Thursday, March 25, 2010

PCS Stage I: Laying out the game plan

Brad came home last week, and a couple days after disembarking CGC Munro (his last patrol aboard), I loaded him and the Subaru onto the ferry to make our way to the Kenai Peninsula. We drove from Homer to Seward to check out the new digs, meet some contractors, and then headed north to Anchorage.

We visited H&R block to do our taxes, salivated in the aisles of Home Depot, Lowes, and Bed Bath & Beyond, and departed to the city of Kenai. The Home Depot and Lowes in Kenai deliver to Seward; the Anchorage stores do not.

Alas, after a nice little bidding war and some negotiations from your's truly, we spent our tax refund on new appliances, carpeting and flooring, and delivery and installation. Whereas we love Kodiak, it was nice to be in a market that has competition and thus better prices. Begrudgingly, we have dealt with Spenard's here in Kodiak, and I will not miss their outrageous price stickers.

Upon returning home, we hosted our moving company reps for a walk through. They walked through the door, and I handed them my nine page manifest of every item in the house, complete with special instructions, dimensions, serial numbers, and approximate value. At that, Brad shook their hands, turned on his heel and departed with the puppy for their afternoon walk. To him, I had it all taken care of.

Boy, do I have him fooled. Stage II: Coming in April.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

CGC Polar Sea

A few days ago, this amazing vessel pulled into Kodiak to collect gear, supplies, and scientists. She is too large to moor in Womens Bay at the USCG base; so instead, tugs push her into the harbor, and she calls Pier 2 home for a few days. The evolution of the two tugs pushing her into the harbor was so quick and efficient. I barely pulled over, grabbed the camera and positioned myself on the dock to take the picture below and then speed up the hill to Dead Man's Curve (real name, I swear) to take the above photo.

On a sunny afternoon, her crew hosted tours for a couple of hours , so I took advantage of being able to experience another platform. This ice breaker is huge. Her bridge takes up the span of the ship, and her elevators provide access to multiple floors of berthing, galleys, sick bays, the library, and the fitness rooms. I was in awe of the wider hallways, the larger morale areas (e.g., entertainment areas for guitar hero and movie theater), the the height of the ship. When ascending the ladders in Brad's 378 foot vessel, I take them with ease; but on Polar Sea, the my legs let me know how many stairs I just climbed-- which is amazing for me and how much hiking and walking I do.
Follow her as makes her way north to conduct research in the Arctic Sea:

Old Womens "Gorge"

Last week, on a sunny afternoon, Tok and I escaped to Old Womens Mountain. As we started up the trailhead, I noticed that the trail we frequented last summer was no longer a trail, per se. Apparantly, during the flooding last fall, the water washed away portions of the trail, created a gorge-like atmosphere. My four legged companion happily bounded up and down steep shale and scampered across the sheets of ice.

Here is what the trail looks like in the summer:

And this is what it looked like after the massive flooding [last fall] eroded the trail.

As we neared the summit, the snow grew deeper. It settled into the crevices, creating mogules for Tok to bounce up and down as he chased me up and down the trail. He was the happiest creature alive, rolling around in the snow, wedging the packed snow through his paws, splaying his paws wider for a better grip. We were the only ones on the trail and enjoyed beautiful views of Barometer and downtown.

Monday, March 8, 2010

An Evening Out

A friend invited me to the Lions Club Fundraiser: Dinner Theater. Set up in the new Kodiak Convention Center, we dined in the main ballroom and listened the high school's jazz band play the good old tunes, warming us up for the evening's show. After tapping our feet to big band and jazz music, we watch our troupe of players walk in, clad in classic 40s era wigs, fedoras, and trench coats. "The Man with Bogart's Face" is a play set up like a radio show. We watched the players read scripts into microphones on stage, while our eyes shifted to the small "noise makers" in the corner, who tapped shoes to signal someone walking, clapped together metal to mimic a shot, and a host of other treats that made us "feel" like we were listening to a show on the radio.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Seward Home

Today, Brad and I close on our home in Kodiak. We set up an occupany agreement to reside here until early May, when we aim to have at least Tok and me depart to Seward.

We decided on a home in Seward, made an offer, and are currently under contract. It's an adorable home on an acre of land about 10 minutes north of Seward proper. It is a three bed, two bath, two car garage set in a small nook of the Chugach State Park. It's been well-maintained by the cute little old couple who are selling and moving to Wasilla to be near grandkids and medical facilities.

In the next few weeks, we'll confirm move dates, arrange for movers, and determine what else needs to occur before we move in May. It's officially PCS season at the Anderson home!

Monday, March 1, 2010

May the Force Be With You

During my last weekend in Anchorage, I attended the Star Wars exhibit at the Alaska Museum. Set up among a couple of galleries, the collection features costumes, props, and interactive centers for children (of all ages) to learn about the technology used in the film. I found myself humming along to the theme music that played in some of the exhibit's galleries.

Several learning exhibits displayed how the movie forecasted some of the technology and science we use today. For example, Luke's robotic arm was on display next to a large collection of prosthetics and how they have developed since the late 70s when the movies came out.

And then there were features like the art collection and inspirations. To create some of the sets, the film crews visited remote villages to see how people lived in the sand, or underground, or in rain forests, to accurately depict those on film. For those props that were used during filming, I was amazed that they were already painted with exhaust marks, bullet holes, and rips and scraps from their transport (see below).
But, of course, the highlight were the wookies. Afterall, I am married to one.