Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Brilliant sunrise! Just don't get sick of this kind of thing.

And, so there I was. Making myself look a complete bafoom. A greenhorn of sort....of which I still am...in front of a native, who giggled in delight of my foolery. Lesson learned....things aren't always as they seem. We have been watching the snow melt slowly the past couple weeks, as the daytime temps are soaring into the mid to upper 30's. Today was the first heatwave in fact, since back in early September with a swift 44 degrees! Cool beans! So I am riding with a Realtor today to look at some escrow work that needed to be done on one of her listings. We are pulling into the driveway of the home and she comments how the sign which she had planted in the snow had fallen with the melting. Being the gentleman I am....or kiss-ass for getting the job from her, hands down...I get out of her rig and carefully walk over to the slain sign ( I am stepping litely because ice is still an issue here despite the temps....remember that. Ice is still an issue here). The brilliant handyman that I am, I figure that if I plant it back in the snow, it will be a matter of days before the continued melt-off will find it fallen again. Now, it is one of those small, close to the ground, cute signs that has a formable 6 gauge wire frame and a little foothold to push it into the ground...very user friendly. My plan: Sink it's bony little frame into the small area of ground that is starting to protrude from the melting snow. And so I do. Or so I thought I would. As I go to press this corpulent yet rigid sign into the wet ground, I feel an instantaneous "thud' followed by one of those fluttered "boings" with it just sitting there as if it hit a solid rock. And if once being made the jackass wasn't enough, no, I had to go and try a second time a few inches over. Duh! The simple problem lies in the fact that the ground, despite it's 'wet/muddy' appearance in some areas, is in fact still a solid slab of ice...everywhere...and I know this...and will be so, for a while to come. In fact I have been told that the ice layer gets to four feet into the ground. It is about this time of year that we will start to see evidence of the sub-teranian ice melting. Simply, when the ground ices up, it expands. This form of suspended animation of 'heaving' lasts the duration of winter and as this expanded ground melts, it collapses, or hoes...making pavement buckle and sinkholes...or, sinkhoes... ;) form in areas that weren't sinkholes back in fall. In any event I stuck the sucker back in the snow, only for it to meet it's given demise again in a few days. The Realtor...she chuckles. Me...I tried. My heart was in the right place! Duh!! LOL

We take protecting our kids seriously here. Just one day a year, for a few hours!

Maryann has had a spectacular brush with circumstance since the last post. If you remember, her workplace seemed as if it was jumping on the badfoot right quick. Being the ordained visionary that she has become in recent months, she saw the writing on the wall a while back. So it was of no surprise to her when the ball began to fall. That is when she pulled the ace out of her sleeve. Almost like clockwork, the other job she applied for a while back came through and spared her the mindlessness of politics that have infected her workplace. She will be the general manager for a local lodge and will soon be letting go of her current job and all of it's annoyances. She has officially got the position, but is waiting now to hear back on the official start date and details of her beginning to hire cleaning staff, an assistant office person, and setting up of the office. So she will be putting in notice at the hotel very soon. She is excited, nervous, and impatient. But we are proud of her current achievements and the recognition that she has gotten for her abilities and professionalism working the front desk at the hotel. Why with all this acknowledged credibility at the hotel did she not get the front desk manager position that she was shooting for 2 weeks ago? One could say politics, which is in all fairness true. However, divine intervention was the real reason. You see, the girl who did get the position has been burdened with alot of the ridiculous playground-like antics, political B.S. and stress that Maryann would have otherwise fallen victim to. Already just 2 weeks into the new position, this girl has commented that she is ready to quit! Kudos Maryann, ya done good!

John started soccer last week and is pretty pumped. He comes home from practice which is daily, looking worn over. But he is loving it and looking forward to traveling around for his games. He has been very diligent at keeping his grades up, so that shouldn't be an issue. He is still working the Italian joint in town, and when his counterpart got laid off this week, he was told by the owner that his extra-curricular efforts at work, his positive attitude, and responsiveness kept his hours secure and firm. He is however drooling these days as fishing season is around the corner, and the prominent prospect of working a commercial fishing boat this summer is giving way to 'wood'! ;) He is also being called back for the salmon processing plant that he worked at last year. So he has some choice and variety for his desire of fishing. He is still active with the fire department and is ready to start his ride-alongs. With school, soccer, and work he is going to have to start making choices though. Ahh, the chance to have choice! So there it is. The posts have been few this month, and I guess the only reason is being busy and time slipping past. It is hard to believe that in another 2 and a half months we will have been here for 1 year. We are really excited as our friends Scott, Phyllis and son Nicko will be here in June to visit. It will be some good time for sure and will be one heck of a way to celebrate our 1 year anniversary in the last frontier. Stay safe out there and be positive often...it gets you places where you would only have dreamed of going!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Trouble in Paradise, and breaking up.

After a long, at times dark, and consistently cold winter it is painfully apparent that the time has come for an inevitable change. But change is good. It always brings about a new perspective, a chance to reflect and start new. That was a big part of moving here....no, it was huge and very refreshing. So this time brings us to a parting of sort. The parting of all that winter stood for to us and the beginning of the regeneration of life around us. It has been said that "breaking up is hard to do". In Alaska, breaking up is flat a pain in the butt! The perma-ice that has layered everything 6 inches thick...or better...has become in many cases similar to a nightmarish pitted excursion on Mr. Toads Wild Ride. Puddles right smack in the middle of everything....this size of ponds and about as deep. What is really wild is when we get a couple nights that drop into the teens again and all of those puddles and melting ice glaze over. I commented to Maryann that next year I am taking advantage of my crampon comptable boots and buying a pair of crampons! Be it a vehicle or just two footin' it, it is a very uncomfortable feeling to loose traction and begin to launch. Now it's not like we never dealt with ice before, as Dorrington had plenty of it. But this is on a much bigger and broader scale as to anything we have ever had to wrestle with before. Just driving across a parking lot and you become a human bobble-head bumping, dumping and bouncing around the pits in the ice! I watched some poor woman go down in Home Depots parking lot the other morning. The parking lot is so sanded down that it looks like a beach. Problem comes when those puddles of melting ice freeze over night with a lite dusting of snow over the top and what you assume "to be sanded" is in reality a small ice pond. The rest is slick sailing and a courtship with gravity! Yes, I did risk my own neck to traverse out to her rescue. This will be life for a while until things warm up permanently and everything melts away. But the anticipation of Spring and it's bloom is overwhelming these days. It has definitely been a long cold winter. Giddee-up! We are at around 11 hours 50 minutes of daylight now and the daytime temps are in the mid 30's with nighttime temps dipping into the low 20's.

Which brings us to the trouble in paradise portion. Seems that Maraynn has found herself amidst a coupe' at work and tensions getting weird. Alot of change has been taking place and some of this chance has poured over into her schedule....and esteem. She has found herself feeling like she herself needs some change, and we all know what riders of risk we have become. So who knows what will happen in the long run. The good thing is that she has her 'wants' and her mind and spirit focused on such. This simple act alone will give aire for change to transpire. So we are holding on for a possible churning of the eddy and waiting to see what direction the tide will flow. Speaking of tide.

We went down the the beach the other day, first time in months as the cold, snow and ice have made it not only treacherous but too cold to cross. It was simply amazing. The beach was a literal plateau of layered icebergs and snow that sat about 5 feet off the actual beach surface. It was a virtual ice climbing expedition onto the beach. Except for the dogs who have all time 4 wheeldrive with built in traction control. It was just another 'first' for us and a spectle of nature and her craftiness.

This was also our first year to experience the Iditerod. John went to Anchorage with some friends and actually got to see the start of the race. Maryann and I snuggled up to the fire in front of the tv and watched the local coverage. It is amazing how darned excited these dogs are about pulling a sled equipped with supplies and a human 1000 miles from Anchorage to Nome through rugged terrain and raw countryside. There are several check points through out for the dogs and the musher's to re-up and many native villages as well. The race took about 10 days from start to finish with like 97 dog teams to start several dropping out along the way. There was a couple of doggie deaths and injuries to boot. Story goes that many years ago, there was a plague of sort in the far reaching villages and the only way to get the medicine from Anchorage to the villages was by teams of dogs pulling sled. This became somewhat of an annual tradition in the form of the Iditerod. Was quite impressive and really cool how through the day the radio would broadcast updates as to who stopped at a particular checkpoint that day, how long they were there and what time they left. Very easy to follow an exciting really! Cherokee and Kenai enjoyed to start with us. They were fascinated at all of the barking dogs on tv as their heads would tilt from side to side....like they understood everything the dogs on tv were saying. Do ya think?!

Well, sorry the posts have been far and few between this month. I guess life just caught us and time slipped by. Hope all is well on the outside. Say a prayer for Maryann as she faces yet another chapter of transition in the coming weeks. Rest assured it is good whatever it is and she has some pretty amazingly good feelings about it. After being self employed with a lucrative and successful business she built thoroughly from word of mouth for 12 years, she knows what she wants and where she stands. Broken promises, bull crap and females with ragging hormones aint it! Good luck to her. She will do whatever she puts her mind and soul to doing. I say this not because she is my wife, but because she has the guts, focus and determination to overcome anything that stands between her and her dreams.