Settling in in Alaska

My mother and I are really very different, and, as I learned over a long hard winter of living together, different in ways that drive the other a little nuts sometimes. I have no problem leaving my pyjamas on the floor, I’ve never really understood the point of making my bed when I’m just going to crawl back into it later and wreck it in my thrashy sleep, and I generally have no idea of where my cell phone or keys are, but goddamn it, my spices are always alphabetized. How can you live in a house where the spices aren’t alphabetized? How do you even know what you have? It boggles the mind. No wonder the woman has four bottles of chili flakes.

Likewise, I could sense her agitation as my leaving date loomed as I was doing nothing to prepare. She was online everyday reading about Ketchikan, checking the weather reports, looking at maps of it and trying to figure out where the company I work for is and maybe where I live. Everytime she tried to tell me some new fact about my soon-to-be temporary new home I put my hands over my ears and went “LALALALALALA!” She’d wait til I was done and then say “Okay one more, and then I’ll stop. Did you know Ketchikan…” “LALALALALALALA!”

Mom’s a planner.

I prefer to not have preconceived notions. I was going somewhere, and I would be employed and have adventures and that was enough.

When I arrived I knew precisely two things about Ketchikan: it rains a lot and there’s a lot of salmon.

I was picked up at the airport bang smack ontime by the housing coordinator, and we took a ferry to Ketchikan, where she gave me a very brief tour of downtown where I saw lots of quaint old businesses like video rental stores- for real!- and then took me to my new home, where I was rather non-plussed to find I’d be living in a house with seven other women. Now, I swore to myself when I had my place in Istanbul that I’d never have another roommate, and I felt I had made concessions in just sharing a corporate apartment with another lady, and now there were seven other ladies to contend with? Hmmm.

It has worked out better than could possibly be expected, though. The house has two levels that are more or less self-sufficient, two full kitchens, three full bathrooms and a powder room, and a glorious backyard.

The back yard on a drizzly day.

The back yard on a drizzly day.

We each have a cell-like but functional room with a small bed, a desk, a chest of drawers, and a mini-fridge.

We range in age from 23 to 68. Our peripatetic natures tie us together, and we get along well, but the three thirty-five year olds, me and ST and AC, have banded together and are often to be seen as a unit, smoking cigarettes in the backyard, or pooling resources to make dinner, or cackling over rot-gut (and rot-brain) whiskey. We also have among us a former zoo vet-tech who worked with big cats, a lady who sails tall ships normally, a lady who survived Bob Jones university, a forensic scientist, and a girl who until yesterday had never been on a plane and had never traveled further west than Alabama.

So here we are.

I am the only one in the house who can cook. I do not mind at all.

My time has been filled with training- long, long hours of it, followed by hours spent gossiping and story-telling in the back yard. (I hope you don’t mind if I don’t tell you who I’m working for or even what I’m doing, specifically. Protecting the innocent people who hired me and all that.) Sometimes, though, I go for walks.

I’m about to go to bed, because I have to report for work at 6:45 tomorrow. Here are some pictures, though, from the last 13 days of my life:

Where we sail.

Where we sail.

After the rain comes the gross.

After the rain comes the gross.

#mosslife. (Ketchikan gets 13 FEET of rain a year.)

#mosslife. (Ketchikan gets 13 FEET of rain a year.)

Taxidermy store in the shopping center. As you do.

Taxidermy store in the shopping center. As you do.

Totem pole with matching house.

Totem pole with matching house.

Ketchikan houses the largest collection of totem poles.

Ketchikan houses the largest collection of totem poles.

Ketchikan also sells this product in its stores. Presumably on purpose.

Ketchikan also sells this product in its stores. Presumably on purpose.

,

A face in a tree.

A face in a tree.

This is a volcano nub that's really famous. Not one person, that I've heard, has mentioned what it rather resembles.

This is a volcano nub that’s really famous. Not one person, that I’ve heard, has mentioned what it rather resembles.

A view from work.

A view from work.

Fire safety training. No pressure, just put that out.

Fire safety training. No pressure, just put that out.

We take first responder training VERY seriously.

We take first responder training VERY seriously.

My work photos are better than your vacation photos. Jelly?

My work photos are better than your vacation photos. Jelly?

 

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Alaska and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Settling in in Alaska

  1. Alan says:

    . . think you’ve had a typo re: the volcanic ‘nub’ – also think that ladies of a certain age are prone fantasy and the ‘vapours’ – you really need to get out more!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s