Saturday, June 7, 2008

Oh, What a Night

Let me tell you what sucks. The heater deciding to crap out in the middle of the night is what sucks. 2 am, I woke to nurse the baby and thought it was a tad chilly. I bumped the thermostat up a couple notches and heard a distinctive noise from the heater, kind of a "tick tick tick, pbthhhh.... clunk."
I messed with the reset button the way our landlord described, and got it to kick on again, followed by "tick,tick, tick, pbthhhh.... CLUNK."
Double Crap.

Know what else kind of sucks? Trying to go outside at night, collect firewood, get it in the house, and start a fire at 2 am.
Mental note to self: regardless of intention to set fire, always make sure the supplies are inside. It was bad enough at 35 degrees, do NOT want to gather firewood at -40F.

Well, for some reason or another, my fire didn't want to catch very well, and when it did, I had to shut the door to the wood stove so I could tend to Madderbeans, who had been woken up by the screech of the smoke alarm, and my swearing. By the time I got her settled and got the fire started again, it was 3:30. I contemplated making coffee and getting up. I did pause for a moment outside to listen to the squirrels and birds beginning thier morning chatter, and a few dogs barking at the 3:30 sunrise, but decded to crawl back into bed for another couple hours nap.

Woke this morning to a beautiful day that will be more appreciated after I get a nap. The house was chilly since my fire went out, and OH THE IRONY- I messed with that reset button again this morning and the heat worked perfectly. *sigh*

I will welcome ANY and ALL comments on how to get my wood stove to light, stay lit, and warm the house. It's an OLD (probbaly 70s or 80s model) Blaze King. I googled the instruction manual and that helped some, but still having problems with the floowing:
-Starting fire without setting off smoke detectors
-Keeping fire lit after closing stove door
-Getting the stove into the "burn zone" according to our nifty little magnetic thermometer. Keeps saying we are in the "creosote" zone, no matter how much fire I manage to produce.

Hopefully someone in cyberland can help me. Meanwhile, I am going to start drinking copious amounts of caffiene and put in a call to the landlord about the heater. Is it nap time yet???

Friday, June 6, 2008

Dumpster Diving

We have finally finished painting the interior of the house. With hubby back at work and the baby and I "solo" for the weekend, we headed into North Pole to visit the playground and poke around town a bit.

Ok. I have officially found a new hobby, which is going to the dump. This is going to sound corny to folks who have lived in the country all thier lives, but for this city-girl, who has always had trash mysteriously picked up by trash fairies from the street corner, the dump is an amazing place.

Another thing I love about the Alaskan mentality is the desire to give old things new use. There is an area at the dump for things that people consider to still have a useful purpose, but they no longer want for themselves. After spying for a couple weeks and discovering that it's not just street-bums that pick through this gold mine of stuff, I got brave enough to exit the minivan and poke through the "someone else's trash is someone else's treasure" while my husband ducked down in his seat and hoped we weren't noticed.

I can not believe the things people throw away! If my husband hadn't stopped me, I might have carted the enitre city of North Pole's garbage back home with me. Ok, maybe not that extreme BUT... here I was stupidly looking through the yellow pages for places to find good condition winter boots on resale. Little did I know that I could come up with an entire collection for FREE from the dump! (with various colors to match my outfits, even!) The area was full of clothing in good condition, winter coats in good condition, furniture (um, if I knew how to recover sofas, many could have been saved), freezers, washers and dryers, even a trailer (looked like it needed a new wheel?), several desks that really only needed a paint job, many kids' toys, and lots of books and crafting supplies. And that was only in one afternoon!

I left the boots behind (alas, they weren't my size) but found an entire collection of children's books that once I wiped down with a few clorox wipes, have been keeping Madderbeans somewhat amused. And once my husband realized that I wasn't going to make him start wearing free clothes from the dump, he praised me for being so resourceful (a.ka.-not spending the bulk of his paycheck in Barnes and Nobles on books that out baby is only going to drool and spit-up on).

My point to this rambling- I never saw this in my old city, and dumpster diving was something only hobos did. Um, not to say anything bad about the Southland, but Montgomery, AL had a very rudimentary recycling program, and most of the time, it was a lot easier to just throw something in the trash than it was to find another home for it.
I really do admire the effort of local residents to seperate trash and to think about thier fellow neighbor. Sure, you might not need that desk or those books anymore, but somewhere, one of your neighbors is STILL waiting for the Army to deliver her furniture and trying to amuse a 7 month old baby with a handful of blocks and a stuffed animal (Thank you, neighbor!)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Greetings from North Pole

We've finally arrived! The flight in was amazing, and the scenic views leave me breathless on a daily basis. When we arrived (almost a month ago), the breakup was just getting started. The trees were still bare and the rivers were a tiny little trickle, as the ice was just starting to allow a small flow of water. Each week, our drive to Ft Greely (Delta Junction) reveals more greenery as the trees begin to bud, and the rivers are slowly gaining water and speed. I still love crossing Jarvis Creek each week, and watching the water cut new paths through the dry river beds.

A month into our stay, and we have JUST gotten our van back from the movers. We are still waiting for our household goods, and are growing tired of camping out in our cabin with Madderbug's Pack and Play and an air mattress. We discovered that we were very spoiled by the restaurant quality and services in the Lower 48. The selection isn't as great here, so we invested in a few pots and pans and have been making good use of the kitchen in the cabin for vittles. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times... Ill be so glad when our household goods get here!

So far, we've been busy trying to establish our residency, with trips into "town" (Fairbanks) to the DMV and various other places for all our paperwork. We've also been painting the interior of the house, as the previous tenants (um, the owners) had a serious liking for canary yellow, not exactly our tastes!

Moose sightings happen frequently, but mostly on our way to Delta Junction. The other day, there was a total of SIX, including a very young bull, with two little nubs of antler sticking out of his head. Also on the wildlife spotting have been eagles, prairie dogs, squirrels (they are small and red here!), and lots and lots rabbits (yummy!)

Everyone is adapting well and enjoyingthe 21 hours of daylight.

Ok. More on our adventures later, as Madderbeans is up and trying to "help" type!

Happy Moose Trails to everyone!