So, I know I said give me a few days and I'll update my blog...but the following is a journal I kept the first couple of days I got into Valdez, so you can get a sense of what I was thinking/feeling/experiencing, etc. So here goes:
6 May 2008
I flew into Valdez, Alaska yesterday. The first time I’ve ever been in Alaska since I can remember. I was born in Juneau , but my family moved shortly thereafter. Tim/Duff, a guide I’ll be working with told me, “Welcome home” when I told him all this. I don’t know if that’s really how I feel about Alaska . Is it “home” or is it some place I have built up in my imaginations? I don’t know. Time will tell. The house I’m living in for the summer is not what I’d expected. Coming from living with Becca I expected something on par or along the same lines. Nope. It’s a SMALL two-bedroom, 1 ½ bath. The rooms are small and remodeling work on the house is incomplete. There are walls, but nothing else. Apparently the well isn’t working so the toilets aren’t reliable to flush. Are you kidding me!!! But at least it’s a place to live, rent-free, for the next few months.
One thing I’ve noticed so far is that I haven’t really felt nerves about my decision to come here. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been anxious, but never really doubted or had butterflies in my stomach. I hope that’s a good sign. I can’t wait to get to work and start experiencing my summer and building even more memories!
6 May 2008 – continued
Well, my first day at the office has ended. I worked about 11 hours today and I’m filthy. The office, which is really small, was dirty. Kenny, the owner, bought a new PC and I spent most of the day downloading software and making sure everything works right…which not all of it does. I’m still going to have to keep working on it tomorrow. In between playing/cursing at the computer I was literally on my hands and knees going through office supplies, guide supplies, and a bunch of random stuff that I’m still not sure where it goes. Oh, and did I mention I’m filthy? Yep, it’s never a good sign when a plume of dust periodically comes out of the vacuum cleaner while you’re trying to suck up the dirt. I have to say I’m pretty proud of myself because the office looks a lot better. I worked on organizing, so I know where most of the stuff I need is. I also started learning about the paperwork. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll learn about scheduling and become better acquainted with the tours so that I can sound intelligent when I talk to a potential customer on the phone.
Can I just say, “Wow!” It’s sooooo cold here – even in the office. I guess I underestimated the weather here. I know it’s cold in Rexburg/Idaho Falls, but its got nothing on Valdez . Even in the office I was shivering and my hands were cold. I think this week I’ll work on getting some warmer duds and fleece gloves, at least bundling up better. It’s all about layers.
Something I noticed when I was rereading these last two entries for today, wouldn’t it make sense that in Alaska, the state that is larger than Texas (I think), and any other state in the United States, has things that are big? You would think so, but I noticed a bit of irony in my life right now. I’m surrounded by huge, towering mountains (which are gorgeous!) and a broad expanse of water, but I live in a small house and work in an even smaller office. I guess it just reinforces/encourages the idea to spend more time outdoors than indoors…just a thought. Well, it’s just starting to get a bit dark now (11:15pm) so I should be getting to bed…Pleasant dreams!
7 May 2008
A good nights sleep and I’m ready for another day. Feels like it’s going to be another “scorcher”! Right now there are only three of us here for Pangaea: myself, Kenny (the owner), and Tim/Duff (a guide). Apparently people are trickling in during the next two weeks. I didn’t realize that I was coming in so early. Our first excursion isn’t until the end of May and then it really gets busy in June and on. Hopefully there will be enough to keep me busy…
9 May 2008
Well the office is all painted. Kinda something I didn’t think was part of my job description for this summer, but you do what needs to be done. And I’m not complaining, the office looks really good now. Now I really have a sense of “ownership” toward the office. I’ve cleaned it, painted it, and am learning the steps necessary to complete my job. I think Kenny likes my work ethic…at least I hope so, because I know I’m putting in between 7-10 hour days…and it’s only the first week. I’ve taken a few reservations over the phone and seem to understand the day trips thus far, but I know there’s a lot more to learn. Bring it on!!!
Apparently Subway is the place for teenagers to hang out. I should know because I passed by a group of them when I was walking my bike around town. Walking my bike? Yep, you read right. I had it on a leash and kept coaxing it along. It tended to just drag its butt around not wanting to go anywhere. Seriously though, I bought a mountain bike today and the tires were low on air, and of course the person I bought the bike from didn’t have a pump…and he wanted more than he quoted me…but I eventually got a pretty good deal, minus the air in the tires. So anyway…I had to go the gas station in order to put air in the tires...but I don’t know where the gas station in town is, so I literally wandered around until some nice people directed me where to go. Can I just interrupt here and say everyone I’ve meet in Valdez are really nice. Seriously. And to continue, according to the nice map people, I had walked in completely the wrong direction, so I had to retrace my steps, but I eventually found the free air – via the teenagers outside the Subway – and I have completed my circle.
I rode the bicycle back home and boy am I out of shape! My thighs were complaining because they had to work and my fat person butt screamed at me because, yes, it’s used to sitting all day, but not on such a small surface. So I need to shop around town, or on the internet, and get a fat butt bicycle seat and some fenders so that I don’t get a reverse skunk stripe up my back when it rains and I go through puddles, that’s about all…oh, I should probably also raise the handlebars so I don’t feel like such a hunchback when I’m riding…and a spare tire, just in case. Yep, that’s about all I can think of.
I have to say, though, it’s nice to have the freedom to come and go as I please now and not worry about catching Kenny and the van as he goes into the office. I can go when I need to and not abide by anyone else’s schedule – and get skinnier in the process. Watch out Becca!!!
10 May 2008
Have I mentioned how GORGEOUS it is here? If not…it is. Today was a beautiful day especially: the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and I didn’t have to turn on the heater all day at the house…it was that warm. I am amazed every day how blessed I am to be able to work in a great environment. Admittedly the great outdoors isn’t my office like it is for the boat captains and guides, but I’m near enough to be a frequent visitor.
I’m learning more about my job each day, and becoming more of a help to Kenny everyday. In fact, today he mentioned how glad he is to have me in the office and such…so that’s a good thing.
11 May 2008
Ugh! The nice weather left. I feel like I’m back in Seattle with an overcast sky and drizzle coming down…but then again, I like that too! The only thing is that it isn’t as warm.That's about where my journal left off, but now I can get back to writing about what is current and going on now.I have a few pictures in my album now...I'll work on labeling who/what the pictures are & take a bunch more pics with my digital camera. Yep, I finally made it into the modern age and bought a digital camera. Now I can take pictures to look back on years from now and wonder...now why did I take that picture and who is that person? One thing I never really appreciated back home was the price of groceries. Man! Valdez gouges you with the prices because there's really only one grocery store in town. It's only competition is an organic/health food store (which I shop at first...because of the principle of the thing). I have a real problem paying $3.50 - $4.00 for a dozen eggs or $1.00 for an apple. Crazy! Luckily, sometimes we have to drive to Anchorage (4-5 hr drive) to pick up clients and we can make a list of stuff to get from Costco. Thank heavens for Costco! It minimizes how much I have to spend in Valdez, but the cost of things still seem ridiculous.By the way, the price of gas in Valdez, AK is about $4.60/gallon. Thank heavens I didn't bring my car up here because I think I would die everytime I filled up my gas tank at that price. What's really sad is that Andrea (a guide from Canada) says that's still cheaper than what they pay in Canada. -Sigh-Anyway, if anyone wants to send me snail mail or a care package (hint) than you can send it to: Patty Cady, P.O. Box 3165, Valdez, AK 99686.Hope you guys are enjoying this blog. Let me know if there's anything you want me to talk about. Talk at you soon!