Drive Skating

As you may have noticed from my last post, the snow began on Monday. Though I am overall very displeased with this development, there are two silver linings for me. First, I spent all of Monday running around Fairbanks with Rosalind getting all of our yearly checkups done. The snow started only after we got home for the night. Second, at this point in the year, it’s better if just goes ahead and gets cold enough to snow instead of rain. Rain turns to ice.

Speaking of ice! That first snow came on a still warm couple of days. The next morning was a mess as people first tried to get reacquainted with snow driving, and then realized too late that this was a nice Southern snow. There is no good way to drive in a Southern snow (read: ice). The news reported 29 car accidents on Tuesday. At least two of those were two different vehicles sliding into a Trooper’s truck that was stopped helping the wreck that had already occurred in that spot. And 29 probably isn’t the real number either. I have no doubt that a number of people slid right off the road, bumped up against something or other, and then just climbed back up on the road and went on about their day. I’m sure some people even bumped gently enough into each other to just call it a day and move on without reporting. I know that I did one of those fun little slides to the shoulder of the road in my brand new baby Bluebaru, but we escaped our slide without any bumps or catastrophe.

This is why when Sergio told me that it was only 15 degrees outside this morning, I replied, “Oh, that’s good. That’s much better.” Stupid Alaska. Making me appreciate colder temperatures. Gross.

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate driving in the snow? Yes? Many times, you say? Well, I still hate it.

Oh! Afterthought! Those yearly checkups I mentioned all started with my need for an eye appointment. I’ve been getting headaches almost daily along with very noticeable eye fatigue, especially in my right eye. I went to the doc the very first day I could according to insurance. I was convinced I needed bifocals, or maybe even something more nefarious was happening. Turns out that for the very first time in my entire life, my eyesight improved in one eye. Improved!!! I would say that I think they just over-diagnosed me last time, but that doesn’t explain why this has only been a problem for the last two months or so. So at this rate, perhaps I’ll reach my pre-third grade levels of seeing by around the age of 67. That’s how it works, right? It’ll just keep improving? Glad I hadn’t bothered to invest in Lasik yet.

#alaskaprobs

Sorry for the brief absence. Last week was a whirlwind of end of quarter activities that I could have probably organized better. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t procrastinate myself into chaos once in a while.

Interior Alaska seems to be unseasonably warm so far this fall. We haven’t had a proper snow yet or even a week straight of below freezing temps. I’ll definitely take what I can get, but we’re still planning ahead. In much the same way we outfitted one of our children with his new winter coat and boots, we have also spent some time prepping our human child for future frigid temps. Her outfitting doesn’t involve clothes because we tend to strike gold on end of winter sales at the outdoor stores every spring. She’s all good on that front. What we did do, though, was get her a fancy house key and quick release key chain of her very own and sew it into her backpack. She picked the key. It has a skull on it.

We further prepped our child by decking her out in about half of her winter outfit and making her methodically run through the process of opening backpack/taking off gloves only at the last second/quick releasing the key/unlocking the door. We kept going until we got her time down below the 30 second mark. Why?

Because on a day that the temperature hits the negative 30’s or lower, Rosalind only has a few minutes before she would be dangerously cold. She has to get from the bus stop to inside the door in about two minutes or so.* I realize that not every Alaskan parent worries this much. I see my students walking to school on days they shouldn’t be. We also got an email from Rosalind’s school this week having to ask parents to stop dropping off their children early while it’s pouring rain, 35 degrees and pitch black outside, there are no adults yet supervising, and school won’t open for another hour. Alaskan children are pretty hardy, but they are still just children!

So yeah, enjoy a goofy video we took while we trained our kid not to freeze to death on our doorstep.

*I realize I’ve already said this, but I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t again point out that she would only ever need this key if I were in a car accident or something. A really real emergency. She’s not coming home alone at eight years old. Promise!

Lately

On Tuesday, I left Rolo at swim practice and went to the store. I decided I would go ahead and vote in the local election while I had a second. It worked out because my polling place was in the North Pole Mall. The North Pole Mall consists of a liquor store, Safeway, Ben Franklin Craft Store, Sentry Hardware, the local chapter of a political party office, a hair salon, a nail salon (the one that destroyed my eyebrows that time), and a tailor that is usually never open. Also, several phone booth kiosks that are empty. If you were ever imagining anything resembling the traditional understanding of a mall, I hope I adequately dispelled that for you.

It was convenient that the polling place was there because, as I just mentioned, that is where the Safeway is, and that is where I was going anyway. What turned out to be less convenient is that it was the polling spot for both Plack and Newby Roads. I have literally never stood in a longer line to vote in my life. The closest I came was voting in the 2008 Presidential election which is a nice story and one I should tell sometime.

So why were so many people so darn civic-minded for a local election that consisted mostly of school board positions? Weed.

You’ll be happy to know that it is good old marijuana that gets the people of the greater North Star Borough out to vote. Perhaps you’ll also be interested to know that people in this area prefer (almost 2 to 1) that the current legal weed businesses get to continue operating. Things to know about voters up here…don’t mess with their PFD’s and hands off the pot.

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I’ve been off Facebook all week. Like OFF off. I haven’t deleted the account because I like the media storage it provides me, but for all other purposes, I am off Facebook. I don’t get notifications nor do I have the app. Just FYI in case that is your favorite way to get in touch with me, or if you assume that I’m up to date on the same family/friend events that you are. I’m not. You’ll have to actually contact me if you want me to know something. I think it’s better this way.

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Rosalind began taking a new afternoon bus this week. Instead of picking her up in the driveway of her daycare, she now rides the bus home. We had it set up that way in the past so that she could be with an adult and in a warm place if ever I was late. She asked two weeks ago if she could just ride the bus home with her friends from our street, and I realized she is probably responsible enough to do that even if there is a day I’m running late in the future. I am only ever late if the truck breaks down. We don’t own that anymore! If Bluebaru performs as promised, this should not be an issue this year.

Can I just tell you how liberating it is to go home from work everyday? No organizing the two days she takes the bus, no picking her up from school three days a week, no sitting in the daycare driveway looking at my phone while I watch time tick away that could be better spent doing something else. Most days of the week, I get home about 45 minutes before her! You would think I would be productive, but other than taking the dog out, I have been using this time to watch tv. It’s amazing! I feel 1000% less busy than I did just last week. I can’t believe how much difference a half hour of down time can make.

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I’m bummed that Tom Petty died. He was one of the few artists I picked up entirely on my own as a kid. It didn’t come out of my parent’s collection, I wasn’t introduced to it at school, I wasn’t gifted it by a friend or relative, he wasn’t my brother’s thing, and I’m not even sure how Sergio feels about Tom Petty. I came across a cassette tape in our basement when I was about 11, probably left behind by the previous owners, and I made it my own. I realize now that it informs a lot of my musical tastes to this day.

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I have never given two thoughts about Hugh Hefner, but I happen to be reading Thy Neighbor’s Wife right now. I was on the chapter about Hugh Hefner’s childhood and college years when he died. What a weird cowinky-dink.

 

Barron Updates

Let’s play a guessing game. See if you can guess which update belongs with which Barron. One of us just got back from above the Arctic Circle. One of us has spinal subluxation. One of us no longer has a palate expander! One of us has no updates but does have an achy back from sitting in the bleachers at swim practice every other day and also currently at this exact moment.

Give up? I know it was a tough game.

Sergio went to Barrow! It’s actually called Utqiaġvik now, but I was afraid if I didn’t introduce it as Barrow then you might be confused about where he was. To put it simply, he was at the tippy top.

images

Sergio is that much closer to being a real Sourdough. He has managed three winters in Alaska already, and now he has gotten above the Arctic Circle as well. He did not manage to see any polar bears which, believe it or not, is a real possibility.

Eliot has been diagnosed as having pretty much the only thing that afflicts poodles. Spinal subluxation. There isn’t much to be done but hope he doesn’t get worse and keep him comfortable. The vet was really impressed with how spry and healthy and happy he seems in every other way than his back popping like popcorn at the slightest touch and the mild ataxia of his back legs. Since he seems mostly fine and happy, and he’s already pretty darn old, the course of treatment is steroids, keeping an eye on, and cuddles. With any luck, that treatment plan will keep him going until at least 16 years old.

Rosalind got her palate expander off on Tuesday! It was actually pretty lackluster since it turned out to be loose anyway. I guess Rolo could have popped that sucker out just about anytime she wanted to. She was very excited to use the roof of her mouth normally again. We are very excited that she will no longer make terrible noises to dislodge food from above the expander.

There is nothing going on with me at all. My entire life seems to be taking Rosalind to her stuff. I am not kidding about these bleachers. They are concrete.  I think they have been specifically designed to torture people. I’ll keep doing this on Tuesdays and Thursdays and most Saturdays because Rosalind seems really happy with swim. She placed 2nd (backstroke) and 3rd (freestyle) in her first swim meet. Perhaps the pool is the place for someone with limbs so long they can’t always keep them organized! But I guess that is really a Rosalind update again. Oh! I watched Gremlins for the first time last week. It turns out that Sergio is not the only one that has Steven Spielberg gaps in his upbringing. I legitimately did not know it was a comedy. I’m proud of myself that I knew enough about it to fast forward through Phoebe Cates’ monologue about Santa/her dad/fireplaces and save myself that conversation with Rosalind! Mom success!

Look! The light is going already, but at least we are creeping up on almost unlimited sunsets and sunrises.

Sunset on Plack

Not Afraid To Lay It All Out There

Sometimes you notice a trend among the blogs you read where everyone writes about the same topic somehow. This week that trend among my favorite blog fodder seems to be “What’s in my bag” fare.

If these people actually live their whole lives in as organized a state as their bags make them look then it’s clear why they are more successful at life than I am. Do you know that last weekend while I was waiting on Rosalind’s haircut to wrap up, I found two giant rocks in my purse?

Rocks

Not little pretty pebbles. These were full grown adult sized rocks that Rosalind had put in a never used pocket of my purse while we were in Seward. So I’ve just been unsuspectingly toting those around for a month.

Let’s take a look at the purse of someone at the intersection of Not Very Put Together Ln. and Parent Ave.

Purse contents

  1. I have my wallet! It’s probably the only thing I actually need to carry other than my keys.
  2. I have my car keys. Not pictured: my work keys and Harry Potter lanyard. Not pictured because I am wearing it. Harry potter because I am a middle school teacher just really into Harry Potter.
  3. There is a family sized bottle of ibuprofen because that’s what I could find one morning on my way out of the house. It has served me well. It’s far too big to carry around all the time though. It is next to a bottle of off brand Claritin that is at least two years old and expired some time ago. Still works.
  4. There is a piece of mail requiring phone calls that I have made a time or two already and gotten exactly nowhere. On top of that piece of mail is a bank envelope containing a check that I deposited using my phone MONTHS ago. I have carried it around ever since because I don’t know what to do with it, and it hides in a conveniently almost never opened pocket. On top of both of those are my daughter’s most recent Girl Scout badges. We just did a marathon iron on session of all of her badges from last year, so there is a decent chance these will never make it onto her current vest before she bridges.
  5. There’s one of several stickers I’ve been given in return for charitable donations. I don’t know where to put them, so they just sit on my bookshelf at home, or in this instance, hang out in my purse all the time.
  6. There is a $40 Barnes and Noble gift card that I bought for an event that I wasn’t sure was a gift event. It wasn’t. So I’ve just been carrying it around so that I can eventually spend my own money. I haven’t spent it yet because my family has a book hoarding problem.
  7. Why, yes, that is a 20 peso note with some British coins on top. Don’t you carry that around all the time? Rosalind took them to Girl Scout Show and Tell last week.
  8. That polished aquamarine heart thing is another rock addition to my purse courtesy of Rolo.
  9. The folded white paper is directions to Rolo’s swim goggles. I have NO IDEA why they are in my purse. None of us require instructions for swim goggles.
  10. Three, count them, THREE chapsticks. Lose one, buy another. Repeat. My house is covered in these as well.
  11. A pack of gum I bought for the plane ride to Mexico at the beginning of summer.
  12. A lollipop that Rosalind can’t eat with her braces but wants to hold onto for one day when they are off.
  13. My workout headband. I’ve been looking for that.
  14. Four, count them, FOUR pieces of Rosalind jewelry.
  15. Various trash and one coveted SweetnLow that will now go in my desk at work.
  16. Also not pictured purse contents: phone. Because I was using the phone to take the picture.

This is my purse at it’s best. I consider this nearly cleaned out. Notice there are no receipts! Or rocks straight off the ground! Progress.

I Wrote This Yesterday

I am sitting in my car listening to music on our old iPod that we recently found. I’m sitting here because Rosalind is attending a birthday party of a classmate. We got here at an awkwardly late time. I knew we would be late, and I warned the party parent of that fact when I RSVP’d, but then we were later than that. I had wanted to drop Rosalind off and go home for an hour or more before picking her up, but the weird time we got here made it questionable whether it was worth going home at all, so I didn’t. Now I’m watching the minutes tick away at a mind-numbingly slow pace. Why weren’t they ticking by this slowly when I was breaking speed laws all the way back from our Fairbanks appointment, huh?

I think I made the wrong decision by not going home right away. It’s definitely too late now though. I would want to be back 10 to 15 minutes before the party ended anyway, so I would not even get parked in my driveway before having to turn around. I hate awkward timing.

If you are wondering why I don’t just join the party like a normal person, the answer is that Rosalind told me she had brought a jacket. Then she said she hadn’t. As I stood chatting with other parents, I noticed the chill in the air. I offered Rolo my very long sweater, and she gratefully accepted. I walked back to the car in my tank top. It was brisk. Would anyone like to guess how many Rolo jackets I found when I checked the backseat? Three.

I would take a picture of the landscape for you to show you that not only is the air brisk but that we are fully in our fall color phase as well, but I can’t. My phone is dead. Also the reason I’m listening to the old iPod instead of a podcast or something.

This day has been marked beginning to end with examples of my failure to Responsibilitate. Rolo had her first mock meet/time trial for swim this morning. We were running a little later than I intended (still early to the meet but without time to stop for coffee first), and I worked to make sure that I had brought her competition style suit, cap, goggles, and extra underwear for afterward. Guess what I didn’t remember? A towel. Or water.

So, let’s see…

  • Missing lucrative swim supplies
  • Extra late to a birthday party (partially due to going to the wrong destination first)
  • Didn’t check that my kid had actually brought a jacket before leaving the house
  • Didn’t check that my kid had actually used her eyes to check the backseat for other jacket type items before giving up my jacket
  • Dead phone
  • Poor decision making to not book it straight home upon arriving at the party

I blame it all on having to be somewhere at 8 am on a Saturday for the first time in…uh…since high school maybe? Threw my whole day off to have to hit the ground running on a Saturday. Dislike.

Guess what we’re doing next Saturday at 8 am? Same damn thing. Is this my life now?