Tuesday, August 26, 2008

To touch base...

Wow, 10 days since I last posted? Dizzamn. My bad.

There's been stuff going on, too. Lots of things on the fritz around the house...everything I touch seems to be breaking. Our satellite connection is only half working, my Dell laptop has a few keys now that aren't working thanks to some questionable placement and a clumsy water spill, making anything that involves typing a no-go on that computer for now, until I get a keyboard to plug into it. Not to mention various things around the house, like the heat being stuck on and window installation being...ahem...ongoing. This year is certainly starting off with a bang.

As for school, well, I'm not there. I was on the schedule for the last two hours of the day, but somehow or other they couldn't see fit to let me bring Isaac in and hand him off to Sara for the last 45 min of her day (which was going to be prep anyway)...so I'm relegated to after school duties only for this semester. A "leave of absence", officially. Yee haw.

Crazy news today, though...I got a phone call from a teacher I had in high school, who's the head of the Historical Society back in Point, and somehow he got a hold of a paper I wrote in college on the Prohibition era in Portage County, and wants to publish it. I'm flattered, but more so, I'm curious how he got a hold of it. And I'm not going to lie, I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to writing, I'm never happy with what I've written...I'm sure if I went back and read it now, 7 years later, I'd want to go revise the whole thing. So I doubt I'll even look at it again, for fear of being embarrassed at what's in print with my name on it.

But still...quite a shock. Who gets randomly published? Weird.

Let's see, what else can I touch on in my random drive-by of the last week and a half? I voted today. Had no idea that as someone who is officially registered as "Unaffiliated" that I could choose which ballot to vote on, Democrat or Republican. If you know me, you know that with the really interesting primaries on the GOP side in Alaska this cycle, I had to take that ballot, just to feel like I was working some mischief :-P

More to come...including, hopefully, some pictures of random late-summer village goodness...

Saturday, August 16, 2008


If there was ever a perfect visual representation of how we all felt when we finally made it home Tuesday night, this is it.

To be perfectly honest, I'd rather not re-live the craptastic rest of the trip, but in the interest of give the Paul Harvey-esque “rest of the story”, I’ll go ahead and give you a run down of what happened.

So when I left off, we were hanging out for another 8 hour layover in the Anchorage airport. Which, whatever, there’s internet and Starbucks, and although we were all tired and cranky and in desperate need of showers, we were able to pass the time relatively comfortably. We got the dog checked back in and through TSA (for the 3rd time in 24 hours…most inspected. Dog. Evar.), and made our way through security and to the gate. There were, of course, a whole bunch of people we knew waiting for the same flight as us, so we had a good time catching up and chit-chatting at the gate. When it came time for us to pre-board, we were really relieved to be getting on the plane, because we knew it was packed full of all the people that were scheduled for that flight, plus all of us on the morning plane that circled and came back. JUST as we were handing the gate agent our ticket, we heard the worst sound possible…our names being called over the P.A., asking us to come to the desk.

Let me just preface this by saying I have ALWAYS had nothing but good luck with all of the Alaska Airlines staff people I’ve had contact with…compared to other airlines I’ve flown, they seem to try to go out of their way to be helpful, from the flight attendants to the desk agents to the people who answer the customer service phone lines, I’ve always been really impressed with the level of service we’ve gotten. That’s why I’ll chalk up the attitude of the person at the desk to stress, likely from a long few days of dealing with stranded Alaskans and tourists due to the volcano situation…but this one specific b!%@# was just plain rude. And it’s not just that she was rude, but I have the distinct feeling she was either trying to pull one over on us, or just plain lying. And if you know me at all, you probably know how I react if I feel like someone’s trying to screw me over.

So we get out of line and rush over to the desk, and of course, Sara’s already worried, stressed, and starting to cry…because really, there’s no positive reason that you can be called to the desk at that point. Well, Miss Desk Lady informs us in an accusatory manner that we had “told the airline that our dog’s kennel was a ‘400’ size when it’s actually a ‘500’”, and because there’s 7 dogs on the flight and not enough room, we need to purchase a new kennel from the airline (at their inflated price, of course), or not be allowed to get on the plane. Yeah, you can imagine the reaction that caused. FIRST of all, when we first flew with this kennel 2 years ago, we HAD ALASKA AIRLINES MEASURE IT to tell us what size it was and what we needed to pay to transport it. SECOND of all, when we’ve booked or flights since, we’ve told them it was an extra large kennel. Is there even a size larger that we could book it as? And what’s with this “400” and “500” business? When I asked her these questions, she wouldn’t (or couldn’t) tell me.

Well, upon first hearing the situation, and Miss Desk Lady’s attitude, Sara got really upset, which set Isaac off crying (not that it took much at this point), and I just about lost it…enough to be willing to fight a little bit not to get bowled over, anyway. I’m not sure if she was expecting us just to say ok, we’ll pay for a smaller kennel, and then pay to have our regular kennel shipped, or if she thought we’d just choose to spend ANOTHER 12 hours in the Anchorage airport, but I wasn’t about to do either until I was sure it was absolutely necessary. Long story short, there was another guy there that had two dogs in large kennels, and he took pity on us (or just wanted to quiet the couple with the crying baby) and offered to combine his two dogs into one kennel. This shut Desk Lady up, and she said that could work, but continued to be snotty with us, telling us that thanks to this guy “stepping up”, we could go ahead and get on the plane. Funny thing is, after all that, when we all got to Bethel the guy’s two dogs were in separate kennels, so no rearrangement or new kennels were even needed in the first place.

Aaaanywho, we made it to Bethel in one piece, got all our stuff (which was a relief, as I thought for certain the general mess in ANC, plus with the Bethel flights messed up that day, would have made for some lost bags), and over to JP for the charter home. JP was grumpy as usual, but he’s good and likes dogs, and with the cost of seat fares these days the charter’s not really that much more expensive. Plus, he stayed open for us (as well as another couple we know that had chartered to Quinhagak), which he didn’t really NEED to do. We couldn’t get a hold of anyone by phone to let them know we were on our way, which was a little stressful (to one of us, anyways), but we took off and got home and got a ride from the (new and improved!) airstrip just fine, making it home around 10pm…making for a total travel time of about 37 hours, personal records for both of us.

As for the rest of the week, there’s been a lot of unpacking, cleaning, organizing, etc. We returned to a few surprises at home, including a new floor in our living room (linoleum? I liked our carpet…), and one new window and our bedroom window completely boarded up. Sounds like some classy Nunap youth(s) were going around throwing rocks through windows in teacher housing over the summer. So after cleaning broken glass out of our bed as well as Isaac’s, washing sheets, as well as cleaning up after the folks who were doing “repairs” around the house (picking nails out of the carpet…I even found another two today :-/), we finally got to bed. Hey, at least the boarded up window means it’s dark in our bedroom, right?

School’s a whole ‘nother issue. I’ll probably post on that situation once it’s resolved. Basically, I have no idea yet if I’ll be working at all this semester, and the semester starts Monday. So yeah, to be continued…

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hanging out with Ted

After dodging ash clouds on the flight from Chicago to Anchorage last night, pulling our usual 8 hour overnight layover in baggage claim with the dog (left), and boarding our flight to Bethel on time, I was just about to breathe a sigh of relief that the latest installment of the migration was complete, or at least near-complete, without too much of a hitch.

That'll show me for even letting the thought creep into my head.

Isaac decided about halfway to Bethel that he was done with airplanes for the day. Not that I blame him, I'd pretty much had it with planes at that point as well. Or so we thought. About 15 minutes out of Bethel the pilot let us know that some pretty dense fog had rolled into the airport there, and that if it broke up enough, we'd "try" to land. Well, after making a circle or two, we tried. And waved off. And flew all the way back to Anchorage.


So here we sit, waiting for our second try at getting to Bethel, not leaving here til 6:45 tonight. That puts us in Bethel at 8, and our charter guy says he'll take us then. If we get there on time. If the weather's ok. So many variables, and it's not even winter yet.

I just want to get home. The thought of being stuck in Bethel tonight is unbareable. We still may just push back 'til tomorrow morning's flight if it looks like this evening's is going to be at all late. At least we can hang in baggage claim again tonight in Anchorage...no such luck in Bethel, we'd have to find somewhere we could take the dog. I just don't know if we can do another night on airport food and no sleep...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

You know what's funny?

Well I'll tell you. When someone gives you an awesome piece of baby-type-clothing, which you then look at and say "wow, I can't wait til that will fit him!" Then you decide to try it on him....and it fits just fine. Are babies supposed to grow this quickly??

So thanks to Molly and Peter (seriously...thanks Molly and Peter!!), Isaac has now officially picked a Big 12 team for his first College Football season.

Don't worry folks....he's still a Big Ten boy at heart ;-)