Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Oh Happy Day!

Ahh. The simple life....camping out at the bakery. Sweet!! So we found ourselves once again in the room above the bakery. I am proud to say however that I didn't really indulge in any sweets this trip. In fact, I didn't really indulge in much of any food this trip. You see, quite literally as I packed my duffel bag the morning we were leaving, like a swift wind across the desert, I was stricken with the flu. Just that fast! It set us back a day so that I could do all the fun stuff that people with the flu doo... But the brave and determined camper that I am, I insisted upon going to Homer anyways, despite feeling a hue of green and blue. It was the week between jobs for Maryann and we had both been looking forward to it for some time. So we went. Saved a hell of alot of money on eating out since we, or at least I, didn't eat pretty much most of the time. The amazing thing about Maryann and I is that despite any odds, we always find the humor and create fun. And fun times we had. So the flu really didn't slow things down too much. We still had a relaxing and fun time. This little bakery Inn is quickly becoming our little get away destination.

Interesting point of fact here. In the picture above you cant see the mountain range the other side of the bay. Believe it or not, there was a dust storm in the Gobi Desert in China during the week, and we were getting dust particles in the air here in Alaska. This explains the haze. No Joke. Now if that isn't 'foreign' enough, in addition to haze from China dust, there is also a bit of smoke in this haze from wildfires over in Russia. Yes, it is bizarre when you think about it. And to think I thought I would be closer to Oregon when we moved here!! ;) Spring is definitely here finally. The ice layer has melted, most of the sow is gone, and the ground is becoming soggy from the melting permafrost within the ground. Birds are arriving back in droves, magpies, Canadian geese, tundra swans, seagulls, the bald eagles are out everywhere, the grizzly bears are about and the trees are ready to explode into bloom. The lake is still frozen however, but the ice looks like it should be turning soon. People are finally starting to emerge from a long hibernation. Literally. it was amazing how most of the population just banished themselves into seclusion over the winter. Can't says that I blame them much, as except for when we had to go out we pretty much banished ourselves indoors! Everywhere but not as apparent as it was in Homer are businesses, shops, fishing outfits ect. gearing up for the oncoming tourism season. The fishing season opens up for King Salmon towards the end of May, and already the RV's and vacationers are starting to roll into the area. It is all buzzing with activity and is just amazing how the peninsula seems to have woke up from a long winters nap. Kind of exciting!

No Yvette....we didn't go to the prom, although you would think so, huh!?! The school did something really neat here. They have what is called the Prominaude before the actual prom. They have the theater stage at the school (they have an awesome theater as well as an auditorium) set up, this year was a Paris/French theme, and each couple strolls out onto the stage for introduction and a brief photo opp for the parents and audience. Then afterwards you can go up to the stage to do more of an intimate photo shoot with your kids and scenery. Was really cool, and very well done. Then afterwards the kids head off to the prom which was at the Nikiski community center. Afterwards, it is tradition for alot of the kids to go into Soldotna to the 24 hour diner for early morning breakfast. Yeah, yeah, I know what your thinking. The kids here are really good kids, and we are very impressed with the morals and responsibility most of them have.

Maryann is starting her new job tomorrow. At least that is when she officially starts her salary. She has been working hourly out of home and going out conducting interviews for her staff the past couple weeks. Even while she was still at the hotel she was working out of home for the lodge on her days off. She is excited and I have to say she is alot happier. This is the kind of challenge she needed. The hotel was good for a period of 'mindless' work, which God knows she needed after so many years of busting her ass. But this is a new beginning for her, and the future prospects, even after the summer months, looks very promising. She is also starting up the greenhouse. We officially determined today in fact that the furnace in the greenhouse has been deemed worthless. Another victim of the jackass before us. Mind you Maryann doesn't really need it through the summer, but we will have to work on an alternative heat source for the fall and winter. That and we are working on a rain collection system for storing rain runoff for watering the greenhouse. Have some good ideas, just need to find the parts and such to make it so. I am also thinking of getting a pump this summer to run water out of the lake for watering the lawn. Mind you it doesn't take much as we do usually have alot of rain during the summer. But for those dry spells to preserve the precious rank smelling water from our well. Don't want that to run dry, heavens no!

Looking forward to a great summer. Have lots of guests coming here and looking forward to it all. The daylight is pretty consistent now. Sun comes up around 5:20AM and sets around 10:40PM. Gotta say it's 9:00PM right now and I am ready to go out and "do"! It's a toughy as the daylight increase. Hard to calm down and settle in for the night. Take care out there, and treat yourself to some fun. Our love to all.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Better days and abundent ways.

Well, it is amazing what a little faith, positive focus, and the mere "knowing what you want" can emanate about. I have been a little down with allergies and a touch of the flu the past couple weeks, and it has given me a little time out to reflect. I am so pleased at how this move has worked out for the best. I hear horror stories about the economy or lack of back in the mountains and how so many of our friends have either had to leave that area to find work, or are having a very difficult time due to the lack of it. Coupled with all of the competition from the years of accelerated growth before the bottom fell out. So although we do feel alot of emotion for what our friends are left to deal with, we are also grateful that we got out when we did. Talk about timing. And now that we are almost a full year into it, which is so hard to believe in itself, we are watching dreams come together, our lives improving, and utter happiness at our achievements. So I thought I would take advantage of my weeks thoughts.

I did get my pre-license certificate for Real Estate back in fall. However, I made a conscious decision that I was going to hold off on that indefinitely. I was starting to realize that I had too much on my plate as it was. Too many ventures I was trying to focus on. Plus, my real income was coming from growing my maintenance business and the time I was going to invest in snow plowing. I couldn't see letting that go to make virtually nothing while I was marketing myself in Real Estate and God knows that takes a while with little or no money to start. Maybe someday down the line, but not now. I also did invest in a new kiln, of which I absolutely love. Talk about perks of being modern! The old one was a dinosaur compared to this one. So I have been trying to pump out the pottery an get some inventory ready for this seasons many outdoor markets, bizarres, and festivals. That much I would like to continue to pursue. The maintenance business is growing better than I could have ever expected in less than a year. There is no shortage of work, and I am keeping incredibly busy. I just started a renovation for a couple that just bought a second home here. Ironically, they are from Galt of all places, and know Dorrington and a few of our acquaintances well, from them spending much time in that area over the years. We talked about Dorrington when I met them yesterday and it kind of made me a little homesick, but was so neat to be in Alaska talking about Dorrington with people who were so familiar with it. The downstairs flooded from a busted pipe and this week when they arrived was the first time they have been to the place other than the half hour they saw it before they made their offer a couple months ago. It is a mess and will keep me occupied for a few weeks. And, it is only 5 minutes from home. In fact, this is part of my magic lately. In the beginning I had to travel distance to take whatever I could get. My hope and focus then was that someday I would be doing more work here out North, and for good homeowners. My initial want in all of this was to have a handful of select companies that I could profit off of Realtor referrals, property management maintenance, and to obtain more solid clients from word of mouth. Coming full circle, this is happening more and more lately. I am feeling really good about it, and very satisfied that my hopes have become reality.

Maryann started her first day of training at the new job last week, with another day this week as well. She is still working at the Hotel until mid April. We are planning a few days back in Homer at the bakery, then a week or so off for her before she starts the new job officially on May 1st. They are all sad to see her go at the Hotel but after the first day of training at the lodge, she realized how unchallenged she had become with the Hotel, and how she really needed a breath of fresh air. The money at the new place will be so much better, with major advancement and opportunity. Plus, she is only working full time for 5 months out of the year, making as much in that 5 months as a full year at the Hotel. She will able to work form home the rest of the year with having to go out to the lodge only periodically through the fall and winter. Funny thing was, before we left, she said, "it would be so nice to be able to find somebody up there who needed someone to run their lodge." Well, guess what! The Hotel was a huge stepping stone for her, and did get us on the road to financial security as far as a "job" goes. But, it is time to move on to better and brighter pastures. Moo! She is also looking very forward to spending time soon in the greenhouse and making our deck more homey this year. Hardly time for any of that last year. The prospect of more daylight keeps my wife charged! She will more than likely drive me nuts this summer, as she more than any of us, had the biggest problem of knowing when enough was enough to put herself to bed for some shut eye! Fuzzy blinders, man!!

John is stoked. He officially got hired as a deckhand on a commercial fishing boat this summer. He will be taking a 6% share of the boats catch and is very excited. I am pretty sure he will also be going back to the processor later in the summer as the boat ends it's season. They do want him back, and although the hours were long, he did love the work and the money of the processor. He also has made a somewhat difficult decision. He will be selling his truck here soon, and trying to find something a little newer and dependable. He loves his truck. But, the thing has been costing him some serious coin since day one to maintain and repair. It is a good truck as far as that goes. But it is also somewhat of a toy, and the previous owners spent more time making it look good than keeping up with maintaining it. John is really wanting something he can sink his money into for making his own upgrades as opposed to spending so much just keeping it on the road so to speak. But it has been good, and an experience for him as a 'first' ride. He is still pumping it out at the Italian joint here in town, and in fact out of several co-workers he is the only one who is still there as the others have seemed to move on. The management is very happy with him and has let him know that on more than one occasion. We are very proud of him.

So as I said, I have sat back lately and realized how very blessed we are and how good this move has been for all of us. I expect things will only get better as time goes. Sure, we do hit the rough spots, but the forward momentum is exhilarating. Still a couple feet of snow around, and the temps have been fluctuating around the mid 30's to low 40's by day and slightly below freezing at night. But the trees are opening, the birds are chirping, the ice on the lake is starting to show signs of melt, and the bears are coming out of hibernation. The moose.....well, ya got to love the moose! So Spring is at hand, and we are all looking forward to a busy but fun summer. I think it is safe to say that we have made it! Right on. Our love to all.