Sunday, December 20, 2009

Day Three-Six. The Malaspina.

Day Three-Six. The Malaspina.

Driving onto the Ferry
Nothing exciting to report been on the boat now for 24 hours. Stopped at Juneau at midnight – we were all sleeping and then another stop at 1130 at Sitka, AK. Nothing much to see, just connexes on the loading dock and a terminal. The view, however; is always great! The biggest problem is keeping the kids occupied by coloring, playing cards and playing adventure on the boat. Ian is pretty good at navigating his way back to our room – 137! Good thing, just in case we lose him on the boat.

Scott has once again amazed the kids by his juggling ability and Jeff fascinated Ian by the money behind the ear trick with a bouncy ball.

One exciting event that did happen today was that during our naptime a crew member knocked on our door and I answered. She asked are you Kristin our Pediatric Nurse. I said yes. She was like come to the Purser Desk please. Oh crap I was thinking. Turns out a 7 week old had a bump on his head and the new mom was concerned. This mom we also found out has 3 strains of DNA. 2 regular and one strand of complete crazy. She kinda followed us around the ship saying she was looking for us. She invited herself into our game of Texas Hold them, stole a chip or two from the boys. We just couldn’t shake this chick.

Our routine was practically the same every day. Wake up at 8am, Jeff and I would shower we would wake the boys up at 9am – go to the café – which was an exciting event for us. Out of the 50 or so tables there were about 6 “special ones”. These included illustrations of variety of Alaska Animals. One table was full of different whales, another birds, under the sea animals, bears etc. Heaven forbid that someone was at a table that we didn’t eat at! (read: major meltdown by both boys!) We would try to instill learning time and teach the boys, but it ended up which one was the biggest and he was going to eat all the other animals on that particular table. Then there was a movie usually playing shortly after breakfast. Then off to lunch, then nap time (read: peace and quiet to read a book, or actually take a nap, since when have we been able to do that?), then up to the café to stare at all the weird species of humans that also are traveling on this public transportation (read: defiantly not cruise like!) vessel.

Our last stop before our long 30+hour voyage of pure sea to Bellingham, WA was Ketichan, AK. This stop we were at port for 5+ hours so we thought we would wonder around this town to get off this ship! Ate lunch at a diner, went to the local pharmacy for some nail clippers (read: boys nails were turning into shears!) and then to a local grocery store to pick up some gossip magazines and a sailing one for Jeff (read: he thinks he is going to invest and pick out a sailboat and take me around the world) and a calling card – which this town had none. I was trying to call the HR lady in Columbus, GA because she sent me an email wanting to schedule an interview for a Pediatric and High Risk/Special Care Nursery position. AT&T Tower was down, but able to use internet….its all set up! Wish me luck on December 30th.

Then back on ship and more sailing……

Miles Traveled this trip:
Who knows – a lot of nautical miles!
Animals we saw:
Sea GullsSpecies of birds
And weird species of humans wondering this ship!

Funny Story: Scott had told Ian that a whale was going to come on board and eat him. So Ian was preoccupied of staring at the window trying to find the whale before we came on board. It took us lots of explaining that it would NOT happen!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Day Two

Day Two. (Pictures to come, have to download them to the computer)

Day two went pretty well. We woke up in Haines Junction, Yukon Territory, Canada to no fire alarm which is always pleasant. The hotel we stayed at, The Alcan was pretty decent. 2 queen beds, a microwave, coffee maker and a small fridge. Best of all when we arrived it was pitch black and in the morning the view was spectacular! Simply amazing; snow cap mountain ranges for miles. After a quick bite to eat at the attached restaurant we were off. Unfortunately we slept in late and weren’t able to use our loonies, so we kept them :)

The rest of the drive through Yukon Territory was uneventful except driving thru Destruction Bay. The roads turned a little icy and the wind was horrible. But despite that - not to bad. However, when we entered into British Columbia, it seemed to just have a dumping of snow. It was a complete white out, the road was white, the mountains were white – the only thing that was telling you where the edges of the road were –were the pole markers spread out every few feet . Entering back in to the United States the guard actually scanned our Passports. We drove through no problem and then 45 min later we stopped to stretch our legs right before Haines, AK. This is where we saw TONS of Bald Eagles. Too numerous to count, they were everywhere. We were lucky enough to pull in and one fly in a tree right in front of us and eat his prey. We captured some terrific pictures of this giant bird eating some type of fish!

Haines is a small town, with a main street and an IGA, VFW and a couple of cute little mom and pop shops. We ate lunch there at an old timy Saloon made of wood. It would have been straight out of “North to Alaska” except it was painted blaze orange and had the interior décor of something from a 1970’s elevator, and then were off to the terminal. We got there super early primarily because we didn’t want to drive in the dark and have the roads completely frozen for us. We got our tickets parked our car in lane 2 (which was labeled lane 3 for some reason) and waited inside for almost three hours. Jeff and I were about to kill the kids, but what can we do, they have been cooped up for a long time in the car and all they want to do is run around. We have misplaced the case of their Disney DVDs and the only one we have is Ice Age which has been watched million times this trip and they are getting sick of it. The kids read a dinosaur book and played tag with some other children in the terminal.

During the nighttime meltdown of both children we drive on the ferry and board our room. (read: box) of 2 bunk beds and our sitting room is a ratty old chair in the middle of the bunk beds. We do have a window though, which comes complete with one of the best views of the Alaskan Wilderness. Maybe Alex Supertramp should have taken the ferry instead!!

Once on board an announce was made that if any Doctors, Nurses or Medical were on board and willing to volunteer their services, please give them your name. I gave them my name at the same time thinking, please no emergencies this trip but secretly hoping to do something exciting!
We should also mention that our good friend Scott, Jeff’s fellow company commander is on this trip with us. He is headed to Phoenix City to spend the holiday with his family then heading up to Huntsville, AL to work with Space Command as his next assignment. He is great with the kids and most of all can entertain them by juggling any three toys in their toy bag!

We ended the night by Jeff telling stories to the kids before bedtime. Then Ian and Blake told their own haunted story. Blake’s was this: “The monster. Haunted House. Bad monster, took snacks. ROAR. The End.” (read: with hand motions, like he was holding a book, turning pages)

Funny Sayings:
Kristin: “Blake did you poop?”
Ian: “Yes he did.”
Kristin: “Well how do you know?”
Ian: “Because his butt stinks”
Day Two:
150 miles this leg
Animals seen this trip:
CrowsBlue eyed black dog
Eagles- too numerous to count
Dead Buffalo (in guys truck at hotel)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Day One

Day One
Note: Jeff and I are both writing this blog so it back and forth. :)
It all started at 550 am with the fire alarms going off in the hotel that were staying in. Jeff was working out and came back to the room as I was getting the boys ready to evacuate. Turns out the bozzo next door to us burnt his popcorn. Damn those people visiting and still on EST wanting a snack let us Alaskans sleep!

The ten hour drive to Haines Junction, Yukon Territory, Canada went fairly well. Here are a few funny stories we'll share.

1. Jeff's two most repeated phrases during our ride. "Calm down you crazy lady!" (read: I was still freaking out about getting across the border without our vehicle registration - turns out they just wanted our passports like Jeff was saying all the time) & "Look a mountain!" since Jeff was driving I was in charge of photography. He wanted a picture of every mountain as we took each bend of the Alaskan Highway.

Look a Mountain! (click to see full image)

1. I told the officer I was military and he asked if I was PCS-ing (military term for changing station) It took everything I had not to do my best Rodney Dangerfield impression and say: "No officer, but my wife is and she's driving me crazy!"

2. "I am not peeing in that shack" Restrooms are few and far between in Canada - and I wasn't about to take a leak practically outside (read: wooden outhouse) at -4!

3. "I think I sweated a lot." Ian had a little accident while he was sleeping.

4. "That was some scary shit!" As Jeff finished passing a 18 wheeler with no taillights, kicking up its own white out blizzard, and in the dark. (read: 3pm) Ian's response: "What shit Daddy??" We'll be watching our mouth a little bit better this trip.

5. "Does your laundry take American quarters? It's only fair since I get yours back all the time from our soda machines." Jeff asks the hotel attendant. "Nope, you have to put Loonies in them," she replied. I figured that was a little cruel, however, our crazy people just sit in homes not contributing, theirs clean laundry albeit from the inside of a small machine. Unrelated, but interesting, their dollar is made of metal and has a duck-like creature on the back .

Day One

496.5 Miles-made the timeline so far
1 Moose
1 Brown Blob in distance pretty sure it was an animal
1 wolf and or huge ass fox
1 giant red grease spot

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Day Before the Road Trip....

Empty House still on the Market $279,900
Box and Sleeping Bag as chair: $20
Listening to Jethro Toll on Dads Ipod: Priceless

I guess this could be counted as day one... but we will call it Day Zero (Jeff says the Army calls it this)

Day Zero: 5 miles to Hampton Inn

Long story short, our movers were less than professional. They smelled like weed, packed my stuff up semi-nice, and loaded up super slow. It was a three day pack job and on the third day they were loading until 10pm, the last truck drove out - although they ended work at 3pm the previous days and took a 10min break every hour and a 1.5 hr lunch. We are definitely putting an Inspector General Complaint about this move. HORRENDOUS!!!

Anyways that was the past three days. We packed our Jeep with about 800 or so pounds of our stuff that we will need until our household goods arrive. Jeff and I are master packers with our Sky Box on top and the space in the back of our Jeep.

Our house is clean, we hired a clean out crew - so nice not to lift a finger. They have to come back tomorrow and do some touch ups. They had trouble cleaning Ian and Blake's artwork off of the walls, so they actually put a fresh coat of paint on the wall!

We then headed over to the Hampton Inn. Very nice hotel. We are in a King Suite. King bed for Jeff and I and a queen pull out for the boys. We stayed here due to the Free HOT breakfast and the pool, however; didn't take advantage of the pool tonight because we ran out of time and the boys were super tired after watching the classic Rudolph Claymation movie. We will stay at these in the lower 48 for sure! Hope they are just as nice.

We are ready for our 8am drive out of Fairbanks. Just one thing....we forgot the registration to the please pray that the Canadian folks at the border don't ask us for it!!!! We're freaking out a little bit, but with our "Strange Brew" knowledge, we'll be able to talk our way through the checkpoint. We thought of everything else- took it out of the car do something, and it got packed and not placed back in the car!! CRAP!

Day One: Drive from Fairbanks, AK and stopping in Tok, AK for lunch and fuel up... then stopping in Haines Junction, Yukon Territory (Canada) for the night.

Miles: 500

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Barbarian 6....Out.

Jeff had his change of command ceremony on Dec 2nd. He was in command for over 33 months. He did such a wonderful, exceptional job. Another chapter in our lives is now over. Awaiting what comes next! Jeff also found out right before the ceremony that he is the most deployed officer in his year group! Craziness!! Here are some pictures from the ceremony.
Getting in formation for the Change of Command Ceremony.
In front for the last time...

Jeff getting the guidon....

Jeff passes his Guidon to LTC Reed, the company is no longer his.

LTC Reed passes the guidon to the new CPT.

Marching back.

LTC's Speech

Jeffs Speech