Sunday, August 26, 2012

Big City

This past week was a rather eventful one. Carissa and I were both really busy with work, and we didn't get to see much of each other. Since she is off while I work, she gets to run, play tennis and do the things she really loves, and while she is at work, I get to play golf and play with doggies and do the things I love, so it kind of works out well. Especially for me, seems how I golfed four times this past week. The best part, she doesn't even get mad, because it doesn't keep me from seeing her or helping around the house.....errrrr, I mean single wide. Apparently the key to a successful marriage is to never see each other. Who would have known???

She has been really busy with knuckleheads at the ER and we will get into that a little later. On Friday, my work took us on a golf outing, and a little company get together. It was a lot of fun. I am the only employee who has ever really golfed, so it was funny to watch all of their reactions as I blasted one off of the first tee.

The guys I work with a a bunch of really great guys. They are all locals that have lived here or in the surrounding area for at least 20-25 years. I'm the first guy the Williston office has ever hired who isn't actually from here. They are a bunch of good ol' boys who see a golf course as a wonderful waste of pasture/crop. I'm not kidding when I say it was two of their first times EVER golfing, so those two were very excited when I taught them a little trick to "turbo" the gas golf carts. (You break off a golf tee and place it in the motor to move the governor over so that the throttle cable can move even further). But we had a great time, it also didn't hurt that I was playing AWESOME! The golf course is comparable to a Swan Lakes in Layton, and I shot 4 under on the front nine. They all gave me crap and nicknamed me "White Tiger". Carissa  really got a kick out of that. All in all, I love my job, and they seem to be one of the best companies up here to work for. We both feel very lucky that I found the job I did, and that I actually got it!!!

Carissa had met a girl a couple of years ago, Molly, who was a friend of a friend, who is from Minot and she found out through Facebook that we were living in North Dakota. Well a couple months ago Molly had told Carissa that she should run the Minot Half Marathon with her. So Carissa met me at the golf course on Friday, and I left our little outing a little bit early and we went to Minot. We stayed at Molly's sisters house and her parents, and two sisters were there as well. We arrived a little bit later than we had hoped, so dinner was already being served, but they had a nice warm meal waiting for us. After dinner we went around Minot and saw some of the flood damage from last summers flood.

As you can see on the homes, the water got up very high and a HUGE area of Minot flooded. It literally took out half of the town. It is quite the humbling feeling as you see the damage, and the rebuilding that is still going on over a year later. Definitely made me grateful that I grew up in Utah, and barring the one tornado that went through Salt Lake in '99 and the "big earthquake" that will eventually hit, our families really do live in a wonderful, peaceful and tranquil place. There aren't a lot of natural disasters that happen there.

The next morning we were up and at them early for the race. Carissa, Molly and Molly's sister Emily all ran the race. I was the lucky guy who drew the short straw to wake up early and drop them off. It was good though, because I took my truck to get an oil change and washed while they ran the race, and then I went back to the finish line just in time to see Molly, and then Carissa come across and then Emily. They all did very well. Molly is a bit of a freak when it comes to running and for some reason she finds enjoyment in doing 40-100 mile races, so this was more of a jog for her, but she finished 2nd overall for the women. Carissa did awesome as well. She ran it in 1:47 minutes and set a personal record for herself. She also finished 4th in her age group and 37th overall (men and women) out of 300+ runners. She did great and felt really good afterwards.

Emily, Molly and Carissa before the start of the race

 Carissa about a mile from the end. She didn't hear, or see me as I stood there and cheered her on or took her picture.

Molly's parents went out and wrote little words of encouragement along they way, but they forgot Carissa's name, so this is the next best thing right?

The funny thing about the "Go Tanner's Wife" was that earlier they had written one that said "Go Cassie" and Carissa saw it, but didn't think anything of it because it didn't pertain to her. Well as mentioned before, they obviously forgot her name and then they started second guessing themselves, so the "Go Tanner's Wife" came to be. It was right at the bottom of the big hill  on the course and it made Carissa laugh the whole time she ran up the hill. So I guess they succeeded in what they set out to do. I laughed, because I was the one that obviously left the last impression on them, for better or worse. I like to think it was from my dashing good looks and great sense of humor. Guess we will never know......

After the race we went to the mall and Barnes and Noble and just enjoyed the great things/stores/restaurants that a normal city has. We always laugh because Minot has normal chain restaurants and we had told a few people we were going there and one person said "You need to go to this really great Italian place up there, Olive Garden" like it was God's gift to North Dakota, and they were the only ones in the world who had one. While it may be the case that it's God's gift to the great white north, it was still funny because well, let's be honest, Olive Garden is decent food, it's by no means GREAT. So we always laugh about how they love their Olive Garden up here. I feel it also needs to be said that same person also told us that Bismark has a really great seafood place..... or Red Lobster as the rest of the world knows it. I guess if it's a national chain then it MUST be great right?

As I get off my soap box about how great chain eateries are, Minot does have a Cold Stone and we are both suckers for those. I take after my Dad, and if ice cream is involved, then I'm all in. Carissa decided to have herself a guilt free serving, since she definitely deserved it.
I was proud of her for her accomplishment and for her PR. She isn't going to slow down either, she has already signed up for her next half marathon in Sidney Montana next month. I guess the bar has been set, and now she needs to go below the 1:47 mark. If she does, we may have to go to the best ice cream place ever....... Cold Stone. :-)

Carissa has had a couple of exciting experiences this past week in the ER........

Last Saturday night, I went to the dirt track races with a buddy from up here and as we were leaving I saw a couple of firetrucks and ambulances heading out of town with their lights on. Whenever I see things like that, I will usually text Carissa that she will have something coming in shortly. (Doing this serves two purposes, it usually gives her a heads up if she hasn't heard about it yet, but if she has, then she usually tells me about what's going on. I guess it's a form of "ambulance chasing" without actually doing any chasing) Well they were on their way to an oil well that was being "Fracked" and there was a big flash burn that had consumed a 21 year old kid, burning his face and arms with 2nd and 3rd degree burns. She said as she was trying to treat him, his skin was literally dripping and falling off of his arms.

They also had another big flash burn a couple of nights later, but it wasn't a complete freak accident. Apparently one of the two men who came in with burns had lit his cigarette and that ignited the explosion. Who would have thought smoking and flames around a gas well was a bad idea? Genius.

The same night as the first flash burn they also had a motorcycle accident. The driver not only wasn't wearing a helmet, but he also wasn't sober. Completely drunk and driving is one thing, it's a completely different animal when you're riding a motorcycle without a helmet. The only good part of that is that a drunk motorcyclist usually won't make it far enough to kill anyone else, just themselves. I guess it's good population control if nothing else.

Rozzi, our larger than life Newfoundland had surgery this past week to be spayed. She had her surgery in the morning and Carissa dropped her off, then I picked her up after my workday. I brought her home and she went straight to her kennel and just laid there the rest of the night. Samson must've known she was in pain and not feeling well because he went and laid right in front of her kennel and just looked after her all night. I've said it before, but I am amazed by these wonderful dogs and their intuition they have for us and each others feelings. They are doing great and getting bigger by the day, which I'm sure my Mom is VERY excited about. They make us laugh and keep us entertained on a daily basis and we are both so happy to have them in our lives.

We hope everyone is surviving back home and that this finds you all doing well. We are enjoying it out here and can't wait to see you guys!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ray, Rodeos, Really Really Dumb People

Okay, so it's been a while since we posted last, and I apologize for that. It's been a hectic week and due to my poor planning I wasn't prepared to post earlier this week.

As Carissa mentioned a couple posts ago, I started a new job with a GREAT company called Enbridge Pipelines. They are a Canadian based company, but they own thousands and thousands of miles of pipeline. We ship all sorts of crude oil, natural gas and such in the pipelines. On top of some great benefits (our health benies are better than what we get through the hospital with Carissa's job), I also get a great schedule (Monday-Friday 730-400, which is completely unheard of up here), a free truck (no more beating the crap out of my baby on these rough dirt roads) and they pay for anything we need to do our jobs (boots, clothing and anything else), that last one might not seem like a big deal to most, but since we work in the oil industry we have to wear special clothes that are Fire Retardant or FR's as they are known. Well FR's can be REALLY REALLY expensive. For example, a shirt is $120, or a hoodie is almost $300. That gets really expensive when you start getting into big insulated Carhart coveralls, or coats for the freezing winters. Well my first day on the job, they dropped close to $4,000 on just getting me anything I wanted/needed. It was like Christmas in July. They take safety very seriously and aren't afraid to spend money to help you stay safe. Another really great thing about this job is they have pipelines in Utah, which means there is the possibility of transferring there, and that means there is great long term potential as well.

The job I will be doing entails a lot of walking and treasure hunting. I'm a locator for them, so anytime someone digs within one mile of our pipelines, I get to go out, and mark the pipeline. As I found out yesterday, it can sometimes be a real challenge. Obviously with government regulations we have now, anytime we put a new pipeline in, there is all sorts of paperwork, permits, the exact location, and mapping of where the pipeline is going, and so forth. Well in the 1940's-60's the government wasn't as concerned, so even though we don't use those old abandoned pipelines, we still have to go locate them. Needless to say, it can be a bit of a challenge, but it's pretty fun as well because there is a lot of hiking and being in some beautiful places. (Yes, there are beautiful places out here!) For those of you that are my friends on Facebook, you've seen my pic I took the other day.....

My caption on it said "North Dakota. A beautiful girl behind every tree" I heard that saying from one of my friends who used to be stationed at the Minot Air Force Base, and I've always thought it was funny. As you can tell, not many trees, and definitely not very many good looking people. :-) While it definitely isn't Utah or resemble any place back home, it definitely is very pretty when you get up on these hills and overlook miles and miles of wheat fields mixed in with untouched land. It definitely brings to mind the "amber waves of grain" line in the song America the Beautiful.

So very long story short, with all of this new change with my job, I was in Minot this past week doing training. I had told Carissa I would do a post, but then realized I didn't have any pictures on my computer, so I needed to wait until I got home. My apologies. I'm sure all of you were just dying not seeing any new posts.

Last weekend was the first one in quite sometime that Carissa had off. It was a ton of fun to spend some quality time with her. The bummer about both of our jobs is the fact I work from 730-400 and she works from 300-1100 pm. So our schedules overlap just enough that we really maximize our time spent away from each other. As I was walking out for my first day on the job I said  "Love you, see you in 3 years" because it definitely does feel like we never see each other. Well last weekend we got to spend all weekend with each other, so we went to the town of Ray for their rodeo.

Ray is a small town about 30 minutes Northeast of here. Before the oil boom they only had 600 people. They say there are over 3,000 now, so like Williston, they are busting at the seams and don't know how to handle it all. It's actually a pretty cool little farming town, and they take their livestock pretty seriously. We thought we were going to be treated to a great rodeo like Morgan UT or Hailey ID have. Our expectations were a little deflated to say the least. The saddest part was it was fairly expensive to get into. Here are a couple pics of the great action........

So the last sentence of GREAT action was a bit of sarcasm. None of the cowboys rode the Broncos, and only 1 rode the bulls out of the 15 or so that attempted it. The calf roping took forever (20+ seconds) and to be honest, we both felt a little jipped and robbed of our entry fee. Here is a pic of us standing out from teh rest of the crowd.
I say that because there were only about 100 people there, and we were the only ones who brought little camp/stadium seats. They were very comfortable and I'm glad we had them, but it definitely didn't help us blend in with the locals. Then again, like the car races, we were the only ones who didn't take in a cooler of 24 beers either, so that may have set us apart as well. Regardless it was a fun night and good bonding time with the wife. (oh, and that is the first pic of the "super sweet sexy glasses" Carissa was so excited about last week) While I don't wear them all the time, it amazes me how clear it is to read with them. I compare it to seeing an HDTV for the first time. While I can see fine without them, it really just makes the images and picture so crisp and sharp. It's kinda cool.

Oh one other thing, this past week was Simon's (our now 22 year old tenant) birthday. Carissa being the sweetheart she is, asked him what his favorite cake was and made it for him.

Birthdays are a big deal for Carissa and her family, so they always have cake and you always get breakfast in bed, and while I put my foot down on letting her take him breakfast in bed, she did make him breakfast. She's awesome.

Carissa has had a few crazy experiences in the ER lately and definitely feels she is learning a lot and has come a long way. They have had a couple med students in the ER shadowing her, and she had one of those AH HA moments and realized how much she does know. One of my favorite stories as of late was this HUGE 300 pounder that was about 6'3". He had a bunch of skin tags on his back, and apparently he had one that was so big that he kept getting his shirts caught on it, so he took it upon himself to cut it off with some scissors. Homeboy came in COVERED in blood. The Croc shoes he was wearing were full of blood from it running down his back, legs and then eventually pooling in his Crocs. There was blood everywhere, and the best part was he kept telling everyone that if they thought this was a lot of blood, they should've seen his bathroom. Carissa said it had to have looked like the goriest murder scene ever. They ended up having to cauterize his massive flesh wound to get it to stop bleeding.

There have been a couple of rollovers and a separate motorcycle accident who was coming back from Sturgis who ended up passing away in the ER this week. Carissa wasn't there when they happened, but the craziness continues. Last weekend there were a couple of separate shootings. One of which was in a man camp. They are pretty much glorified modern day concentration camps, and things get pretty lawless and ruthless in them. The man killed one and seriously injured another, over the fact, one of the guys supposedly made him look bad at work that day.

Well that's about all I have for now. I promise I'll be better about the stories and the updating. Hope everything is going well back in Utah, and we really hope the entire state doesn't burn up while we are gone.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


For anyone who knows Tanner, you know he kind of likes golf a bit.  Well, in his last week before starting his new job he's been able to go 3 times.  I'd say he's pretty lucky :)  Williston has 2 golf courses, one just a 9-hole municipal and the other is an 18 holer that is decent I guess.  I'm not a golfer so I won't begin to expand on that.  I do know the one and only urologist in town owns the course.  I guess it was a 9 hole course awhile ago and then he bought it and turned it into what it is today.  He's a cool doc.  There's another one that I think is in the Golf Digest top 100 golf courses and that's about 45 minutes away.  He's been there too.  But anyway - I had my first 18 hole golf experience when I went with Tanner last week.  It was pretty fun.  I drove the cart.  And dabbled in caddy work.  It was fun hanging out with him and seeing him do something he loves so much.  I may have tried to hit a couple of balls but it wasn't pretty.  And the other exciting thing about all this is we have friends!  One of the hospitalists here at the hospital has done a few shifts in the ER, so I've talked to him a bunch and he's really cool.  His wife went to Layton high.  Tanner actually dated her roommate before he went on his mission.  He loves golf, wife loves tennis, they are our age, have 5 kids and are just good people.  Tanner ended up golfing with Sam on Saturday and then again on Monday and after that we met up with the whole family at the park for a picnic.  It was a really good time and they have darling kids and we're excited about the lasting friendship potential they offer :)  They even fed Tanner Monday night when I had to be at work.

It was kind of a like a zoo visit too because we saw lots of critters :)  There was a snake around this little pond that a kid was trying to scare into the water.  We didn't see it though.  Tanner was grateful.

Tanner started his job yesterday and I'll have to have him post about it in a few days when he can give all the necessary details.  But it looks like his schedule is going to be 7:30-4 in the summers...which he pointed out makes a season pass...AND a golf cart even more cost effective and necessary.  He's good ;)  And I believe he's going after work today.  As for any updates on will be day 9 of 11 in a row.  Someone's got to support his golfing habits.  But things are going great.  Not too many gnarly stories to report.  I guess I missed a pretty grotesque leg crushing injury the other day.  I never feel happy for the patients when bad things happen and that's the truth, but if they are going to happen, I feel sad when I don't get to see and participate.  There's ALWAYS a next time though, that's one thing we can be sure of up here!