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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Life is Glorious

Our Name Placard

I’m not sure what I have done to deserve such a wonderful week, but I’m grateful and I’m enjoying every moment.  So much happens in just one day and I’m excited to share some of it with you.

I spent about four hours today planting flowers and strawberries, hanging hand painted birdhouses, and strategically hiding our gnomes and other garden friends around the dock area.  If my dirty feet and aching back are any indication of a job well done then I’m satisfied.

Our Favorite Shoes

Mama Bird is still hanging out in the back even though my seven-year old son (Aaron) banged away with hammer and nails all day long.  The noise didn’t even phase her and he was a very happy camper building his first boat.  My five-year old daughter (Allyson) loves to take photos and she really helps me document our journey each day.  We watched a plane take off and land probably ten times and she was able to capture the moment.

Great Source of Entertainment

The sunsets are truly amazing and I take a moment to pause each night to watch the spectacle.  It reminds me of when we visited Maui about nine years ago.  It’s a local tradition for everyone to stop whatever they are doing and watch the lights go out.  Their sunsets are very quick in comparison and when the light goes out there it’s actually dark.  Not here.  We are currently getting eighteen hours and thirty-two minutes of daylight and still gaining around three and a half minutes per day.  My husband and I sat out by the dock last night/this morning watching four grebes interact (or mate, or fight, or whatever they were doing.)  I love to sit and watch the lake late at night and early in the morning, because it’s so flat and peaceful.  I still pinch myself each day and wonder if I’m going to wake up from this dream.  I’m exactly where I want to be at this moment in my life.  I know that some of you reading this blog might think my desire to have this experience is strange (or at least unconventional), but that’s the point of it all.  Me having the courage to be Me as you watch the entire process unfold.  Too much fun!
 

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The Diva Has Left The Building

Okay, I am here to confess that perhaps I have had a little inner diva or so I’ve been told (hi Mike).  If there was truly an ounce of diva coursing through these veins I’m happy to say that it has vanished from my body (unless wearing makeup occasionally still qualifies me).  I can happily report that we’ve been here one week and I have relinquished a lot of fears and learned to relax a little (please remember I’m a work in progress).  I no longer fear that a bear will eat my young at any moment, I don’t completely (just partially) freak out when I see bugs, I am okay with not having a hot shower every single day (hey, I’m not the one who has to look at me…ha ha), I no longer worry about instant hypothermia if I fall in the lake (the water is getting warmer every single day), I no longer worry about reliable transportation (we have a boat that starts when you turn the key) and I have accepted the fact that life is much simpler living here (translation:  slow down and don’t get in a hurry).

The Family Wagster

Even so, I would like to know who sent the personal invitation to every spider in a five-mile radius to join our little party.  I have never seen so many spiders and webs.  Yikes!  I wipe webs away and by the end of the day they are back (determined little critters).  Yesterday I encountered two spiders in the cabin and that’s two more than I have ever seen inside (let’s just say there will be no more niceties exchanged).  What’s up with that?  I’m starting to think these free loaders cannot read the No Vacancy sign posted on the door.  Get out I say.  Last night I rested my head on the pillow and fretted that the spiders might have the same bedtime, but pure exhaustion overtook me so quickly I let it go and drifted off to sweeter dreams.

Mama Bird with a Watchful Eye

We are ready to hang the sun shower on the rack, but I’m hesitant to disrupt Mama Bird and her egg.  She sits up there all day waiting for Baby Bird to make his entrance into the world and I am very respectful of this miracle.  We are careful to help her feel secure, so she doesn’t abandon her post.

 

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We’re Here!

The First Night

We finally made it out of the house Saturday, May 21, 2011.  Unbelievable!  It took almost two months to sort, pack, and move out of the huge house with all of that stuff.  All I know is that I’m so relieved to have completed that chapter and began a new one.

The past couple of days we have been shuffling between the cabin and the RV parked at the boat launch, driving to Anchorage and everywhere in between, and organizing the cabin and the outbuildings.  It will probably take us a few more days to really get everything moved in and set up the way we want, but it’s so much fun putting it all together.

We’ve seen a lot of nature in just a short time:  grebes, loons, ducks, woodpeckers, red breasted robins, cardinals, eagles, a muskrat, and fish jumping looking for their first meals above the ice.  Oh, did I mention the other “wildlife?”  That is, spiders (had a huge one crawl up my leg the first trip to the outhouse – yikes), mosquitoes (the size of small birds), butterflies, and all kinds of unidentified bugs, bugs, and more bugs.  We even found a bird’s nest with an egg in it perched above our sun shower area.  I have not witnessed nature this up close and personal in a very long time.  It’s such a calm and peaceful experience already and we’ve just begun.

New Resident

The kids spend their entire days digging in the dirt, riding in the paddle boat, trying to ride their bikes (yes, if you can imagine bikes on a gravel hill), playing in the man cave (or whatever you call it…still haven’t decided on the appropriate name yet…perhaps family room), hauling water in buckets to create mud slides, fishing (the only thing they catch is themselves), and absolutely anything else that grabs their attention.  All I know is the kids are always outdoors unless their growling tummies bring them inside for a quick meal.  I’m just so happy they are not watching tv (we don’t have tv service anyway) or playing video games (we will save those activities for rainy days which we get a lot of in Alaska).

We now have internet access which means I can talk to you all.  I’ve really missed posting entries to this blog over the past couple of weeks as we finished the move, since writing and sharing our experience brings me great pleasure.  Life is great!  I got a lot of sleep last night, a shower this morning, and now I’m spending an amazing day doing exactly what I want with the people I love the most.

 

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The Mother of All Moves

My Sister Vickie and I (me on the left)

A sorting we will go…wondering where I have been?  In a cloud of dust from all the boxes, sorting through things from my mom, my husband’s mom, my grandparents, my childhood, my husband’s childhood, my childrens’ childhoods, okay you get the point.  This move will certainly be remembered as the Mother of All Moves!  I finally feel as though I am crawling out of the abyss of stuff and have found the floor in some rooms.  We have extended our stay one final time to May 17 to get out of here with our sanity intact (a matter of opinion).  We have been working from sun up to sun down (in Alaska that is all day) every day to get this house packed.  Much to my surprise this move has taken on a life all its own even though it is my fifty-sixth move.  Historically I have moved boxes to the next house even if I had not opened and organized them, so physically touching each and every item has proven extremely time-consuming.

When we started this process I had approximately three thousand five hundred books in this house (my rehabilitation led me to the Nook Color), hundreds of beanie babies (what was I thinking in the early 90s), tens of thousands of photos (including the infamous “black suitcase” which has traveled through our family since the 1940s),  enough office and school supplies for a few years, enough baskets and gift wrapping supplies (including gifts still in the boxes) to open a gift basket business, enough clothes to outfit a family of twenty (how many outfits can you possibly wear in a day or before you grow out of them), enough papers to sink a ship (the recycle bin has been full to the brim), and over forty houseplants.  I am happy to report that I kept fewer books than I donated (I think the local bookstore may have doubled in size in the past few weeks); gave away all but a couple of houseplants; and happily shared bags and boxes and truckloads full of toys, clothes, stuffed animals, household items, dishes, furniture, appliances, computers, etc.  I jokingly tell my friends that I have a “no return” policy on everything I share with them (thanks Chris, Sina, Rachel, Kay, Carl), so I hope we are still friends.

The "Black Suitcase"

At one point I felt as though I had entered some kind of weird time warp and my head had spun out of control with a lifetime of memories.  The “movie” played out in my brain, but  in a very disjointed and haphazard fashion as I compiled all of our family photos and keepsakes (which represented several generations spanning over one hundred years all over the country) in one area.  I’m so happy that we have completed all the sorting and now it’s just a matter of wrapping, packing, and storing.  I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel now and it feels great.

Look What Made The Cut

We found evidence of many different types of media available during our lifetime:  Disc camera, 35mm, digital, slides, 8mm movies, 110, Polaroid, video cassettes, dvds, cds, and microcassettes.  We found baby shoes, baby outfits, wedding dresses, wedding rings, old coins, old dolls, greeting cards (some that never made it to the mail box), my mom’s spoon collection (hundreds of spoons collected over sixty-seven years), letters, legal documents (including funeral announcements, birth announcements, marriage certificates, birth certificates, death certificates, wills, divorce decrees), medical and dental records, x-rays (why do people keep these things, don’t the doctors have this stuff on file), footprints, hospital armbands, my Brownie dress and my husband’s Cub Scout shirt.

Brownie Dress and Childhood Books

I have learned patience as I dilligently review the contents of each and every box, because I am always rewarded with a special keepsake. Some of the really special items we found were my mom’s genealogy (I couldn’t even remember my great grandparents’ names), photos from the 1920s and 1930s, my mother-in-law’s wedding dress (which I actually retrieved from the garbage after we found her wedding photos and realized the error), old love letters (which will remain anonymous to protect the innocent), old coins, old books from the late 1800s and early 1900s, and old address books belonging to my mom and my mother-in-law (which really helps put the puzzle together.

Our decision to simplify our life has been completely validated as a result of this entire process.  I think I will experience the effects of the stuff “hangover” for a very long time and I’m thrilled to know that I will have far less stuff to clutter my space and mind and far more time to enjoy life.