Fourteen From a Distance

Today is our 14th anniversary! Let me just tell you, the romance is in no way impaired by the distance. Snort.


Sergio called me while he ran to get lunch which was 9 am my time. He asked me whether I had envisioned myself one day living alone in Alaska on this date 14 years ago, to which I was able to honestly respond, “Not in my wildest dreams.”

We also discussed his lunch choice (buffalo chicken salad), the progress of my license renewal, and the pros and cons of a home gym. And that’s 14 years together.

Happy anniversary, Sergio!


Once In a Lifetime Kind of Trip

This is where I admit that I haven’t been totally honest with you lately. I’ve been hinting at honesty but not totally open. I told you that Sergio had to move “a bit” before Rosalind and I do. Well, he’s already moved. He left on Saturday.

I felt slightly squirmy about announcing to the internet that we’re here on our own, but I can’t really move forward with blog updates without revealing that piece of information.

Revealing it now also allows me to keep you updated on the other half of this blog, Sergio! He and his father completed what feels like a Herculean task to me. They drove from Fairbanks to Fayetteville on winter roads in six days.

Let’s break that down. On good roads, it takes 60 hours to drive from here to there. Let’s add another eight for things like potty breaks and winter weather. They drove about 68 hours in six days. They’ve been through the Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. They’ve gone through North Dakota (just as a big winter storm hit because of course it did), South Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, and the teeniest bit of Arkansas. Oh, and Alaska. On the AlCan Highway. In winter.

Sounds like the best time, right? Imagine at least 30 hours kind of like this…

They averaged 11 hours each day. In the car. On icy roads. With the occasional friend here and there.

They didn’t stop and sightsee. They didn’t do fun stuff. They just drove all day every day. The few updates I received looked something like this.

Though I hated the lack of communication from spotty international cell service at the time, it was probably for the best that I was kept out of the loop until they were safer.

It’s a good thing Rolo and I weren’t there. We would be on the road another couple of weeks because of how much we whined, and I would have stress cried daily when the roads were scary. Sergio and Eugenio handled it like pros though.

They arrived in Fayetteville yesterday. Sergio is currently wearing shorts. Eliot has been basking in going outside without coat and boots and peeing on good old grass like a dog should. They’ve earned it.

I hope that maybe Sergio will write his own post about this trip at some point because I clearly only have an outside admirer’s perspective on it, but here are the details I can provide to you if you are thinking of this sort of thing in the future.

Day One: Fairbanks to Whitehorse. He reported road conditions improved after Delta and he was able to maintain the speed limit despite snow covered roads. Flat and straight. Very few places to stop. Know where you plan to fuel up ahead of time, but also be prepared that it’s winter and some places will be closed because…shrug…it’s cold.

Day Two: Whitehorse to Fort Nelson. This stretch is mountainous and icy at this time of year. I think there were some white knuckle hours for this stretch. Almost no communication all day. Still not a lot of civilization.

Day Three: Fort Nelson to Edmonton. Conditions improved when the mountains were left behind. Sergio finally got phone service as they neared Edmonton, but Eugenio was able to communicate the whole trip.

Day Four: Edmonton to Minot, ND. This was a nail-biter because the big winter storm was hitting and they had to decide whether to stay on the path to ND or add hours by veering off path. They decided to keep steady and monitor road conditions. I believe Edmonton to Minot was a really good driving day.

Day Five: Minot, ND to Sioux City, IA. This was the surprise winter weather day. Cars off the road, slooooowwww progress. I don’t think Sioux City had been the original plan for stopping that day, but it took so long to get there that it made sense.

Day Six: Sioux City, IA to Fayetteville, AR. Somewhere on this day they finally left the winter weather behind. Turns out that way more of this continent is cold than I had previously comprehended. Smooth sailing all the way home.

Here is how we outfitted the Subaru before they took off. According to Sergio, it was a total champion for this type of drive. We don’t even have real winter tires on the car. Just the factory all-weather tires that came with it.

We added a cage to the roof rack that we had previously bought. We also installed a tow hitch and used that feature to add a bike rack to make more room on the roof cage. The roof cage is holding three full suitcases (clothes, shoes, towels, sheets, etc.), and two full gas cans covered in a tarp and netting. The tow hitch is clearly holding Sergio’s bike. Inside the car, they had a cooler full of drinks and snacks, two boxes of books, some art we wanted to specifically protect, duffel bags for daily clothes, a tv, a playstation, emergency water, some MRE’s, and a small toolkit. And Eliot and his bed. I was pretty much terrified that they would go off the road and get stuck somewhere, so the water and MRE’s were at least half just to ease my mind. They did not end up needing them, of course, but I don’t think anyone regretted the preparedness.

So there you go. Have a fun and safe trip if this sounds like your idea of winter fun! If you do, I probably can’t be your friend because you are obviously insane.

Shoutout to my father-in-law who was willing to fly 12 hours to Alaska only to turn around and ride through miserable conditions for almost 70 hours to make sure his son was awake and alert, only to get to Arkansas and have to drive five more hours all the way to his house.

File This Under Things That Are Frustrating

I spent a few hours last week updating my online application for my old (and hopefully future) district. It hadn’t been updated since I had last been hired there in 2012, so it took some time. I think it’s probably true of almost everyone, but I really dislike data entry type stuff in which I put the same information into slots that are already clearly covered in my resume and cover letter.

So it was really disheartening to find that midnight of the same night I updated, the district went to a new online system (with NO warning). I now have to do the whole thing again because none of it transfers over or was saved. They also weren’t nice enough to go to the same application service that many other states (including Alaska) use, so that I could just transfer and update that information. Nope. Brand new.

It seemed so fitting when this went by my Instagram feed this morning.


It feels a lot like how I went out on Sunday and shoveled way more of my driveway than necessary only to nearly get stuck there this morning from the snow that fell yesterday.

How to Succeed in Back Pain Without Really Trying

The one silver lining to having to stay three extra hours after work in order to both exhaust and injure myself playing a game I am getting too damn old to play is that I get to go to work twice a year dressed as a 35 year old hobo cheerleader.IMG_1812

It would be embarrassing if it weren’t exactly what was called for. Also, sweats at work. This school doesn’t allow pajama day during Spirit Weeks, so the two days I get to wear sweats to work are the best days of the year.

Perhaps the incentive to wear sweats a second time is what always drives my team to make it into the finals each year. I WILL HAVE my second sweats day!

All of that to say, despite not really wanting to play this year, and secretly hoping we might double eliminate in our first two games, we instead followed the familiar path my team treads every year. We won our first game, lost our second, and then clawed our way through game after game to get out of the loser’s bracket. I genuinely think I may have played the most games of any teacher in this building over the last three years.

If all things stay the same as previous years, my team will place third or fourth in the finals. Apparently I can get you there, but I can’t deliver the win. The only real difference this year is that I don’t have another adult on my team. I always assumed my teams worked out because I was given ringer adults as partners. Turns out that’s not the reason.

Guys, am I the ringer?

Lol, no. My entire job on the court is to run out front as a distraction while the real work happens behind me. If I manage not to get pelted with a thousand foam balls immediately, I will also run around and tag people back into the game. I am basically the kid that gets put on the team out of pity.

Oh, another difference this year is that while I have always ended up very sore after a night of playing in our fundraising tournament (think dodgeball, freeze tag, and capture the flag played with a team of 12 – also picture utter chaos), this is the first year that I genuinely questioned if I would make it through the evening at all. I can’t decide if my back seizing up was a sign of age or just a sign that I should have remembered to stretch, but by game five I was only pretending to be running around like a normal healthy person. Inside, I was crying.


Stuff I’m . . .

Reading – 

  • At home: We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta’Nehisi Coates
  • At school: The Outsiders for 7th graders and Under a Painted Sky for 8th.

Watching – 

  • Netflix: Gilmore Girls reruns, The Office reruns, Parks and Rec reruns, Atypical.
  • Hulu: We added this hoping for a way to watch the Olympics since we canceled our satellite. That didn’t work out well due to poor internet. I have instead watched Golden Girls reruns, House Hunters International and Renovation reruns, Ina Garten reruns, Mythbusters reruns, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers using the live feature.
  • Amazon Prime – Nothing at the moment, but I did recently finish the last season of Red Oaks. I don’t know anyone who watches that show, but I liked it.

Eating – 

  • Our second to last batch of halibut from this summer. Halibut fish and chips is the number one dinner in our home. Rosalind could just about make herself sick with it. Did I tell you that was our Christmas Eve dinner? That’s how much we like it.

Doing –

  • Packing and selling and packing and selling. It’s weird how fast you can dismantle your life once you get started. We have recently sold our bookshelves and living room tables. We haven’t gotten any bites on our desk yet, but somebody did text us to ask if we would sell our rug that they could just see in the table post. I hadn’t planned to sell it, but we were open to the possibility. They bowed out when they discovered it wasn’t the color they perceived. That’s fine. I didn’t want to sell you my rug anyway.
  • Sergio has been doing the most prep of us all. I keep yelling at him to sit down and relax. He makes me feel lazy and anxious at the same time.

Dreading – 

  • Having to play in the annual school fundraising tournament tomorrow night. I’m just not feeling it this year. I haven’t been very involved to this point, and frankly, I kind of wouldn’t mind if we get eliminated quickly. That’s terrible, right? I’m terrible.
  • Updating all of my old online profiles for NWA school districts. At least I’m not starting from scratch, but it’s still tedious.

Hating – 

  • All of this snow. I need it to stop snowing for a variety of reasons.

Loving – 

  • It was still light outside until after 6 pm last night! March is the sweet spot. Just enough daylight and dark to regain normal brain function.
  • I’m also super impressed with the new Chromecast we bought yesterday to replace the streaming functions of our PS4 when Sergio leaves with it. I like everything about it so far. Eventually, we’ll get another Google Home for downstairs so that I can be fully inert as a person and only have to yell out what show I want to watch instead of push my phone screen two whole times. Perfection.


In more “Things Rolo Does With Poise and Grace That Her Father and I Would Never Have Done At Her Age” news, Rosalind participated in the school spelling bee yesterday. To participate, she had to take one of the two spots in her classroom spelling bee. She did that, and then we studied.

We studied Rhododendron, Ichthyosis, Faucet, and Bollywood because they were on a very extensive list of words to study. We should maybe have reviewed the other side a bit more. She took sixth place in the bee out of thirty participants, going out on a word that seems to be her kryptonite and was not as difficult as any of the above. She took it really well. Because sixth! That’s great! Until she got home later and had a stress cry over the whole day. There is nothing like combining Sergio’s perfectionist tendencies and my anxiety tendencies into the body of an 8 year old. She did at one point say, “Why couldn’t they give me rhododendron? I would have been fine. R.H.O.D.O.D.E.N.D.R.O.N. or faucet! F.A.U.C.E.T. At which point I had to put a (gentle, loving, amused) stop to her self-defeating loop. Don’t worry too much over her. She perked right up after her cleansing stress cry and was excited about presenting her Theodore Roosevelt research project in class today AND gathering up her money to spend at the BOOK FAIR! Nothing beats the book fair, guys.

I hope she does a spelling bee again one day if she wants to, but I pretty much keeled over in physical pain each time an adorable baby human misspelled a word and got eliminated. My heart can’t take it.

Speaking of anxiety tendencies, Sergio bought me a weighted blanket! I now have a 15 pound blanket to try and help me both fall asleep and stay asleep. I don’t struggle to sleep all the time, but I go through cycles of sleeplessness brought on by anxiety. This has been heightened lately with the decision to move and all the necessary troubles that come with moving AND knowing I’ll be here alone with Rolo for at least a short time. I always joke that Eliot is my 13 pounds of living, breathing anxiety blanket. I guess Sergio decided that I needed a suitable replacement for the soothing presence of he and Eliot when they have to move early.

I recently discovered that Nilla Wafers dipped in hot tea is a wonderful treat and also somehow feels not bad for you? I wish I hadn’t made this discovery. I find myself making hot tea just to dip Nilla Wafers into. I’ll now have to put those on the No No list along with Double Stuft Oreos and milk. But you should try it though.

These kids are giving me hope. Support them. And seriously, do NOT support this batshit crazy idea. 

Fingers Crossed

So . . . . I think we’ve actually found a moving company that’s going to work out? Basically what originally happened was we called a moving company to come out and give us an estimate for moving our stuff. We let them wander the house and pointed out what we planned to take and not take. Some important information about us is that we rent a two bedroom house. We do not have a ton of excess furniture and we have exactly zero major appliances (that we own). I was legitimately worried that we would not meet the MINIMUM weight.

That first company then came back to us and said we had over 5,000 lbs worth of stuff. To which we responded with total confusion. WHERE do we have that much stuff? Is there another whole apartment hiding under Rosalind’s bed? I went online to see how much couches and mattresses weigh. Was it significantly more than I had imagined? No!

So then I found an online moving cost calculator, and it turns out that if you enter that you have a 2 bedroom house into an online moving calculator, it will say that you have about 5,000 lbs worth of stuff and (I know this part is shocking) give you an insane estimate that matched the first moving company exactly.

Needless to say, I didn’t feel taken care of as an individual customer. I was pretty darn sure we had nothing like 5,000 lbs worth of stuff. We just don’t own that much, and we’ve already shipped our books through the mail!

We called up one more moving company that seemed way more reasonable over the phone. I also prepared a list of the MUST MOVE items in each room. Like, a literal list that I typed up by room and then shoved into her hands before she had cleared our front door. It was pretty minimal, to be honest. After wandering our house and perusing our list, the lady turned to me and said, “You know you have to meet a minimum weight requirement, right?”

Ha! I knew it! The minimum weight requirement is only 1,000 lbs of stuff! And she thought we might not have it if I stuck to my list! I knew it!

So I assured her that I would also be happy to take that thing there and maybe that thing too, and we received a perfectly reasonable quote yesterday.

Frankly, we’re still probably paying more to move our stuff than it is worth, but it means I don’t have to make very many “emotional cost” decisions at all. I like that.

It’s also a great relief because it means that I don’t have to sell all* of our stuff. Before all of this is said and done, Sergio will have to move a bit before Rosalind and me. I will be left to sell whatever we don’t take. By hiring a moving company, I now only have the responsibility to pack everything up in boxes and then let a moving company come load it up in a truck and drive it a long damn way. It’s definitely the easiest outcome for me.

I told you I would keep you updated on the nitty gritty details of moving whether you wanted me to or not, and I think I have kept my word. The excitement never stops over here at Two Somewhat Different Epigrams.

*We still plan to sell a whole lot of stuff. Anybody want some of our stuff? I have a pretty desk, some bookshelves, a coffee table, a sofa table, a twin bed, knickknacks out the wazoo, and an old Volvo (that you can pick up at the airport in May) available now! Hit me up.

What I Meant to Say, Briefly

So I started about five different blog posts each morning before jury duty started, then I would close the computer down because we were starting a session, and by the time I got back to whatever I had written, it always seemed out of date.

So in order of what I tried to write but never finished:

  1. Rolo recovered from being sick by the next morning and went to school no worse for the wear. Neither Sergio nor I caught the bug after her. Miracles happen.
  2. Jury duty brought out my more impatient tendencies and I spent some time thinking up ways in which my fellow jurors might one day suffer in the same way I was suffering.
  3. Happy Valentine’s Day! We did nothing for it, per usual. We did pick Rosalind up a balloon and some chocolate and a book. Perhaps we’ll try to honor it better as a holiday on Saturday. Maybe Valentine’s should always fall on a weekend? I feel the same way about Halloween. We need to scrap this whole date thing and instead attach it to a day – like we do Thanksgiving. Valentine’s should always be the second Saturday of February. Halloween should just fall on the last Friday night in October. Makes more sense, right?
  4. It is not fair that I got sick (allergies to the point of raw scary face) while already out for jury duty. I was out of work but still working? Lame.

I think those are pretty much the things I tried to cover. I also started a post about where we are with a plan to move or sell our furniture, but the gist was that we don’t have a plan yet. We should have a bit more information to work with soon, so I’ll report back when I know. I’ll just say that it’s not looking so great on the keeping my stuff front. We did go ahead and sell a few more things in the meantime. Bye bye kayak and super insulated cooler! We then went out and bought a smaller super insulated cooler that takes up less space in the car. Tradesies! Oh, and a roof cage for the Subaru. We’re going to make that little car haul every last item that it can!

The Lesser of Two Evils

I find myself with some unexpected time to write a blog post today because rather than sitting for the third of my six days of grand jury duty, I am instead home with a vomit-plagued child.

Pretty sure I found some unexpected vomit as I walked through the kitchen just now. It’s not that I didn’t know she had puked here, it’s just that I clearly missed an important angle or needed additional light or something when I was cleaning this spot at 5 am. Parenting is the most glamorous job. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

It wasn’t long ago that I uttered the statement, “I don’t know…is this how far your bones normally stick out? Let me see your other arm,” to my child after she injured herself at a trampoline park. These two situations pretty much wrap up parenthood. Comparing your kids arm bones to see if she broke something and finding surprise vomit in the kitchen.

Sidebar: Yes, that is how far her bones normally stick out.

You know it’s a really great week in your household when you are awakened at 5 am to a panicked child telling you that they puked. a lot. and didn’t make it to the bathroom on time. And your reaction is, “Well, at least I get out of jury duty today.”

If patience is a finite resource that you have to parcel out over a lifetime, jury duty has nearly hit the bottom of my bucket. Whatever interest it held was gone by the afternoon of the first day, and then we went into overtime. Let me just say, while it sounds like a good idea to put our peers in between ourselves and the unfettered power of the government, I’m not sure we should be putting quite so much faith in the intelligence and understanding of our peers. It’s not like I’m even the sharpest lighbulb in the toolshed, ya know? But I have been FLOORED watching this process for two days. Yeesh. That’s all I can really say. YEESH!

So, yeah. I should probably go check on Rosalind now. I’m periodically needed to readjust blankets, change trash can angles in case of emergency, bring popcicles, and find better tv options. Glam.or.ous.


The Sun Also…You Know the Rest

It’s February now. I feel like the passage of January should be met with a significant change in the weather. Instead, we are still hovering right around -30 degrees. Darn it, Alaska. Quit behaving exactly like you are supposed to at this time of year!

On a pleasant note – I did NOT miss the turn to get to Rosalind’s piano teacher’s house yesterday. I have missed the turn five out of the last six weeks. Why did I manage it this time? Because the sun was still above the horizon! I do appreciate how quickly we gain back daylight.

Here, I took a picture of the sun being out earlier in the morning than usual over the weekend. Now that I look closer, I realize the time stamp on the photo says it was almost 11 am when I took this picture, so not really that early for the sun. Still pretty.

IMG_1652 (1)

Can you feel the cold in this picture? I feel like the trees are just as worn out with it as I am.