Thursday, June 21, 2012

yeah it's happening

Crazy couple of days.

Tons of progress but soooo may things to do over the next several weeks.  Actually, I just figured it out.  We have 51 days and 8 hours before we leave for Spokane!!

So here's a quick recap of what we've accomplished.  First thing first...I signed and returned all the paperwork so that our move can be approved!  Right now, we can't list the home or make any reservations until we have signed paperwork. The one reservation I was able to make was our transportation down to the lower 48.  I give you the Columbia!!
Nice, eh??  We will board the M/V Columbia in Haines, AK on August 13th and ride her all the way down to Bellingham, WA.  It's a 4 night cruise that takes us through the inside passage of southeast Alaska and western British Columbia.  Hard to believe the government will provide this transportation for us.  We'll take it!!

So the dates have been set.  We leave August 11th and arrive in Spokane Friday, August 17th.  The clock is ticking!

In the mean time, I have been in contact with realtors in both Spokane and here in Anchorage.  Our Spokane realtor sent us many, many listings in our price range.  Wow!  We are definitely in for a treat and some difficult decisions when we get serious about our new home.

So schools are absolutely the most important part of picking a place to live.  Lisa has been talking to friends and friends of friends.  I have been getting input from future co-workers and talking with the realtor...and I think we've narrowed it down to three different areas.  Now we just have to pick a place as soon as we can so the girls won't have to switch schools a month in.  One of our bigger fears...we arrive and haven't closed or offered on a house when the girls start school.  They start school and then several weeks or months later and we have to swap schools.  Have to do everything possible to avoid that!

Soo....that all comes down to pricing this house right to sell!!  That process started today with two realtors stopping by to give us their input, suggestions, and a price range.  There was certainly a clear winner for who will be getting our business.  In fact, if only the one guy showed up, I'd probably call USAA back and ask for someone else!  But the other lady is great...feel very comfortable with we're ready to go.  Again, can't sign any papers until my travel orders have been approved.  Hopefully that will be soon because both realtors agreed; get it on the market ASAP!!

I think we've come up with a reasonable price that will get the house sold pretty quick.  And we have also come up with a HUGE list of things we need to do before the house is open to the masses.  Oh boy.  Anybody want to come over and either help us with our projects or watch the girls so we can get some work done??

Scale 1-10, (1 being floating down the Kenai River without a care in the world and 10 is full on panic attack) the anxiety level is on the higher side but I have to leave plenty of room for the next 51 days.

We'll go with a 5.3

And now I start mid shifts tomorrow with the house possibly going on the market in about a week.  Maybe a 5.4......

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day and a new Alaskan experience

Today started out like most Father's Day spent as a shift worker, waking up early because of a migraine at 4:30, then going to work an hour later for a day shift. But today was not an ordinary Father's Day. Today was our March of Dimes walk! What made it a little extra special was it was at the Whittier Tunnel.

Since we were on vacation during the Anchorage walk, we decided to join the Whittier walk. It's a great walk because it is THROUGH the Whittier Tunnel. If you are unfamiliar with the tunnel, it's the second longest highway tunnel but longest combined rail and highway tunnel in North America. It is 2.5 miles or 13,300 feet long!!

So at 10am, I had someone else finish my shift so we could make the hour drive to the start of the walk at the Portage Glacier Visitor Center. After quite a bit of waiting, standing around, confusion, chaos...we finally found ourselves at the tunnel entrance waiting for traffic to stop to allow us to walk.
 I should point out that the weather was PERFECT!!  You don't have to know much about the weather in Alaska to know that you have to be pretty fortunate to see blue skies and warm temperatures from Portage to Whittier.  Today was one of those days!
You may also notice the helmets.  Everybody that walked had to wear head gear.  We brought our bike helmets but were relieved to see that they had hard hats for us to borrow.
Quite a showing!

We helped count them down and then stepped to the side and let them all walk by us.

When we got in the tunnel, the temperature instantly dropped about 20 degrees.  It was pretty amazing!  We went from sweating to being able to see our breath in matter of a few feet.  And the walk was on.
Joining us this year was Kendra (and her kids Malena and Malachi), Mary-Beth, and Shaun.
Thank you friends for caring and supporting us!!!!

 2.5 miles is a long way when the scenery never changes!

Lisa and Katy nearing the end

and Alyssa is back into the sunlight!

Ladies discussing lunch options while the girls look at .... the rocks??

Whittier!!!  Couldn't have asked for a better day

If you haven't noticed, the pictures this year are a bit...lacking?  Well I forgot the good camera.  I took it outside and set it down on a trash can...and left it there!!  Was pretty disappointed when I realized that.  We had a great time regardless and will cherish this...our 5th walk that we've participated in!

After lunch, a bus ride back through the tunnel, some rock throwing/skipping on Portage Lake, and a slow drive back to Anchorage, we headed out for a late Father's Day dinner at the girls choice...Red Robin.  Come to find out after we arrive when Katy starts acting strange, her fever is back!  I guess all that walking and playing in the cold tunnel was too much for her body.  She made it home and into bed...just as something special was popping up to our north.

What was it??  Our first thunderstorms in YEARS!!!  
 About 5 seconds after I took that picture, a huge lightning bold shot down out from the base.  It was awesome.  Haven't seen that in a long, long time.
 I was so excited that I went and woke up Alyssa and brought her out. 
 Perfect ending to one of the most memorable Father's Days ever.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A New Chapter

In April of 2004, we embarked on a journey that would take us far from family and comfort. When doors were being shut and our hopes had faded at finding a career with the National Weather Service close to home, we looked north. Like the thousands that took part in the Klondike Gold Rush of the late 1800s, we packed our bags and headed north hoping that fate would be on our side. "North To The Future"

I took a step back and accepted a position as a met tech in McGrath, Alaska. On April 18, 2004 I arrived in Alaska for the first time...and our lives would never be the same.

Eight years later, we are leaving. On Thursday June 14th, I accepted the Warning Coordination Meteorologist position at the National Weather Forecast Office in Spokane, Washington.

There will be plenty of time for reflection as we begin the seemingly insurmountable task of preparing our house to be sold. But tonight I wanted to take a second to make this announcement on our blog.

We started this blog in August of 2006 as a way to share our Alaskan Adventures. 6 years, 542 posts, 212 videos, over 40,000 hits, and two perfect twin baby girls later we are beginning the last of those Alaskan Adventures. I hope to take some time over the next 7 weeks before we leave to share the story of our move and reflect on our time in The Last Frontier.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Just a little preview...

Hi everyone!  Well, we're back from vacation and our house guests are gone.  I know you are ANXIOUS for wedding photos so I thought I'd post a little preview until Andy can get back in the "blogging groove".

In other news, Father's Day is our March of Dimes - March for Babies.  Thanks to everyone for making this year's fundraising a smashing success...$6,746!!!!!!!!!!!!!