This year has been a tough year for a lot of pipeline folks, us included. Even before the Welder started pipelining we knew saving would be crucial to our financial survival in this field. His brother was already on the road and we watched him struggle in ’09 when the bottom fell out and many sat at home and lost nearly everything they had. The Welder has always been a saver, a penny pincher of sorts. I on the other hand, was not and quit frankly am still not good at it. When he first started, saving was NOT an option. His first job was 2 months before our wedding in PA. I remember him calling me just outside of Tulsa telling me they already had filled up, only 70 some miles from home. I remember like yesterday us having a conversation about how he would have to find a manageable speed to balance getting there and fuel consumption because we barely had the money to get him there, even then he would HAVE to pass his test. No pressure. He got there and passed and money finally started rolling in a couple of weeks after he was there. Before he got a check, we would need to pay for lot rent, fuel to work, food, etc. It sucked! I remember not being too sure about this whole “leap of faith” he took. At that point, I didn’t have the same faith he had I was looking at the numbers. A couple of weeks later we were rich! HA! Those checks were big and our bills were small. We didn’t really have the money, but we managed to fly me up there to see him. We went to a local rodeo, cooked out with friends and even visited New York City. It was fun, but after I left we were low on money again. Fast forward till after the wedding. Our honeymoon was wonderful, but the Welder spent a lot of time on the phone. Money was tight and we knew that if we didn’t want to be in a bind he would have to go to work right after we got home. He got a lead in Colorado and the day after we returned we were headed west across Kansas towards the mountains, on a LEAD. Not a job, just another leap of faith. I remember us talking a lot on that trip. We talked about our goals, what we would see, and our plans for me to travel back and forth. I also remember me questioning his judgement to spend the money to get up there without him even actually having a test. A week later — he had got a test and passed. Life was good.
It was during that job that I was around enough to start meeting other Pipeliners. I remember they all called us young. Babies. I also remember all the ‘ol timers telling us to save! Now, looking back what I wish they would have told me was their story. A for instance, of why we should save and how this industry works. I wish they would have told us to live on half of what he makes because there will come a time when there isn’t any work, even for the good and willing.
Wife, there will come this time. There will come a time, when even the guy that always keeps work, is off. Off — for longer than he had planned. There will come a time, when you need savings to get you by. You will be quick to judge why he hasn’t found work yet. There will come a time, when you hate this life and you want out. You may even let resentment grow in your heart and it may affect your marriage or other relationships in your life. People will judge you. They will tell you how you should have all the money in the world cause, Pipeliners make bank. Welders especially. They will talk behind your back. You will feel alone.
You may even look at your husband different and question entrusting him to support you and his choice to go on the road. That handsome, strong, and successful man you were once married to is now setting at home, sad and unmotivated to do anything.
Husband, you told her it would be ok. You begged her to quit her job and come too, so your family could be together. You promised work and fun. You said, you all would travel. You thought that your plan was bulletproof because you are willing and able. You find it hard to believe that no work is available for the taking because you are ready. You are hustling on the phone, only to get a bunch of half ass leads to no where! You are over it and ready to shut out the world.
Wife, remember the man you married. Remember the years before, how he pounded the pavement looking for work and kept in a job no matter what it took, how fast he had to be there, or how far away it was. Remember the handsome, lively, fun, and sweet man you married. He is still him.
Husband, remember your bride. Remember the women who would drop it all just to see you for a day or hours if that is all she could get. Remember the vision she had for your lives and realize it is not lost. Remember the sweet soul that poured love into your home and everything she did for you. Your bride, your wife is still by your side.
Both of you, remember one another. This life is tough and sometimes the devil in it works to tear you apart. Trust God. Love one another and pray together. You two are the best each other has, besides your faith. You both are the only ones who “get it,” no one else knows your struggle. When money is tight and bills are late walk hand in hand with the lord. Fight — for all the things that are important. Your faith. Your marriage. Your happy heart. Your pride.
Not matter where you are when work comes your way – you are still you. You will have to recover financially, but you will not have to recover your marriage – your love. May you hold one another through the hard times. May you have faith that your Lord and your hustle will provide, just in time. Not your time – His time. May you be grateful for every blessing the road has given you. When your out of this season, may you stay humble and be thankful till and through the next drought.
Most of all, remember the heart you married. They are still them. Every good and hard headed thing about them, they always have been.