Friday, May 28, 2010

Brad's Change of Command

With the backdrop of a cloudless sky in Resurrection Bay, Brad's change of command was a stellar success and venue. During one of the three speeches, some sea lions popped up in the waters below, distracting nearly half the crowd to watch them rather than listen. Although the change of command is focused on the departing CO's tenure, in my mind, the day was all about Brad. Immediately after the ceremony ended, he and I could not steal away for food, water, bathroom breaks, or anything. Community members and leaders, friends from afar, and fellow Coasties drew us into conversations about our time in Seward, local resources, and promises about upcoming events.

With smiles, many handshakes, and lots of smiles, we felt loved and welcomed into the community immdiately. I am beyond proud of him and know he will make an outstanding CO aboard CGC Mustang and that Seward will be a wonderful home for us for the next two years.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Guy Fieri fans that we are, Brad and I love trying out small holes in the wall and "joints" that could make a play for a feature on "Triple D."

Our first selection in Seward is Red's, a white school bus with red racing stripes that has been sunk into the ground. Decorated with a coke machine, potted plants, and picnic tables in the parking lot, the menu features yummy burgers with season-salted fries. The "coming soon" menu boasts salmon burgers and baskets-- once they start running...

As I feasted on the burger and listened to Brad recap his day aboard "the stang" I noticed that just beyond their open sign sat a fantastic view of the Bay.


Brad and I have been in awe of the amount of sun we soak in here in Seward. Yes, Alaskans are, literally, basking in the glow of longer, spring/summer days; but in Kodiak, we did not always see the sun. Sometimes, for weeks at a time.

For the fifth day in a row, Brad and I woke up to sun streaming in our back windows. Almost the entire back part of the house is windows- some that do not even have curtains yet. I captured the beginnings of our home in the below picture.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mail Call!

For those lovely readers who are on the new address card distribution list, please make sure that you wrote down 14720 as our house number- not 16720. Thanks!


"Resurrection Rentals. May I help you?"
"Yes, I'd like to reserve a table saw with a guide, please."

The carpet and new pad we installed is too high for all the doors. The bright side is that Brad gets to play with heavy machinery after his first of a three day relief with the current CO...

Money Pit. v. Funny Farm

Ever have one of those life episodes that is so akin to a movie you swear there is camera hidden somewhere? As I make those house an actual home, I have had two runs ins that could be deleted scenes from these two movies:

Money Pit. The lovely tale about a fixer-upper- around every corner, another project. It started with the washer and dryer purchase, followed by the pressure washer rental to clean off the muck, to the flooring installer who had to McGuyver an uneven section in the living room, to the baseboard. Ah yes. The baseboard that the painter INSISTED we would need because the new flooring would lower than the previous carpet. So, off to Lowe's I went. You know you are spending a lot of money in the store when as you walk by each department, the agent there waves and says, "Hi! Mrs. A!" $250 later, we own 120 lineal feet of baseboard, at a whopping $2 per foot! Two days after it is delivered, the painter returns, and declares there is no need for it; the old baseboard fits!

Funny Farm. The mailman in that movie cracks me up. Raucously drunk the majority of the movie, his final, sober mail delivery to Chevy Chase was classic. Upon purchasing our new digs, I called the local Postmaster about the availability of a mailbox in our division. We live in one of those places where off of the main highway there is a stretch of boxes for all of us hidden here in the woods. The poster master had our mail delivery person call me from her personal cell phone (gotta love small town America). She informed me two boxes are available. I pick which one I like, afix our numbers to it, and collect mail for the next few days.

A couple of days later, while walking Tok in the rain, I stopped by our box to pick up that day's mail. In our box was a nasty note telling me to get my own box. This one, apparantly, was taken. I grabbed my stuff, careful to not disturb the note, and made a turn to return to our walk. Due to my hood blocking off nature's watering can, I did not notice the man who had walked up on me. Cursing myself for not being vigilant, our exchange started off haltingly. He started with no introductions. He immediately questioned my use of their box. I explained that it was a simple misunderstanding; the post master gave me permission; but he must have been mistaken. At which point he begins to go on and on about his wife being upset, calling the postmaster, considering calling the state troopers, and the message his wife left on my phone. At which point I remind him that I am new here and am not yet listed. "Well, she left a humdinger of a message for someone." Internally I laugh and feel sorry for the guy who has to sleep next to this woman. He opens his mouth to drone on again, and interrupt, "Hi. My name is Christina. I am new in town." He pauses, looks down at my extended hand, and hesitates. In the end he shakes it. He starts in again about how his wife was so upset and how he looked out his window, saw me, did not remember seeing me before, and decided to follow me to see if I were the one who "stole" their $60 mailbox. At which point, as I reached into my pocket to grab my cell to call the police and report a stalking charge, his son walks up behind him. Opting to not verbally bash the man and his "humdinger" of a wife, I beg my leave and again, tell him that it was a misunderstanding and that I will followup with the postal service about it.

After formal confirmation from the post master, our new box is the one right next to their's. Oh joy.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Grocery Transport

Seward does not have a commissary, so Brad and I plan to go up to Anchorage every month or so to stock up on groceries. With nearly 30 mpg, we'll pimp the Subaru up the Seward Highway and back. Last week, while picking up supplies in the metropolis, I bought a cooler that fits *just* right in the back of the hatchback and *may* actually be able to contain all the meat and dairy we'd stock up on for the haul-- and still be able to fit the rest of Brad's groceries along side it. Whereas it is not "life in the bush," Seward's being on the road system does have it's advantages, as long as you are well-equipped.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Tell "Tail" Signs

Yesterday's sunshine and rain showers melted away some of the snow in the backyard and the front. In the late afternoon, I tackled some of the much needed raking and pruning. While out there, I had to step over piles of moose and deer droppings and saw several rabbit hiding in bushes- being very still so as to not be spotted by Tok, who was at my side the whole time.

Today, as I sipped my morning coffee, chatting with Paula on the phone, with Tok napping at my feet, and I see a HUGE rabbit bounce across our backyard. Combined with the amount of deer and moose droppings on our property, our back porch may be your best vantage point for hunting this season.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

It's tough to be Tok

Dogs are insightful. They know what's going on. And when you spend as much time with your's as I do (since I work from home) you learn to speak their language.

Last week, once all our goods were loaded, we let in Tok from the backyard. As Brad and I sat in the living room, on the floor, watching a 19 inch tv, we heard his nails click and echo on the laminate floor. He came around and sat in front of us, and I swear, if he could talk, he would have said, "Dude. We got robbed. Where's my comfy sleeping pad that's usually here in the living room?"

In an effort to keep some normalcy, I placate him just a little; but, he gets anxious when I move him from his routine of sleeping in the office from 0900-1200, lunch at 1200, basking in the yard and sniffing from 1300-1500, walking with daddy at 1530, followed by dinner and more napping until bedtime.

And being placed in the back of a subaru and going to sea for 9 hours, followed by a five hour car ride, a night in a dog friendly motel, only to be moved to a new house with no floors or furniture has him on edge. With all the vendors strolling in and out, I have to be able to move quickly and respond. If I go out of sight for a second, he comes looking for me; and worse yet, if I place him in his kennel (for safety) or go outside without him, the husky whining starts. One of the vendors looked up and asked, "Is that your dog?" "I replied, "Yes, that is the spoiled furball who is convinced that after two years together, I will abandon him to sign your paperwork."

Alas, he is getting used to it a bit. I hope that a day at doggie day care in Anchorage will be good relief for him tomorrow. But, that does mean over 3 hours roundtrip car ride. I'll do it in the morning-- during his usual naptime. :)

Bug Attack

A couple of nights ago, I drove from Kenai to Seward. Around the Cooper Landing area, the sun was setting, and I heard what I thought was rain on the windshield. I thought it was the first droplets of showers. Instead, upon closer inspection, I realized that the droplets were actually former mosquitos who entered battle with my windshield-- and lost. The shield was covered. I was amazed at the size and density of the swarm. And to think that three feet of snow was on either side of the road, slowly melting from the afternoon sun's warm rays...

It's springtime in Alaska.

PCS Stage III: New Digs

The new digs are empty, save a suitcase of clothes, this laptop, Tok, and my sleeping bag. Since grabbing the keys on Monday morning, this home has been full-tilt transition.

Upon arrival, I was not ready for what I walked into. Apparantly, since selling the home, the husband (former owner) was diagnosed with cancer. He is in his second round of chemo. Alas, the house reflected the fact that he and his wife spent more time in Anchorage with treatments that in moving out of the home. I find it hard to be "mad" at the house's condition, knowing the circumstances, and I was expecting to clean and tidy up a bit; but wow.

They hired movers to pack up their things, and those movers took the washer and dryer that were part of the purchase agreement. Long story short, the realtor and I agreed that I would purchase a set and give him the bill to settle up. Then I glanced at the yard. No snow in the front yard, but it was covered in little piles of dog poo. New spider webs hung from every surface of the porch, and the doors were covered in dirty hand marks left by movers. The back yard has three feet of snow and little piles of poo frozen within. The back porch was littered with construction debris from a renovation they made to the overhang (part of the purchase agreement).

Each window has a layer of mold around the trim. All the sills have a layer of dirt. The kitchen counters, shelving, and drawers had to be vacuumed and wiped down. Same goes with those located in the bathrooms.

And then I learned the most important lesson of all: I will never, ever, again purchase a home that has white doors and trim. In the past two days, I have used 6 of those Mr. Clean bathroom size erasers to remove grime from bathrooms, doors, window sills, floors, and baseboards. And I am still not done...

On the first day, two lads came to rip out the existing flooring. Next up came the painter for our consultation and to determine how much paint I needed to purchase. Then I headed to Kenai to visit Lowe's and purchase some paint, extra supplies, a washer and dryer.

On the second day, I was a cleaning machine while the painter splashed up the first coats of paint, the Lowe's guys delivered and installed some of the appliances. The cable guy did his installation; and at one point, I was outnumbered four to one as men (vendors) helped me make upgrades to the new digs.

On day three, the paint is applying his second coats; another installer is here to convert the range to propane gas and install it, the dishwasher, and the microwave. I took a shovel to the snow in the backyard, extracting the leftover poo. Along with some snow (byproduct, I guess is what I would call it), the poo from both yard filled a 13 gallon trash bag. I'll rip apart the grownover flower beds in the front yard and determine my garden planting layout. Off to my gardening tools!