telling me “Oh, that’s going to be so rough on the kids.”  I’m sure it will be hard, but I think- I hope- the rewards will be great as well.  I hope they are young enough that if this becomes their way of life, and they know he loves them, everything will be fine and as close to “normal” as possible.  At least this job allows me to be home with them and show up to all school functions and sports.  That counts for something, right?  In some ways, this is his adventure, but really I think it will be an adventure for all of us.

Hello readers of Real Oilfield Wives!  I’m so excited to be a part of this community and to be sharing my story and my crazy thoughts with all of y’all.  I wrote this back in May, but thought it would be appropriate as my introductory post since it is what was going through my head when we entered this great adventure as an oilfield family.

About rheanna

Rheanna is a stay-at-home mom to two children. She is a lifetime resident of New Mexico and her Oilfield Man works on the North Slope of Alaska, averaging 4 weeks on and 2 off. In her previous life she was a bookkeeper and boiler technician for her father’s plumbing company. She enjoys hiking, horseback riding, motorsports and pretending not to kill her garden. Cooking is a favorite past time, but unfortunately a lifelong allergy to crafting supplies and a debilitating ineptitude with a glue gun prevent her from spending too much time on Pinterest.

Comments

  1. Macquarrie says:

    My hubby left last week to work the North slope in Alaska as well ! …. No idea when he will be home tho hoping it’s not more then 7 weeks

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