Sunday, April 24, 2011


Monica made it out of here safely on Friday afternoon.  I took her out to the airport in the stretch limo (a snowmobile pulling a toboggan).  This was during school, so when I got back to the classroom, all my students had their faces pressed against the windows.  They turned and looked at me with an accusatory glare.  “Why didn’t you stay out there until the plane left?”  I tried to explain that she was able to get on the plane by herself, and that just standing there wasn’t going to make her flight any safer.  It ended with me yelling, “It was cold, ok?  Don’t judge me!”  They didn’t say anything, but I know they were thinking bad things about me.

Monica was able to spend some time in my classroom while she was up here.  She took my place and read to them after lunch.  They liked listening to her read more than listening to me, so she’s got that going for her.  I think its because she didn’t make them sit still while she read to them like I do.  She did well and the kids really enjoyed having her here.  We have drawings hanging on our living room wall made just for Monica.  She’ll start her college work when she gets out here in Aug. so she can teach too.  The school districts out here in the bush really like teaching couples, so it should not be a problem finding someplace to for both of us to teach.  This village will be difficult for both of us to teach in because there are only two elementary teachers in our school and that is what she is going to teach too. 

We have less than four weeks of school left.  The school year is winding down and the kids know it.  Even though it feels nothing like spring here yet, they know the end is near and are acting accordingly.  They are able to communicate silently, coordinating behavior that is similar to wolf packs.  Or a school of sharks.

It is weird being here alone again.  When I look over at the couch, I expect to see Monica sitting there, plotting how to rearrange more of the house.  But it does look much nicer than before she got here.  I’m going to try and not touch too many things, so they’ll stay the way she put them.  I am able to live like a bachelor once again, at least for a few weeks.  I can eat out of the skillet again without getting dirty looks.  I can use the bathroom without shutting the door.  My neighbor may not appreciate that, but she should mind her own business and keep her curtains closed.

It is warming up some, getting above freezing for the past two days.  Three days in a row above freezing is called the start of spring around here.  It looks like it will be warmer for the next week, getting above 30 for most of the days.  I’m not looking forward to the snow melting into a muddy mess.  The tundra doesn’t drain well, so there will be lots of standing water and mud.  Knee high rubber boots are a necessity here unless you like walking in wet shoes.  We had Cabela’s send Monica’s boots here so she’ll be ready next fall.  That should let the kids know how thoughtful I am, thinking of Monica’s feet that way.  I hope that will buy me about 3 more weeks before they find some other character flaw in me.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


I’ve seen beautiful sunrises and I hear there are nice sunsets, but I’m not awake for those.  It’s odd that I’m up to see the sunrise every morning, but I miss the sunset because I’m already asleep.  The sun rises at 7:00am and sets at 10:30pm right now, so it’s not that bad.  Ben Franklin said “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”.  Well, I’m still poor and dumb, so I’m not taking everything Mr. Franklin says to heart.  Remember, he was the one who flew a kite during a thunderstorm.  I believe that to be the equivalent of sticking a hairpin in a light socket.  Ben also sported one of the first mullets, which Tom Jefferson referred to as “ridiculous”.

I am not experiencing Spring the way I have been accustomed to.  I’m used to seeing some green beginning to show.  At least bare ground.  Here, it has finally moved up to the single digits at night, so I guess that is progress.  Yesterday we hit 32 with no clouds in the sky.  Monica and I took a short snowmobile ride and crossed the mighty Yukon River.  Although we couldn’t tell it was a river.  It was just a couple feet of snow over ice.  If we could see the river, I think that would have been a bad thing, since I’ve heard that falling through the ice can be a bit dangerous. 

Monica has been here for over two weeks now and still plans on coming back up here with me next August.  She has spent some time in the classroom reading to students.  She has made this place more like a home than a place where I sleep and watch TV.  When I was here alone, I ate rice 4-5 times a week.  Since Monica arrived, we have not eaten rice once.  We’ve had homemade pizza, pasta with sausage, moose meat chili, a roast, paninis, and potato soup.  And that was just the first day.  This morning, Monica made her biscuits and sausage gravy, which she learned from her mother.  To give it a local flair, maybe she could use seal oil instead of bacon grease, and reindeer sausage instead of pork and pour it over pilot bread.  Or maybe she could just keep on doing it how she usually does it.

I have one month until I leave for the summer.  We are going to stay in Wenatchee until mid July and then move our belongings to Oklahoma.  We’ll fly out of Tulsa in mid-August to start school.  We needed a place to put our things and a place to stay in the summer, so this will work out just fine.  We could stay up here for the summer, but I don’t know what we’d do.  Getting a boat would be the only way to travel after the ice breaks up on the river in late May.  Having the summer off will give us time to visit family and friends.  Plus, being able to order a beer at a restaurant will be nice.  So nice I may have more than one.

Monica will leave Friday and I’ll get back to eating rice for most of my meals.  Having to hand wash all of my dishes, my decisions on what to make for a meal now are determined by the least amount of dishes I’ll have to wash.  If I can make my meal in one dish and eat of the same dish, I’ve just saved myself extra time by having less to wash later.  Plus, having a handle on your dinner plate is a good idea.  Maybe this is what Ben was referring to as being wise.  TJ would agree, shouting, “Hells yeah!”  That was how they voted back in the day.  When our government would vote on a measure, they would vote “Hells yeah” or “Nope”.  "The 'hells yeah' have it.  Now, let's go shoot us a turkey. Unless Mullet Head objects." I think President James Buchannan changed how the votes were tallied.  Jerk.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


It’s been just over one week since Monica showed up and I can hardly recognize my own house.  It’s amazing what a broom, vacuum cleaner, a mop, a scrub brush, water, pine-sol, sponges, and a small coffee table cover can do for the looks of a house.  When one of the teachers came over for dinner last night, she said, “Monica, the house looks great!”  How dare she assume that Monica is solely responsible for the new look of the house.  Did she consider that after seven months, I decided to change my feng shui so I could feel more at peace? 

Monica has made it look more like a home instead of what I was living in.  I tend to think of my living style as efficient minimalism.  Those boots are in the middle of the dining room because I may need to wear them one of these days.  The reason they’re on the table is because I can easily find them in the dark.  The reason my dirty socks are on the table is because I’m lazy. 

Being an efficient minimalist isn’t for everyone as I’ve observed.  I think that doubling the clothes drier as my dresser drawer is genius.  My lovely wife thinks of it as being lazy.  I’ve heard that the line between lazy and genius is very narrow.  She is using the washer much more frequent than I usually do.  Her reason was, “When I find clothes on the floor I wash them”.  I can’t really find any fault with her reasoning, but that doesn’t mean I have to agree. 

But I know that I can’t fight the overwhelming change that is happening.  She has two more weeks here until I get the house to myself again.  I have to pick and choose what things I want to keep as they are and which ones to allow her to change.  I think the going rate is I get to keep one for every ten Monica gets to change.  So I have to really think if it’s worth it to fight for the control of the toaster settings or if I should save that fight for something more important, like whose iPod gets to stay connected to the stereo. 

Monica has been able to witness some spring storms while she’s here.  She walked to school in a blizzard on Thursday because her husband forgot to call and tell her not to come.  We did have plans for dinner with the principal, who lives next door to the school, but we decided that I had better head home after school because of the storm.  When Monica walked into the classroom at 3:30, I had to tell her we were making the half-mile walk back right then.  A one-mile blizzard walk only makes her stronger.   That’s what I told her.  I will not repeat what she told me because I know some of her family reads this blog and I don’t want them to think that their little flower was capable of such vulgarity.

Well, I hope she takes the winter with her when she heads south.  The snow outside my classroom has reached the roof of the school, so I have no outside light now.  This also allows easy access to the roof for the kids. I get to yell at kids to quit running in the halls, spit out their gum, and to get off the roof.  Now, if Monica can fix the feng shui in my classroom, it may improve my aptitude as a teacher.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


From my classroom I have a great view of the airport.  Usually when I hear a plane land, I casually note its presence and continue with my work.   On Friday night, one particular plane was carrying cargo that was of great interest to me.  Monica was finally going to arrive.  For an airport that had only one flight that night, it was funny how many airplanes I heard before her plane finally landed. 

Monica arrived here at 7pm, but without her luggage.  She was charged an extra $15 for her luggage in Bethel.  But the suitcases stayed in Bethel, along with the other passengers’ luggage because of weight issues with the airplane.  This is not uncommon out here, so you just have to wait until the next flight.  Or the flight after that.  Or….  As of Sunday night, she is still luggageless.  We called the airlines yesterday, but they weren’t sure about the status of the luggage.  Monica wondered if she would be charged extra for allowing the airlines to store them for her.  Then the storm arrived, shutting down all flights in here.

The part of the luggage issue that pisses me off is that Monica loaded one suitcase with cheese and meat.  As much as I love my wife, I really love my wife when she brings me meat and cheeses.  Knowing that the Suitcase of Delicious is sitting in a hanger instead of here is causing me some distress.  Spam and Velveeta work for a while, but when I’m teased with the prospects of brats and cheddar I get a little crazy.  Crazy may be too strong of a word; I ordered Monica back to Bethel to get the luggage.  Ordered may be too strong of a word; I cried and pleaded with her to find that suitcase.  She said, and I quote, “No”. 

Monica’s issue with the luggage incident has more to do with her not having any clothes up here than missing out on the meat and cheese.   Without her hair dryer, I found her kneeling on the floor in front of the space heater.  I took a picture of her but I can’t seem to find the camera now.  And it really hurts when I sit down.  Oh well, I’m sure I’ll find it soon.

We are having a nice spring storm to welcome Monica.  We’ve dropped below zero a few nights last week and now it’s snowing and blowing.  I know the trail will be drifted shut in the morning, but it won’t be impossible to make the walk.  The wind will be at our backs, so that’ll make it easier.  Plus Monica is going to head out with me in the morning, so I’ll have to act like it’s no big deal.  With the wind making its noise, she won’t be able to hear me whining all the way.

Monica will be here for the next three weeks, so she’ll have a good idea of what to expect next year.  It is kind of weird having her here with me, because I’m used to having conversations with myself.  Now someone is on my couch when I talk to myself.  She’s used to it and is just glad I’m not talking to her.  This blog is just basically me talking to myself and you eavesdropping in on me.  But I do feel the need to put pants on when I’m typing this.  Hey, I found my camera!