Mar 12

Remember when I posted during vacation about the offer that was made to us by our VP? I’ve been meaning to write about it but frankly, I’m not really sure who does and doesn’t read this blog and there’s always a good chance that people that I really don’t want reading it, do.

But I’m sticking my neck out anyway because I want to tell you all about it.

The day we flew out of here and to Anchorage, we had nearly 12 hours to kill before our flight to NC. Of course, that meant that we had to stop by the head office because of course, I forgot to make a few last minute phone calls to said office before embarking on our vacation. I’d just called the store on my cell to make sure Mark was doing okay and he told me that my boss had called looking for us. I told him we were stopping by the office anyway and didn’t give it another thought.

We’d barely walked in the door before our boss spotted us and told us that he and the VP wanted to talk to us. He whisked us into his office, we exchanged pleasantries, my boss closed the door behind him and suddenly there we were: All four of us sitting down together. “I know you guys are leaving tonight and I wanted to talk to you about a great opportunity.”

My stomach lurched. Almost two years ago to that very day, we were “offered” an “opportunity”, given the pitch, then promptly told that the offer was non-negotiable. It wasn’t actually said that if we didn’t take the opportunity, we could say goodbye to our jobs, but it was implied. Loud and clear.

Howard and I looked at each other and the VP immediately saw the look of dread on our face.

“Let me just explain what it is, and then you two can make the decision. We’re not twisting your arms or forcing you by any means.”

That made us feel a little better. The VP could see the relief on our face and gave a little chuckle.

The offer was a move to a village about 200 miles downriver from where we presently are. It’s a bigger store with more volume (which is something we’ve done before and actually kind of miss), and we would once again be training future managers. We would have a bigger house right on the river, all expenses paid, and a substantial payraise if we accepted. He then went on to show us pictures saved on his laptop.

“Can we think about it?” I asked.

“Of course, and please know this isn’t something we’re forcing you to do. We have other people on the list but you and Howard were our first choice because you’ve done so well in the past. Just let me know your decision by Friday” The VP assured me. It was Tuesday.
I have to admit the offer was tempting and we were flattered.

We were also sick to our stomachs with indecision.
All of you who read this blog on a regular basis know how much we love it here in our village. How much we love the friends we’ve made, how much we consider this place “home.” What you haven’t read about is the difficulty we’ve had in filling the previous manager’s shoes at the store. He was here for 12 years. The community loved him and his family. We’ve spent the past year and a half trying to prove that we’re just as awesome as he was. Just in the past six months have I felt, in spite of all the good times, and the good people, that we’ve finally turned a corner. That people are willing to accept that we care just as much about this community as the previous manager. Dusty tells us he’s always felt that way and our close friends here do too but no one knows what it’s like having to come in and become a integral part of a small village, unless you yourself have done it as well. Add that to living up to someone as awesome as the previous manager and you’ve got your work cut out for you.
Of course it would have been easy just to accept the offer and move on. Let someone else try to fill his shoes, cut our losses, and start over again somewhere new. Where the manager turnover is about every 2 or 3 years and people are somewhat used to the changes.

We talked and thought about little else that week and there was a part of me that resented my boss and the VP for presenting this to us right as we were leaving for vacation. We were going on vacation to purposely NOT think about work. Now we could think of nothing else.

By Friday morning, we sat in my memaw’s living room and made our decision. We were turning down the offer.

We decided that money wouldn’t buy the friendships we’d made and the satisfaction of having overcome such a hurdle in the past year. We also felt like it would be a slap in the face to the community. We’d worked so hard to prove our loyalty. To pack up and leave would seem like an abandonment at this point. Sure we’d promise to see our friends and visit once in a while but we knew the likelihood of that happening was pretty slim. Flying village to village isn’t as easy as you would think.

I sent the letter of decline that afternoon, stating almost verbatim what I just put in that last paragraph. My boss emailed back almost immediately saying he understood completely.

The VP has yet to respond. I hope it’s because he’s busy and understands our decision and doesn’t see a reason to respond and not because he’s planning on doing the same thing he did two years ago.

Mar 11

When it’s -18 outside, does that extra hour of daylight really matter in Alaska?  My answer would be “NO!”  Too cold to snowmachine and the last musher is already through my village checkpoint.  And building a snowman is out too.  So is jogging. (eek makes my lungs burn just thinking about it) Or any other outdoor activity.
So no.  Just stay in your pajamas, watch bad tv, and nap.  That’s my advice for the weekends anyway.

Tomorrow morning my body is NOT going to like getting up an hour earlier.  In fact, it’s already protesting.  I did manage to get a few more photos uploaded to Flickr today, so all was not lost completely on bad tv and naps.

God, two weeks ago, I was in Morocco.  The worries of a job, bills, and the bitter cold were far from my mind as I watched a snake charmer toy with a cobra and I shopped for a silk scarf to wear on my head.  “The daily grind” consisted of getting up in time for the complimentary breakfast buffet served at our hotel.  And deciding if we were going to ride a camel or a celeche into the medina.  Or perhaps spend the afternoon lounging by the pool, sipping mint tea, and solving Sudoku puzzles.

Why can’t life always be a vacation?  And why oh why does Alaska, the state in which all the exceptions apply, actually have to go with the “Daylight Savings” rule with the rest of the country?  Especially when it’s pointless here.

When someone can answer these questions with something I want to hear a logical, proven answer, maybe I’ll sleep a bit better. (but I seriously doubt it)

Mar 10

For Julie.  I love you.  Stay strong girl.  Remember that you deserve nothing less than the best.  I miss you already!

Say It Right-Nelly Furtado

In the day
In the night
Say it right
Say it all
You either got it
Or you don’t
You either stand or you fall
When your will is broken
When it slips from your hand
When there’s no time for joking
There’s a hole in the plan

Oh you don’t mean nothing at all to me
No you don’t mean nothing at all to me
Do you got what it takes to set me free
Oh you could mean everything to me

I can’t say that I’m not lost and at fault
I can’t say that I don’t love the light and the dark
I can’t say that I don’t know that I am alive
And all of what I feel I could show
You tonite you tonite

From my hands I could give you
Something that I made
From my mouth I could sing you another brick that I laid
From my body I could show you a place God knows
You should know the space is holy
Do you really want to go?

Mar 9

Man oh man, this week has been a long one. The good news is, I’m about 75 percent caught up paperwork wise.

Everything else? Well, let’s just say, the suitcases are still unpacked but for a few essentials.
Joe, Julie and Hoi came over last night and Hoi cooked dinner for all of us in my kitchen! She loves us that much. (okay actually, Joe blew up their stove last week and they are without a kitchen as of right now and they asked if they could cook at my house and in exchange we could eat some of Hoi’s excellent cooking)

They brought their beautiful baby girl Yukiko. “Yuki” (pronounced “YOU-KEE”) for short. And ya’ll. I fear I may not be able to even post her picture here without all of your computers melting from her immense beauty and mind boggling cuteness. I’m thinking I’ll take a chance anyway though:
Yukiko

That’s her look of surprise at the flash. The expression is priceless.

And that my friends has been the highlight of my week. Everything else has been a blur. I’m looking forward to steak night tonight. With my ETT class then vacation, it’s been two months since I’ve actually gone to the bar to eat my steak. I’m long overdue. Plus, there will be the Iditarod crowd and if last year was any indication, it should prove to be pretty darn interesting.

I’m still in the process of uploading my vacation photos to Flickr. It’s a slow process when you have over 600 photos. Bear with me.

And also, with any luck, maybe next week, I’ll be back to my regular insane posting instead of these little annoying blurbs.

Mar 7

The good things about being back home:

-sleeping in my bed on my much loved sheets.

-sleeping with my dogs, with Lucky Dog in his favorite place tucked into my side with his round little head in my arm pit.

-seeing all my friends that I’ve missed so much here.

-eating a meal cooked in my own kitchen.

-coming back right in the thick of all the Iditarod festivities and seeing all the new faces in town.

The things that blow big sweaty elephant balls about being home:

-missing the friends and family I just left in NC.

-my thermometer reading -29F this morning.

-jetlag that will take me a week to get over.

-over 400 company emails and three weeks worth of paperwork and work mail that I need to sort out.

-the god damn credit card bill that already arrived and is due in two weeks.

-my vacation is over.

Mar 6

Hi Remember me?

The one who usually posts at least once a week while on vacation?  Yeah.  Well.  I didn’t.  So sue me.

We arrived back in our village this morning and have spent the morning going through our mail and locating our luggage.

Speaking of luggage:  We managed to lose our luggage not once, not twice, not even three times but FOUR times during this vacation.  Wait, let me rephrase that.  “We” didn’t lose it, the airline lost it.  Yep.  We went almost two days without luggage in Marrakech before British Airways located it and had it delivered to our hotel.  THEN when we returned to NC from Morocco, American Airlines didn’t put it on the right plane to Charlotte.  THEN, when we arrived in Anchorage last night, Delta Airlines didn’t put it on the Seattle flight back to Anchorage.  So including our first luggage fiasco, that put our total times at four.  In ONE vacation.  A three week time span.

But.

That was probably the only bad part of our vacation.  First let me say that Marrakech was  indescribable and truly amazing.  That week, in spite of our luggage troubles, was one of the best of my life.  So far, it’s my favorite destination in my travels.  We were drunk on culture by the time we left and are still feeling the sweet hangover.

The rest of the vacation was really relaxing and this was one of the first times back in NC where Howard and I did what WE wanted to do instead of rushing around trying to meet everyone else’s demands.  I think, with the exception of a few family members, everyone understood our stance of “We just flew 3000 miles to come see everyone, if you want to visit with us, you can manage the 5 or 10 minute drive to see us this time, you know where we are.”  Most years, we’re driven to madness trying to see everyone but this year, we let people come to us.  It worked out really well with just a few exceptions.

We’re glad to be back home with our dogs and cat and they’re just as happy to see us.  Dusty met us at the airport this morning and our relief manager did a great job, just like we thought he would.

I’ll be back soon with a more thorough recap and pictures.  I’ve got three weeks of jetlag to sleep off.

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