After spending 54 years from birth to 2008 living in Iowa I was presented with an opportunity to live in Fairbanks, Alaska. My blog is a diary of the adventure to get to Alaska, day to day life in Alaska, as well as facts for loved ones left behind in the Lower 48. Enjoy.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Movin about Alaska

Been making progress on getting caught up at work - woo hoo! We currently have about 40 employees and have another 20 starting September 2nd. I have all the paperwork for the current employees processed and am gearing up for the next group.

We had an exciting week (well for us at BGH of Alaska anyway) at work. We admitted one boy and four girls! The entry of each client was greeted with a sense of accomplishment by bringing the Alaska children back home so they can begin their home turf treatment process.

Nate is enjoying working the overnight shift (11:30 pm - 7:30 am). He sleeps when he gets home in the morning til about noon, then is awake for the afternoon and sleeps again from 5-10 or so. This has been working out okay since I've stayed at work to get caught up until 8 or 9 every night. Friday evening they shut down the computer system as they were doing some upgrading on the system (in Iowa) so I actually went home about 5:30. With our small apartment (bed 6' from the kitchen table/stove/sink I found it difficult to find enough quiet things to do so I wouldn't wake him up.

I was domestic this week, chopping up vegetables and making vegetable stew Thursday night and homemade potato n ham soup Friday night. I'm finding that I feel more relaxed in Alaska and not pressured to always be doing "something" for someone else. Before we moved here I vowed I was going to take more time and better care of Marcia and our marriage, and it feels good to be living that type of life.

This morning Camilla came over with the news that Brian has been accepted as a foster parent for children with behavior disorders who have been removed from their parents' home. (hmm was that kind of redundant/overdone - foster parent - removed from parents' home?) This means that they will be moving into a foster home that's provided for them, having no rent payment, no food costs, no utility costs, and a vehicle furnished. Oh yeah, and they will receive a salary for it too! Camilla can still keep her job as a nurse at BGH, but Brian can't have any other employment.

They will get every other weekend off from their foster parenting duties so are considering renting a dry cabin to have a place to go to relax on those weekends. A dry cabin is a cabin that doesn't have indoor bathroom facilities. Some cabins have huge containers buried underground that people can fill with water to use for their kitchens, etc.

When I told Nate about Brian's new job he commented that perhaps we can move into the place where Camilla and Brian are currently living. I hadn't thought of that, and Camilla and Brian agreed to inform their landlord about it AND plan on leaving some of their furniture there. How cool is that? If they get a cabin, it probably won't be any larger than our current apartment, so they won't be able to fit all their things into it.

We took another walk through their place today and I must admit I'm getting excited about it. The perks about that place vs. our current place is: free laundry in the basement, bathroom about 5x larger than ours, bathroom has a tub, 5 large windows on three sides of the house vs. 2 windows on one side of the house, screens on the windows (ours don't have any but we haven't really noticed any bugs or mosquitoes), a yard with grass and private area behind the house where we could put a grill or a couple of lawn chairs, and children riding bikes, walking, playing in the neighborhood. Our neighborhood seems as if everyone holes up in their residences and we don't have any green space on our property. To continue on with their place vs. ours - their kitchen has much more than 2' of counter space, a microwave shelf over the stove, full-size stove and refrigerator vs. apartment size in ours, a dining and living area, and separate bedroom. It is large enough that I could be doing something in the kitchen/dining area and Nate sleeping in the bedroom and not have to be fearful I'd be making too much noise and wake him.

Will have to keep our fingers crossed and say a few extra prayers that their landlord agrees to us moving in. Their rent is only $150 more than ours, but well worth it, in my opinion. I'm finding that I'm inspired to do some decorating at "their" place too, having lots of ideas of ways to make it feel more like home.

Our pastor in Sioux City phoned me today and we had a nice chat. She updated me on a few happenings at the church. It was so good to hear her voice and be connected back to the wonderful congregation we still hold fondly in our thoughts and hearts.

After Camilla and I chatted we went to return the toaster I'd purchased here which developed a severe sparking problem the third time we used it. We then did some shopping and I bought a Christmas gift, then we went to the bank and by that time it was noon. Nate and Brian worked the overnight shift last night and both were awake so we went out to lunch. We went to an Italian restaurant, Gambardelli's, and sat on their upstairs open air deck, across the street from the river and about a block from the downtown hub of tourist activity. Tour bus after tour bus came by. It felt so good to have a day with NO clouds, 65 degree weather, slight breeze, and to know that we have as long as we desire to stay in Alaska, no bus to board for us!

After lunch we hit the thrift stores. I got a nice sized bulletin board and two desk accessories that hold scotch tape, stickies, pens, pencils, etc. The bulletin board will come in handy at home, and the desk accessories will be helpful at work. It seems as soon as i get what I think is enough office supplies in the supply room they disappear. Everyone is busy setting up their offices or the units so it takes a lot of supplies.

This evening Nate and I went to the community theater and saw a one person play Moose Nuggets. The gentleman that performed is probably mid 50's and a transplant 20 years ago from Washington, D.C. He gave a lot of Alaska pertinent information and history as well as some poetry, stories, guitar, harmonica and banjo music. There were only about 20 people there, so it was an intimate crowd. They had a sign-up card for volunteers and I filled one out. This will give me an opportunity to try something different and is about 8 or so blocks from Camilla and Brian's house (hopefully our house). There is a nice, wide paved walking path that goes from within a block of their place quite a ways along the Chena River.

There are beautiful flowers planted everywhere in Fairbanks. While some people's homes may be run down they have some flowers growing in their yards or from hanging baskets. That's another thing if we get C & B's house - there is plenty of room in the yard for planting tomatoes and flowers. There aren't many trees nearby, either, so it will get lots of sun. I'll try to take some pictures of flowers and post them before they freeze. Alaskans appreciate summer weather and all the possibilities that are impossible during the winter months.

On the weather report on the local news the other night the weatherman stated 'now that fall has arrived' What? Well, considering we are to expect snowfall in October, I guess fall probably has arrived here. The locals are really feeling cheated out of their few 80-90 degree days they normally experience each year, Nate and I are loving the weather. It's interesting how in Iowa when we had a day that started at 45 degrees and a high of 60 or 65 Nate would be wearing long pants, long sleeve shirt or sweatshirt AND a jacket. Here the air is dry, and so the cool air doesn't feel cold. He's been going around wearing shorts and lighter weight shirts here. I'm hoping the same will hold for the winter.

Check back for updates to see if we get to move into Brian and Camilla's place.

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