Friday, June 27, 2008

A year later.

Well here it is almost the end of June and again, a month of only a couple posts. As my grandma used to say..."whata me gonna do?" I guess when your having fun, busy and the likes time no other! I had these soaped up plans for the blog on our first anniversary here like posting live via transcriptionist from the arctic ocean, or posting pics of a live birth moose since it is the season for them to drop calves.... But no, June 13th the day we officially took ownership of the house, came and went with no streamers, no hoorah, no nothin! Not that I am complaining, it was just fine. In fact, for my birthday, June 13th, John and I pulled the 500 gallon heating feul tank out of the ground. It was a desire of ours to get the thing out ASAP. Just never wanted to take the chance that the thing would end up leaking some day. Good news is that it came out, was still in tip top shape and is now history. It was to rusted from being burried to keep. We will get a smaller 300 gallon one before fall and keep the new one above ground. Trying to get rid of these things is like trying to dispose of....well, used oil tanks! Nobody wants them. John said we should roll it into the lake. (snicker) The same company who took the last tank for a 12 pk of Corona, you remember, the one I pulled in fall for the other guy who was being fined by D.E.C. Well, my new found buddy at the tank cleaning company took this one for 2 12 pks of Corona. Hey, it was 200 gallons more than the other! ;) Funny how when you walk into an industrial company with 2 12 packs of beer how everybodys name is the name of the guy your looking for! Then there is the twisted humor of our son, who stands at the bottom of the 8 foot deep hole with a shovel in his hand, a cool aide smile, and his shirt reading...."Gravedigger"! Sick puppy. All in all though it was a good day. We got done something that has been bugging me for some time.

On the heels of that came our friends for their visit to Alaska. We pulled it off good. We had contacted a friend with the Wildlife Preserve Rescue and Recovery. He arranged for a trained release of a bald eagle on the other side of our lake here, which soared graciously above Scott and Nick their first day here as they kayaked the lake. He put on quit a show to give them the impression of the ultimate Alaska experience. Then there was the mama moose and her probably not 2 week old calves. Our same friend planted them at the bottom of the driveway for the Parisi's to marvel. What was really comical was a short time after the sighting when Scott was out on the deck and heard splashing behind shrubs at the lakes edge. He of course thought, awe, how of the babies is splashing on the shore. What he didn't see was our friend from the preserve skipping barefoot with his pants pulled up beyond the bushes, in the water. Couldn't you imagine!? Really though these few noteworthy scenarios of many, did happen for them, and of no doing from any friend from the Preserve. No, these were real and random acts of nature which revealed themselves to the Parisis during their first hours here. Was spectacular and spiritual to say the least. They thoroughly enjoyed the trip and did much for the week they spent. In fact, it was a chance for Maryann, John and I to also do some of the things that we have longed to do since we landed. So alot of first time sightseeing for us all.

The first year brought alot of noteworthy memories, some breathtaking scenery, and new experiences for us all. Like these pics from the winter and spring that John snapped. John also has made some really good friends and found that the move was a positive experience, despite all the people he left behind. Ever notice John has a thing for the "Captain Morgan" look? I guess we could go on about all that has happened, but you get the point. To everyone who has followed us and lived our lives in this new land vicariously through our blog, we thank you. Who knows how many or who of you are out there??? I know it isn't always easy for comments with Blogger. That is one thing about this that sucks. But to those who braved the agitation and succeeded, thanks. We sometimes wish we knew who all was really out there with us. But nonetheless, we will continue to push forward with all we are doing, and will continue to post progress for those who are still there with us. Stay tuned as the elusive Maryann, will hopefully be doing a follow up post with some photos from last weeks adventures. Oh, make sure and check out the sidebar as we have changed the format around for nothing better than a year past! And please make sureto take a minute and select one of the new voting selections. This is just a way for Maryann and I to have some kind of number for the amount of people that check out the blog. Much easier than the comments section!!! Please take a second to do it....if you don't, your ugly! ;)Take care for now.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Eviction, conviction and.....taxes?

This post finds us at the height of the inevitable yearly drama known only in America as "tax time". "A little late there Greg", your probably thinking. Yes. Better late than....never!? Due to the grace of 'extension', we chose in leau of the hectic year to put the inevitable at bay. We go in to our new tax dude 3 days before my birthday and 6 days before the arrival of fun in the form of friends. He is supposed to be the best on the peninsula everybody we talk to says. Lets hope "he is the best" not because of the service he does the IRS! Being the procrastinators that we often are when it comes to the private funding of foreign conflicts, pork barrel spending, and whatever other reasons the government uses to tax us, we wait until the last conceivable moment to put together our info for tax day. And so today, we chose to take some time to get our papers in order! It has been a weird day emotionally actually. It was like opening a time capsule from a year and a half ago. When you look at that in the sense that a year and a half ago we were beginning the steps of change, the biggest of any of each of our lives. Seeing receipts from UHaul, the Alaska Ferry System....after the hell ride in that rolling deathtrap, the ferry ride was like a resort! Receipts from....remember the cookie bar and wireless internet....the hotel in Roseburg! Seeing receipts from the moving dollies we bought, the ratcheting straps to hold down the kayaks on the truck, the hot tub, woodstove ect, in the truck. Remembering rolling out of the mountains for the last time, meeting the Parisi's at Perkos in Angels Camp for what would be the proverbial "last supper" with any of our friends....they were on their way to their cabin for the weekend, and we had just left their cabin embarking on the journey. Thanks again for giving us refuge at your pad those few days guys. It meant alot and was truly a needed respite after such a choreographed 'loading of our lives'. Coming around the corner arriving at my folks' house to say goodbye on our way was like the exodus parade being photographed for historical reference! Everything involved with it all from January 2007, to January 2008. Where we were and how far we had much further we have come since January 2008! Now, if we can just convince the government....

Ever woken in the wee hours of the morning to an intruder creeping around your bedroom? Well, scary as it may was a reality as I woke to some strange noise the other morning. The normal reaction to such sounds coming out of a dreary sleep would be to slither my hand over to the gun. But something compelled me to do otherwise the morning in question. Maryann was sleeping sound on her back as I cautiously and curiously rolled my head out of the covers to see just what was transpiring in our lair. As I poked my head out of the safe sanctuary of my blankie, my mouth dropped and expletives that may well have made a sailors mouth sound like a Sunday sermon, began to excessively echo the silence of our room. Maryann, without missing a beat...almost like she had been through the drill before, ducked into the covers, and locked down the blankets around her, as to not allow any penetration of any sort to get to her. I reached...cussing like a cretin, not for the gun, but rather the light. In fact, the lamp on my nightstand was not going to be enough. No, I was going to have to somehow get from the bed to the switch for the bedroom light. I could immediately see that this was not to be. Rapidly accessing the situation, all the while Maryann speechless in blanket lockdown, I realized that the only thing to do was to grab my shorts while fleeing nakedly through the studio doors to make the dash outside. Yes, leaving my wife, cowering beneath the sheets. Once out the door, I realized that the temperature had dropped overnight (is 'night' the right word when it hardly gets dark out?) as my otherwise subdued nipples stiffened with dread. I dashed barefooted to Johns window. Poor kid, all he knows is he awakened to me frantically tapping at his window to let me in the front door, only to open the shade to see dad half naked and in complete hysterics. Maryann....well, best that I know she is probably still hunkered down half way into the mattress by now. Once inside, I had to act fast to work a plan to corner and contain the intruder, more than likely prowling into our room, he being oblivious to the fate that was about to come bursting in through the partially open door. But first, I needed to get to the basement to get the salmon dip net....yes, the salmon dip net! By now John, still unsure of what in names sake was going on, took heed to my haste order to arm himself with the flashlight. Huh? The two of us, Maryann's fearless saviors, burst through the door, flashlight and dip net in hand, to find....nothing. Not a thing. Just Maryann, under the blanket, patiently awaiting her salvation and rescue. Now this is where it gets just plain hair-raising.

Rule ah, #2: Pest Control: Bats in our home, rabies vaccinations, bat information: "The second step, when a bat is in your bedroom, is to stay calm. Running out of the room may make you feel better but actually creates a more dangerous situation. Let me explain. If you leave the room, you won't know where the bat is. If you don't know the whereabouts of the bat you won't know whether or not it is still in your house. Trust me."

Here in lies the next problem...where the hell did it go?! Now Maryann...still buried in the covers, is calmly stating that she felt something down by her feet. Standing there with the dip net, and a flashlight, John and I are seeing nothing. Key word being "seeing". Now, we as a family are used to this type of invasion that will usually precede the 'crack of dawn' . In Arnold we fell victim to this type of situation. In Dorrington, we fell victim to this type of situation. In Alaska...we are once again falling fate to this predicament. One thing that I, being one of logic in a crisis situation, have found, is that since bats are nocturnal creatures, hitting them with light is the easiest, safest, and least streesful (for both parties) way of litterally bringing them the ground. The last time, I used my 600,000 watt portable spotlight, which I still to this day keep next to the to the gun. But on this day in question, it was not charged and the battery deemed it useless. Thus the flashlight. The plan was to click on the bedroom light, disorienting the little bastard, then stunning him with the intense beam of the 'Mag Instrument Mag-Lite' flashlight...which can also second as a billyclub, if such the need ever arises....then, once tractor beamed down to the floor like a scene out of Star Trek, we would trap it within the confines of the dip net, until it could be safely transported out of the house. That was my initial plan as I was scampering, half clad, about like a madman.

It is a known fact that bats will migrate each Fall back down to Mexico for the Winter, only to return in Spring to the same exact place where it's colony resides through the Summer. It is no secret that we had bat issues when we moved in last year. And sure as all get go, they did come back, right to the same place in our raftors that they flew from in the Fall. Only this time, one rouge little dark rebel breeched the bowels of the compounds main house. So begins the long and drawn process of eviction. Which, in the name of 'information' would have it, has somewhat changed my conviction. You see, bats, despite our popular belief, are our friends. Or at least this is what the self proclaimed batologists on the web will have you believe. And in a sense, I have to agree. At least looking at it today. Try and convince me of that the other morning and I would have assumed took the 'second' of the Mag Lite flashlight and clubbed you. Right click the above link (in blue text) and open it in "a new tab", it is a wealth of info. But this doesn't help the poor son of a bitch who now has to find, extricate, and condemn these "remarkable creatures"! Believe it or not, these insectivores have more laws to protect them than us humans. And if you don't want P.E.T.A crawling all over your butt, you have to choose 'humane' ways to remove them from your...or should I say, their home.

The next thing I knew standing there with John, a dip net, a flashlight, and Maryann's eyes peeping out the top of the covers, I hear that familiar sound, the one that roused me out of sleep to begin with, now in the bathroom. I turn, it is all over the place, I shriek like a little girl, Maryann ducks back into her woven safe house, John stands there as if he is in the company of a bunch of freaks, and wasting not a motion, I yank the bathroom door shut. So now we have it trapped. To my misfortune, and so much to the bats advantage, I have not read any of this info on the web regarding our "valuable friends" and humane-sake and such. If you have ever been trapped in confined quarters with a bat...I have...they are fast. I mean erratic and just plain quick. They are all over the place. That is where a 600,000 watt spotlight and a dip net can come in handy! But we do have the advantage that it is light outside, there are no blinds in the bathroom so to be lite up like....well, Alaska at 4:00AM! And he will soon tire, and land, is my hope. How are we gonna fit the dip net in that small bathroom....beyond me and at this point I don't care, I just want the dance to end! The long and short of it is that when we finally did hear in settle down in there, and opened the door to look for was gone. GONE! We checked every orifice, crevice, crack ....nothing. He was gone. I suspect that he literally crawled back into the hole he came from. Either there is some kind of hole in the wall behind the small humanly impenetrable crevice behind the vanity, or the space where the shower head comes through the shower wall, which at the time was exposed because of the loose beauty ring that usually seals the gap shut. The next day I heard it crawling around in that area, so I can only suspect. There are many small access points along the outside eves, and as I said we know for a fact that these little wonders....sarcasm...are making their homes is these places. We have a good idea how to "exclude" (this is the humane way of saying eradicate) them from our/their home. The bat rights activists say that it is best to wait until August to entertain these such tactics. Primarily because it is then that the young bats will now begin to go on the night raids with their elders. This is when we can employ the tactics as to not endanger their lives. I guess in an ideal world, if the exclusionary tactics work, the bats will be safely evicted, we as humans will feel better about their removal from our lives along with the unique informative education that we have learned in doing so, and they will have to find a new place to live, preferably a tree or something less intrusive! We'll see. I guess the whole thing is better than getting your bumper ripped off of your vehicle by a pissed off bear, eah!?! Stay tuned.