Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Looking Forward....And Wisconsin

The caribou herd has been on the move through the area.  I was fortunate enough to run into a few the past couple of weeks!

And what happened next?  We bought 4 chickens!  Back in April John had a brilliant idea.  He thought that 'we' should all....him, Jen, and the two of us....go in on chicks and raise them together...share the responsibility.  Since we had the space here at the compound, we could supply the facility and he and Jen would help out.  Great idea!  Only issue is, Maryann and I have somehow taken full proprietorship on the project!

Guess who will be buying their eggs from us....

We bought the 4 chicks at 3 weeks old and raised them in the guest bathroom in a tote and heat lamp until they lost their down and got their feathers in and could take the chill temps of outside.  Which worked out well, because about the time they were able to be transferred outdoors in June was about the time the temps began to be suitable.

We converted a small portion of our large greenhouse into an enclosed indoor coop and made a small door leading out into a fairly large area along the side of the greenhouse, which is closed in by a wire fence with netting on the top to prevent both flying and walking predators.  They are happy chickens, and any day now we should be happy humans with some fresh eggs abound!  In all seriousness, John has been instrumental in helping get both the indoor coup and the outside run built and operating, and we tend to foot the bill for feed and make sure they are watered and cared for.  It just amazes me how a "we" project quickly turned into an 'us' project!  Winter is going to be a bit of a challenge, however, many have raised chickens in Alaska before us, so it is doable and we are pulling together the resources and insulating the inside coop in preparation.  Honestly it may not be too far off as the past couple of days we have woke to 30F degrees!

Winter is another story for another post.  This past winter was just wild!  Which brings me to a point, that has been on my mind for a while now and I cant seem to figure it out, other than ignorance or the ego.  Or both!?  What is with Wisconsin?  In the past year, I have come across more people who have moved here from Wisconsin who make sure to let Alaskans know that winters in Wisconsin are far worse than here.  Like they just moved from a heavy winter state to, like, the coast of California or something....to get away from heavy winters.  One young couple I came across plowing a 4-plex this past winter made sure to let me know, that winter here in Alaska is nothing compared to Wisconsin.  I mean out of the blue, she just brought it up.  It wasn't even part of an initiated conversation or anything.  Anyways, they were whining and complaining that I wasn't plowing enough and they were getting stuck too often in the wife's little ground hugging front wheel drive car.  Ummm.  Really??  Hmmm.  Ok then.  Welcome to Shangri-La!

Another recent encounter with a Wisconsonian boasting of how easy winter is here compared to Wisconsin, who ironically hasn't even spent her first winter here, proceeded to line me up to build a carport with her in March this coming year.  She looked puzzled when I began to laugh, heartily!  What is so funny she inquires?  Only that the ground is frozen solid in March I tell her.  So, she proceeds to say that we can move it up to April.  She looked a little out of place when I told her that I hit frozen solid ground at 6 inches in June this year.  She was also the one who recently presumed that the roads were kept clear and sanded continuously in the winter and insists that winters here are mild compared to Wisconsin.  Amazing.  But what is more amazing is why Wisconsinites even bring it up?!  It's almost like they are coming to this state, already with some kind of complex and deem it necessary to bring up their first conversation with Alaskans, of how much harder Wisconsin winters are.  And maybe they are?!  Who knows....I have never wintered there.  I can say that where we came from in the Sierra Nevada mountains that it wasn't uncommon to get 3-4 feet of snow in a 24 hour period which I have yet to see here.  Does that make this place any milder?!  Hell no!!  To each his own I guess.  Just amazes me these Wisconsiners.

The matter of the lodge.  I could write a book on the insanity and goings on of that whole drama.  Like any entity who loses their star player, they will recover, I am sure.  It will never be the same there, and will never be run as efficiently as it was with Maryann at the helm, this I know for fact.  But it is what it is.  My wife has freedom from the manipulation and emotional beatings that she was delivered constantly from owners who had no clue.  To tell you how bad it was, by law, anyone who is fired or quites must have their final paycheck within 24 hours.  Know how long it took her to get her final check?  Oh come on....take a guess.  One of many things that floored me in the days of her resigning, was when the president of the lodge asked her 5 days later, when he realized finally that she wasn't nor never intended upon coming back, who was their book keeper.  Maryann informed him that this would be her.....duh!!

A month and a half.  This is how long it took them to pay her her final check.

The bottom line is this.  She had had it with her job, or more so the inadequacy of her job, as far back as last year.  About the time the jackass I mentioned in the last post had listened in on our private conversation here at home.  It was inevitable folks!  It was all a matter of time.  Sadly, at least for the lodge, it happened sooner and in more of a haste than it had to have.

A friend of mine whom I spoke with the other night, found out for the first time since, that she had walked away from her job.  His initial reaction was that of concern and worry for us.  It was after I explained the plan she was implementing for the past 8 months, that originally would have eased into play leading to her quitting in this coming spring, that eased his mind.  He realized that we always have a plan before we jump off and are typically methodical about what we do to line up our future.  He worded it eloquently, but summed it up best.  It's called, a calculated risk, and without it we would have never moved here and in fact I wouldn't be writing this at all!  Sure, there is always uncertainty and I would be lieing if I told you that I wasn't a little on edge in the initial days.  But, God has blessed me with health and an overabundance of work, which has adequately kept our bills paid to date, and with a little cutting and skimping here and there, we are so far doing just fine.  In time this is all going to get even better.

It is interesting when you look at it, how sometimes the most adverse situations can bring about positive growth and change.  It was only 2 months ago that Maryann made the comment, that if she came across the biggest ass she's ever known, Monte the fishing king 1/64 owner, and he was on fire and she had a glass of water....she would drink the glass of water!  I dont blame her.  If it was the same scenario only me who had to take a leak upon finding his sorry ass ablaze....I wouldn't even consider pissing on him!  And I probably still wouldn't even today.  Maryann on the otherhand made the comment the other day that she would probably hug him if she came across him in town.  ??? you ask?  Because sometimes it takes getting pushed out of your comfort zone to allow personal growth.  I cant begin to express the magnitude of growth both in our relationship, personally and as a family as a whole, that came out of the move we made 5 years ago, taking a leap out of our comfort zones.  And so if not for the pressure placed upon her constantly, who knows if she would have been tempted to move on.  I on the other hand have a hard time forgiving someone who treated the love of my life so miserably and poorly.  Time heals all wounds.

What she did has made her a different person these days and she is already feeling healthier both of body, mind and spirit.  The road that lies ahead and the amazing things already occuring for her and I are fabulous!  Although I seem a little frustrated in my descriptions of the events leading to now, I realize that this job had been exactly what we needed 4 1/2 years ago, and it came at the right time.  It is one thing that helped contribute to the success of our  first 5 years here.  And just as it came at the perfect moment and served its purpose, so too has it passed its time to make way for something better.  Truth is we don't want to see anyone fail or fall as a result of her actions, just walking away and leaving them in a qundry, which again I must emphasize, they caused to happen.  We know what was right, and what was so wrong there and if they are honest with themselves at night and can get past their over inflated egos, they also know what was right and what was wrong.

Life is a series of descisions.  The descisions one makes will dictate whats to follow.  Although bad descision making on the part of the lodge made for their own ensuing hardships, it also led to the decision of Maryann to close one door so that the next will open to better our lives.  Things keep changing everyday here and we will keep updating as time prevails.

Meantime, I am hoping for as hard a winter as the folks in Wisconsin get!  Stay tuned.

Maryann found this colorful tree spider in one of her flower baskets the other day.  She laid claim that it may be her late 'Aunt Bessie'.  Therefore she spared it and released it back into the wild.  Do you see what too much time can do to a person?!  Thank God it lives in Alaska, where our winters are sprite and full of glee....umlike that of Wisconsin...