Monday, April 26, 2010

House Considerations

Did I mention that Husband is still in Juneau? We do have a house there as well. The kicker is that he has to do exactly what I'm doing here. Figure out what goes to St. Vinnie's, what goes to Barrow, what goes to storage, what goes to Anchorage to store in the Element, and what just goes. OMG, the piles of different things is starting to become overwhelming.

Not to mention waking up in a cold sweat last week, with the "what are we doing?" thoughts racing through my head. The thing is, we're not going into this with rose colored glasses. Since we've both lived in pretty rustic/rural Alaska places before, we know for instance that our future abode in Barrow is likely to list to one side. I lived in a house like that in Glennallen. The bad news was the front door only opened wide enough to get me and the width of a grocery bag through it (fortunate opening). The good news was all of the dust and what-not accumulated in the downslope corner, so that saved time sweeping.

Okay, I'm off to pack one of the Barrow Bound boxes.

Car Talk

Ahem...I have a Prius sans recall notices. Not quite the cold weather car, if you know what I mean. Now, it isn't recommended to store said vehicle. I've only had it for two years. I love that car. Great gas mileage, lots of room for two Border Collies and "stuff".  Sad face...Think about it...leaving a car that is part battery-operated in storage for 3 months let alone 3 years. Gotta sell that, too.

The good news is we also have a Honda Element. It lives in Juneau with Husband. I love that car, even if it does look like a Fred Flintstone mobile. It's huge inside AND you can just mop it carpets. And we don't have to sell it! We can't take it either, though. Imagine the costs of barging a vehicle to Barrow (since that's the only way to get it there.) I don't know what the costs are since it's not an option, so I just imagine the figure is well into the thousands. So we're leaving the Element at my sister-in-laws house. Thank goodness for kind (and Alaska resident) relatives. This is one thing we don't have to research to figure out.

What are the transportation options? Well, we have some ideas, but I'm going to wait until we get there to explore them.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


So, there's lots to do. DOH! I bought a house last year. You may think in retrospect that was a bad idea, but I didn't have a clue last year I'd be packing to move a gadzillion miles away! As you must be aware, the housing market isn't exactly booming for sellers, so the initial assessment from the realtor is that I certainly can sell my house if I'm willing to write a check for $10, 000. I'm not. So it looks as though I'll be entering landlord land, again.

I did that for several years, once as an out of state landlord and once as an in town landlord in Juneau. The out of state experience wasn't too bad. I had one of my tenants act as the overseer with a reduction in rent. That was because the property management group that I hired wound up asking me to pay them every month more than the rents I was supposedly collecting. For three months I was owing $700 or more in addition to the mortgage I was paying. Couldn't really figure out how that was legal, but I fired them pretty quickly. Scam artists! So I'm faced with that scenario again. Lesson: read the contract VERY carefully. It'll work out, because it has to.

Meanwhile, how to make this move work. You can't take your furniture with you. Have you looked at that map I mentioned? Barrow's nickname is, "The Top of the World", or as one of my friends put it, "The End of the Earth". (It's just a matter of perspective). The company does find a furnished abode for you, so it's not like we'll be dumped at the airport with no resources.

Today, my friend from work is coming over with her college son. He's moving to an unfurnished house next year with his buddies. Perfect! They can use the couch, the futon, the recliner, and all of the kitchen stuff. I can't part with my grandmother and my mother's furniture just yet, so it's storage bound. The big burly (<-not so burly) college boys are going to help move the big stuff around so I can get some space to sort out what goes, what goes into storage, what goes up to Anchorage.

Oh, I forgot to mention...we're leaving some stuff in Anchorage (well nearby, anyway) with Husband's sister and brother in law. They graciously offered to let us store our fabulous Honda Element with them. We've decided we should leave some toys and unusable in Barrow clothes (read that summer wear) at their house. We'll take golf clubs, downhill skis, roller blades, etc. You see how this takes some planning.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Barrow Bound

I've tried to leave Alaska 3 times. This time I know it's time to give up that idea, relax, and go with the plan that seems to be my own destiny.

I've lived on (mostly on) and off in Alaska for the past 19 years. I moved once to Portland for a year. It was okay, I didn't love it. I moved back. Then I moved to Arizona for 18 months. That I everywhere, warm sunny weather. The sun was out nearly every day and I was in hog heaven. A really good job in Alaska was put in my path and I moved back to Alaska. It was the right thing to do. Plus, I missed Husband. We had done the two state shuffle for way too long.

Most of my Alaska time has been in Juneau, where it rains cats and dogs. I always wondered what that meant until I lived in Juneau for awhile. It means it starts to rain, then it starts to pour. Most of the time it doesn't let up, not even for a minute. And it does this for days on end. I remember, with soggy memories, a stint of 40+ days without respite. We had our Ark halfway built at that point.  I'm currently living just north of Seattle. I moved here to get out of the rain. That makes folks here laugh, but I'm serious for obvious reasons. It's beautiful. Yes, it rains, but then the sun comes out. Or it rains for one or two days, then the sun comes out. Makes for great gardens and lovely trees. But we're still doing the two state shuttle. Not to mention the sorry state of the budget here.

That brings me to the title of my blog. My job was drastically reduced; I was notified just 3 weeks ago, right before one of my trips to Juneau to visit with my man. Actually, I spent the week tiling the master bathroom in our house up there. It took all week because it's not just a matter of laying down the tile. You've got to deal with all of those gotcha moments too, like when you discover there's rot in the subfloor, or a corner of the wall needs to be rebuilt because it's melted. Gotta love an older house. But I digress...

So, Husband lets me know there's a job posted for Barrow with the same description as the one I'm doing here in Washington. Really, you'd go there? I'm thinking he's joking, but he wasn't. Periodically, we've talked about going really rural as a last hurrah, you know? So I applied. Why not? You can't get a job if you don't apply for it.

Seven days later I had an interview on the phone. If you've looked up Barrow on a map, you can be pretty certain they don't expect job applicants to fly up for a face to face. The next night (yes the next night!) they offered me the job. I said Yes without hesitation. And so begins the journey...