Alaska, Animals

Owl Myths

Earlier today I was on my way home, driving the all-to-familiar stretch of road, when something unusual flew out across the road.

While birds and flying things aren’t unusual -this object had a big, round head -and it didn’t look like an eagle. I quickly whipped to the side of the road and stared.

“Is that an owl?” I asked to no one in particular.

“It’s an OWL!” I answered.

Sure enough, sitting not a few feet in front of me was this guy:

Feeling brave, I got out of the car and inched closer:

I’ve always heard people talk about seeing or hearing owls here -but I have never seen one myself. In fact I always assumed they were simply myths.

But I guess it’s true! They do exist!  Until next time little guy!

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Alaska, Animals

Stranded

This last week has seen me traveling 20 miles (one way) each day. Our road is 30 miles long -which pretty much means I have been traveling from one end of the island to the other, at least twice a day. Between working on one side of the island and living on the other -plus various house/dog sitting jobs everywhere in between -I have been putting in a lot of miles.

Sunday, I was in the middle of making my rounds (getting dogs, dropping dogs, getting other dogs) and the gas light blinked on. It indicated I had about 20 miles left before I would be stranded on the side of the road -and not wanting to walk somewhere in the middle of the night, I pulled into the gas station that happened to be right there.
Now I must stop here to say -normally, when I get gas -I leave everything in the car. I am super paranoid about blowing things up, so don’t use my cell phone or carry anything extra. I even will admit to tapping the car every so often to avoid electrical currents or whatever they are that could cause the entire gas station and myself go up in flames.

But this day. I was getting numerous texts about house sitting jobs, and since I am equally paranoid about texting and driving (read: $10,000 fines and jail time), I grabbed my phone when I jumped out of the car. Started the gas, then walked a good distance away to finish up my texting. I got a few gallons of gas (just to make it to where the cheaper gas is), took my card and went to open the door: But it wouldn’t open.

Because the dog had apparently gotten tired of hanging out with me, locked the door then went to sleep.

See? Sound asleep!

It took a few minutes for everything to stack up and for it to hit me: I was locked out of the car. All the windows were up. The dogs were going to be of no assistance -BUT! I had my phone.

The smugness! It’s like he’s saying “Yep, I know what I did!”

I laughed, then called mom.

Who didn’t answer.

I tried another fifty some odd times -to no avail. Just a few hours prior I had turned her cell phone off for her (so it wouldn’t ring in church), we don’t have a phone at home and she wasn’t at the shop. I called a few more times -just for good measure.

I text a few people in town to see if they were in the area. No one answered.

I started to panic.

I emailed Amanda -if for nothing more, to have someone to laugh with me. Because really, what else do you do in a situation like that? I had help -she was just a billion miles away in the UK, so, you know, a lot of good that was going to do me.

But then I remembered: My good friends lived right up the road. Surely they would have a hanger I could borrow! I didn’t know what, exactly, I would do with said hanger -but I figured I would cross that bridge when I got there.
Thankfully they answered my frantic texts and showed up about 15 minutes later with a hanger and a hammer. Because we all know a good hammer works in situations like those too.

Apparently just a few days prior they had locked their keys in a car as well. Having had just went through the same thing a few days ago, they had all the needed tools to do a proper ‘break in.’ It took all of about 5 minutes and I was on my way.

…and now? I don’t dare leave the keys (or my phone) in the car when I get out!

But it leaves me wondering: How many people take their keys with them when they pump gas? It honestly is something I have never considered doing before this weekend.

Travel

Stories From the Road: The Hotel

“RUN! HIDE! GO GO GO!!!!” Yelled another.

I ran about flapping my arms and yelling nonsense in the most helpful manner, when someone opened the door and a silence fell over us all.

……what would he do? Was he going to throw us all to the curb? Would he fine us? Make us buy two rooms?

*****

The day had started out blissfully enough. But don’t they all? We hit the road on time -and we were making good, solid time. Our trip averaged out to us driving about six hours a day -without stops. It made for long drives, but this day was our ‘short day’ -if all went right, we could even stop at the hot springs. We were feeling good about our journey when the phone rang. We ignored it. Being in Canada, where answering the phone meant extra roaming charges -we decided to forego the call.

It wasn’t until we were three hours in, did we decide to check the message…it was the clerk from the previous motel – informing us that we had left our passports in their top secret hiding place from the night before.

This meant we would have to backtrack the three hours we had just driven -collect our passports and drive the original three hours again (for the third time in one day!) and then finish our original trip.

In the meantime -David had picked up the stomach bug that was being passed around the vehicle, making the rest of our trek even longer.

By the time we arrived at our destination – it was 2am. After driving around for a good fifteen minutes -whining, complaining and arguing -we gave up on finding the motel we had previously booked and opted to instead book a new motel for the night.

We pulled into the new motel parking lot and I ran in to secure us a room. Which is when I realized our dilemma.

I was booking a hotel, not a motel.

Let me explain.

When we had originally booked our journey -we ran into a problem with having 6 people. Most motels and hotels only allow up to five people. They don’t charge for extra people -but the fire department only allows up to five people in one room at a time. After talking with multiple friends (who travel with multiple kids) we decided to book motels instead of hotels. Since there were only four adults and two kids (under the age of four) we didn’t see the need to book two rooms for every stop, and instead chose motels over hotels. Motels -with their doors on the outside, would allow us to take our chances and sneak the extra little in with us.

Up until this point our plan had worked swimmingly.

But this night -we were in a hotel. Meaning we had to pass by the front desk and somehow not declare one of us. So we hatched a plan. Which at 2am might not have been a good idea.

First, we sent mom in on her own. Pulling a single suitcase. She was given strict instructions not to talk to anyone. Simply smile, nod, and make her way to the room.

A few moments later -David would follow suit. Wrapped in a large sweater, feeling and looking rather ill still -he would go alone. Carrying no bags. He too, was to talk to no one. The weary, lonely traveler was he.

Five minutes later -Amanda and I would follow. With the rest of the bags, travel potty, diapers, kids and other assorted goodies too important to leave in the car for the few hours we were there.

After waiting the five minutes we had given the previous two to make their way to the room -Amanda and I began our journey. Hauling enough bags and suitcases to easily accommodate a party of ten. We smiled, nodded, rounded the corner and waited for the elevator…which popped open…

…and there stood mom and David, who had apparently bumped into each other at the elevator and been having quite the time attempting to get it to go up. There was a mad shuffle and hushed muttering while we attempted to diffuse the situation and distribute people…

…and then the motel man arrived. He asked if we were having troubles, loaded us all on the elevator, pushed the button and waved as the doors closed. Nothing suspicious about us at all we decided. Just a group of disheveled travelers who knew not each other -heading in the same general direction at 2am.

We found our room, dropped our bags and heaved relief. And just then, there was a knock at the door.

“HE KNOWSSSSSSSSSSSSSS” someone hissed. Referring to the man at the desk, fearing he had come to his senses and was going to surely kick one of us out.

“HIDE!!!!!!!” Someone else yelled

The window flung open “We can’t go out! We are seven floors up! We are trapped!!!” bellowed another.

“RUN! HIDE! GO GO GO!!!!” Yelled another.

I ran about flapping my arms and yelling nonsense in the most helpful manner…when someone opened the door and a silence fell over us all.

……what would he do? Was he going to throw us all to the curb? Would he fine us? Make us buy two rooms? Make the baby sleep in the car?

“Thank you.” whomever had the sense to open the door in the first place.

The door closed.

“You left your ID at the counter. He was just returning it.”

A few of us road-weary stragglers -looking for a place to stay the night.

Alaska, Friends

This Alaska

This Alaska place.

I have had a real strong love/hate relationship with it the past year or so. I love Alaska. I love Ketchikan. I love the rain and the beautiful sunny days and the busy summers and quiet winters. I do. But standing by as friends come and go never gets easy. Being stuck on an Island, a million and one miles away from the people you want to hang out with is a challenge in and of itself. You may only be a few thousand miles away -but it doesn’t matter. You are separated by oceans and lands and miles.

Making new friends has never been a strong suite of mine…so being stuck on an island while your friends move in and out of your life is, well, challenging.

I haven’t done much traveling this year, so being ‘stuck’ on the island has taken its toll.

Yes, I love Alaska. But sometimes…

When it takes you 30 minutes to make a 5 minute drive. When you have to stop and go a million times. When tourist literally jump out in front of your car and give you a brief heart attack. When you just want to go into a shop and not see a billion and one faces -many of who you know and many of who you don’t. When you just want a moment of peace -yet there is none to be found…

And then you go for a hike. Into the vast wilderness. The great unknown. The peaceful calmness of the mountains, the silence. The cool wind and the beautiful scenery. The friends.

When you stand in the mountains of Alaska…you feel so small. You realize just how big this world is and just how small you are. You realize just how small your town is, and the problems in it. You realize there is so much beauty -even in the smallness. You are reminded.

This place? This Alaska?

Is quite simply amazing.

Taking in a deep breath of fresh mountain air is sometimes the remedy that can make everything better again.

Humor Section, Life

Spider – 1 Me – 0

I have a confession to make, although it’s not so much a confession as it is a statement: I hate spiders.

Awhile ago I tried to understand just what it was about them that made me hate them so much -going with the theory that if I understood them more, perhaps I wouldn’t hate them. I couldn’t do it. Everything about them -everything that they are, all their legs, eyes, walking style -it creeps me out.

The fact that they hide out in weird places -such as the bathroom, or shower -does nothing to improve my opinion of them. Spiders are creepy.

I have tried staring at them, learning about them, looking at pictures of them -and it all ends the same way -with me wigging out.

I also happen to have a theory that if I find a spider inside and kill him -his family will see me killing him and come for me in the night. As a result, I have found myself transporting many-a-spider outside, alive and well.

This all came to an end yesterday morning.

I was laying in bed, minding my own business -sleeping, when I felt something drop into my ear. I brushed it off, assuming it was just my hair…until…

I heard noises and felt something moving around INSIDE my ear.

Yep. Something had dropped into my ear canal and was now attempting to kill me from inside. Or get out. Or something. It didn’t matter. Because one cannot simply swat it away as I quickly realized. I ran around screaming slapping the side of my head to no avail. The scratching (which was VERY loud, seeing how it was in my ear) and flapping was more than enough to panic me. I remained calm by telling myself it was just a fly -and somehow, managed to flip it out with my finger. Which is when I saw this:

It was a spider. It might not look like much -but he was IN MY EAR. I don’t like spiders looking at me from a distance -this one crossed the line.

A spider. In my ear. Dropping in my ear while I was in bed.

I no longer care where they hail from or what they save the world from. Needless to say while he was alive when he came out of my ear (GAH!) he didn’t survive long…and any family members that attempt to take revenge will be in the same situations.

In the meantime, I have my peppermint oil diffuser going full time. I’ve sprinkled the surrounding areas of my bed with peppermint oil and even considered wearing ear muffs to bed with a bug net over my face.