Thursday, February 28, 2008

Watch Me Pull A Rabbit Out of a Hat

Well, it wasn't exactly a rabbit, but it was probably just as difficult!

My dear son, Logan, came to me a few mornings ago and said, "I forgot to tell you, but I had an oral report to give in class. It's o.k. though, because I got an A+." My son obviously knows me quite well. He knew he had to soften the blow by throwing in the A+ part. As you can imagine, I wasn't pleased, but I would have really blown my top if he had received a poor grade.

I started pressing Logan for details and slowly but surely the facts started spewing out. The more information he gave me, the funnier the story became to me. I don't advocate what he did, but I have to say, I was pretty impressed. Here's the story:

On February 14 Logan had to turn in a "President report". He started on the report back in January. He could pick any president he wanted, but he had to tell why he chose the president he did. With my help, he decided on John Quincy Adams. I swayed him toward JQA because, personally, I wouldn't have picked a "common" President like Lincoln, Washington, Kennedy, etc. if it was my report to do. The teacher would probably know too much about those guys and it would raise the expectation (in my humble opinion). I knew that somewhere way back on Eric's side of the family they are related to JQA, so I knew I could sell Logan on him. Also, it would make for an interesting reason as to why he chose that particular President.

With dear ol' mom's help, Logan agonized over that report! If you know Logan, you know he's extremely bright, but he does not like to willingly exert energy on anything that doesn't involve a joystick. The report kinda' became a team effort. We sat and read the biography together (mainly so I would know the same info he did) and when it came time for him to write the report I would have him tell me what he wanted to say and then we would work together on figuring how he could rephrase things so it would sound more polished on paper. I then made him type it up on his own. So as you can see, I didn't do the paper for him, but I didn't let him turn in a bunch of junk either.

When all was said and done he pulled off an A on the written report. I thought that was all there was to it. I never saw anything come home about an oral presentation. As a matter of fact, the morning Logan was turning in his report he commented on how relieved he was to have it out of the way. Hmmmm!

After Logan broke the news to me that he had done this oral report and received an A+, he tossed me a sheet of paper. The paper was the grading rubric for the presentation. Right there in blue pen, the final grade shows an A+. The comments read: "Logan, you seemed very calm & well prepared. You looked at everyone (what else was he gonna' look at, he didn't have any notes) and seemed very knowledgeable." There are also check pluses next to various aspects of speech content (introduction, childhood, presidency, accomplishments, death), presentation of speech (voice quality, eye contact, posture), and preparation (knowledgeable, well organized, flow of information). At the bottom of the rubric there was a time of 2 min 18 sec written in.

At dinner that evening, I decided to throw Logan under the bus by having him explain the story to his dad. I started the conversation by telling him I did not advocate what he did, but he needed to tell his dad. He did, and of course, Eric could hardly keep a straight face. I then asked if they went in alphabetical order (he'd be last), which would have given him ample time to come up with something to say. He said they didn't, they were suppossed to go in number order, by president. For those of you who may need to brush up, JQA was the sixth President of the US. Theoretically, Logan would have been the sixth child to give his speech, except...the five children before him weren't prepared, so he was actually the FIRST to give his speech! When he told us that, I about fell off my chair laughing! I asked him why he didn't have enough sense to tell the teacher he wasn't prepared either, at which point Eric chimed in and said that he was probably too afraid of what the consequences would be. Logan acknowledged that what his dad said was in fact true. He knew he would have been in HUGE trouble if we had found out. So, he decided to do what any self respecting, parent fearing child would do.....he got up there are gave his presentation. He was even well within the 2:00-3:00 minute timeframe he was supposed to conform to. What a hoot!

It's not in my nature or Eric's to just pat Logan on the back for actually being able to pull off a little stunt like this (although it did prove to me that he's capable of producing without mom having to badger him, or do it for him). After we all laughed about it, we sufficiently chastised him (sort of). We explained that he was darn lucky he was able to pull it off and that with some preparation and a note or two, he would have felt even more confident. I don't think he really bought it though, he was plenty happy with the outcome!

I guess the upside to all of this is that at least he retained the information he learned while doing the report and apparantly, we didn't raise no dummy! I think Logan gets his kick-back personality from his Uncle Brian, because he doesn't get it from Eric and he certainly doesn't get it from me! Logan gets good grades and does fantastic in school, but it's only because academics come easy for him. Sometimes I wish he would actually want to apply himself, but most of the time.....I just wish I could be more like him!!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

We Must Be Nuts

O.K., I guess I've had a bit of writers' block for the past few days. I was lacking inspiration for a post and then...I was folding laundry and saw the Peanut Farm t-shirt we acquired this past weekend. I suddenly had all the inspiration I needed!

A few posts ago I eluded to an event here in town called the Fur Rondezvous. According to some propoganda that came in the mail, it's basically a two week long winter festival here in town, but it has a colorful past. "Back in the 30's a man named Vern Johnson and some friends decided to establish a three-day Festival to coincide with the time that the miners and trappers came to town with their winter's yield. It began as a three-day sports tournament in 1935. Nearly the entire population of Anchorage turned out for the bonfire and torchlight parade."

Now a days, according to the same propoganda, "some people might think that Rondy is there to give Alaskans something to do so that we don't shoot holes in the cabin wall before we see grass again. This may have been close to the truth early in the history of the festival, but helped by some introspection, we have regained our vision of a greater calling. GAI (whoever they are) recognizes that Rondy is (and should be) an instrument for change in the community through the spirit of giving."

I'm not so sure I believe that last part about "change in the community throught the spirit of giving." I guess if by "giving" they mean by me giving my money to the Anchorage economy I can create change, then I suppose they're right. According to what I saw this weekend, for the most part, Rondy just seemed like a big tourist trap. Street vendors were selling grilled hot dogs to the tune of $5.00 a piece, many of the activities cost money, like the makeshift carnival with unsteady barfy rides, and you have to pay to park all over town. It was our first Fur Rondy though, so I was compelled to see what all of the hype was about.

We ended up at a local restaurant/sports bar for lunch, called The Peanut Farm. Out in the property behind the restaurant, I paid $7.00/person for us to participate in, drum roll please......ICE BOWLING! It was acutally a pretty good deal because with that $7.00 came a free kids meal at the restaurant, an adorable t-shirt (logo pictured above), and the opportunity to ice bowl.

In a nutshell (pun intended), there was a big icy, slippery, and frozen patch that was used as the alley. Lanes were marked using flourescent spray paint. Behind and to the sides of the pins were bails of hay to stop the ball at the end of the lane. We used real pins and the setters were a bunch of high school kids. We used the raunchiest, most beat up bowling balls in town and we bowled 'til our hearts were content (or at least until the kids hand froze and they thought their arms were going to fall off). The kids didn't last too long, because the people running the show didn't take into account the fact that little kids might need a ball a little lighter than 12 lbs. The boys did have a good time though, and it was an experience that most people can't say they've had.

As the saying goes, "When in Rome......"

Saturday, February 23, 2008

They Can't Make Me....Can They???

This post is an homage to the elite group of past PTA Presidents who follow this blog (you know who you are) and to anyone else I have naively allowed to rope me into doing something I wasn't really sure I wanted to do.

Yesterday the kids had a dance/basket auction at their school. Thanks to someone who will remain nameless (Andrea Egan), I have a little experience with auctions and baskets. When the call went out for help, who better to lend a helping hand than yours truly. I figured I could lend a helping hand, it would get me out of the house, and I might even meet a mom or two.

Three and a half hours after I arrived at school to help, I finally headed for home. I could have stayed longer, but I was chased away when the PTA President apparantly decided that I didn't quite create the "masterpiece" she had envisioned. Don't get me wrong, she was polite enough about it, but not discreet enough for an oversensitive sleuth like me (at least Andrea would have just told me she though it looked like crap). I had adhered the shrink wrap onto one of the baskets, had heated it with a blow dryer, and placed the final product on a cart in the hallway. She saw the basket sitting there, proceeded to follow behind me, plug her blow dryer into the reseptacle in the hallway, and re-heated the shrink wrap until it met her specifications. It really wasn't as obvious or dramatic as it may sound, but you get the picture. I wasn't terribly offended either (that would have been silly), but I did take it as my cue to hit the road. I decided that if the shrink wrap aspect of the baskets was that important to her, then she could do that part on her own.

(My husband's boss is also his best friend and has been since kindergarten. Troy's kids go to the same school as Logan and Kaiden and I do hang out with his wife, Cathy, on ocassion.)

Cathy, all four kids and I returned to school later in the evening (the guys are still out of town)to attend the dance/auction. They did a silent auction format and people could bid on the baskets. At the last minute, they had also decided to put together some "grab and go" type baskets. You could just pay the asking price and walk out the door with it and you wouldn't have to hang out all night placing bids. Cathy and I were both inclined to donate to the school, but didn't want to stick around all night, so the "grab and gos" were a good option for us. I picked my basket, pulled out my checkbook and realized...I only had checks with our California address on them. "Mrs. President" and another board member were collecting the money and I jokingly asked if they would take an out of state check. They said they would, but if it bounced or if they had to come looking for me I would have to be PTA President next year. THAT WAS FUNNY!!!!! They happily accepted my check, which I will ensure doesn't bounce (that's all the humiliation I would need to send me over the edge) and continued to raz me about being PTA President next year.

I know they were only half joking, I also know that I've been looking for at least one friend to go have Starbucks with and PTA in CA provided me with lots of those friends, but let's be real, PTA PRESIDENT!!!!! I'd rather live the rest of my time here in Alaska in complete isolation than take that job on, especially when I don't know anybody I could persuade (read: guilt, blackmail, and trick) to assist me.

They can't really make me do it........can they???????? (read: NOT A CHANCE IN HELL)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


If you diligently follow my blog I think it is safe to say that a lot of what happens to me is the same stuff that happens to the "everyday Joe". I like to think that my life isn't so much about drama, but rather it's more about the fact that I can sometimes see a strange, warped humor in day to day life and I'm not afraid to give people a good laugh at my own expense.

Now that I've prefaced today's blog...wait 'til ya' get a load of this:

Last night we had more of those damn Chinook winds! They were whipping through here at about 100mph. If the winds aren't bad enough, today just happened to be trash day! The trashman generally hits our neighborhood between 6:00 and 6:30 in the morning. Taking the trash out in the morning isn't really an option if you want to be sure your trash gets picked up.

Considering that the winds were predicted to last through the night, like any woman in her right mind, I had contemplated not taking out the garbage. Reality quickly set in when I suddenly remembered why the trash HAD TO GO OUT! You see, way back in mid-January we had a few of Eric's colleagues to the house for a small housewarming type gathering. Eric's friend/boss had decided to make some type of seafood dish which included squid. When Troy took the squid out of the bag he could tell by the smell that he had just purchased rancid squid! The beauty of Alaska is that instead of throwing the squid in our trashcan to sit and rot, we were able to throw the bag on our front porch where it would freeze and would be stench-free until we put it in the can on trash day.

In theory our plan was a good one, but as you might imagine, things went awry! We forgot to put the squid in the trash on trashday. I decided to leave well enough alone and left the bag of squid on the porch until the next week. As luck would have it, that week was the first time we had experienced high, gusty winds. YEP, you guessed it...when I went to retrieve the squid it was MIA!

I was convinced that the squid was no longer our problem and I was actually kind of amused by the thought that some unsuspecting neighbor would eventually find our bag of rotting squid on their porch or in their yard. Of course, things couldn't be that easy. Apparantly some time later Eric came upon the bag, knew exactly what was inside it and, unbeknownst to me, set it in the snow on the side of the house and forgot about it. By the time he rememebered the bag was still around, an animal of some kind had been poking around and had torn the bag a bit. I wouldn't be surprised if the nauseating smell of rotting squid scared it off! Anyhow, last week Eric finally decided enough was enough and put the bag in the trashcan inside our garage. He warned me not to open up the can and I didn't!

Last Wednesday, after I had taken the boys to school, I brought the trashcans in. All was right with the world and our squid had finally been disposed of. Or had it? As the temperatures warmed up I noticed a foul smell in the garage. It was coming from one of the trashcans. The cans should have been empty still, but there was no mistaking that there was something stinky in one of them. I investigated inside the cans one more time and realized that a small Home Depot bag was still stuck to the bottom of one of the cans. One whiff and I knew immediately that the squid was in that lone bag, stuck to the bottom of the trashcan! Wednedsay was still days away, now what? Brilliantly, I filled one of the other trashcans, held my breathe, threw the bag of squid on the very top and closed the lid for the rest of the week. I'm not kidding when I tell you that I then proceeded to spray Fabreze in the initial trashcan, so it wouldn't stink all week. My plan had worked...until...the winds kicked up last night!

It doesn't pay to have precocious thoughts about neighbors inheriting my stinky garbage. I really paid the price this morning. I took the trash out last night and slept like crap not just because of the wind, but because everytime a gust came through I was picturing my trash strewn across the neighborhood. Around 6:30 a.m. I finally heard the trash truck. As soon as I was sure the trashman was gone, I decided to go see if there were any cans to retrieve.

On my way down our loooooong driveway I slipped on a piece of black ice and fell HARD! I caught myself with my wrist and arm (they're a little sore, but I don't think I broke anything), but I still fell so hard that my glasses flew off of my face and I immediately had a headache. After I recovered, I proceeded down the drive and discovered that all three of my trashcans were gone. I quickly scanned the cul de sac and saw one of the cans lying in a slushy snowbank. I brought it in and promptly took some ibuprofen.

I warned the boys that on the way to school we would have to scavenge the neighborhood looking for our trashcans. We drove very slowly down the street and sure enough, in the neighbor's yard, a few houses down, Logan spotted another one of the cans and we were able to find all three lids. I put all of our treasures into the back of the car and continued to drop the boys as school. As we were driving through the neighborhood there were trashcans littering the road and ditches. Kaiden commented that it was "trashcanpalooza". I don't know where he came up with that phrase, but it was pretty much right on.

You're never going to believe this, but when I got back home and was reassessing the trashcan situation I noticed that one of the cans still bag of trash in it! Do you think it could be the squid????? What are the chances????? I think I'm just gonna' put the lid on the can and I'll wait for Eric to deal with it when he gets back into town. That sounds like a plan to me!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

We Really Do Have Igloos in Alaska

People always ask if there are really igloos in Alaska, so I took a picture of the boys in the one and only one we've seen. Now you can tell your friends that we really do have igloos here. Well, kinda' anyway.
Eric is out of town on business and has been since last Friday. Over the weekend the boys and I had two choices, we could sit at home and be bored stiff for three days (it was a long weekend) or we could go enjoy the outdoors. Given the choice, Logan will always opt to stay in and play video games, but mom was in charge, so we ended up outside at a local outdoor expo. Even Logan had a blast!

I have to give a big shout out to REI Sporting Goods because they sponsored the event and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was TOTALLY free! They had demonstrations on all types of winter activities. They talked about avalanche beacons and safety, they explained how to geocache (hunt for treasures using a GPS and given coordinates), they had a tour of various ice houses (thus the boys in the igloo), and they demonstrated several winter activities. The boys had a fun time on the snowshoe obstacle course, but couldn't wait to cross country ski. Thanks to the genious business minds at REI (where I may actually go to spend money now), we were all able to borrow cross country skis for the afternoon. It was cold and it snowed all day, but we had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs!

I can hardly wait for all the fun and excitement of the Fur Rondezvous (or Fur Rondy as we locals call it) this weekend! I really just threw that last sentence in for a chuckle and dramatic affect, but there really is a Fur Rondy this weekend and as soon as we I find out what all the hoopla is about I'll be sure to educate all of you in the "lower 48"(that's another local term). Stay tuned!!!!!!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Wind, Wind, Go Away...

"Santa Ana winds, that's one thing I won't miss". When we left CA they were predicting Santa Ana winds, I turned to Eric and made that comment. Boy, was I naive! Here in Alaska we have warms winds that are equivalent to the Santa Anas, that are called Chinooks. Who would have thought? We experienced our first Chinooks a few weeks ago and with them came extemely high winds and a major thaw! We were in the 40s for several days and much of the snow pack melted. It was a mess! Of course, the winds were short lived and after about a week and a half of below 0 temperatures the snow came again and we were back in the 20s. I know you might find this shocking, but I'll take the 20s and snow to those blasted winds any day.

This past Saturday it snowed like mad around here! I even had to blow snow yesterday morning. The extended forecast was calling for temps in the 20s through the 10 day forecast and a chance of snow everyday. Randomly, yesterday afternoon out of nowhere, the winds kicked up and the temperature almost instantly went from 20-45 degrees. All night long those darn winds blew! I slept terribly and woke to a big slippery, melted mess outside! The upshot to all of this was that I didn't have to snowblow today and we had this beutiful view from our deck this deck. Gotta' love it!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Funny Valentine

Any female reading this blog post is going to appreciate how romantic my husband is. This story is sure to put your boyfriend, husband, significant other, etc. to shame. Read on............................. my dear husband, who rarely invites me to join him for lunch mid-week (he's getting better though), invited me to meet him at his office for Valentine's Day lunch. We would meet at his office and he'd take me to Thai food. Sounds good, right???

Let me take you back about a month. When we bought our car, the salesman asked us to sign a piece of paper stating that they could use our address to send a small appreciation gift to us at home. He explained that they like to say "thank you" by sending something like candy or flowers. He then explicitly asked if I would want candy or flowers. I explained that I like fresh flowers and it would be nice to have some in our new house (we had only been here a week at that point).

Last week, I happened to think about the flowers and the fact that they had arrived. Ironically, last weekend Eric mentioned the fact that we had never received our flowers fromt he car dealership. I concurred and told him how I had been thinking about it too. He looked at me, and said "I'm calling Alex (the salesman)"! He picked up his cell phone right then and there and proceeded to make the phone call. I was cracking up! I would never have said a word about it to the dealership, after all, it was suppossed to be a kind gesture, not a part of any agreement we made. Not Eric, he was all about those flowers. Alex wasn't in so Eric proceeded to leave a vague message for Alex to give him a call when he had a chance.

Fast forward to yesterday, Valentine's Day...when I met Eric in the reception area at his office he walked me to his personal office, pointed to a nicely arranged plant sitting on his file cabinet and said "oh, here' your Valentine's present". I responded appropriately by saying how nice the plant/flowers were and mentioned what a nice gesture it was for him to get them for me. He then said, "well, you can thank Alex too". The wheels in my head start turning. Alex...Alex....Alex who? You're gonna' love this one.

Apparantly there had been a shake up at the car dealership and our flower order had inadvertently been overlooked. When Alex has called and explained things to Eric he was understanding about it. Alex said the he still wanted to send the flowers. Eric was open to the idea, but then told Alex that he would like the flowers delivered on Valentine's Day. I AM NOT KIDDING!!!!! Sure enough, the day before, Eric got a call from someone at the dealership asking where he wanted the flowers to be delivered on Valenitine's Day.

This is the kicker, and my favorite part of the story (if you can even believe there's more)....the envelope that holds the little card was a window envelope. The florist just sticks the dealerships business card in the window, throws the stick in the flowers and off they go. When the plant arrived, the business card was showing in the window of the envelope. Eric wasn't going to be sneaky or steal the car dealerships "thunder", so instead of throwing the card away and replacing it with one of his own, he simply flipped the card over, wrote "Happy Valentine's Day" on it, and stuck the business card back in the envelope with the note he wrote showing through the window.

ISN'T HE ROMANTIC???!!! Now you all know why I married Eric! He may not be the most romantic guy around, but he sure is practical (not to be confused with cheap)!

For the record, we had a very nice family Valentine's Day. We had dinner at a local Brewhouse, which is actually a very nice place for dinner, but is still appropriate for children. After diner we all went to see Hairspray the musical. The boys enjoyed the play and weren't phased by the few sexual overtones, which fortunately, were still over their heads. All in all, a very nice evening!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Power of Pink

Yes, you read that right, I did mean pink like the color PINK. I had a thought about pink yesterday and because Valentine's Day is tomorrow, I thought it would be a good day to blog about pink. Some of you are going to think I'm crazy, but I'm o.k. with that!

I live in a house with three guys. The youngest two are 8 and 10 years old and then, of course, there's my husband. In our household there is not much that's sacred. What one person has, someone else in the family usually wants too. It can be anything from food, to a toy, to a particular article of clothing. As you can imagine, it gets old after a while.

Yesterday I bought a beanie for myself. It is reversible pink/white. When I was getting ready to go outside to shovel snow yesterday afternoon I put it on . My son Kaiden (who has an opinion about everything), commented on the fact that I had a new hat (one that he usually would have coveted and tried to take over immediately), made reference to the fact that it was pink and never said another word about it. It was liberating!!!! I had something nobody else in the family wanted, simply because it was pink.

There was a time when we were having children that I really thought I wanted a girl. That thought was quickly fleeting and I am more than happy to be a "boy mom"! I've never really noticed an overabundance of tetosterone in our family, but as my sons get older the tide is changing around here and I am starting to feel a little outnumbered. Here' the perfect example: Eric is going out of town for several days. In anticipation of snow, he mentioned to the boys that he was going to have to teach me how to use the snowblower in case I need to blow snow while he is gone. Kaiden responded by saying that "snowblowing is not really a girls job" so he would just blow the snow himself if it was necessary. WHO'S KID IS HE ANYWAY?

Enough boy talk, let's get back to pink. I have now decided that the color pink empowers me. I do not own a wardrobe of pink clothing nor do I intend to, but I'm so happy when I know exactly what is mine around this house and that nobody else is going to want it. In the mud room, when I see a pink sleeve among the sea of black, khaki, and red I know it's my jacket! I don't have to look at the tag, I just know. When I look in the basket full of black and brown gloves, I know exactly which ones are mine, they're the ones with the pink stripe on them. When I fold laundry I know immediately that if there is an item with any pink on it, it's mine!

Yep, I've decided, pink is my new favorite color and guess's all mine!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I was taking the boys to school today and just beyond our street we had to stop for ..........MOOSE CROSSING!!!!! Our friendly neighborhood moose mama and her baby decided to cross the street right in front of us! Good thing I was paying attention, but too bad I didn't have my camera handy. You would have been impressed!

What weighs more...

O.K., O.K., I know the answer already! I know that muscle weighs more than fat, but I DON'T CARE! Those of you who have been keeping up on my blog already know that we pay a pretty penny to work out at an adequate gym. Now, to make matters worse, instead of that downward spiral I've been working towards, my scale is slowly creeping up! Every time I get on the scale it's torture!

If you know me in real life, you know that I'm not overweight, but I do watch my figure (expand and contract) and I would like to be even thinner. I know some of you would beg to differ, but none of you have seen me naked, nor would you care to, trust me! In my mind, ideally I would be about 10-12lbs. less than my current weight. In an effort to head in that direction, I've been going to the gym 3 times a week and have been watching what I eat. Mind you, I watched what I ate in CA, but I didn't frequent the gym. All that being said, I thought I would lose weight, WRONGO! For the most part the scale has stayed close to the same, but depending on the day, I may be up up to 2 lbs. I never seem to be down though!

I've been doing 30-45 minutes of cardio three times a week and doing a circuit on those three days as well. I know I'm probably building some muscle, but let's be real! Also, can't I build muscle and still drop pounds? I don't have all of the answers, but I told Eric that if I don't start losing weight I'm going to cancel the stupid gym membership. He tries to reason with me that I'm healthier and more fit because I'm going to the gym. I don't disagree, but I worked hard for a certain figure to appear on that darn scale, and when I deviate from that figure it ticks me off! There's no proof that it's muscle and not fat! Any words of advice...I'm listening?????

Monday, February 11, 2008

For the record

I enjoyed my husband's first blog and I hope all of you did too. I'll have to put up a new poll to see if he gets to continue to ghostwrite on occassion or if his first attempt was his last attempt. I'll let you all weigh in later in the week.

Eric did make one comment in his blog post that has been "eating" at me. He said that "most" of what has been said in my blog in true. That's not correct, ALL of what I post is true! Where our definition of "truth" differs is in my perception of him vs. his perception of himself. I think I've been extremely kind to my dear husband in my posts so far, but apparantly he took exception to one of the posts in which I stated that he's "not perfect". So in his warped mind I wasn't being "truthful". You have to understand that Eric has a very dry sense of humor, very good self-esteem and is a legend in his own mind! As long as I (and all of you now) know he isn't perfect, I guess we don't have to tell him that I have in fact been truthful all along.

I just had to clear that up because the way I see it, I would have nothing to gain by not being truthful on my blog. I have nothing to be dishonest about. You will find that I do do crazy, airheaded things sometimes, that I have a wacky sense of humor, I'm not afraid to tell it like it is, and that sometimes I have a colorful way of viewing everyday life. You will also find that I'm fairly intelligent, my life isn't always dramatic, that I'm fun-loving, and really pretty darn normal!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

My Acceptance Post

Wow, what can I say, with a 78% approval rating from the "getting by in alaska" blogspot voters, I feel more popular than most government leaders. Thank you to all my supportive followers (potential followers anyway), for the overwhelming landslide of a victory. I would anticipate that you will enjoy my periodic posts and with time my approval rating will climb even higher. As for the three (3) of you that decided to vote against my occasional contribution, I am pretty sure you can find something better to be doing right about NOW! Not to worry, I don’t get mad, I get even!!! Okay, lets get to it.

Let me start with this big broad statement: "Most of what has been stated in this blog as of today is true, with an emphasis on most." I guess it’s okay to take some poetic liberty when writing a blog, why not, I would have to guess that a good majority of the people who end up reading the posts don’t even know who we are or what our lives are all about. I do have to admit, I thought the whole blog thing was a waste of time. I was quite surprised that the site was being visited so frequently. As of this post, the site has been visited 517 times since January 26, 2007. I do in fact find it quite interesting to look at the statistics link, a link that shows you just about everything you want to know about how often your blog page is being viewed, with the exception of who is viewing it. Very interesting stuff indeed. I do find myself reading the comments that people leave, that’s kind of cool to hear from people you know and people you don’t know. I have even told some of the people I know about the blog, it’s a good way to tell people about our journeys and adventures in Alaska.

So, here we are, living and working is Alaska, it is quite a change from Southern California. For those of you who don’t know, both Stephanie and I were born and raised in SUNNY Southern California. I do have to say, you do kind of settle into a routine. One thing that is kind of hard to get used to is the extreme cold. Right now it is –4 degrees and it has been sub zero for about a week and a half. The average temperature in Anchorage is supposed to be about 20 degrees or so this time of year. The weatherman is saying warmer weather ahead and that means snow. Stephanie is lucky though, I am going to Seattle for business next week and she will get to manage the snow blowing, although Kaiden, our eight year old, told me he would do it. Driving in this weather is also a treat and a challenge at times. We have a new 4wheel drive Honda Pilot (we like it) and recently purchased studded tires. The car works well in most, if not all, driving circumstances. Really, like most areas, you need to watch out for the crazy drivers around you. I heard the average age in Alaska is about 34 years old, very young age. When I first moved here, the Realtor told me that people run red lights routinely, so look before you go on green. So far, we have done well, with the exception of our slide down a hill and into a small snow berm. Studs were installed the next day!

In an earlier post, you heard about Stephanie’s Alaska DMV adventure, you know, the trip she was keeping a secret. Well, I am happy to report that I too am legal to drive in the great state of Alaska. Of course I did not get lost trying to find the place and I did not miss a question on the test. I am not saying I am better than my wife, I am just stating the facts.

This next part is primarily for all the guys that are checking into this blog, gals are welcome too, but you may lose interest, unless you already have.

After getting my license on Friday, I drug Stephanie to a sporting goods store, you know, a store with guns. I have been eyeing a specific gun (.44 magnum) for some time and I needed executive (wife) approval to purchase. I have been wanting, maybe needing, to buy a .44 magnum for a while, even before coming to Alaska, so after moving here, the deal was sealed. I am not sure if most of you know this or not, but wild animals roam the neighborhoods here, bears, moose, etc., you can’t be too careful. Anyway, I purchased a Stainless Steel Ruger Redhawk .44 magnum 4" (six shot), it can fire the biggest heaviest loads. It is a big gun, with a lot of power, enough to drop a bear if necessary (with a good shot). I don’t intend to hunt bear, it is more for protection while hunting, fishing, and hiking. I have not fired it yet, I will report back after I do.

A couple more things about guns in Alaska: 1. I was able to fill out paperwork, pay for the gun, and walk out of the store with it, all in about 20 minute. If you are an Alaska resident all they have to do is make a call and check your background, if you are clean, you can take to gun home immediately. 2. While in Alaska you can carry a concealed weapon (CCW) without any special permits. There are some restrictions, but they are minimal. Even in your car, all you are required to do is advise law enforcement that you have a loaded firearm if you are stopped. It truly is like the old west up here.

Well, I believe I have written enough for my first ghost post, I hope most of you enjoyed it, and if you did not, that’s okay too.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


One of the oddest phenomenon we have experienced here is the static electricity. The only thing I don't like about our house is the cream colored carpeting. Some brilliant person decided that off-white carpet was the perfect color for Alaska. I strongly disagree! Changing all of the carpeting in the house isn't an option right now, so, we walk around in socks or slippers while we're home. We have found if we are not wearing slippers and are in our socks, especially wool socks, it can literally be shocking! The shocks usually occur as we go to turn on the light switches and they are often so strong that we can actually see the spark (I guess it's technically called "the arc").

Last week Eric walked by Logan's room while the alarm clock was going off. Logan was in the shower, so, being the energy conservationist he is, Eric decided he was going to turn the alarm off. I'm still not quite sure what exactly transpired, but the best I can come up with is that as Eric reached to touch the clock he was shocked and the static actually shorted out the alarm clock!!!! As he came back down the hall, Eric kinda' joked that he had shorted out the clock. When I went in the room to see what had ocurred, the numbers on the clock were all wacky. I unplugged the clock thinking that maybe it just needed to be reset. When I plugged it back in the clock didn't work at all!

Of course, the clock couldn't have just been a basic one, this one was a cool projection one that I can't find in Alaska. The good new is that I had just purchased the clock through Amazon, so I was able to return it and have a new one sent right away. I did, however, claim that the clock wasn't in working order when we received it (shhh...don't tell). We learned our lesson though, apparantly everyting around here needs to be grounded.

Another shocking thing around here.......the gas bill!!!!! We got our much anticipated first gas bill last week and I think that unless we want to live in an igloo I'll have to get a job just to pay for our heating bill. It was $312.00, SHOCKING!!!!! I guess that's no worse than the electric bills can be in CA and AZ during the heat of the summer, but still!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

To Shop or Not to Shop

This is the to shop part of the blog......

I know you're all aware that we live in Alaska, but sometimes I think some of you think we actually live in Timbuktu. To set the record straight, we do have "real" stores here and I don't have to travel for hours to get to the mall. As a matter of fact, the nearest mall is only three freeway exits away. Among other stores, there is a Gap, Gap Kids, Old Navy, American Eagle, and a Gottchalks. Off that same freeway exit is also a Sam's Club, Petco, Borders, Home Depot, Wal Mart, Costco, Sports Authority, Pier 1 and Bed Bath and Beyond. See, we almost have it all! Target should be here this spring! HIP HIP HOORAY!!!!

Now, if I care to venture down the freeway a little further there is (I know this may be shocking) another mall. This mall is a little fancier than the aformentioned and they have a Nordstrom, JC Penney, Banana Republic, Abercrombie, and Coach, in addition to some of the same chain stores I mentioned at the first one. This mall is downtown and if you can believe this, they make you pay to park. It's a minimal cost, but a good trip to the mall with cost ya' a couple of bucks.

The price for clothing seems comparable to the prices in California, but we don't have sales tax here, so that's kind of a bonus. The weird thing is, that so far, I've found much better deals on mens clothing than on womens. I keep going to the mall, looking for a good bargain for me, and I end up walking out with a bag full of bargains for Eric. That man has quite a wardrobe going on. Imagine the damage I could do if his arms weren't so darn long!

This is the not to shop part.......

The prices at the grocery store seem crazy to me. So, all though our family may dress great, we don't eat much (I wish)! Eric keeps reminding me that there is no sales tax, so it's sort of built into the price of the food, but I still can't get on board with that concept. For example, when shredded cheese is on sale in CA you can often get two bags for $5.00, here, the sale is two bags for $6.00 and even at that, it'll only be like Jack and Chedder are on sale, not all of the other varieties. On sale, you can get milk 2 gallons for $7.00 (not such a bargain, especially when you purchase the milk on 2/6 and the expiration date is 2/10). On sale, bananas are .99/lb. I often could buy them on sale in CA for .59/lb. You get the picture.

I almost forgot to mention alcohol! Alcohol is quite a bit more expensive and you can't just buy it at the grocery story! For some reason alcohol is always purchased separately in the state of Alaska. Some grocery stores have a liquor store attached to it or within it, but you have to pay for the alcohol by itself, at a designated cashier. It's the same way even in Sam' have to pay for the liquor in the liquor cage.

The other thing about grocery shopping here is that there are two major chains and that's it. There is a Carrs (owned by Safeway) and Fred Meyers (owned by Krogers, I believe). There isn't a whole lot of competition, so they don't have an incentive to lower prices. Also, there are very few coupons in the Sunday paper. The coupons in the paper here are the ones in the insert that I used to not even look at in CA. You know, the insert that has the check order forms and the Lenox crystal and Franklin Mint items for sale in it? Yeah, those are the coupons we get around here!

When I spend money at the mall at least I feel like I have something to show for it. When I spend money at the supermarket all I get is a bulging belly that I then have to pay money for the priviledge to work off at the gym! How is that fair? I guess we'll be having dinner at the mall tonight!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Random Blogging from the Watermans

We had a nice relaxing weekend, so I don't have anything fun and exciting to blog about today. Having said that, I thought I'd offer some random thoughts:

At the risk of offending some of you.........GO GIANTS!!!!!! If you read this blog long enough you will find that I do follow sports and that I usually root for the underdog. Plus, I didn't want Eli to be left out of the whole "ring thing". What's good for one brother is good for the other brother, right?

Now that I've plugged the Giant's Super Bowl win I can get on with the rest of this post...

I am so happy to see so many people have been "tuning in" to check out this humble little blog! I've been having fun doing it and I hope you all are having a good time reading it. I try to keep it on the lighter side because I figure if you're taking time out of your day to see what's going on around here you should at least kinda' enjoy the few minutes it takes to read about it.

I'm going to throw my husband under the bus right now and tell you all that he kind of thought it was a joke when I told him I was starting a blog. The first thing he said was "who's gonna' read it?" I told him my girlfriends back in California would...and I kept my fingers crossed that you all actually would so I wouldn't look like a fool. Thanks girls (and guys), you did me proud!!!!!!

When I set up the blog I put the hit counter on it simply so I knew if people were actually checking out the site. I don't really care how many people are looking at it, I was just hoping somebody was actually looking at it. When Eric was looking over my shoulder one day while I was online and saw how many hits I had, I could tell he was impressed. The best part is, unbeknownst to me, he actually reads the blog on occassion and I think he logs in more often than I do to check the stats! I go on once in a day to post and then another time or two to see if there are any comments, but he'll be on several times during the evening to see what kind of activity is going on. It cracks me up! Eric knows what day my blog has the most traffic, he knows what the heaviest traffic time is, and get this........he's now sending the blog link to his friends! Of course, he tells his guy friends that their wives will probably enjoy reading it more than they will, but obviously he doesn't hate the blog! Get this...he has even expressed interest in adding his own post now and again. What do you think, should we let him sit in as a ghost writer on occassion?

I know some of you who read this are more blog savvy than others. For those of you who don't know or who haven't figured it out yet, you can add a comment to any of my posts. It's really easy and you can do it anonymously if you choose. Just click on the "comment" link at the bottom of the post you want to comment on and you will be walked through it. You can choose not to set up an account and your comment will post anonymously so you don't have to give out personal info or be intimidated. I'd love to hear from you all when you have an opinion or comment about something I've written. I don't bite and my feeling aren't easily hurt!

Just for giggles and because several of you have asked, I've posted a couple of pictures of the inside of our house (we'll start with the living rom and dining area). Some of you may not know this, but my husband picked out this house all on his own. I'm pretty happy with it and think he did a great job selecting a house we would all like.

I also want to thank my sister-in-law Chris for mentioning my blog on her blog. Her blog is I know she wouldn't mind if you checked it out! I've been able to steal several blogging ideas from her and I appreciate that. She and my brother have been struggling with infertility and are now working on adoption, so you will find her blog touches on some interesting topics. Chris is pretty eclectic in her choice of topics, so I'm sure there is something for everyone. Check it out!

It's -8 today, just a tad bit chilly! I'd prefer a shot of whiskey, but since it's 11:20 a.m., I guess I'm off to warm up with some hot tea. UNTIL TOMORROW...

Friday, February 1, 2008

Who Am I Anyway??????

It seems as though I've had a bit of an identity crisis lately. In reality, I'm not the one with the identity crisis, the bank is, but I guess their crisis with my identity can be considered mine. Don't worry, my identity hasn't been stolen, it's more along the lines of the Bourne Identity. Just read on and you'll get the picture.

When you live in Alaska, it doesn't pay to not have the Alaska Airlines credit card. When you get approved for the card you instantly get 20,000 miles, every year you can purchase one ticket for $100, and you get one $50 companion fare each year. If you've checked out airfares to and from Alaska, to just about anywhere, you can see why having this credit card makes sense for us. As a matter of fact, we each applied for a separate card so we could both reap the annual benefits.

I put the initial application in online because I thought it would be faster than calling. The website touts that you'll receive a decision in 60 seconds. Yeah, right!!!! At the end of the process (for both Eric and I) I got a message telling us that they needed a little extra time and was given a secure website I could logon to in order to find out the status after a few days. I diligently went on the site daily, only to see that same darn message. Finally, I called the credit card company directly and listened to a message telling me that I had to wait 10 business days from the date I applied before I could actually speak with someone. I continued to check the site daily, to no avail.

Prior to day 10 I received a phone call for Eric. It was a woman from the credit card fraud department wanting to speak to Eric regarding his credit card application. When Eric phoned them back, he was informed that our current address does not show up on his credit report and in order to send the card to this address, they needed him to fax a copy of a bill, license, etc. that has our current address on it. The day we signed our escrow papers here, Eric ran right down to the DMV to get an Alaska id card. Faxing something with his name and current address was no big deal for him.

Day 10 came and went and I hadn't heard anything regarding my credit application. I called the card company and, like Eric, was told they needed something "official" with my name and current address on it. Unlike my husband, I didn't have an AK id card or my AK driver's license yet. No problem, I'd just fax a utility bill....or not! Because I worked almost up until we left to move here, my dear, well organized husband had taken care of most of the move, including changing over the utilities. All of the utilities are in HIS NAME ONLY!!!!!! I was told I could fax an insurance statement with my name on it.......his name is the only name on the title of our car, so the insurance was put in his name (I'm insured, just not named on the actual statement)! I'm on all of the house stuff, but I had paid everything and like a good girl, had shredded all of the bills/statements. I finally came across what I thought was an insurance statement on the house and faxed it. Whew, I was finally in the clear...or not!!!!!!

The next day there was a message from the cc company telling me that I had faxed an insurance "declaration page", not a "statement". It didn't matter that it had my name and current address on it, it had to be the actual "statement". Here we go again!!!!!! I am not kidding when I tell you I felt like I was in the Bourne Identity!!!!! Every movie I've ever seen where the person had been erased from existence flashed before my eyes!!!!!!!! I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I was so frustrated that I started choking up as I spoke with the cc gal that second time. I told her that for their purpose I did not exist in the state of Alaska and I didn't know what else to tell her. I wasn't lying about living in Alaska. WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD MAKE UP A STORY ABOUT LIVING IN ALASKA??????????? Apparantly, as a stipulation of the "Patriot Act" which was instituted after 9/11, credit cards cannot be sent to an unverified address. Thus, all of this drama!!!!!!

Finally, after almost crying, I layed out all of the details to the young lady on the other end of the phone. I went on about how Eric's name is the only one on everything, including utilities, and that I don't exist on paper in Alaska (short of faxing her my bank statement or escrow papers, which I wasn't comfortable doing) which point she stopped me. She explained that because we are married and they can verify that Eric is my husband, all they need is a utility bill with his name on it. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!!!!!!! Two days worth of drama only to find out that I had the necessary paperwork sitting in my cupboard the whole time!!!!!!!!!!!

You'll be happy to know that the card is in the mail and soon I will be able to start racking up the frequent flyer miles, so I can get away if I get the winter blahs next year or if some great opportunity comes along. Hey......maybe I'll even get back to California for a visit!!!!!!!