I promised myself that I would add one of these stories here every time I told one. I tell them at one point or another throughout the summer. There will be no chronology - not yet anyway - nor will there be much of a schedule. You never know; I might add a story every day and I might not. This is my life. Every day is an adventure.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Good Substitute

About a month ago, an ermine moved in under the house. We'd seen him (or her) before, but then I think, when he discovered the abundant hunting ground under the house, he hung around. When we saw all the tracks, we started leaving a few crumbs of leftovers out by the steps where the plastic that skirts the house during the winter is open.

Yep, he scarfed them up, so we left more. Soon we had a bowl out there, not to fill, but to keep the scraps out of the snow. Soon, we discovered that he doesn't really like dry ramen noodles, but he'll make short work of bits of fish sticks, hot dogs, and bacon. The latest offering, a half biscuit with butter and a little tuna mixed with mayonnaise disappeared quickly.

He seems to go on short hunting trips, but of late he has always returned. I guess he's unwilling to pass up a free meal.

He's a cute little sucker. We've tentatively named him Trouble, but today I couldn't help but call him Sweety. You see, today was the first time he showed himself to me, and for about five minutes, we played peekaboo. He popped up a couple times to peek at me through the steps, and then half a dozen or more times from the gap near the bowl. Every time I moved, he darted back out of sight, but then popped back out to peek at me again.

We were on our way to get firewood, and I couldn't play any longer. I put a piece of meatloaf in his bowl and we took off. When we got back, the meatloaf was gone. I do hope to see him again soon. I think, if he's still hanging around this summer, I'll order some ferret food. Not to have that as a stable, but to give him a slightly better diet than people food, which, I'm sure he'll get plenty of as long as he's around.

I do hope he stays. If he does, the mouse population will take a header. Who knows, maybe he'll actually become friendly, or at least friendly enough to take food from my hand. And if I'm really lucky, we'll get a second generation here. I'm not sure if he's old enough, and I haven't more than the one, but it would be hard to tell with all the tracks he's left around.

But, I can't have a cat or a dog. Where my son lives now, they don't allow pets, and the day will come soon when I can't live out here anymore. There's really no point in trying to get one now. Someday, when I've relocated to wherever (Eagle River, AK, or more likely Kingman, AZ), I'll get a cat then. Who knows - Only the future will tell.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Summer of Changes

I hate change,  I really do, but after only two and a half years, I'm changing jobs again. I finally get the place organized and functioning the way I like and I can't work there anymore. Why? you ask. Because there is nothing in it for me anymore. Sure there's a nice paycheck, and I'll be taking a pay cut at my new job, but the benefits to me otherwise are priceless.

You see, my old boss decided he wanted nothing to do with helping me get my supplies out here. Course he didn't tell me this until I asked when I could submit my list. His reasoning was that I needed to take more 'responsibility' for my life. What exactly does that mean? In his mind, it meant running to the store myself. Of course there is no store anywhere around here. For me to just pop into a store somewhere and do a little shopping - something my boss does when he's home all the time - I would need to charter a plane to town at around $400, or seat fare of maybe $100 if I was lucky. Then I'd have to hire a taxi driver for the bulk of a day of mad shopping for a couple hundred dollars if I was lucky, and THEN charter that flight out after spending $3000-$4000 on groceries. Now, understand, my lists are groceries for a whole year. I might have to fill that taxi 3 or 4 times in order to fill a plane. Back on this end, me with my little boat, the only boat we have running, I'd need to make 4 or 5 trips to get it all home.

Now, since I'm working every day (almost), I'd kind of need to accomplish all of this in one fell swoop or I'd miss work; I certainly couldn't afford to go shopping more than once. Needless to say, though I was willing to do this, I just couldn't figure out a way to accomplish it all. I stressed about this for a long time, until finally I decided I'd had enough. I called the competition and asked. Then I went over there and talked to the owner's wife. I've known them for some years. She was utterly thrilled to have me come back. As I said, I'm taking a pay cut, but I hope it will be less than quoted. I was told that was a possibility. I have over 15 years experience at that lodge. It will be nice to be back over there, though I will miss this place. But just to make sure, I asked specifically about getting supplies. I don't need to get a whole planeload at a time - half a dozen boxes at the most every time (every week) is good enough for me. She knows my situation; I order far more than the occasional shampoo and toothpaste, or maybe a new pair of pants and socks. She said, "Oh my gosh, yes. That is no problem at all." You have no idea how valuable that little gesture is.

This place, where I worked last summer and a summer and a half before that, is the very first place we stayed at when we first came out here. In a sense it will be home, and I did make friends here. I will make an effort to visit, but in truth, it will be a relief not to work there. The hours were just outside of my abilities what with me needing to take care of a home too. It was like working two full time jobs in a twenty hour day and still have time to wind down and actually get a little sleep. Trying to explain this to my boss earned some interesting responses though. One, which stunned me, was the recommendation that I leave my husband since he didn't help around the house. So my husband doesn't wash the dishes and he doesn't cook. I spent YEARS figuring out how to do the things I do around here efficiently; I have no interest in trying to teach someone else the job. My working a 13 hour day had never been in the plans when we got married. In fact, my working at all had always been of little more worth than getting me out of the house once in a while. I never expected to be the main bread winner of the family. I would never consider leaving him for those reasons, or any reason, for that matter. Needless to say, I couldn't believe my boss would even utter such words. I mean, are you telling me he would leave his wife if she suddenly decided not to wash the dishes (in the dishwasher)? It made me wonder.

Once was the time when we used to go to town for our supplies. It was such an ordeal and usually involved an overnight or two at a motel in order to get it all done without going nuts. When I first started working at the lodge under it's original owners, I don't remember how the subject came up, maybe she asked, but when she offered to bring out my supplies on their planes, I was brought to tears by the generosity. I mean, they hire their planes and though they were cheaper than now, they were still expensive; it never occurred to me to ask - I was just another employee. That tiny gesture (for them) save us hundreds of dollars a season, and never until this last summer did I have an issue about it. Summer before last was stressful, but I chalked that up to a new boss doing things differently - for the most part, it was, but apparently it was more than that.

So, how did I get my supplies out here? I didn't have to go to town for them. Another friend of mine (a lodge owner) listened to my woes and stepped up to the plate. I paid my share of freight and my share of her expediter's fees like always, and I got a boatload of supplies roughly once a week. Thanks to the late start, my lists had to be larger than I liked but it worked out. Of course, I could go on about her incompetent shopper, but really, I was just relieved to get what I got out here. I'll run out of coffee beans and creamer, but really that's a small issue. This time of year, I can order more. I usually order a plane of supplies at some point during the winter. I already went to town and got some things. I went because I was intending to see a doctor, but by the time I got there, what I needed to see the doctor for was all but cleared up, and I wasn't about to spend over $200 for nothing. I suppose I should have picked up coffee and creamer too, but it might stretch, or we might order another plane - time will tell - maybe we'll just endure until summer. I do have instant, and I do have milk. We would survive. hahaha

So - I'm looking forward to getting back into my garden, which has been beautifully modified since the flood. And I'm also looking forward to doing the modifications I'd planned before I found out I wouldn't be working there anymore. I've also come across a few new ideas too. I've told all my bosses - they're lucky they don't pay me for ALL the work I do, because I'm always thinking about improvements or some other issue. Worrying about the place over the winter and such. The hours are more sane - eight to five for the most part. Life will be easier on a daily basis because of it, the best part will be no more idle afternoons. When my work is done, I can go home and do the things I need to do, and what I want to do at home too. A pay cut will put a pinch on things, but not that much really.