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.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sunshine - finally!

Enjoying the dog days of summer - literally!

For the most part, our weather has turned favorable - we had sun Thursday, Friday, AND Saturday! There were rainstorms with thunder Thursday and Friday evening about 7 p.m., but the days were sunny. I find myself wanting to go outdoors and just stand out there, soaking up the sun. Evening temps continue to slip down to the mid 40's and daytime highs have been 65-72...just perfect in my opinion.

Friday evening I worked late and noticed a vehicle in the parking lot across from the office...I did a double take and there was a plane on a trailer. Don't know about you, but it was a first for me. I assumed it might be a first for you, too, so I grabbed the camera and snapped a photo for you to see. (I've decided to carry the digital camera with me all the time, because one never knows what we'll see that is photoworthy.)

After work Nate and I went exploring, looking for the local car raceway. Just as we approached it a downpour and thunder came rolling down on us. In the roadway ahead of us I spied a mother moose and her baby. I took a photo of the baby who had crossed the road into the trees with its mama, but stepped back out to take another look at what was coming down the road at them. Hence, the picture of the moose that isn't very clear.

This morning I woke early and went to work until about noon. I absolutely have to get caught up with the computer entries of our initial 40 employees as a co-worker from Sioux City was in Alaska this week and hired probably another 20 more employees. Those employees will need to also be entered into the computer system, files opened, etc. From what I'm hearing once we are fully staffed we'll have 120 employees.

I'm very happy to report that all employees who began their employment with us are still working and training. This group of staff is so blessed to have had four weeks to bond, learn our programs and each other and begin to work as a well-oiled team prior to our receiving clients. We expect our first client some time this coming week. We have referrals, however since most are currently in other placements in the lower 48 we don't really know yet how quickly they will be able to be transported back home to Alaska to begin their stay with us. Staff have been putting together furniture, making beds, practicing doing intakes with each other, learning which forms to use when, reading through policy & procedure manuals, learning how to clock in on the new timeclock system, and are antsy to put their training into practice. In a way it's like waiting for a baby to arrive.

Part of the reason I'm behind in getting my duties done is because others have multiple needs from me throughout the day. I feel like a dartboard for questions! smile~ They have questions as to how to log into the computer, how to do what they did yesterday so they can return to that place today, how to operate the copy machine, where this is, if I can go purchase this or that office supply, how to use the phone system, etc. The time at work absolutely flies by! Camilla commented Friday how I started the day with my desk clean and had multiple large piles of paperwork covering my desktop by 5 p.m. Gee, thanks for noticing!

Camilla called me today while Nate and I were having lunch at Quiznos, then she and Brian joined us. While we were eating my son, Sam, called, and we had a nice visit. He said he enjoyed his trip to Oklahoma last weekend with my parents. He commented that he's gearing up for his adult hockey leage which will start in October and how he's missing his two "key" players....that would be Camilla and me who kept score for the league every Sunday evening the past couple of years. At moments like that I wonder if I made the right decision to move to Alaska.

My dad e-mailed me a few (like 23) pictures of their new great granddaughter. Do ya think he's proud? She is certainly a beautiful baby. Once again, seeing all the pictures of the family who are so far away make me pause to think how very far away we are from them.

I spoke to Brittany on the phone the other night and she SO misses us. When she would get frustrated with her parents (or vice versa) we were always there for everyone to take a breather, and now she doesn't have that available. I sent her a small package with a few Alaska items, a letter, and a Hannah Montana billfold. Hopefully that will give her some comfort that we still love and think of her, and not make her miss us all that much more.

For those of you who are wondering, we still have the same e-mail address. Several of you have e-mailed your appreciation for the time I put into the pictures and keeping you informed of what's happening in Alaska. One never really knows what will be of interest to others, so I try to do a little bit of everything.

Nate and I have become more accustomed to our small apartment. It will be nice to know where we've stuffed things. The other night I wanted to bake a cake mix that had been leaked on by some mysterious sticky substance during the move. For the life of me I couldn't find my measuring cups to measure the water and oil. I improvised, using an 8 oz. glass and guesstimated. The finished product was absolutely awesome...I got lucky there! Yesterday I was looking through a tower of plastic drawers we have in the bedroom (because it fit there) and guess what - I found the measuring cups in with the drawer of kitchen spices. I haven't lost it, folks, just making do with what we have to work with!

We have talked about moving to a larger place, but figure we're money ahead to stay here. We're paying $600 a month for rent, including all utilities. It's nice to not have to worry about using too much water, staying warm in the winter without going broke, etc. In discussing rent with co-workers, one co-worker says that they pay a certain amount and also pay for electricity. The downside is that everything in their apartment is electric - heat, water heater, etc. Another co-worker informs me that sometimes heatinging an apartment in the winter can run as much as $1000 a month. Ouch! If we were to move into the apartment we were looking into leasing prior to moving up here we would be paying $1400 a month. Doing the math, by staying where we're at we are "saving" $800 a month which just so happens to be about the cost of one round-trip airplane ticket back to Iowa. Sounds motivating to me!

We planned on going to a community theater production tonight, however once we got there they informed us that they were having problems with their lighting, so the show was canceled. We discussed plan "b" which was to go to the car races, however the clouds looked very threatening, so we came home and watched the Olympics. It did rain a bit, but nothing like the past couple of nights.

Another accomplishment this week was to get an appointment with a physician. Many doctor's offices practices in Fairbanks are not accepting new patients. I was informed by one of the larger clinics that they were accepting new patients only if they were referred by a physician or were a relative of a current patient. I ended up calling Sioux City and my doctor's office called Fairbanks with a referral. About six weeks ago my physician put me on a medication and informed me that I need a blood test done before September 1st to see if the medication is doing as it is supposed to. Also about six weeks ago I developed a scratchy throat and cough which occurs at the most inopportune time and especially acts up at the point that I will sleep for 30-60 minutes, then wake up hacking and gaggin....all night long! This has been going on for six weeks! Camilla checked out the side effects of this new medication and guess what - scratchy throat and cough are side effects. I SO would love to stop taking the med so I can get some sleep, but have come this far that I really should keep taking it until I get in on August 29th and get the bloodwork done. I find that I fall asleep much faster in Alaska than I did in Iowa - now if I could just stay asleep!

The photos of the birds were taken today at Creamer's Field. Nate and I stopped by this location 3-4 evenings ago and there were about a dozen birds total there. Notice to those of you in the lower 48 - the birds have begun to migrate and are heading your way!

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