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April 2011

OLYMPIA TO ANCHORAGE ROAD TRIP, DAY 2

Day 2 Map
As you can see, we've made significant progress from yesterdays start. Yesterday was more about getting the house emptied out, getting the car packed, and getting into Canada. Today? Today was about DRIVING. 

And really, as glamorous as I want to make a "road trip" sound, it's basically just a lot of junk food, small towns, shitty food, bathroom breaks, and listening to music/podcasts/Stephen King audio books. Ok, there are some really nice views too, but ugg I hate driving. 

Tomorrow we've got more driving on the agenda, another small town I'll probably forget, but apparently the night after that we're staying at a lodge at some hotsprings up in the mountains and we'll do a little fishing too, and I am SO ALL OVER THAT.

Since my brain is FRIED right now, here's some highlights from day 2. Photo style.  

Oly in the closet

Stella Road Trip

Views

Just another stop

Lake
Road Trips are tiring
Tunnle

Even better? After day two, they're still alive and well! 
Still Alive!
OH, and still no moose. Saw a LOT of moose sighting signs, but no moose. 

We did see a black bear trying to cross the road right in front of us, a bald eagle, a badger, lots of deer, and some bighorn sheep. 

But NO MOOSE. 

Not cool Canada. Not cool. 


OLYMPIA TO ANCHORAGE ROAD TRIP, DAY 1

Map

As you can tell from the map, we haven't made it all THAT far at the end of day one, but we have in fact crossed into Canada. 

Also, turns out we have a lot of shit. 

LOTS. 

Why in the world do we have so much stuff? 

Getting from the car to the hotel was comical. Bag carts, multiple trips, bags bags and more bags, and then there's this.

Fish
Yes you are seeing that correctly. 

That is a 5 gallon bucket with a battery powered air stone, and two fancy goldfish. 

What? Doesn't everyone bring their goldfish on their 7 day relocation road trip?

I know what you're thinking I'm insane, but listen. I've had fish for almost my entire life, and in college when I couldn't get a dog I picked the one type of fish that when cared for correctly can live 15-20 years. Yes, if your goldfish dies after two weeks, then you did something wrong. 

These two (Diego and Plath, yes I named them) are almost four years old. 

You don't just flush four years of water changes and algae scrubbing in the toilet because you are moving from Washington to Alaska. 

NO SIR.

You get a bucket, and you make that shit work.

 

 

So, as you can imagine, this whole journey is hard enough with two people, a ton of shit, and two dogs. Throw in two goldfish that need to have their air stone going, some of their water changed nightly, and a relatively un-stressful (HAHAHAH) environment, and you have yourself a PARTY my friends! 

If we make it to Anchorage in one piece, it will be a miracle. 

But we made it to Canada, so at least we got through step one. 

Stay tuned for tomorrow. 

Maybe there will even be moose. 

And the excitement builds...

 


MY OWN PERSONAL GHOST TOWN

empty
Depending on our ability to clean the remainder of the house and check off exciting things on our to-do list like, "Make copies of house keys," we'll leave for our Alaskan adventure Friday night after work.

As in, TOMORROW NIGHT.

Plans would be to make it at least into Canada that first night. 

If things don't go well and we have to, oh I don't know, REPAINT OUR ENTIRE BEDROOM BECAUSE THE PAINT WE FOUND IN THE GARAGE FROM THE PREVIOUS OWNERS ADAM USED TO TOUCH UP THE NAIL HOLES IS NOT THE RIGHT COLOR BROWN, well, then we'll be leaving Saturday morning. 

It's down to the wire. 

 

Either way, this house is currently my own personal ghost town, and I just want to be on the road already. 


THIS BLOG IS ABOUT MOOSE, OR SOMETHING.

You guys. 

I made a new header for the blog. 

And I didn't even have to pay someone $200 to do it for me! 

All I needed was a quick tutorial from my homie Kelly on "moose tracing" and I was done!

Additional thanks to Sarah for my new tag-line. 

"This blog is about moose. Or something."

 

Moosesmall

The website is still accidentalolympian.com, and I am still technically "the Accidental Olympian" but let's be honest, we're about to embark on a whole new pile of Alaskan crazy, so the old digs simply wouldn't do. At this point, call me whatever you'd like, but just remember to come to your same old stomping ground for your daily pile of crazy.


So, if you will, raise a glass with me (coffee, milk, hell wine if you roll that way this early. I don't judge) and let's toast to the fact that right now I am working in Seattle, and when I get home at 5:30pm tonight strange men will have taken everything I own except for a small bag of clothes (gross they touched my underwear) and placed it all on a barge set to cruise across the ocean and I probably wont see it all until three weeks from now. 

Or, let's toast to the fact that we're almost set to depart, that the moving hell and the painful good-byes are almost over and the exploring is almost here. 

And one more toast about the fact that my blog is now about moose. 

Or something. 


MY LAST FULL WEEKEND IN WA

This weekend was like any other, except for the fact that it was my last weekend living in Washington state. 


I sat at my desk in the Seattle office and wondered if people would forget about me. I walked through the streets of Seattle with a close friend and had dinner in the beautiful spring weather on a sloping hill while we talked about how much we've changed over the course of this 'almost' decade. On a patio at a wine bar, wrapped snugly in a blanket, tears welled in my eyes as we told one another how much we meant to each other, and as I stopped in at another home I made promises for summer camping trips and an Alaskan adventure, and when I drove away I wondered how long it would be before I stepped foot in their home again. 

I ate at my favorite local resurant for the last time, I ran errands in a city that feels so very familiar two years later, and I wondered how long it would be before I could stop using GPS to find the post office once we move to Anchorage. I met up with a friend and walked along a quiet trail and I realized I would probably never walk this road again. A hug good-bye and a promise to call often, a standing offer to camp out in our guest room. The door closes, tears in my eyes, finding myself sitting on my bed, alone. 

Dinner with Adam's parents, the realization that visits like these, on a whim for a long weekend will no longer be possible. Tears in his mother's eyes when we talk about next summer, instead of next month. Trying to articulate how much living in Washington has meant to me and being unable to finish my sentence for fear I'd ruin the nice evening with my sadness. Being given an Alaskan motto, "Put on a hat, and buck up!"

Standing in my yard emptying pots that I'd hoped would contain another summers worth of flowers, suddenly empty. Tossing houseplant after houseplant in the garbage, knowing they wont be allowed to come with me. Packing a small bag of clothes, knowing I wont see my things after Tuesday for three whole weeks. Counting down. Closer, closer, closer.

 

 

Tonight we'll eat dinner on my dinning room table, one of the last real meals we'll eat on it before it is boxed up and ships north. I still own this house, but I'll never live here again. I'll never work in my garden again, I'll never wake up in this bedroom, we'll never sit in this dinning room ever again. In 7 days it will be someone else's home, helping someone else make memories. 

In 7 days I will put my things, my dogs, and my fish in the car, we'll close the garage one last time and drive away. 

Away from Olympia, from our first home, from the place where Adam and I became a team instead of simply a couple, from the place where I rebuilt my self esteem, the place where I learned to be happy once again. We'll drive past Seattle, and then soon into Canada, and I don't know if I'll ever come back here. I'll visit, but I don't know if I'll ever be able to call this home once again.

The place where I've lived since I was 18. 

The place where I became an adult. 

Soon I leave for my next adventure. 

But this weekend I can't seem to shake the tears. 

I'm so excited for this adventure, I really am, but ugg, how I hate good-byes. 


SHE WILL NEVER FORGIVE ME FOR THIS

Today I sold "Oly's" chair. 

A big purple chair that I used to curl up in on Saturday mornings in college when I was so hungover I could hardly see straight. 

From the moment we brought Oly home she decided that the purple chair was her favorite place in the entire world. 

Over the last two years I have taken no less than a million and a half pictures of Oly snuggled up on her favorite place on Earth. 

Oly's chair
And today, I sold it. 

Alaska is going to be the biggest slap in the face to Oly

She hates the cold. 

She hates the rain. 

She hates walking on wet grass.

After being stung on a hike two summers ago Oly has become terrified of anything that buzzes. Including flies. Someone should probably warn her of Alaskan mosquito's, but I just don't have the heart to implode her little world. 

She loves the snow, but isn't built for snow, so after about a 1/2 hour playing in the snow her feet start to bleed. 

AND, I just sold her most favorite place to sleep in the entire world. 

She's going to run away, isn't she? 


WHERE IS THE PAUSE BUTTON?

Things are, well NUTS around here. 

One of my coping mechanisms is I've taken to writing my "to-do" list on the bathroom mirror in a dry erase marker.

to-do list

There is a road trip packing list, a to-do list, a house chores list, a to-sell list, a word doc on my computer, post-it notes, notes on my cell phone, in my email, scrawled on the back of my hands. 

When I think I've got it all, I know EVERYTHING we could possibly need to do before April 30th, of course something new is added.

That's the nature of moving. 

It delights in making you feel as if you're running in place. 

 

 

The other day TILTE emailed me asking for a Stella update. Is she ok? Medication working? No longer snacking on her own poop? And I keep meaning to email her back with a, "Thank you for asking, I love you so much, please can I come over to your house and have you pet my hair and so I can tell you all the sordid details," reply, but alas, I hardly have any brain function anymore.

So TILTE, here's my reply! 

Among the list of things like, "research Alaska internet providers, sell boat, pack books, pay apartment deposit, wash exterior windows, repair kitchen wall, repaint kitchen, take items to Goodwill, continue breathing, etc," I am also trying to decide what to do with Stella. 

You see, she's on an anti leaking pill she takes willingly every Tuesday night and on top of that she has another pill she takes every 8 hours. Yep.

Every. Eight. Hours. 

This has taken us from a dog that honestly dripped urine awake and asleep (I know, ADORABLE trait) to a 98% normal dog. But we're still not 100%. We can't figure out if it's medical or behavioral, and I just wish I could get down on the ground with her and have her tell me what's wrong. Is it Oly? Is she stressing you out? Are you even leaking anymore or is this some kind of submissive peeing? Is it us? Are we not being patient enough? Is it the meds? What do you need my dear? 

She also seems to have a constant case of cotton mouth. 

And I really wish the solution to this problem was that I give her a stern talking to and tell her to stop smoking so much pot behind the bleachers with that horrible neighbor girl Nicole, but sadly, this is not the remedy. 

Plus, she still enjoys eating her own poop. 

Sometimes I feel like standing in the yard, looking to the sky and shaking my fist very sternly while shouting, "WHAT THE FUCK DID WE DO TO DESERVE THIS? HUH?!?!?!"

There are less than two weeks till go time, and I feel so conflicted. 

Do I take her to the vet who's seen this whole roller coaster progress for one last round of tests? Knowing that two visits will easily total $1,000 that could be put towards moving? 

Or do I wait till we get to Anchorage and take her somewhere new? See if a fresh set of eyes can see something we've missed? I mean, this state has the Iditarod for crying out loud, might there be someone even more dog specialized for her to see?

How do you know the right way to progress with something like this? 

 

 

 

When I talk to friends about Stella and the steps we've already taken to get her healthy (can you say $2,000+ in medical bills all before the age of 6 months?) they look at my like I'm out of my mind. 

Who would do this for a DOG? 

But you see, they haven't met this dog. 

This dog that each person who has come into contact with has been shocked and amazed by the unusual personality of my little medical mystery. 

The calm, dedication, love and complete lack of puppy behavior that oozes from my spotted pup. 

She is in every essence what people dream of when they think of adopting a puppy and almost never get. 

Minus the medical nonsense of course. 

Stella


I need to fix her. 

I just wish she'd tell me how... 


T-MINUS 13 DAYS TILL OPERATION AK

Wow. 

Counting it out in my planner just now and arriving at 13 days until we move just sort of stopped my heart. 

Have you ever relocated? 

Have you ever relocated 2500 miles away to a city you've never even visited in less than a month?

No? 

WELL LUCKY YOU! 

 

 

As excited as I am about the prospect of living in Anchorage, I am getting less and less excited about the details that surround getting there in one piece. I also sometimes wish I could set fire to our home. Sure, I've LOVED being a homeowner, and I love this house of ours, but damn it all to hell I am ready to pull out my hair thinking about details surrounding property management companies, renters, being a landlord living 2500 miles away, and getting all the last minute details wrapped up. 

You think you know what you need to do before a move like this. Get the house cleaned up, rented, vacated. Get our things moved to AK. Find somewhere to live in AK. Sell misc items we don't want to bring to AK. But there are about 500 million other little things in there that sneak up on you and strangle you in your sleep. 

I wont even begin to list them because the monotony and lameness of them would bore you so badly your heart might simply stop beating. 

I finally reached the point of, "OH SHIT," this weekend. When I sold my car two weeks before we left, when I looked at my living room and saw we almost have no place left to sit, when I drove up to my house and I saw the 'For Rent' sign. This is real. Dinner dates, happy hours, over nights I am planning are GOOD BYE visits, not simply another chance to catch up.

My dreams are beginning to be flooded with to-do lists and details and I just want to wake up at 4am and get to work on it already. I mean, THERE ARE STOVE KNOBS TO RESEARCH, PURCHASE, AND ORDER BEFORE WE LEAVE IN 13 DAYS! How can I waste all this time sleeping

Or how about the fact that our movers will arrive on the 26th, and we don't leave our home till the 30th. Throw in a 7 day road trip through the Canadian wilderness and the Alaskan highway, and then once we get to our new house in Anchorage we wont expect our things to arrive for another week. That's one week on the road, and two weeks living in homes without plates, beds, blankets, lamps, chairs, or ANYTHING but what we carefully pack and can fit in the truck for our road trip. 

WOW. 

WOW. 

AND MORE WOW. 

Oh, and Adam and I are still working full time. Right up until the last minute. 

 

Tonight I'm re-carpeting a boat with new outdoor carpeting, photographing it, and trying to sell it on Craigslist. I am finalizing the sale of my car and handing it off to some nice folks, officially making us a one car household. Then I might touch up the paint in the master bathroom, and dig through the closet and see if there is anything worth donating. Plus a million other random things that will come to me in an AH-HA moment and convince me I might never see the end of this hell.  

How's your Monday looking?