06 July 2008

So Alaska has had its crazy ups and downs in my first 8 days here.  Far and away things have been great. Some of the highlights:

  • Our office is an old Montessori school, complete with kiddie sized toilets with view in windows so the teachers could check in and see how they were doing.  Luckily the windows have been removed, but sadly a few of the toilets remain.  Its ok.  We have big boy ones too.  We also have playground equipment out back, and I may have done an evening of calls sitting on the 3 foot slide.
  • We have had an assortment of cars rotate through the campaign.  Sadly, most are manual transmission, so I actually haven’t driven a car except for the two that I have test driven.  The gem of all the cars loaned to the campaign is a 1982 Chevy Blazer we have lovingly named “The Beast.”  This thing is a 2 door steel can on wheels.  The passenger side door has a dresser knob as its lock post, the rear tailgate doesn’t fold down, and best of all, it starts without a key.  Shh. Don’t tell.
  • We were able to buy 15 desks for 15 dollars.  Yes, a dollar a piece=Alaska state surplus store is a great way to set up an office for cheap.  Except that moving all that steel made all the guys on staff sore.
  • I got to play capture the flag in a huge park on the west end of town for the birthday of our state director.  Who wouldn’t want to work for a boss who wants to play capture the flag for her 27th birthday?  To give you an idea of the brush that we were playing in, it took the other team about 20 minutes after the entirety of our team was in their jail to find our flag.  Wild stuff.  The cake afterwards was frosted chocolate with sprigs of broccoli for trees and green army men to imitate our just completed game.
  • Yesterday, my team drove two hours south to celebrate the 4th of July in a town called Seward.  Now I was told that usually Seward has about 2000 people in it, but there were about ten times that many people there to watch a 3 mile race up and back down Mt Marathon right next to town.  There are people ranging from literally 8 years old to 80 that run up this mountain with the best times making the path up in about 39 minutes and down again in about 12.  This is no gently sloping hill, but rather a steeply pitched rocky slope, so really your downhill time largely depends on just how crazy you’re willing to be.
  • My supporter house is sweet.  Another Field Organizer (FO) and I are house sitting for a couple that is traveling for a bit, so we get to have our own bedrooms and everything.  High standards of living, huh?  We got an early evening off (8:45pm!) so I’m enjoying a movie with my evening off.
  • Still no car.  Looking for what the locals call a “beater with a heater” since block heaters are standard with cars up here so that they will start efficiently under 20 degrees F.  Luckily, I don’t need to worry about that since I’ll be leaving before it gets too much colder than that.  Its getting to be real frustrating not having my own wheels since it is beginning to hinder my ability to get to meetings and go shopping etc.  This is not for lack of funds nor lack of trying either, more just a lack of time and transport to go see the vehicles available.  Luckily, the cars we do have around are mostly driven by folks willing to share rides, including the ever classy chauffeured transport by The Beast.

That’s about it for now folks, thanks for reading this far and drop me a line to let me know how you all are doing, wherever you are.  I’ll try to get pictures up of some of these things.