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Spring Break-up. In the Middle of Winter.

So I don’t know how many of you have been keeping up with the rather unusual weather we’ve been having as of late. And I’m not just talking up here in Alaska. The entire country seems to be in some sort of strange weather lock. It seems that the lower 48 is getting our normal winter, and we are in the middle of a heat wave of sorts! It’s like we are having spring break-up in the middle of winter!

I spent 15 years on the outside, and even in the previous three winters since I’ve returned to Alaska, it was still snowing and freezing at this time of the year. It dawned on me a few weeks ago that our temp has actually increased by 45 degrees! And that was when it was still below freezing! We went from -20 to 25 in a matter of weeks. And now it’s actually been in the 40’s! And as high as 50 in some areas! Geez.

I must admit that while I enjoy the warmer temps for several reasons, such as heating costs, how much gas I burn warming up my truck, and the obvious – not freezing my butt off when I go outside, the steady stream of rain we’ve had is NOT as favorable! Ok, it IS making the roads much nicer to drive by clearing them of ice. And since it hasn’t been dipping below freezing, that also means the absence of black ice as well. But while that might be a great reason to love all the rain, it has made some side roads and parking lots like off-road play areas!

I live in a shop yard, and all the snow turned to ice, then the rain made holes and soft spots that made navigating the lot an adventure in itself! The rain has smoothed it out some, but that has made it even more dangerous! My daughters have to tread very carefully to the road to get to the bus in the morning. Between smooth ice and puddles, it makes for a blood pumping start to the day! LOL

We are left wondering if this current trend will continue, or if we will snap back into our usual pattern. If that happens, we will go back to the brisk weather, and perhaps one last snow storm before the REAL spring break-up, which I for one, am GREATLY looking forward to!

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2014 in Alaskan Life

 

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Awesome Holiday Surprise

Ok…you’re probably wondering why I’m posting about this when Christmas was weeks ago. The truth is, I forgot, and since I’ve been absent for a while, other than the last couple of posts, it didn’t even occur to me to write about how we fared over the holidays.

My oldest daughter has been living in Anchorage. She came very close to moving back home, but due to a very odd stroke of luck, a job came through at the last minute. She was ready to come back, but stayed an extra week to spend time with a friend, It was during this time that she interviewed and got the job!

Because the drive is three hours each way, along with several other factors like that I just got my truck back less than two mos prior, she doesn’t have a vehicle, and neither of us had the money to fly her here, we were bummed that she wasn’t going to be with us, especially since it would be her first Christmas away from home and she was facing spending it with people she doesn’t really know, or alone.

My older sister invited us to come over for Christmas Eve dinner, along with our dad and younger sister. We weren’t even sure if my dad would make it because he hasn’t been too thrilled my younger sister. Of course I was really hoping that he would be willing to ride with her. And with my dad there, that was more reason for my daughter to come back. My kids don’t get to spend much time with him.

The other two girls and I went, and I was happy that my dad did ride along with my sister. Shortly after we arrived, my other sister and her husband ran off to pick up their truck. Or so it would seem…

She returned and then we were waiting on her husband to start eating. My youngest daughter started acting all weird, and my sister told her to just calm down. Once I was back on my stool in the kitchen, there was some sort of commotion that I don’t quite recall, which prompted me to turn around to someone standing behind me. The first thing I saw was an unrecognizable sweatshirt. Then I looked up to some wrapping paper hood…AAAAGGHHH!! OMG! IT’S MY WHEETEES!

Guess I don’t have to explain how fricken excited…no, ecstatic, that she was there. Apparently, my sister had sent her a message that morning asking her if she wanted to spend Christmas with her family, to call her. So they flew her down and she got to spend about a day and a half with us before I had to drive her back at 6a the morning after Christmas. That was the BEST surprise ever!

Aside from that, the four of us had a pretty good day sitting here opening gifts. I even had a few surprises myself. Takes all the fun out of it when you already know what everything is.

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2014 in THIS. Is My Life.

 

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So 2013 WASN’T My Year…

Ok, first off, let me start by saying that I didn’t intend to be absent for so long again. I’ve been working really hard on being consistent, but then life just gets in the way! 

On to the story. So I was skimming over my New Year, New Beginnings? post from Jan 1 of last year, and now that it’s over and we’ve moved into yet another year, I have to say, It was NOT my year! I did NOT find a permanent job, which in turn means I have also NOT caught up on rent, and only gotten deeper in debt. These were my main concerns for last year, as they are now for this year as well, only now with much more desperation. I had what I THOUGHT was an awesome job, which I wrote about, and when that wasn’t panning out, I went in search of another job. I applied to be a skiff driver at the cannery, but ended up being a fish sorter on the dock. As much as I hated the thought of that, it turned out to be one of the funnest jobs I ever had! I was only hired to work 2 days a week unless they needed me more, but my daughter was hired a week after me, and we had a blast. Didn’t make a lot of money since the money to be made was in all the overtime, which we didn’t get much of.

When that job ended, I was left job searching again! I HATE job hunting! I was also car-less. But you can read about all of these things in my previous posts. I did eventually get another temp job at an insurance office that was supposed to last from what the recruiter told me, through the end of December, but once I got hired, I was informed it would only last UNTIL December. THEN, about a month in, they found a bogus excuse to get rid of me. I was shocked and a little pissed off. But even though I was BORED AS HELL sitting there for eight fricken hours doing next to nothing, it paid $17/hr! That’s the most I’ve ever been paid. I really wish I could find a PERMANENT job that paid that much! Things would be SO much easier! So of course I’m unemployed again, and my UI ran out, and they aren’t doing the extended benefits, so I don’t have any income other than my child support, which is only about $500. 

The only good thing that happened to me was meeting Matt and William. William, because he was a HUGE help when I didn’t have transportation, and Matt because he was an awesome boss, and we had a lot of fun. I’m not sure what his plans are for this year, but I’d like to work for him again if I’m available. Only time will tell.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2014 in THIS. Is My Life.

 

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When Does The Chaos End?

I recently wrote a post about the saga of getting my truck fixed. All that time waiting because I couldn’t afford it. Then I FINALLY get it back! I was so excited. It was almost like having a new vehicle. Well…in MY life, it just WOULDN’T be complete if that was ALL there was to the story… :D

I guess I didn’t mention that upon its return, that the radio doesn’t work, or the light behind the heater panel. That’s annoying. Then I decide a week later that I am going to drive down to see my dad who lives an hour and a half south. Only Jamie came with me. Jessie decided to stay home because she was still upset about her hamster dying the night before.

Just as we hit town, there’s this weird noise, and at first I thought that my wheels locked up or something. But then as I pull into a bank parking lot, there’s a loud pop. I of course immediately freak out. I’m thinking you have GOT to be fricken kidding me! I got out and looked under the truck and didn’t notice anything. After some of the initial shock wore off, Jamie noticed a part laying in the road so I told her to go get it while I tried to get a hold of someone. And because I only know my sister-with whom my relationship is shaky, her soon to be ex husband-who I happen to like, and my dad-who hasn’t been in the best of health, and none of them are answering, we are just standing there wondering what to do. Fortunately, it wasn’t that cold.

My sister finally called back but was out of town. My dad finally called and I told him I came down to surprise him – SURPRISE! Guess he was surprised. LOL A guy had stopped to help, and was trying to take out the U joint when my dad got there. We went to go buy a new one, and that’s when I realized…I forgot my wallet. Wow. What the hell. So my dad paid.

The next morning, my dad tried to fix the drive line, but it was so chewed up that it wasn’t salvageable. So we tried to find a replacement to no avail. We went back to the truck and he tried to take off the rest of it so I could put it in 4WD and limp it back home. Oh, but after all that, turns out that now my damn 4WD doesn’t work! Uugghh! Great. So then my brother in law drove us back home.

I spent the next couple of days texting my other daughter’s friend asking for help getting the drive line off the old 4Runner to see if they match. He just kept putting me off. Pissed me off. Just tell me if you will or won’t. I ended up asking a guy at the shop next door if he could come over and jack it up and check. He said it would work. Great news. After that was done, I asked my friend who doesn’t have any mechanical skills if he could do it. He came over the next evening with a friend who took it off. And they were almost identical. YES! I was SO freaked out that they wouldn’t and I’d end up spending MORE money that I can’t afford. So now to find a ride…I asked Brent, my brother in law, if he could come up, take it out and bring me back down there. He said he didn’t want to spend 3 or 4 hrs driving, and that he had things to do and had to take advantage of kid free days. I thought about asking Will, the one who brought the friend, if he could do it, as much as I hate asking him for any more favors. He’s done SO much over the past few months already. I’d spent an entire week trapped at my house completely stressing out.

Then Saturday morning I woke up to discover that Brent had called and messaged me, asking if I wanted a ride. I don’t know what changed, but he got here about noon. He greased the drive line and we left. We got there, he installed it and I was back on the road. YAY! I nervously drove back home, freaking out the whole time that something was going to break. But then went to the store when I got back home since I hadn’t done that in over a week.

The next day I drove my youngest daughter to the theater, which is only about 8 minutes away. Upon my return, I notice smoke/steam coming from under the hood and again immediately panic thinking, ‘what the hell is wrong now?!’ I almost started crying. But I held it together and called a friend in WA. He asked questions while I was on the slightly snow covered ground freezing my ass off while looking for any noticeable leaks, and checking the radiator and oil-which was surprisingly low for just having a ‘lube/oil/filter’ during a motor swap…. My fingers got pretty damn numb too…

So after all that, it seemed fine. I went to pick Jessie up and when I got back, I took a peek to make sure it was still ok, and of course I found more steam. UUGGHH! But this time I could hear it. So I looked again, and I could see it spraying out of a hose on the top of the engine. I pushed it down and it stopped. I also discover that it’s pooling up under the hose it’s spraying out of. Then I see that the clamp is also not where it should be, so I tried to fix it, but it got worse. DAMMIT! So now I’m trying to figure who the hell to call this time! By now I’m thinking my other sister and her hubby are back from vacation, so he might be able to do it. I sent her a text asking if they were back, and after a few exchanges of me mostly telling her the problem, she finally calls and says that Jim will come over in the morning to look at it and go from there. From what I could see, and what Bobby (on the phone) had told me, it was an easy fix. Thank God! I just can’t do any more damn costly repairs. And I didn’t mention that I also had an interview at 1:30p the next day. But I figured that if he came over in the morning, that it would be fixable and whether I drove, or he drove me, I would make it.

Well…so it would seem. I woke up to find that my water didn’t work. AAGGHH! REALLY?! What next? My first thought was that it was frozen. But Jamie said she had used it this morning. Ok. How the hell does it work, THEN freeze?! I eventually just had to call the landlord. He said it was most likely in his shop. I’m guessing that’s the pump…? Apparently it had froze and I think that Jamie was able to use the water that was already in the lines. Jim did come fix my truck, so yet again, I am back on the road!

I was almost going to cancel or postpone the interview, but I managed to hide my slightly oily roots and pretty myself up enough to go. I figure they may reject me, but it damn sure ISN’T going to be because of my water! :D And my landlord got here right after I did and got it fixed, so although I was finally able to take my shower, my whole day was shot between the truck and the water. Oh well. Tomorrow is a new day.

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2013 in Struggle, THIS. Is My Life.

 

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Honest and Fair My @$$!

So I finally got my truck back after MONTHS of being broke down and passed around. Sounds like a bad redneck song, I know. It broke down with what I gathered was the heads back in late May. There she sat. For months. I tried the very few contacts I had to get ‘er back on the road. I NEED her! She is what gets me where I need to go. Like to salvage for food. Ok, I just added that for dramatic effect.

Anyway, in August, Aaron came along who also loves 4Runners, and drives one himself. And he seemed like a pretty decent guy who knows mechanics. I asked if he was willing to barter the old 4Runner that I rolled, which you may recall from previous posts, in exchange for getting this one up and running smoothly. He agreed and towed it to his house. That was August 17th. He was due back to work on the platform (oil rig) the following Monday morning, the 19th and would be gone two weeks. So when he returned for his next week off, I figured that he would have plenty of time to complete this task. And I should mention that it was either repair the heads, or swap motors. Well…he did not get it done. He went back to work. Came home. Ok, THIS time I should have it. No. STILL no damn truck! And he had help!

Then I find out, and NOT because his stupid ass had the decency to update or inform me, but because OTHERS told me that he took my damn truck to a shop! Apparently he couldn’t get the heads off. So his plan was supposedly to have them pick up where he left off, put them back on, and he would finish it. Well…the shop didn’t want to do that. I stopped by and explained the situation and got a completely different story than Aaron told me. Then I got a little concerned. I even told Aaron my concerns and was still not really sure what to say to him. The WHOLE reason for this barter in the first place was because I could not afford the estimated $1500 that it was going to cost to fix it!

So after sitting and waiting an additional 5 or 6 weeks, then having it sit at the shop for another fricken 3 or 4 weeks, and all this bullshit to get it fixed, I get stuck with a TWENTY EIGHT HUNDRED dollar repair bill! F****CCCCKKKK!!! HOLY CRAP! Well…I gave them $1000 down and agreed to make payments on the rest. At an est $1500, maybe $2000. NOT $2800 effin dollars! He sat there and claimed that because God brings him his work, that he is not in the business of screwing people over or he wouldn’t get any more business, and that he will tell people the cheapest and most reliable way to get it done. So even though I stressed several times that I can’t afford this and to salvage whatever parts he could off the old motor, he STILL did NOT use the most cost-effective parts, and even did a few things he did not mention to me.

When I saw the bill, I was prepared for somewhere around $2000…$2200…NOT $2800! Then he seemed pissed that I couldn’t pay for it! When I said that I won’t be able to pay it off until a year from now, I don’t think he wanted to let me leave with my truck! Well WTF did you expect?! And of course he says that the cost is due to the mess that Aaron left, and that the original estimate was w/o hiccups. Umm…I get that. But this is WAY more than a hiccup or two. And I guess his little ‘disclaimer’ was that this is why he kept me informed as things progressed. But to clarify, he only told me that I need an alternator that would cost $257 and a timing belt kit for $298. He neglected to mention that he also had TWENTY FOUR freaking hours of labor, a $127 water pump, 12 spark plugs for $12.69 each, 2 bottles of anti-freeze for $21 each, an oil filter for $37, lube/oil/filter for $50, OORRR…that the mother effin alternator isn’t even NEW! It’s REMANUFACTURED! WTF?! UUUGGHHH! I priced out all of these things, and aside from the lube/oil/filter being a pretty standard cost for here, he totally jacked the prices on everything else! The alternator alone was $180 at most between the 3 local parts stores. New.

Ok, I GET that if he wanted to make a few bucks because I’m making payments, he could tack on a little extra…’interest’. But let’s be honest about it, as you claimed that you are. This does NOT feel honest. I totally feel screwed. Taken advantage of. At this point, I just want to pay them about 2 grand and just leave the rest hanging so they can feel just as screwed. But that’s probably bad karma. Then I thought that if I could offer them 800 to a grand to just ‘cash out’ and call it good, that I would do that. I’ve already paid $1200, so I would not pay any more than an add’l thousand. The problem is getting my hands on that much money.

The wife did give me a lead on a job that doesn’t pay nearly as much as this one does, but I could certainly pick up a few hours in the evenings and probably on weekends to make more money. That would surely be a huge help since I owe so damn much money everywhere! This effin repair cost more than the damn truck itself! And I still owe on it! Ugghh!

So I guess at this point, the only good thing I can take away from this is that I at least have my truck back, and it seems to be running pretty well…although my damn radio doesn’t work! Worked before…

I’m pretty sure that you have come to the conclusion that I will not only NOT be using them in the future, but also will not recommend them to anyone either.

 
 

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If I Have Time, You Have Time

A discussion last week about not having clean laundry prompted me to write this. One of the gals in the office came in wearing a dress. Her usual attire is jeans or capris with just a cotton top of some sort, maybe something a little dressier, and perhaps a sweater. So when she saw me looking at her dress, she immediately explains not to compliment her because the only reason she wore a dress is because she ran out of things to wear. Ok. I get that. I’ve actually been there a time or two. But not very often.

If you know anything about my background from my posts, you would surmise that I have been a single mother to four children for many years. My son is 23. I have a daughter that just graduated and turned 18 this past May. The last two just turned 16 & 12 in September. We’ve also had many pets through the years, been homeless which required living in a tent, a motel room, a tiny travel trailer, a bedroom…I think that covers the list. And I’ve had to work full-time whenever possible, and even went to college. The reason I mention this is that obviously all these things require time and attention as the kids do. So there were definitely things in my life that would certainly justify me not having time to do laundry! But somehow, amidst all the chaos, it managed to get washed and dried. And at times, even folded and put away!

Granted, I only know this gal from work, and what I’ve learned from talking to her, but this is her background that I know. She just got remarried in August, has a 15 yr old daughter whose father who isn’t very involved, is an only child herself, and has an old dog. Soo…I don’t know how she spends her time, but just from what I see, and from what I’ve experienced, even in the last few years alone, she really has no justifiable excuse! There are only THREE people in the house! All of which are capable of doing laundry! I should add that she did mention that her daughter has to do her own laundry. Soo…your daughter has clean clothes because even though YOU are too lazy to do YOUR laundry, that SHE isn’t?

Soo…WHY are you out of clean clothes?

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2013 in Family, Struggle, THIS. Is My Life.

 

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The Motherhood Adventure Begins

So there I was back in Kodiak. Pregnant. I moved back in with my mom until I found my own place. And being 18 AND pregnant tends to open a few more doors that I somehow discovered, like low cost housing. I really didn’t know anything about welfare, food stamps, etc until I started finding these things on my own. My mom had never used them. And she reminded me constantly.

I got into the split level duplex apt through low cost housing fairly quickly. I was lucky. But I guess there weren’t that many single people needing them either. Mostly established families. I think I moved in around May or June…? I just remember being pregnant enough that my belly would prevent me from carrying some boxes. I also applied for cash assistance which back in those days was known as AFDC-Aid to Families w/Dependent Children.

Since these units had been remodeled, they were actually pretty nice and clean. And I loved that I had a back door that was private because I had a cat that I wasn’t supposed to have, so it was easy to let it in and out. Until the stupid smoke detector went off one night scaring the sh!t out of me! The furnace started smoking. And after going through the trouble of hiding my cat, and the stupid maint man coming to check, of course there’s nothing wrong with it. Bullsh!t! It doesn’t just make the damn smoke detector go off for no reason! Well I was only 18 and didn’t really know much back then, so I figured ok, maybe it was a fluke. No. Did the same damn thing I think within a week. This time I totally forgot to hide the cat first. So I got busted and had to get rid of it. I was bummed. I took it to a family friend’s place out of town where there was lots of trees and stuff to wander in, but I never saw it again. Sadly, I don’t even remember what it looked like, or what’s it’s name was! And of course the stupid furnace never did it again! I had my son Jordan in July of 1990. We lived there until he was about 15 months before moving up to Anchorage.

I stayed with friends in Palmer until an ex boyfriend found us a place in Anchorage. But he eventually moved out because we couldn’t get along. I was trying to go to school, which wasn’t working out either. He put an ad in the paper and after talking to several people, I decided on Steve. I don’t remember what it was about him, but he moved in shortly after, and we ended up dating. I don’t even remember what happened with him! I think I remember him being upset about something…maayybee I had another guy…? It’s hard to recall all these details from so many years ago, especially with all the things that have happened since! I would have more info if I had access to my journals. But they are in storage.

Anyway, something happened, we moved out, broke up…I think I moved out to Palmer from there…way out the road. I bounced around the Valley (Palmer/Wasilla area) for the next couple of years, dating a few people…some bigger morons than others…many bad choices. I made my way back to Anchorage for part of this time as well when I was living with a boyfriend.

While living in Wasilla, a guy that I’d been sort of seeing off and on and had this chemistry with for several years from the time I was 16 calls me up one night at 1:00 in the morning and the guy I’m currently dating, who slept over…answers the phone! Omg. Ok, this is bad, but I don’t remember who that was either! Wow. My memory is shot! Or they are not worth remembering…lol

Anyway, he’s living with his girlfriend in Anchorage who he’d been living with and dating for several years. He wants to meet for lunch. Somehow it didn’t work, but I go to the bar where they were watching Monday Night Football, thinking I’m going to slip in, and somehow get his attention. Psh! THAT was a stupid thought. I walk in the door, the bouncer cards me. I hand over my id, look up and CRAP! They are sitting RIGHT THERE! So when he tried to return it, I dropped it. I scramble to pick it up and rush in hopefully w/o being noticed by his girlfriend. I think I made a loop, and went right back out, thinking I’m not doing this. He called me the next day teasing me about it. We made new arrangements for me to pick him up the next day. Well I later learned that he basically left her a Dear John note! That wasn’t the way he explained it. Perhaps that should have been the first warning…

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2013 in THIS. Is My Life.

 

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