Thoughts on creating a business Web site - and on undergoing a surgical procedure for a work-related injury.

A Web designer builds and organizes a Web site for a client.

Several of my friends in the drilling business have Web sites, and they encouraged me to do the same. I always figured that my drilling business was pretty small and not worth the effort or expense, but when I got into manufacturing solids-control equipment for other drillers, I realized that if I was going sell anything I would have to get the word out. I started doing my homework, thinking it might be something I could do myself. After all, I had figured out how to use this dog-gone computer after a while!

Turns out there is quite a bit more to it than meets the eye. I fumbled around searching the Web for advice for quite a while before coming to the conclusion that this is one job better left to the experts. It's kinda like having customers who had decided to drill their own wells: After a while their backs give out, their friends won't come around and help, no matter how much free beer they give out, and they've spent a fortune in time and totally useless equipment and still don't have water! Actually, they make pretty good customers most of the time; they appreciate what we do for a living.

Went to a local company that has a good reputation and advertises Web page design, and told them what I wanted to do. They assigned me to a young lady who, although she might be a little slow - hey, I don't know how long this stuff takes - seems to know her stuff when it comes to the Net. This is cool: All my friends have Web masters, I have a Web mistress. Hope Lottie doesn't find out …

First thing we did was register a domain name. After searching the Web and trying some different things, I got one: It's all mine - as long as I pay a nominal fee per year.

Then the real work began. Turns out that just because I had hired someone to do the grunt work, it didn't mean I could go home and sit on the porch. While she could set things up and arrange them, I had to provide the content - that means the pictures and text and specifications and all sorts of things that I carry around in my head, but had never bothered to write down. I spent some sleepless nights getting the material together, and more than a couple meetings and e-mail sessions getting it all plugged in. The site isn't done yet - there always is more to do - but it is up and running. Go look it up and tell me what you think.

Wayne's offer to fix Lottie's shoulder his way was declined - with good reason. A tie-rod end separator.

I'm writing this today because it's a stay-at-home day. Not a day off, I just have to be around the house. My bride Lottie had to get some outpatient surgery yesterday. She's been lifting 40-pound boxes of produce for years at work, and that's a lot for a 100-pound lady! It finally took a toll on her left shoulder joint. Since it was work-related, her company agreed to pay for it AFTER she went to a bunch of therapy to see if they could fix it on the cheap. She went two or three times a week to a place where they hooked her up to machines left over from the Spanish inquisition and tortured her for long enough each time that she came home using language that could only be learned from some well driller! I can see I'm gonna have to keep her away from some of you guys: I don't use that kind of language - very often.

Today, surgical operations are more commonly known as “procedures.”
Eventually, they realized that the torture method wasn't going to work and they were going to have to do what looked to me a lot like fixing a ball joint on my service truck. She was telling me this one day while we were standing out by my truck. I told her I probably could do the job cheaper and stronger. I showed her my tie-rod end separator (known in these parts as a “pickle-fork”) and a 3-pound hammer. For some reason, she declined my services. I figured: Pop out the joint, screw in a grease fitting, voilà, good as new - works on Chevys and Fords. But nooo …

On the day of the scheduled surgery, I took her down there for the “procedure.” They don't call it an operation any more - probably get more money for a procedure. She was nervous and cranky because they wouldn't let her eat since the day before - not good with Lottie. She made me promise to behave myself, and I did my best - such as that is.

I got her home a few hours later and have been making sure that my head cook and best friend is as comfortable as I can make her. It obviously hurts like heck, so I'm doing some things around here that I didn't even do when I was a bachelor.