Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Back home again

We were in Alaska last week, visiting my sister Alyx and her husband Virgil in Kenai, and spending time also with my cousin Georgia and her husband Alan. It was our third trip in the last year. Two of them were in the summer, when the days are ridiculously long (sunrise before 6 a.m. and sunset around 11 p.m.), and one was in the winter when the days were distressingly short (sunrise at about 9:30 a.m., sunset at about 4:00 p.m.). Alaska is a pretty place, but I'm glad I live way south of there.

In Kenai, we stay in a motorhome in the driveway of my sister's house. My husband Art is allergic to cats, and Alyx and Virgil have four. Art can stay in the house for as long as he can tolerate it and then he retreats to the RV to read. He does a lot of reading in Alaska.

This time we had a couple of hiccups. Last fall Virgil got busy with work and didn't get a chance to winterize the motorhome. Last week, when we moved in, we found at least two leaks - the kind that get bathroom flooring and bedroom carpeting wet. So Art and Virgil fixed the leaks. They required turning off the hot water heater and the cold water pump. We relied on bottled water to brush our teeth and the house shower to clean up.

This spring Virgil got busy with work and didn't get a chance to get the motorhome leveled. Turns out the hydraulic system needs to be repaired. So we had a tipsy week out in the driveway. Sometimes life just gets in the way of taking care of everything in a house and driveway. We'll see whether the leveling happens before we make a decision on another trip up for Thanksgiving!

The silver salmon are running in the Kenai River. On Friday, Art and Virgil left the house at about 6 a.m. and stood on the riverbank until 2:30 p.m. Art caught one salmon right at the end. Then, on Sunday, Art and Virgil left the house at 3:30 a.m. for a river fishing trip on a boat with a guide. They arrived home at about 2:00 p.m. with two salmon each (the limit). It had rained all morning and Art didn't have rubber boots or a heavy jacket, so he was very, very cold when they got back. The men worked to fillet the fish and froze them overnight. Art went through airport security with a suitcase full of frozen salmon.

Back at home, the peas are done and the green beans are ripening up already. The blueberries should be ripe later this week. The squash is flowering and I see several small squashes hiding in there.

In the mail I got notification that I passed the final exam for the mediation training class I took in June. I have an interview this Friday to see if I'll be allowed to continue with the 100-hour practicum on the way to becoming a certified mediator.

In my online bank account I got my first Social Security check! Just like that, $652, a gift from the government. I'll only collect it until I'm 65 and apply for my state pension. I never paid into Social Security during the 20 years I worked for the state, so my Social Security will be adjusted down about 50 percent. Still, that gift will go into our travel account so we can go to Hawaii in December (timeshare), Sedona in January (timeshare), Ecuador in February (home exchange), and Cancun in July (daughter's wedding) without me feeling like a bag lady.

We've had sunny weather for the last two weeks in Seattle. It seems like it's been forever. I can hardly remember the weeks when everyone else in the country was broiling and we were chilly and damp. I have a short memory, fortunately.

And life is good.


DJan said...

Hi Linda, just when you think you have a person's email address, you can't find it. The only part of B-5 I DIDN"T enjoy was the first pilot. The characters are very different than in the whole series. But, heck, it will give you an idea of the universe.

Welcome home, BTW! :-)

#1Nana said...

Welcome back. I feel the same way about Alaska. It is beautiful, but everything seems so damp, weathered, and shabby. I think Alaska is where rusting trailers go to die.

Deere Driver said...

Well, you can't say it was uneventful, but maybe that would have been more comfy for Art.

Did the fish arrive frozen home?

Congrats on the mediation. Still envious!

Beth said...

I have never been to Alaska but I always thought I would enjoy visiting there. I hope the motor home is fixed for you all by Thanksgivng.

Sally Wessely said...

Welcome back. It wouldn't be too comfortable in the trailer with the glitches. I would also want to make sure everything was in working order before I would venture up to Alaska in November. Overall, it sounds like a great trip.

Congratulations on passing the exam. I am very impressed. I think it is so neat that you are doing this.

You were smart to start collecting your SS now. I started collecting mine as soon as I could also. I never made any money to speak of when I was paying into SS, but I didn't want to leave my retirement with them on the table. Now that I collect my pension, SS is offset by my state retirement. I get enough to pay my Medicare and $1. Yes, that is right. Every month after taking our for Medicare, the government deposits $1 in my account. I wonder how much that costs them?

Georgia said...

An enjoyable read! I was telling Alyx that I felt frustrated about the motorhome.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Congratulations on passing your exam, Linda! That's great news! I enjoyed your post about roughing it in the RV in Alaska! I do hope it gets leveled and fixed before Thanksgiving. Aside from the RV, it sounded like a lovely visit.

June said...

A short memory is a good thing.
Mine makes me much more content than I might be otherwise.

Arkansas Patti said...

Congrats on the exam and welcome back. Now if every thing went smoothly, would it have been so memorable?
I would love Alaska if it weren't for those periods of dark and light. That might wear thin.

Sandi said...

Despite the glitches, I'm envious of your travels! It's always good to be back home, however. And, especially when the weather is decent!

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Bringing home salmon just might make all the discomfort worthwhile! Congrats on passing the test, and best of luck going forward! And it's kinda fun getting that SS check, isn't it? Hope your good weather holds for many more weeks!

Dee said...

Your postings always calm me, Linda. You always share your day or days with us simply. With no flourishes or hyperbole. Simple. Straight-forwardward. An invitation to be at ease with you and to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Thank you for such simplicity in the midst of so much complexity all around us.

Congratulations on receiving your first social security check and the notification of passing the exam. I bet you worked hard for both. There is such a core of ease about your writing that I suspect you will make a wonderful mediator.

Dee said...

Linda, thank you for reading and commenting on my blog posting today. I'm working on telling a story with the simplicity that is a hallmark of your blog. Wish me luck! Dee

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Sedona in January? That's only about 2 hours from us! We should try to get together at least for a cup of coffee or a meal or something! I love meeting bloggy friends that I feel I've gotten to know so well, it would be so wonderful to meet you and Art in the real life great outdoors :-)

Congrats on passing, that's fantastic! Yeah, alaska summers i've heard can be brutal on the psyche. Glad you were able to bring home a few salmon & despite the misadventures it sounds like you had a blast.

Friko said...

Sounds like you have a busy life travelling. Keep it up for as long as you can; sadly it'll have to stop soon enough when old age creeps into the joints.

I've never been to any of the places you mention but then they are a long way from my side of the pond.

Deb Shucka said...

I'm so envious of all your travels. Even when they mean you're staying in a tippy trailer without amenities. Yes, the home front is finally as beautiful as it's possible for the Pacific Northwest to be. Glad you're home and enjoying it.