Sunday, January 21, 2007

Life On Mars

Today is Squirrel Appreciation Day. I will tell you, any day Max gets to chase them around the yard is squirrel appreciation day around here. That activity is second only to walkies with the husband. The husband smokes a cigar and Max gets some excercise.

It was good to read in today's newspaper that Shell's Mars platform is back on line and producing more than ever. It was down for nine months after Hurricane Katrina, but it's all good now. It's located about 130 miles southeast of New Orleans. It produces 160,000 barrels of oil each day.

Up to 154 people live on the Mars any given day. Most workers are on a 14/14 schedule. Fourteen days on, fourteen days off. Keep in mind that none of these are regular nine to five kind of jobs. Drilling rigs and platforms go on a 12 hour shift schedule. Most positions have two workers, one for day shift, one for night shift. It's 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.

So, how are you going to keep the guys happy? You feed 'em. (By 'guys', I don't mean to say all the workers are male. Most are, though. It's a tough environment.) Meals happen four times a day, with the extra one at midnight. The workers can eat something whenever they have a break, with a sandwich or a bowl of gumbo being popular snacks. I remember the years my husband was employed by oil drilling companies and the meals served to them. Before the drastic oil bust in the eighties, lobster nights were common. Steaks abounded. After the bust and into the late nineties the food service suffered with smaller budgets. And the cooks were not high quality talent. It's coming back now. The guys need it. The food keeps the morale up. Now former chefs from New Orleans are employed by the food service contractors.

I read where the Mars has groceries delivered every Sunday and they try to keep a two week supply in case of bad weather conditions - the groceries are delivered by boat. The supplies cost $12,000 to 15,000 each delivery. My husband always joked, kind of, that the meals were extra good on Coast Guard inspection days!

I'm watching the play-off game, New Orleans Saints v Chicago Bears. I'm torn. Either team can win as far as I'm concerned. I feel the sentimental pull toward the Saints, and they have Reggie Bush, the recent grad of Univ of Texas superstar that the Houston Texans should have taken but don't get me started. It's also ok if Chicago wins. Rex Grossman, the young quarterback is the grandson of one of my mother in law's oldest, dearest friends. Rex's grandfather, also Rex, built the husband's family house and they all ran in the same circle of friends. I'm sure all the ladies are having a football viewing party this afternoon and rooting for Rex. The husband went to school with Rex's aunt, Jill.

I grew up a huge Dallas Cowboys fan. We lived in Shreveport, which is far north west Louisiana, almost Texas so every Sunday it was a Cowboys game. I cheered with America's Sweethearts, the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders in our den and my father would always remark what a fine man coach Tom Landry was on the field. No hysterics or bad behavior from him.

I'll start dinner soon. Pork chops, lemon orzo, salad, green beans. It's a beautiful day outside. A little chilly but no complaints.



Janie said...

Sounds like you had a great day! Have a lovely week.

Beverly said...

Well, the games are over, and my team won. Go, Colts! I am so happy to see Tony Dungy make it to the Super Bowl.

srp said...

I am glad the Saints had such a good year. Their coach may shape up to be a great one. But, it still galls me that taxpayer dollars and so many of them, were used to rebuild and refurbish that dome stadium before they rebuilt homes and schools. Yes, the argument is that the dome brings in more money... more jobs... more tourists.... If I were going to be a tourist there, the money better be spent on the police department and decreasing crime and rebuilding the homes... not the dome.

So, I was glad Chicago won. On the other game... rooting for the Colts all the way. New England's coach is a nasty jerk, not someone I would even want to be in the same room with and Tom Brady, an arrogant jock... so was very, very happy to see them lose.

Jennifer said...

I was hoping for a Colts vs. Saints match up in a couple of weeks. Would've been a heckuva a story. But I'm happy Peyton got his game on. Now it's easier to know who to root for come the big day.