Thursday, July 3, 2014

Williston Daily Struggles!

I though it was time to maybe update those of you who have no idea what the daily struggles are here.  Hopefully all of you will tune in to the docu-series that is going to start being filmed out here one of these days!  You will get an inside look at what its like in a modern day Boomtown.  Though they are getting better there are everyday things that have now become just that, everyday nuances that you just have to deal with!  We chose to have Ray come ahead of us and get us set up. We were fortunate that we did it that way.
There are many who come this time of year and bring their family and live in a camper, trailer, toy hauler, and even camp at a camp site with small children etc... I myself didn't do it that way and really I couldn't have...It is a strain on the whole family...a big move like that, but to do it in an area where its difficult to find rentals.  Hotel rooms are expensive and sometimes very difficult to come by, so we decided to have the house and jobs part all ready for the relocation so we didn't have to worry about the roof over our heads and comfort...Boy, comfort is a biggee when it's 45 below and you don't have that whole house thing figured out!  I know someone who pays over $500 per month in electricity (winter) that lives in a Motorhome because they have to keep electric heaters on under their Trailer to keep the pipes from freezing!!!!  WHAT?!
Housing:  Lack of housing is the biggest issue and there are man camps and FEMA trailers in the strangest places.  If you don’t know; a Man camp is a sea of trailers about the size of semis that all link together.  Some are end to end and some are side to side/end to end.  They offer 1 bedroom with a shower, TV small desk and closest.  There is a cafeteria type area where they serve food, it is pretty tasty but these places are charging around $160.00 a DAY 1 person and it is offered to Corporations, (generally)not just the individual who need housing.  I do know a few people who are individuals who live there and they are paying astronomical rates!  FEMA Trailers are usually found on a companies property with families or groups of workers living in them but business is being conducted 20 feet away...Truck Scales or Driver Check ins or even the Work Over Rig Crew lives right on the pad where they are drilling for the time they are there working and then move along when the job is complete... Nature of the business and you will see these housing situations dotting the countryside!  They even bus them into the market to pick up sundries etc... You DO NOT want to be around when that band of Men are shopping...It can get a little irritating!
Rentals:  We recently have seen large Apartment Buildings go up in and around town prices so high that the average American gasps at the price of a 2 bedroom apartment, over $3500.00 per month, don’t forget $25.00 per pet per month the $200 to $300 per month for a garage, Not to mention the First Last AND Security Deposit as well as $500 deposit for the dog etc..The list goes on  and on.  I have known people who have paid over $10,000.00 down on an apartment YES thats Ten Thousand!!! People will rent a bedroom in a house with other people they don’t even know, they have to share a kitchen and a bathroom with them, for over $1800 per month... It really is crazy and it makes you see why people pick the Motorhome route…

MotorCourts:  People (meaning many), whole families, are living in trailers, motorhomes, campers even skid shacks. This must be a huge challenge for them to function daily. Imagine the obstacles they must face daily. Fresh water if they don't have hook ups. Sewage if they can't get to the dump station as often as they like. Heating and Cooling... how do they possibly stay comfortable in some of these living conditions.

Some of the Motor home courts allow people to alter their area a little to make it a little more tolerable. I drove by one the other day and noticed some of these places have built on a "mudroom" and I am using the term 'built' loosely! WOW there is really NO structural support and its sort of a lean to situation at the door to their trailer or toy hauler! I can't imagine my children even possibly surviving school having to deal with that type of living situation! They would shut down and have difficulty learning!
Shopping: that is mostly grocery shopping, because that is what they have to offer in the area!  We have a Walmart and that is where the BIG shopping takes place.  Often times you will find that we do not have enough staff to stock up the stores and you will have to navigate around pallets and other shoppers just to get your Milk Bread and Eggs. 
I had someone tell me when I arrived, if you see it, buy it, because it will not be here when you come back....Oh boy am I glad I have taken that to heart.  There are many times I have come home with a half a cartful of stuff I really didn't have on my list but was very happy that I did. 
When you go back for more or a replacement you find that you might not even have the same type of items in that area! It is crazy! You never shop on a weekend because it is chaos! 1 hour (or more) in line just to check out!
We have a few cute little dress shops on Main Street (Yes 1 street about 3 Blocks Long) but not many options. You can get something in a pinch but nothing unique! Here we have to do our shopping wisely, or plan a to take a weekend trip into a city to get all items that we need. It makes us very grateful for the places we do have and I personally want to keep our wonderful small town options. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy when I step back in time at the bookstore with the tin ceiling! 
 (Regular Shopping Trip)
Dining Out:  Ray and I consider ourselves foodies in many ways.  We used to be Secret Diners so we know our way around a menu and a wonderful dining experience.  When we arrived there was not many places to get a great meal much less a dining experience.  Now we have many choices and can get a good meal with some ambience but you have to pay the price...ANd a family of 6 pays above and beyond! 

Today as I was weaving in and out of traffic I asked my self, "where the hell am I?" Los Angeles? San Francisco? Dallas???? Traffic lights cycle more than 3 times before you can make a left turn. Don't even try to make a left without the signal, you might be plowed down by a Big Rig. 40% (maybe even more) of vehicles on the road are commercial, half of those are Semi-Trucks. (Most all of the "regular" vehicles are pick-ups or larger size vehicles so don't think that cruising around Williston on a beautiful Summer day in your convertible would be nice!) Right in the middle of town; Big Huge Semi-Trucks...What a challenge! I am frightened to let the kids learn to drive here and I never thought I would believe this, but the dirt roads are actually safer than the main streets. In the city you don't have dirt road options! so you deal with the Steel jungle and Highway and city folk get to use this thing called the Subway, Metro or BART

Ice and Snow
We get Snow about 6 months (it feels like 8) out of the year. It's not the type of snow I expected, it is very dry (after the first few snows) and light, If you get to it right away you could grab a leaf blower and move it out of your side walk. Some days I don't think it is actually snowing its just snow flying around you, it might even be traveling from Montana or Canada...Just travelling thru!  Its kind of cool but actually really dangerous. Wind blowing you, Snow blowing all over the road and Snow fluffs flying across the road, Its a little dangerous! This year we had some strange weather and the Ice was terrible! It would be -20 one day and the 40 or 50 the next. Freeze then light Thaw it really created a tough year for driving and it was very dangerous. In the morning I would make sure I would leave early so I didn't find myself rushed, sometime the tires were not making contact and I was driving a 2000 lb sled. Glad I wasn't going too fast and just sledded to a stop!   
The Bullseye
You find that you are travelling along on a beautiful Summer day and you hear a sound! You look around to see if anyone in the car has been shot!!!  Nope, Its just a Rock that was hurled at you by that Semi, or some transformer looking piece of Farm equipment, that just passed and now you either have one of the following; a little chip in your windshield, better fix it right away!  A Bullseye, that is the size of a half Dollar and well no repair can help that damn thing!  Other times it is large enough to actually break your windshield and you have to get it replace immediately...And here immediately is about 4 to 6 weeks.  A Large crack on your windshield is a badge of honor...It says I am a local and I don't mind leaving this crack here!
We have our Challenges but I must say after being here for a year and a half now, I realize it could be worse...I could live in some desert in a little grass hut with no indoor plumbing or air... Or have to live off the land in an Igloo in Iceland!  If it weren't for the days that the sky is the Biggest and Bluest and the Crops are just starting to come up (like this flax Field right by our house) I would be crazy by now.  But I keep saying "It's and Adventure, It could be so much worse!" Right?