Archive for May, 2011

Lets start at the beginning…after all, as the Mad Hatter once siad, that is a very good place to start.  So, Monday (Memorial day).  THE craziest day of work yet…I think.  It was exhuasting and long, plus we had more computer glitches and also can add selling plants and tours to our repetuir of jobs that somehow manage to fall under “cashier.”  I’m finding that the one girl I work with on Monday’s and Tuesday’s is increasingly harder to deal with and I guess I’m not the only one.  After talking with a few other employees (both of which are incredibly hard workers with a great sense of humor…I wish I worked with them more, but they have the night shifts), we all agreed that this one other girl likes to be in charge, is possesive of her cash drawer (really, it’s scary), and will find faults in everything you do.  Makes the day just fly by after that!  Anyways, by four pm, it was HOT in the grocery store and the fire in the mountains had started up again, making everything smokey.  Even so, it was way more fun with the better company of the night shift, AND I made 20 extra bucks today because I refered someone to a local mechanic.  The local mechanic is Dennis, who is hilarious, really nice, and appreciates hard work.  So, whenever we help him by sending a customer his way, he personally pays that person a $20 commision for their efforts.  I didn’t even think I was really doing that much, but it was really awesome to have that money in my pocket today 🙂 

Also, because it’s me, I have to share my smart-ass moment of the day with y’all: this joker of a guy was hanging around in the store and he came up to the counter and asked “what’s the difference between regular water and ‘smart’ water?”  I stared him straight in the face and said, “Smart water has a higher IQ.”  I think the guy almost blew something laughing that hard.  I think he will now be calling me “smart ass” whenever he sees me.  Sarah, you should be pleased 🙂

No one else really got that when I explained it, but it made me happy that I actually had enough brain left during the day to make such a witty and dare I say, hilarious quip. 

Next, I went outside around 5 to fill three propane tanks (getting better at these, thank goodness), when my boss comes out and says, “give me the gloves and get movin’, you’ve got a plane to catch.”  I told him I still had half an hour and that the bathrooms wouldn’t take me that long.  “no, you literally have a plane to catch….Jim is fitting you on the next glacier landing flight, so get your butt moving.”…….AAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

Needless to say, those bathrooms just about cleaned themselves and I was jumping for joy by the time my shuttle to the Healy Airport arrived.  Jim is a regular customer and incredibly nice.  Check out the pictures on FaceBook – I know there are alot, but really, I wasn’t going to put that camera down for a minute.  Jim is the first picture.  I met the other people on my plane ride, who were all really good humored and a great bunch!  Jim got me signed in, I weighed myself on their incredibly off (but in a good way) scale, and put on these booties for the glacier landing that are awesome!  I definitely need to buy a pair of these for Vermont.  I didn’t think I would be doing this today, so i didn’t bring any layers with me, so Jim let me borrow his vest (such amazingly nice people, it still freaks me out!!).  We all got acquainted and took pictures next to our plane while we waited for all the smoke to blow over.  It took about ten minutes extra because the fire was raging, but eventually it was okay to board.  I got to sit in the co-pilot’s seat because I was the lightest (see, it eventually pays off to be “skinny minny”).  Our pilot, Matt, was really cool too.  We all had headsets and he gave us tons of information about the park, rivers, mountains, etc, all until he realized that I was the only one who could here him because he was on the wrong channel.  Still, even when people could hear him, it was a pretty quite crowd.  I felt bad for the guy and I asked as many questions as I could, but it was also nice to just look out the window and take lots and lots of pictures!  It was gorgeous, invigorating, and definitely the trip of a life time!  We landed on Ruth Glacier, which is pretty much the base of Mount McKinley!  The landing was a bit rough, but soooooooo amazingly cool!  We got to walk around and take pictures for about 20 minutes.  We had a small snowball fight and I wound up getting on the ground in my t-shirt and awesome moon boots and doing a snow angel at the base of McKinley.  One of the girls got it all on video and should be sending it to me in an email, so as soon as I get it, I will post it!  

We eventually all piled back into the plane, only to have a false start and at the same time Stina realizes her door didn’t close properly and started swinging open mid take off……awesome.  Typical danger prone me 🙂  Anyways, the pilot helped close my door and then we were off, back to the airport.  Apperantly, we passed over a flock of Doll Sheep, but no one but the pilot saw them.  Maybe he made it up.  Anyways, pretty much the best Monday/Memorial Day EVER.

The adventure is starting to pick up some speed, but even if it doesn’t, I can now say:

I, Stina Miller, have made a snow angle on a glacier at the base of Mount McKinley in Denali National Park, Alaska.  Pretty sweet, huh?  I thought so too.


I actually slept until about 11:30 today, which I was NOT planning on doing.  I guess it was good, but my sinuses are going nuts because, yes, it did finally rain here.  It’s kind of gloomy out, cloudy, and definitely has that rainy-day-chill going on, but it also feels wonderful.  I’m still wearing shorts and a t-shirt though, so it didn’t cool off that much. I’m glad it’s on my day off so I don’t actually have to go anywhere.  Of course,its now supposed to rain for the next ten days….ugh.  I’m not really looking forward to it…we need it and I’m sure it will help with all the damn dust, but I liked the sun!

Now, I am attempting a great feet of operating the coin-dispensed, one-and-only washer and dryer in my complex.  It takes only quarters, which of course I only had like 1 dollar worth and it takes 3.50 to do a full load.  The change machine of course is broken, so you have to go ask Cathi to make change for you and she keeps it all in her room… more reason I now have to interact with the lady.  I think I have managed to figure out the washer, so while that’s running, I am watching Bones on Hulu and hoping no one yells at me.  I just don’t want to leave my laundry unattended.  We’ll see how the dryer goes.  After this, I have no idea what I am going to do for the rest of the day.  Yesterday really wiped me out and although its kind of stopped raining, I’m not sure I really want to go anywhere today. 

I guess for now, this is where I’ll be, and I’ve certainly got plenty of books worth reading to keep me busy.  I’ll write more tonight if anything interesting happens…..which, you know, is code with Stina for “when other things go wrong.”

So, this morning started at about 7:30 when someone knocked on the door and came in.  It was Cathi, letting Courteny know that she was two hours late for work.  Yup, that was an interesting wake up call….but definitely could have been worse.

Next, I took a nice long shower, got breakfast, and started my days journey of wandering with no real purpose (it’s so awesome to be able to DO that now!!).  Today, I had wanted to finish exploring Hill Top road and find Otto Lake though.  DEFINITELY a good decision 🙂  Eventually it led to  a gulf course (I know, right?  It was hilariously sad, really) and the launch site for Denali ATV Adventures and Denali Outdoor Center.  It was still a beautiful day, but I kept seeing these huge clouds that looked like rain.  Well, Stina finally followed those clouds with her eyes until she realized that they were actually all the smoke from one of the fires up the mountain that had really taken off.  It was a bit scary and riveting actually, especially since the biggest cloud seemed to be hanging over where I knew my camp was. 

Anyways, I FINALLY found a spot worth writing home about: Lion’s park in front of Lake Otto. B-E-A-U-tiful!!!  I put the pictures on FaceBook in the Alaska II Album, check them out.  The sun was out, the waves were gently crashing on the shore, a breeze blowing, with plenty of picnic tables facing the water and looking out on Mount Healy.  I took off my sneakers, tested the water (which was actually warmer than most of the Vermont waters at home…one guy even waded in up to his chest before coming out), and then settled down on the picnic table for about three hours.  I have never tanned so fast, I was a bit shocked, but still pleased 🙂  I met a woman and her son who I had seen in the Miner’s Market a few days before and they offered me a ride to wherever I needed to go.  I said thanks, but that I was good with the walk. 

I wound up making a list of all the tours I would like to do when my boyfriend arrives and I went into the Denali Outdoor center and talked to a woman about the rafting trips.  She was incredibly nice and helpful, just like everyone else I’ve met here.  I was a bit inspired by her kindness, so I walked back to camp and made a bunch more phone calls to other tour companies.  The biggest surprise was in calling the Fly Denali company, which offers a glacier landing and sight seeing tour.  I mentioned that my boyfriend was in the army and was about to ask if they did discounts when the guy told me he would fly us for free!  If we reserve ahead of time, we’d have to pay but it would be half price.  Either way, everyone I talked to today was making cuts left and right to accommodate us.  I can’t wait to start planning in more detail! 

After that, I took a quick shower, changed, and took the shuttle into the canyon for dinner with Kayci!  We ate at Prospector’s and had the Boreal Forest pizza, which consisted of reindeer sausage, feta cheese, their special sauce, and something else which I can’t remember.  It was awesome!  Thin crust, good flavor (the sausage was amazing), and crunchy.  We couldn’t pass up the dessert trays going around either, so Kayci got the cheesecake and I got the chocolate moose cake.  Both were delicious.  The place was packed, but fun to look at and we still had pretty good service.  It was neat that I actually knew some of the people because they come into Miner’s Market and they knew me which was totally cool.  I definitely need to make a trip to the canyon and look through all the shops – there are sooooo many and the variety of food and merchandise is really wide.  I caught the bus home and am definitely ready to tuck in.  I need to figure out the laundry situation tomorrow, along with a few other things, but I’m trying to leave it pretty open 🙂 I bought a combo lock for our door and almost wish I hadn’t.  The thing takes me like twenty minutes to get in because it’s cheap.  Oh well, I guess I feel safer that it’s on there.  On the other hand, if someone actually really wanted to break in, the door is made of really cheap plywood and wouldn’t take much, so really, am I actually preventing much? 

Peace of mind over practicality maybe.  *sigh* the brain has officially clocked off folks, I’ll write more tomorrow.  For now, enjoy the shotty pictures and fuzzy interpretations of life on the other side of the states.  Much love and dusty thanks for reading this!

FINALLY the week is over.  Today was actually pretty good…for the most part.  I didn’t have to go to work until 1:30, so I slept in a little later (7:15) and then headed off to sign up for a general delivery mailbox (just so you know, a prerequisite for postmaster must be “complete asshole”) and hiked for a bit.  I am so excited that my boyfriend will be visiting me for a weekend in June!!!!!!!  Definitely the highlight of my day.  After figuring out where he will be staying, I decided to see if I could find the place.  It was slightly more difficult then I thought, but still pretty easy.  After all, it may be Alaska, but it’s not hard to get lost in Healy.  I wound up talking to the woman who runs the place, who when I described who I was checking the place out for, she cried “oh, you’re the girlfriend, I heard about you!”…….most interesting and fun people 🙂 

Anyways, by that point it was abot 90 degrees out and I was going to be late for work, so I rushed back to my humble abode, ate, and rushed to work, just in time to fill two propane tanks.  It was incredibly busy, probably because its Friday, but also because it’s memorial day weekend.  I talked to my boss about getting time off or worked out for the weekend that my boyfriend is here and I don’t think I’ll have any problems.  I also asked him if he knew anyone that had a bike I could borrow and he said I could use his, I just have to see if I can replace the front tire that’s blown.  I’m going to try and check it out tomorrow and see if it’s doable.  My packages also came today (which was a bunch of fun to carry all the way back to base camp – definitely could have used a bike). 

More fires have broken out and the rest of the afternoon was rather smokey.  I was working the entire evening with this new guy who, ‘scuse my french, is an idiot.  Then, right as my shift was ending and I was trying to tally up my days cash, I couldn’t figure out this computer glitch so I wound up spending ten extra minutes just trying to close out my register.  On a positive note ( I guess) I definitely proved to know one in particular (boss wasn’t around of course) that I’m good under pressure and in a jam.  At one point, I was on the phone, ringing up a customer, AND trying to make camping arrangements while the idiot asked me how to ring up a propane tank.  Yup, busy and exhausting. 

As I was leaving, I got a nice surpise though – all the smoke and fire today made the sun turn bright red, with gorgeous clouds on my walk home.  It was really cool.

So, I finally have a weekend.  Tomorrow, I plan on exploring a few more roads in Healy that I have been meaning to check out, look in on the bike situation, and most importantly, start planning fun activities for when my boyfriend visits.  It should prove (hopefully) to be a nice day and I should have things to write home about so to speak.  Here’s hoping the weather holds out for a little bit longer.  Cheers and g’nite all!

Ah, well, Thursday has been….ech, I can’t even think of a good word to describe it.  I didn’t want to wake up this morning, but managed to drag my butt out of bed and head over to the main plywood building for breakfast.  Unfortunately, Cathy caught my ear this morning.  Not to say that she isn’t nice, but….*sigh*.  Cathy runs the complex and is as scary as hell – she’s from New Jersey, a heavy smoker, frightening to look at (wouldn’t pick a bar fight with this chic any day) and likes to make you see her side of things no matter what.  So far, I’ve stayed on her good side and I hope I can keep it that way, otherwise…*shudders* I don’t even want to think about it. 

I went to the post office next to see if I could find out when my packages might arrive, but because I am sending them to the store’s PO box, I can’t even ask about them because it’s not my mail box.  I guess i am going to set up a general delivery mail box tomorrow for the future.  Zalim, our summer resident Russian technical person, who creates our employee ID’s (which he still hasn’t given me mine), helps with computer glitches, also picks up the mail.  Speaking frankly, I’m worried about my mail.  Oh well, hopefully I will be able to figure it out. 

Next, made it to work, checked in, fouled a few things up on the cash machine, the propane set up for our machines failed, the credit card machines are still down, and went through four angry German’s who didn’t speak english.  That was about 11 am.  At twelve….something awful happened to a friend and employee of Miner’s market.  Her sister died in an atv accident.  I don’t know anymore details besides that, but it was bad.  I’ve never been present when someone lost a loved one so suddenly and it almost literally ripped my heart out seeing this sweet, happy girl getting the worst news of her life.  Needless to say, the next few hours were rather stressful, as we all tried to help and be of comfort, while still trying to deal with customers and other technical issues of the day.  I guess it puts my stress and panic attacks of the last few days into perspective though – I can’t send enough thoughts and prayers to this girl, and I hope you’ll do the same.

The rest of the day kind of dragged on, but on a happier note, Kayci and Allison have made it!!!!!  They actually came into the store while I was working to buy a few things….I wish I could have spent a bit more time welcoming them to Healy, but unfortunately it was at one of those lovely 20-minute-rushes.  Hopefully, once they get settled in and get their work squared away we can hang out and share the experiences of this past week together. 

On a rather more humorous note, I finally got a look at my alternative living quarters – the recently vacated trailer near Miner’s Market.

……..hhahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahNO.  I was on the phone with my father at the time, describing the outside, how it looked like it was rolled down a mountain and then hit with a rock slide and a tornado at the same time, but maybe the inside would bee ok-…….”dad, I’m living in the complex. Just so you know.”  Yeah, so it hadn’t been cleaned out yet, so maybe there would have been a slight improvement, but man, I don’t think it would have made a difference.  It smelled so bad of cigarettes and pot, as well as looking like it could be a five star hotel for cockroaches-r-us.  I had an instant flashback to my Grandma K’s house as a kid, tinted yellow and thick with cigarette smoke, tinged with something….unidentifiable.  I didn’t even go in.  I closed the badly smashed door (which didn’t even have a lock because it had been broken off), walked back to the market and right up to my boss and said “Steve, thanks anyways, but I’ll be living at the complex.”  I promptly bought a combo lock for my apartment door and headed home with my greasy popcorn chicken dinner in hand.  Don’t worry, I’ve uploaded the proof of my horror onto FaceBook so that you may share in the pain of my most frightening experience. 

Okay, so maybe having a roommate wasn’t ideal and I’m still a little iffy on the whole thing, but obviously it could be worse and it’s an experience that I never got in college and everyone should have at least once in their lives…right?

No update on whether I’m going on the ATV trip tomorrow, but I might just hang out and enjoy the day tomorrow before heading to work.  I’m still adjusting and I’m not quite ready to stray too far outside my comfort zone, especially alone.  We’ll see, even if i don’t do anything tomorrow, I might try to do some hiking or trips on my days off. 

For now, I’m just going to try to keep my chin up, armor on, and plow through my first week in a very strange and new place.  Keep me informed about the real world, not much penetrates this place besides what I catch on CNN while I clean the laundry room.  Until tomorrow, brave thoughts little piglet.

Well folks, day two over with.  This one possibly felt even longer, getting up was certainly more difficult.  My roommates alarm went off three times at around 6:30.  She, however, slept through it andI finally got up.  Had my tea and toast, walked to the post office to drop off some postcards, and wandered as slowly as possible to work.  The day was rough – I made way more mistakes today for some reason and each one just made it a little more difficult to get the next thing right.  Anyways, I did fill two propane tanks by myself, so I guess that was good.   I can’t say I’m really getting the hang of things, but then again, I keep forgetting it’s only been two days (jeez, it feels longer than that already!).

I came back to the complex, dropped off some stuff, grabbed my camera, and headed back out for a walk.  I want to see as much of Healy as there is, not just whats on the surface.  I’ve uploaded them to Facebook, but I don’t really have time for making captions…I’ll just have to explain them all later 🙂  I have a feature on my phone that allows me to track how many steps I am taking.  I put roughly 9,800 steps on my feet today, around 2 miles.  It’s going to kill me tomorrow, but I’m hoping it will help me get into better shape.  The weather is supposed to be beautiful until Sunday, so I’m going to enjoy as much of it as I can.  More tomorrow hopefully, for now, it’s just another day in Healy, Alaska.

I’m kind of liking the 24 hours of daylight….I’m starting to get used to sleeping through it, but yet I haven’t wanted to sleep later then 6 am because it’s just too nice out to keep sleeping.  I’m hoping I can keep that up all summer and become a morning person….maybe I’ll even get really ambitious and start jogging around the town in the mornings before I go to work! 

So, off at six, but couldn’t punch in to work until 9, so I ate breakfast at the projects, which was actually not bad, and then slowly made my way to the post office to drop off a letter.  I’m guessing that by the time it arrives at its destination, the person will have kielled over from the wait.  Oh well, it was fun to make the trip!  I saw my first bit of wildlife this morning.  A fox crossed the road about fifty feet from me, right in front of two kids on their bikes who were trying to make it on time to school.  Still, can’t say I’m very impressed so far.  It turns out I have already mapped out all of Healy with my feet and I’ve barely been here for two full days.  The realization that boredom may just kill me this summer is sinking in.  It’s also kind of depressing – the weather is amazing, but its like living in a desert.  Everything is as dry as a bone, everything I own is covered in dust, I am surrounded by scrubby, painful brush, and pointy pine trees.  There isn’t anything here…..alive really.  You would think that Alaska in bloom would be lush, the rivers full, the landscape teaming with activity.  Instead, all of the creek beds are dry and everything feels one step from catching on fire…..which is actually happening a lot around here.  The fire warnings are extremely high and there is a fire a few miles away near the mine that’s been raging for three days now.  I hate to say it, but frankly, I’m pretty sick of the landscape.  don’t get me wrong, the mountains are beautiful and I haven’t been into the park yet, but walking around Healy is not helping to improve my image of visiting Alaska.  Oh well, I’m still adjusting and once I settle in, things should hopefully get better.

Still not sure about the living situation yet….I’m hoping this trailer will be cleaned out in two days and I can at least get a look at and see if I actually want to switch.  Right now, both the complex and the trailor hold really good pros and really bad cons.  We’ll see.

That was pretty much my day in a nutshell.  I probably have more to add, but right now, it’s about 9 pm and I just want some down time before I hit the sack and start another long day tomorrow.  I haven’t taken anymore pictures because frankly, I haven’t seen anything else worth taking a picture of.  Hopefully that will change soon too.

I miss home and people I know, but I’m hoping that I’m beginning to get used to this foreign state of being.  Armor on, eyes open, palms clasped.  Nite folks.

Gonna keep this one kind of short hopefully folks….it’s been another long day, but better than yesterday…..I think.  I got up at 5 am Alaska time and went for a walk, trying to get the lay of the town.  It’s not easy….everythings pretty spread out and I don’t really have any reference about where the town ends, begins, where its center is, or anything.  I found the school, the community center, the post office, and a few other lodges before eventually walking to my workplace which is about ten minutes or so from the camp I am still currently staying at.  No word on whether I might be able to get a trailer at the RV site yet, but I came back to my room and found that my roommate (whom I still have not really met yet) had cleaned her side of the room and made room for me in the dresser.  I’m impressed, but still a little leary…..after all, maybe she just did it because she had to.  I’m not good at giving people the benefit of the doubt, but what can I say? 

I trained for about four hours at my job, which was nerve racking and long, but good I think.  I can’t say I am looking forward to an entire summer of being a busy sales clerk, but I think I can handle it.  After that, I wasn’t exactly wanting to head back to my claustrophobic living space, so I did what only I would do.  I found a nice rock on the atv trail leading back to my camp, hunckered down, and read for about three hours.  Three people on atvs stopped to ask if I needed any help (still scares the hell out of me how nice and accomodating people are here….you would think I would be excited about it, but its something I’m not sure I can get used to!).  One guy came back a second time and talked with me for a while and then asked told me he could show me a few spots that were more private for hanging out and reading.  I hitched a ride, got a tour of his new house that he’s building, and then he showed me a huge dry creek bed and explained where some good hiking trails were.  He also said he’d look out for a bike that I could use over the summer.  I know, you’re thinking, “jeez stina, you hitched a ride with a total stranger and went touring around the back woods.”  Frankly, I was thinking the same things, but again, everyone here just wants to help.  It’s still really weird. 

Now, I’m going to try and enjoy some down time, rest up and still get into sync with the new time change and all this darn daylight (loving it really) before starting my first full week of work.  It’s going to be one hell of a long day tomorrow, but hope it will prove to be helpful in getting me settled.  Mostly, I’m starting to feel a lot of boredom and loneliness from not having any friends here.  I can’t wait for Kayci and Allison to arrive, I just hope we can find time to hang out (neither of our living quarters allows visitors from other complexes). 

Honestly, I’m still really not sure I can stand four more months of this, but there’s still room for improvement….right? 

Talk to y’all soon, lots of love and keep those good thoughts and hugs comin’. 

PS: the only “Alaskan wildlife” I’ve spotted so far is four rabbits….big rabbits, but still…….where’s the moose?  Oh, yeah, mosquitos too 🙂

Land Ho: Alaska!

Ah, yes, where did I leave off?  Yes, well, the flight from Boston was long and fitfully boring – a child screamed for the entire five hours (there is an appreciation of lung power there) and you had to pay 7 bucks with a credit card to watch anything on the screen except satellite tv channels.  I finished a book instead, choosing to block out most of the trip.  We arrived in Salt Lake City on time and my next flight immediately began boarding, which was good but also painful.  The people were incredibly nice though – I had a wonderful conversation with a woman whose husband is stationed in Alaska…..they are planning on buying a house in Colorado when he can transfer.  I hope they get it!  This flight certainly felt the longest though – five more hours and the jet lag was really taking its toll.  My bodily clock was registering 4 am in Vermont when it was only midnight in Alaska, making my landing rough in more ways than one.  Nevertheless, it was still light out and absolutely gorgeous from what I could see!  I got my bag without much trouble and found a nice bench to spend the rest of the night on.  It was mostly deserted, but quite a nice airport and again the people were really nice.  I don’t know why I had always imagined Alaskan’s to be a lot like Vermonter’s: guarded, hard shelled towards outsiders, and perhaps a trifle surly from all the hard weather they have to endure.  Instead, I was greeted with smiles all around, genuine concern for my well being, and an actually desire to make sure I was comfortable in my new surroundings.

My bench wasn’t too bad, but sleep didn’t come easy.  Also, the PA system repeating its greetings and information messages every five minutes and the testing of the airport fire alarms at 2:30 am Alaska time weren’t all that helpful.  I think I managed about an hours worth of sleep somewhere in there.  Finally, around 4 am, I gave up, got some tea and breakfast at a kiosk, and watched the lights turn on in this new and foreign world I had intruded upon.  Finding my bus for its 7:30 departure was hard at first, but it eventually worked and I was once again on a grueling, but beautiful journey to my next destination.  Again, I met some truly wonderful people, all eager to talk about their destinations and previous experiences in Alaska.  The remaining half of our shuttle was inhabited by Serbians who sort of spoke english.  At one point we were allowed to stop at a huge supermarket and get any last minute supplies before things became remarkably expensive.  I found the Serb’s struggling to breach the language barrier with a very confused clerk.  They kept repeating “washing machine!” while one of them tried looking something up in their serbian-to-english dictionary.  I felt bad for both parties and asked if they were looking for laundry detergent, to which a hearty and accented “yes!” was supplied.  Unfortunately, that made me the prime target for “American translation,” as they kept asking me what brand I recommended and which one was good for colors.  I almost felt like telling them that even my english could stand some translating at times, but I think that would have just confused them further.

Finally, we arrived in Denali.  I found the grocery store I thought I was going to be working at and instead was told that I would be working at Miner’s Market in Healy.  They run the Camping and RV park, do gas, propane, groceries, deli, meals, and book tours in the park.  My new boss is extremely nice and funny (and english!) and the girls working the counter were really cool and I think I’ll get along with them.  THe other good news is that I will be getting free access on all tourist attractions within and around Denali in order to help promote the tours!!!! 

Unfortunately, my living arrangements are scaring me half to death, especially the woman in charge.  I’m in a slummy apartment building (which is nicer than the other arrangements at least). It has its own bathroom and shower and kitchen which is nice, but it’s shared between three apartments.  I have a roommate who I haven’t met yet.  I can’t say I’m looking forward to it – I don’t do well with other people invading my private spaces and my first impressions of her side of the room aren’t really promising (drinker, smoker, slob, room hog, shall I go on?).  Oh well, I know I am just being finicky because I have never had to endure dorm living before or the difficulties of roommates.  Just wish me luck that maybe, just maybe, we may actually get along. 

I’m exhausted, haven’t slept in 48 hours, am jet lagged, and sweaty (yeah, believe it or not, it actually got warm here today).  Unfortunately, I”m too over tired to go to sleep yet, and it won’t get dark at all.  I don’t really have sheets (which they didn’t tell me about) and can’t really un pack until my roommate gets back so I can try to get back some of the dresser drawer space (she used all five drawers). 

Tomorrow I’ll be heading back to the market to begin training and finish filling out paperwork.  I’m also thinking about maybe seeing if I can arrange something more private at the RV park if my new boss can swing something…..we’ll see.  For now, I’m just trying to keep calm and not feel so trapped.  It’s funny how different people are – most would probably find the open spaces and lack of population density in Alaska to be freeing, whereas I feel nothing but claustrophobic. 

Well, I have to just keep my armor on and my chin up because I’ve made it this far and its kind of hard to turn back now.  Wish me luck, keep sending those mental hugs, and I’ll write again as soon as I can!

Up, Up & Away

We all learn to embrace the characteristic flaws and failures in our daily lives, and the fact that when we travel (especially me) they often get worse.  So, we laugh and we move on to the next one.  For me, they are comic relief, a reminder that my life is an ever unraveling comic strip.  Every time something fails, goes wrong, or puts a bump in my otherwise perfect (hah!) plans, its difficult, but also welcome.  I find I can laugh some of the stress away and chalk the day up to the universe blinking again. 

Today, heading for Alaska to start my summer adventure by plane, is one of those days.

Rutland Airport was my first clue, as my suitcase set off the very sensitive X-ray chemical detectors.  My bag showed up with traces of TNT – yes, explosive materials…..yup.  They were actually very nice about it though, asking if I worked with combustible substances often, how the traces might have gotten there, etc.  Thank goodness I wasn’t at a larger airport, I might have been tackled to the ground, handcuffed, escorted to a “secure room”, who knows.  I told them I had no idea how it got there, unless maybe it came from shooting guns on my farm and its still on something or maybe my teddy bear that I bought has explosive traces on it because my boyfriend touched it (he plays with C-4  a lot, what can I say?).  Either way, they confiscated a lighter I had brought with me just in case and packed my bag back up.  Apparently, I’m not going to make their top ten most wanted list….today anyways. 

After that, I went through security and waited to board an eight seater Cape Air plane – talk about testing your limits about why humans were meant to stay on the ground.  The other passengers were an interesting bunch as well.  One had a violin, one couldn’t stop texting to the tune of Star Wars Return of the Jedi, and a third had a safety pin for an earring and enough BO to keep my nose firmly glued to the air conditioning vent.  All in all, the passenger roster for the flight to Boston was interesting. 

The plane ride was actually a blast (I wish I had remembered to take my camera out of my carry on before boarding, oh well).  It was like riding in a sports car that could fly, but maybe shouldn’t have.  We had some turbulence, but otherwise, it was a loud, beautiful ride into Logan Airport.  Logan – well, it wasn’t too bad actually.  I met a friendly ticket checker, and who would have thought they have a Fuddrucker’s here!??!  My belly is pleasantly full with a bacon and cheddar burger and wedge fries now. 

Now, I have about two hours until my next flight to Salt Lake City and then from there its to Anchorage.  I’ll spend the night in the airport and wait for a shuttle ride the next morning to Denali (about four hours from Anchorage).  I’ve still got a long way to go, but I think most of the harder stuff is over….hopefully. 

I guess that’s all for now and I probably won’t have internet access for a while.  Wish me luck and take care!  I can’t believe it, but I actually miss Poultney quite a bit!  Stay in touch and help me stay sane folks, I’ll hopefully be back here soon to let you know how the rest of my day went!