Yesterday Luke saw two black widows and a lizard…he has had enough of California and is ready to go home now. Actually, he thought the lizard was a scorpion…time for Alaska boy to get a desert education.
Grandma’s house has been great. She lives in a guarded gate community which is nice because the kids can roam a bit without me freaking out. Back home we worry about bears, here we worry about cars. I think my kids are better equipped to handle the bears. Each morning, early, we take a couple mile walk through the neighborhood. Those who have figured out where we are, please don’t stalk us slowly from behind your dark tinted windows, we’re nervous enough as it is, what with all the PEOPLE.
We’ve been going down to the tennis and basketball courts where I’ve learned I’m incredibly out of shape. Back home we use lots of muscles for our everyday life, but darting back and forth on a tennis court is rarely a thing we do in the woods. So far I’ve twisted my ankle, skidded my knee across the asphalt and been pinged in the neck by a wayward tennis ball with Robin’s brute strength behind it. I’m still swollen.
Yesterday the girls braved the lake waters up to mid-calf and whined it was cold. You swim in Alaskan glacier water, I exclaimed. Yes…they said….but the air is just as cold up there so the water feels warmer. Touché. Management here somehow got the impression it was winter and shut down the pool for the season. We don’t really get that since we had sweat dripping down our backs but we’ll roll with it. Crazy Californians. Luke and Steven have never swum in a pool outdoors so it we’re hoping to find one when we venture further south.
It’s so great to watch Steven and Luke discover the world. Limited to basic ‘village life’ up until now, their knowledge and view of the world is very narrow. We saw a photo of a waterfall just before we left and Luke asked, ‘Is that real?’ We learned he’s never seen a real waterfall. Add that to the list of must-do’s. The list is growing by the day.
Today we slept in while grandma combatted other grandma’s at Black Friday sales in the local fabric store. Grandma makes pajama’s every Christmas for the grandchildren and has ever since anyone can remember. She showed us her 3-ring binder where she keeps an organized list of every grandchild and great-grandchild she has outfitted for many years. She has tiny samples of the fabric so a child won’t get a repeat pattern. Paging through was like seeing my children’s lives laid out in soft flannel characters.
Later we’re heading up to do some work to the family property that burned last year in a forest fire. Trees hundreds of years old, gone, family memories scorched to ashes, only the area surrounding Grandpa Bud’s memorial rock remain green, untouched by the flames as if he sat, bearded and alive, on his rock and said, “This is my land…”. My kids, who didn’t know grandpa Bud, are eager to begin renovation to the land the family still cherishes and turn it back into the beloved summer destination it was for the past forty years.
Forced to leave our wonderful gifted trailer behind in Alaska when time ran short and we had to high-tail it south, we are on the search for another inexpensive home-away-from-home so we can travel the western states over the next few months. I’m looking at a pop-up trailer this afternoon and if it’s a good price, we’ll be ready to travel when the husband comes home from work. (He’s still on his two weeks on, two weeks off schedule up north and is suffering through the negative temperatures right now so his family can live the life to witch we would like to become accustomed. He texts me frowny-faces and temperature updates on occasion just to remind me how spoiled I actually am.
Meanwhile, back home, Billy is about to start a new job as a shadow to troubled kids in the school system. I thought this ironic since Billy needs a shadow himself, but in reality he’ll probably be amazing at the job. Billy is like a magnet for small children and has a gift with them. He also DID every naughty thing they will be trying to get away with and if he can’t get them to stop, at least he’ll teach them how to do it behind the teachers back. Billy’s old teachers who are reading this are laughing right now.
Destini worked Thanksgiving Day at her coffee shop job in Anchorage and made big tips, “Finally it pays off to be alone in the world,” she texted mid-day. I’ve taught her how to see the positive side of things, at least. She’s apartment shopping for her first time and feeling like such a big girl. How did this happen? Sigh…
We had to bypass my oldest, Heather and her man, Andrew, in Portland as we flew through trying to get here before the husband had to catch a flight back to Alaska. It was so sad to whiz past on the freeway, knowing my first baby was right there. But it was late at night and we were on a mission. Even bathroom stops were off the itinerary those last two days on the road. The kids and I may venture up to see them next week if we come up with a trailer.
Off to take the kids for a walk before grandma kicks us all out. SO glad you all read this far…it must be boring next to our normal odd antics, but I’ll try to keep it interesting until we are back to our Backwoods life in Alaska next spring.