Friday, December 11, 2015

Candid Thoughts on Being an Oil Patch Worker and Owning a Home in Fort McMurray Part III

At the start of the year I wrote a couple posts about living and working here in a time where the price of oil has cooled considerably and I thought I'd give a little update, if only to show that my lack of blogging hasn't meant that I've fallen off the planet. The one thing that I find myself doing on an almost daily basis is checking the price of oil.  I was hoping it would level off a few months ago after taking its big dive and stabilize in the $40-$50/barrel range but no.  With oil currently sitting at a little over $35/barrel I'm reminded at just how volatile things still are.

I count myself as rather fortunate that my work continues to be pretty steady.  It actually was quite busy this past fall as we had a large maintenance event and I've heard that we can expect more of these in the coming months.  I've been working 12-hour days for well over a year now and have become quite used to the routine of it and while I do occasionally complain, certainly working 12 hours a day is much better than working zero hours per day.  My employer's contract with Suncor doesn't expire until January 2017, so barring a complete disaster, I don't dwell things too much.

While I was accepted in to a Masters program at my old alma mater I decided for a number of reasons to forgo that for now.  I'm sure I'll apply again and take my MA but that just won't be right. now and I'm perfectly fine with that.  Given the economy, this isn't exactly the best time to sell a house and while I could have enlisted the services of a property manager while away studying, the idea of being an absentee landlord just doesn't sit well with me.  But hey, my mom beat cancer this year so it was a good reminder that there are more important things in life.

In the meantime, I've been able to get involved in a little volunteer work shovelling snow for an elderly couple just down the street from me and it feels nice to be able to do something to give back to my community even if just in a small way.  I've also found myself doing an insane amount of reading on my days off having discovered the wonders of Amazon.com.  I'm getting into a few areas of history I avoided like the plague in university because they didn't appeal to me and I didn't think they would be all that interesting only to find that they are rather interesting after all and really do help to broaden my understanding.  I really do need a decent book shelf as the unit I have at the moment is proving to be grossly inadequate.

And while I did have a politically-oriented post of sorts in mind, I find myself retreating from politics at the moment, if only to give my brain a rest.  There are many things I've thought about commenting on from our government here to the Syrian refugee crisis but I'd rather not turn my blog into a political blog, and anyway, there are many talking heads out there as it is and I'd rather not muddy the waters even more than they already seem to be.

One good thing about things being a bit slower is that the city has really calmed down and doesn't seem to be as "go go go faster" as it was when I initially moved here.  The pace of life is a bit more manageable so for the short term, I don't mind it all that much.  At any rate, these are just a few random thoughts as I head in to another work shift.

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