January 6, 2003 we stood in the tiny airport with our luggage and animals in tow. We’d just flown across the continent only the day before and we were now standing in the town we would call “home” for the next few months.
We looked around for anyone holding up a sign stating they were with the company we now worked for but saw no one.
Eventually, the baggage claim area cleared out and we were the only ones left.
Our worry and trepidation only grew.
Finally, a man wearing a shirt with our company’s logo walked in, shook our hands, helped us with our luggage and hustled us outside to his tiny pick up truck.
“Your dog’s gonna have to ride in the back” the man barked.
“Um, I don’t think so…it’s too cold” I retorted as I clutched my Lucky dog to my chest, appalled at the man’s suggestion.
After all, the temperature was -50 with the wind chill.
He said nothing as we all piled in. Howard held Katie in her carrier on his lap and I held Lucky in my lap.
It was around 7:30pm. We hadn’t had a meal since lunch time, we had no kitty litter to set up Katie’s cat box and we had no idea what was waiting for us at our apartment.
“Can we stop by the store so we can pick up a few things?” Howard asked.
“Nope, store’s closed” our host grunted.
We said nothing. Just sat in silence until we pulled up to our apartment.
We hustled the animals inside, and retrieved our luggage.
“I’ll be by tomorrow around 10am to pick you guys up” our host said before shutting our front door and driving away.
Howard and I walked into our tiny one bedroom apartment and went in search of heat. No one had thought to turn it on before we arrived.
Howard and I kept our thoughts to ourselves. I myself, was gritting my teeth, with anger.
We attempted to set up Katie’s litter box and felt bad that she had no litter with which to relieve herself. The poor girl didn’t care, she hopped into the empty box and relieved herself anyway.
Howard and I wondered what to do for dinner. It was completely dark outside, we were disoriented, the wind was blowing, and the snow was deep. Nevermind that we couldn’t find the phone.
We explored the kitchen and found an unopened block of Tillamook Cheddar cheese and Howard dug in his back pack and found a can of mixed nuts and a camping cup.
We settled in as best we could, the dog and cat clung to our laps, as we sat on the couch eating our dinner of cheese and nuts and passed the camping cup back and forth washing the food down with water.
We made small talk at first until one of us finally asked the big question:
“What the HELL did we get ourselves in to?”