Missing those West Texas Skies

A month without sports has really put a damper on my mood, just ask my wife how much of a joy I have been around the house. No screaming at the television or boasting to friends about how wonderful Texas Tech basketball did last night has caused me to shift my cherished hobbies to other things. Some good; like more time to connect with my family… other things not so good, like eating and drinking many more calories. Not going to lie, living in isolation has taken its toll on me. Though, I’m making it by just like each and every one of you Red Raiders out there. Hope all of you are doing well; being safe and healthy!

As I have had no content to bring to the table for Staking The Plains for the past 5 weeks, I thought back last night to about 10 years ago when Seth first asked me to write for him on the blog. Back then we were Double-T Nation, and I had no clue to why this random dude was asking for my help to write Texas Tech basketball content. He did not know if I could barely even formulate a sting of sentences together to build a coherent paragraph about Red Raider basketball. I told him that I had absolutely no experience as a sports writer, and his response was golden. He said, “No, but you have passion.” This was true, I was a crazy Red Raider basketball fan from when I first stepped onto campus in Lubbock back in 2001. So, here I am now writing about how my spirit and passion for sports is being misplaced through junk food and beer.

With that as a prelude, I wanted to start writing (for the time being) about another topic that I passionately follow. I pondered writing about off-road vehicles or movie reviews. Here at STP all our contributors have various opinions on the many streaming series we’ve been catching up on during the pandemic. Although, I kept going back to the topic that keeps food on my table and a roof over my head. The oil & gas industry. Usually, I write about Tech basketball to take my mind away from work… yet, being stuck at home and not being able to go into the office or travel to my projects has made me realize how much I miss my job. I’m in Houston and my corporate office has been closed for over a month. I’ve been working remotely from home. If you think that I’m going to write solely about OPEC+ and the oil prices, or the decreasing consumption rate of gasoline due to COVID-19; you’d be wrong. This IS going to be about the oil & gas industry, but also I’m going to write about topics surrounding the West Texas region and the current juncture we find ourselves.

We have a travel policy in effect at work that restricts my travel to the towns that I have been roving around to do feasibility studies for future capital projects. These jobsites are in places like Carlsbad, New Mexico and Wink, TX. On a normal work trip I usually go from the Hobbs, NM airport (if you can call that tiny structure an airport) to Carlsbad; down to Orla, TX and into Wink before ending my trip in Midland. I am in the Southwest Division at my company and this covers the Permian and Delaware Basin regions. The newly implemented travel restriction has been the most crushing piece to my job. I genuinely have a good time trekking through the towns on a bi-weekly basis. With our current situation, it is hard for me to perform my tasks without putting my own set of eyes on things out in the field. I just can’t wait to be able to travel back out to West Texas and appreciate the beautiful scene again.

My most difficult challenge during the pandemic has been staying away from my jobsites and not being able to interacting face-to-face with my peers. My company is doing everything via email and phone; or online with video conferences. It is not my cup of tea working in front of machines and tech gadgets all day long. I need to be able to view those West Texas skies to keep me chipper. I know I will be back there soon, and that’s what gets me by these days.

Each week, I’m going to get into a topic with my oil & gas job and ask your thoughts and feedback on how you as individuals are overcoming your own obstacles. It’s the best I can do STP, me without Tech basketball has turned myself into a mundane man. Yet, I’d love to hear your stories about how you are managing daily life.

How are all you STP folks doing nowadays, how is it going in your professions during this crisis? What do you miss the most about your jobs that have been made difficult due to the pandemic?


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