Sorry I missed my deadline last month, folks; I had more on my plate than I could say grace over! I started the month with what I had planned to be a short road trip to demonstrate one of my systems. I had a few stops scheduled on a 3,000-mile loop around the southern states, and had a good, tight schedule figured out that would make the most of my time and equipment. I also took my production manager with me because while he has fabricated equipment for me for years, he hasn’t spent much time out “where the bit meets the dirt.” Time to see systems in action in the real world.

I also figured that after months of seven-day-a-week shop time, a little break wouldn’t hurt, either. I had scheduled a stop at a small town in southern Mississippi that, coincidentally, was close to one of my favorite recreational activities –- a casino. We pulled in and promptly began to decompress from the rigors of business! Nice to have comp’d rooms and meals. The next day, greatly refreshed, we headed down the road to our next destination, several hundred miles away.

We rigged up and demonstrated on several interesting jobs, which would make several more articles by themselves. One of the jobs ran over schedule, and it was starting to push other projects behind. One of our concerns was how everything was going at the shop. This came to a head one day when we got a call from the shop that the forklift was out of gas. Imagine that –- and we’re 1,100 miles from home. What are we supposed to do? It wasn’t long before Les went to the airport. I continued with my “big adventure.”

I was having a great time, meeting and working with drillers. I wasn’t worried about my home situation because my bride of 22 years, Lottie, was in charge. She’s gotten used to me being gone over the years, and the house usually is still standing when I get home. This time, it turned out a little different.

This year, Lottie will celebrate her 60th birthday. Her doctor and I have been nagging her for years to get a mammogram. She says they hurt, and I say they don’t hurt nearly as much as the alternative. At any rate, while I was gone, she finally gave in and got one. They found a lump. A few days later, they did a biopsy and found cancer. I felt terrible that I wasn’t there with her, but she knew I was on a job and would get home as soon as I could –- she’s tough as a hog’s nose! She waited ’til I got home to make any treatment decisions, which we did together. In a few days, my sweetie is going to have a mastectomy. I’ll be there.

At this point, the doctors say her prognosis looks good, and with reconstructive techniques, they can do wonders. I asked the doctor if I could pick the make and model of the reconstruction. Maybe I’ll go down to the local Hooters and do a little shopping!

The bottom line is this: Drillers, send your wife for a mammogram. Today. Catch it early. Drillers’ wives: Send your driller for a prostrate exam. Today. Don’t fool around with this, folks – you might lose the only person who will put up with you!

I know this isn’t a drilling-related topic, but it can happen to any of us, and we all need to take care.

Maybe next month, I’ll spin you a yarn about what happens when you have a good rig, a good crew and NO supervision. I’ll change the names to protect the guilty –- they know who they are!