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Friday, September 30, 2011

A peek at our new home

Here it is, our first place to call our own in Alaska!  I've learned that Alaska appears to be the land of duplexes, so I'm very excited that we were able to get a house all our own.  Yes, that is a terrible towel in the front window!  We have a driveway too, and I think we'd probably be able to fit three cars in it.  Hopefully Karl will be able to bring his Mustang over so he can drive it next summer!  The two windows that you see on the left are in the living room, and the one on the right is in our bedroom.

 Here's our cute little fenced in backyard.  We need to do something about the fence to block Willow's view of the 37 dogs that appear to live in the neighboring yards, but she's already happy to have her own little patch of land!  The window on the far left is is in the guest bedroom, the one in the middle is in the bathroom (actually in the shower - weird, right?) and the one on the right is in the kitchen.  The door on the far right is actually just a tiny storage area, which will be great for shovels, camping supplies, and other stuff that doesn't need to take up space inside.

And here's our bedroom!  This is the only room that is even close to finished, so it's the only one you get to see for now.  You may wonder why we decided to live on the edge and get a white comforter with a stinky black doggie - I had actually fallen in love with this comforter a few weeks ago, but it was far too expensive considering we usually have to buy a new one each year due to excessive slobber and dirty feet (and that's just Karl - ha!)  In any case, when we were buying some bathroom linens Karl came across the comforter in the clearance section and it was only $40!  Works for me!

We finally brought the last of our stuff in from Wasilla on Wednesday night, so now we just have to put everything away... We're getting there though, and it's definitely starting to feel like a home.  We seem to be having some considerable trouble in getting anyone to provide us with television service, so we've been watching every single episode of Family Guy on DVD!

Check back next week for some more photos!  I'm hoping to hit Joann's this weekend and get a shower curtain made and finally have the bathroom 100% finished.  Once the rest of the house is done, we'll get started on the guest room - then I'll be taking reservations for all of my lovely family and friends to come visit!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Home Sweet Home!

I apologize for being MIA the last few days, but at least my silence this time was due to some good news!  We were FINALLY able to move into our rental house in Anchorage last Friday, so we've been frantically getting things cleaned up and moved in.  We finally told the management agency that we were willing to sign a lease before the work around the place was finished, and that we'd handle the painting ourselves.  We just couldn't wait any longer for them to get it done on their own.  The only frustrating thing now is that we could have decided to move in way back when we first looked at the place and it would have been the same amount of work!

I was a bit nervous about this house just because it looked a little rough around the edges when we came to check it out.  Karl assured me that a fresh coat of paint would do wonders and boy, was he right!  I chose a beautiful shade of blue to replace the Aquafresh toothpaste color that was previously on the walls.   I had to work throughout the weekend, so I left Karl in charge of painting when I headed to work Friday. Our hope was to finish the living room that day so we could start moving some things in over the weekend.  Karl worked like crazy and had the living room, bathroom, and bedroom all finished by the time I got home!  I finished up the kitchen that night, and we headed out to Wasilla on Saturday and Monday to get some of our things.  We also picked up a brand new mattress (which was heaven to sleep on!) and a couch over the weekend, so it's really starting to feel a bit like a home!  It's almost weird using the word 'home' because I've gotten so used to saying 'Karl's dad's house' and 'the motel' over the last few months.  It's such a wonderful feeling to be able to say 'let's go home' and not mean heading back to Pittsburgh!

Pictures will be coming shortly, but I've been too busy to even open my camera case - Actually, I'm not really even sure where it is right now!  We finally went grocery shopping today, so we can actually cook ourselves some food too!

In other exciting news, Karl got a job last week!  He'll be working at a bank, which is exactly what he was hoping to do here in Alaska.  He's pretty excited because he gets his own desk, which he's never had before!  He has a little photo of Willow set aside to take with him - how cute!

I'm so excited to be able to write a happy blog post again!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I agree with Willow!

The hotel IS boring!

At least we have some beautiful birthday flowers from Karl to enjoy!

No news yet on a potential place to live... Hopefully tomorrow?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It's my birthday!

Happy birthday to me!  I told Karl that the pressure was really on because he's the only person within a few thousand miles that gives a crap about my birthday.  Unfortunately, it's a bit hard to celebrate from a hotel - that is, unless you're on a fabulous vacation somewhere.  Which I am not.  Hmm, maybe I'll get a cake once we're moved in somewhere...

In good news, I got a job for my birthday!  I'm finishing up my final paperwork today, and I'll start tomorrow.  Woohoo!  I am also desperately looking forward to interacting with people other than Karl. Is it being greedy to hope that I get a house to live in for my birthday, too?

It's so hard being away from all of my friends and family for my birthday and it makes me realize how miserable the holidays will be.  Perhaps I will be more adjusted by then?  I can only hope!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hotels seem to be losing their allure...

Well here we are, back in a hotel - this time in Eagle River.  We opted to find a place closer to Anchorage as it is likely that I will be starting work before we will be able to move into the place we'll be renting.  Most of the inexpensive hotels in Anchorage seemed a bit too shady for my tastes, so staying about 30 minutes away is fine with me.  I am glad I had the last couple of months off of work, because now I am SO ready to go back.  I'm not sure I can handle watching any more television...  Of course, the time off would be so much easier if I was in my own space with my various projects and crafts.

I am so nervous that the house we plan to rent will fall through, but I don't really have any reason to believe that other than my paranoia that things won't actually improve.  We're waiting for it to be repainted and have a few minor cosmetic issues fixed, but we were told it will be ready at the end of the week.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

I took this photo last night, which was our last night housesitting for Karl's cousin.  The moon seemed huge!  There's so much less light pollution up here that it really makes the night sky seem that much more brilliant.  It's also getting colder and colder at night, which usually means the clouds are starting to clear just a bit.  I can't wait until I get to take photos of the Northern Lights!  That will be the one thing to look forward to when we hit subzero temperatures!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fall is in the air!

The temperature has dropped and the leaves are starting to change colors here in Alaska.  It's dropping into the forties overnight, and is only going above 55 degrees if it's a very sunny day.  From what I hear, the fall season is much shorter and we only have a few short weeks to enjoy the beautiful golden and yellow leaves.

With the variety of trees being so much different from Southwestern Pennsylvania, it's a bit different from what I'm used to.  It took a moment to get used to, but I'm definitely liking the contrast of the brightly orange birch trees interspersed with the deep green spruce.

Of course, the mountains towering over it all really make for the perfect scene.  Soon enough, the leaves will all be gone and the snowflakes will be falling.  The mountains will turn a beautiful (though harsh) contrast of bright white and dark gray.  Time to enjoy the weeks we have left before winter grabs ahold of the Last Frontier.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rough Times All Around...

This week has been an unfortunate reminder of what a struggle life is sometimes.  Several people I care very much about are going through difficult times, and I feel so helpless to offer my support from so many miles away.  It's even harder knowing that this won't be the only time that loved ones are in need and all I have to offer are words from the other side of the continent.

However, I do remember all of the words of encouragement, support, and faith that I've received in these last few weeks.  I do remember how grateful I was for every single word, and how lost I would have been without them.  So to anyone having a difficult week, I'm thinking of you from all the way up here in Alaska.  Adversity makes us stronger, makes relationships more resilient, and reminds us of everything and everyone we have.

Here's to hoping that babies are healthy, beloved pets are remembered fondly, medical issues are sorted out, and that the days to come bring happiness and resolution.

I love all you guys!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

I LOVE good news!!

After feeling pretty confident about my second interviews last Thursday, I didn't know how I was going to wait ALL the way until Monday to hear back.  Seriously, my patience is pretty lacking on a good day, and job interviews have transformed me into a 2 year old.  Good thing my new supervisor seems to be the same way - She called me Friday morning to tell me she had picked me for the position!  Still waiting for the official offer to come from HR along with the exact salary, but I have a job!!  I don't think I have ever been as excited about anything in my life - This is the first job where I really feel that I was selected over other applicants, and it's a job that I am incredibly excited about.

Needless to say, this made for a wonderful start to the weekend!  We were immediately able to hit Craigslist and start checking out places to rent.  Unfortunately, this put a bit of a damper on the mood...  It is so difficult to find a place that meets our specifications - allows dogs (big dogs... dogs that are pitty bulls...), and preferably has a fenced in yard.  We also decided that we'll be moving into Anchorage since that's where I'll be working - gives us lots more places to look at, but really limits the number of actual houses for rent.  Honestly, I don't think anyone in Alaska has even considered living anywhere other than a condo or a townhouse.  There's also some MAJOR sticker shock when looking at apartments here - the cost of housing is almost double what I'm used to in Pittsburgh.  That also limits our options a bit, because we need something we can afford temporarily on just my income (and that we'll be approved for), and can comfortably afford once Karl finds a job.

Against all odds, we were able to check out two houses on Saturday.  The one was probably too expensive, but the other was a perfectly adorable little house in what seemed to be a nice neighborhood.  The real clincher - it had a doggie door and it was just Willow's size!  We'll drop off the application on Tuesday when we're in Anchorage for another job interview for Karl, and cross our fingers!  I'm already decorating it in my head, so I hope we end up getting it!

I am SO excited to unpack my stuff - I told Karl that I think this may be the first time in the history of the world when unpacking a ton of boxes will be such a joyous occasion.  Karl, being the wonderfully generous person he is, told me that he would allow me to unpack everything just so I could be as happy as possible.  I, however, can also be generous, and would surely not keep it all to myself!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Things just might be looking up...

I'm finishing out this week on a pretty good note.  I had two second interviews yesterday and I am so hopeful that at least one of them will turn into a job offer.  My references were called about five minutes after I walked out of the office for one of my interviews, so I think that's a good sign!  After about two months off of work, I'm ready to get back into the swing of things.  Aside from being able to apartment hunt as soon as I have a source of income, I'm REALLY looking forward to getting to talk to people other than Karl!

Karl's had some luck with job interviews as well, and has several more coming up.  The direction he goes will really depend on whether I'm hired somewhere before him.  We've applied for jobs over a relatively large geographical region, and we'd like to work somewhat close together so we have more options in where to live.

We're currently housesitting for Karl's cousin, and it is so nice being in a place that feels so home-y and welcoming.  Pictures on the wall, knick knacks all around, a big fuzzy blanket on the couch - These things were sorely missing at Karl's dad's house and I never realized what an impact that can have on your mental well being.  I cannot wait to decorate my own place!

I had a friend ask me whether I enjoyed living in Alaska.  I had trouble answering, because it still doesn't really feel like I LIVE here.  I don't think I'll really know until I feel like I've been able to settle in.  Here's hoping that's sooner rather than later!

Hope everyone has an enjoyable weekend - Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Luck of Labor Day?

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend!  Hopefully the spirit of Labor Day will bring luck and Karl and I will have employment in the very near future!  I start at my part time job on Wednesday, and I'm hoping I didn't waste our luck on getting on job offer on a minimum wage, 10 hour a week job.  All of our interviews went really well on Friday, and we're both crossing our fingers that we'll hear something positive in the next week.  The wait is absolutely killing me, and I'm frustrated because I really think I've run out of places to apply if these organizations don't work out.

In any case, we've made a pretty good temporary plan and are doing alright up here.  I know my friends and family are thinking of us, and I certainly don't want anyone worrying!  The stress is pretty difficult, but we're getting our basic needs met just fine.  Keep up the good thoughts though - I'm sure the positive energy will make a difference!
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