Tag Archives: working

Don’t Let the Cobwebs Gather in Your Elbows

Juneau, Alaska. Check.

Miami, Florida. Check.

Boston, Massachusetts. Check.


“We want you both to come work for us.” That’s how the story began.

Girls, pack your cat nip. We’re going back to Alaska. Someone hit the reset button.

Sometimes, it takes you six years to figure out what you prefer in life. Sometimes you take wrong exits off the highway before you figure out your GPS has given you faulty directions and you have to get back on the highway. And sometimes, you have to go out there and see other places so you can extend your family and have more experiences in life.

We’re Off…Like Cats Looking for the Open Can of Tuna!

Once we fired off the confetti cannon and made our decision to go, we quickly packed up our three furry kids, dropped off the two lizards to the nieces and selected some creature comforts to get us through a couple of months of Alaska living. We will be back to Boston in November to remote work and pack up our house, then go back to Alaska in March for the next summer season.

Packing for a second household is interesting. Which garlic crusher do you take? What about cutting boards, one or three? Are we going to need the blender? Better take the mini food processor. Do you think we should take the Learn Spanish DVDs so we have something to do? How many pairs of jeans are you taking? Don’t forget the favorite cat toys. And whatever happens, don’t forget the cat treats. Better pack a Keurig and a bubbler (Sodastream, as I love my bubbly water.)

One would think, if you forgot something, just go to the store when you get there. Right? That’s the thought of 99% of everyone who is traveling to new locations. Except where we’re going, that’s not as easy as it sounds.

We’ll be spending most of our year in Hoonah, Alaska. Population 750 give or take. About 3 miles of paved road and 150 miles of dirt logging roads. Ever see that show, “Alaska Bush People” back when they were in Alaska? Yeah, well, they lived in Hoonah. And no, they were not really living in the wilderness. Talk about fake news.

Hoonah is the largest Tlingit community in Alaska and is located on Chichagof Island in southeast Alaska. It’s about 40 miles west of Juneau or a 20 minute flight. It also has the largest concentration of coastal brown bears in the world, although I have yet to see one. Lots of bear poop on the road, lots of poop.

(What is a coastal brown bear? Apparently, those in the know, decided to make a different class from the typical grizzly bear and classify the coastal brown bear. As I understand it, the coastal brown bear found mainly on Chichagof and Admiralty Islands eat mainly salmon and are therefore bigger in nature, therefore you get a different type of bear. )

Back to the story…

Anyhow, there’s no mall, no Walmart, no Target, no Walgreens, no Kohl’s. There’s a hardware store and small grocery store, whose motto is, “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.” The other day I was desperate for a pair of plain old regular scissors for home. You know the kind with the orange handle? Went to the hardware store. Found them. $16.

I’ve ordered some things from Amazon, you know I’m a Prime member and all. An electric throw blanket. I thought I’d pick one up at Costco in Juneau, WHEN I FLEW OVER TO GO GROCERY SHOPPING, but they didn’t have them. Normally, Prime is next day delivery or two days, right? Here….it’s two weeks. My blanket should be here by September 27th.

Please Keep Your Claws Inside the Carrier at All Times.

Traveling with the cats is always an experience.

Liggy, our 20-22 year old is a pro. She’s been from Alaska to Miami to Boston. And now she’s gone back to Alaska.

Monkey and Taku, well…they’re a little unimpressed at the whole process. They joined us in Miami, so they’ve only done one journey with us. A flight to Boston. Needless to say, as soon as the carriers come out, all hell breaks loose.

Monkey sings the song of her people, which sounds more like someone who has just eaten a meal that hasn’t agreed with their system and their bowels are about to explode.

Taku silently glares at us. Placing what are undoubtedly triple strength, unorthodox feline hexes on our souls, cursing us into damnation. No snuggles for you.

We break up the flight, overnighting in Seattle as a cross country, to Alaska flight is too long to be stuck in a kennel. Going from Boston to Hoonah is a three flight journey, even with non-stop flights. The upside was once we got to the Seattle hotel and blocked access to behind the beds, the girls decided there was safety in numbers! STICK TOGETHER! Normally, they don’t hang out together….

Cats snuggled in at Seattle hotel, safety in numbers.

When we travel, the two youngest go underneath in the traveling pet cargo area. Which I told them was a disco for pets. I’m not sure they believed me entirely. I did tell them to go easy on ordering the Alaskan beer and mimosas on the flight as altitude can sometimes do crazy things with your alcohol consumption. Liggy travels as my carry on and goes under the seat, she’s a first class pet. Of course at her age, she should be.

However, when we got to Juneau and loaded up into our final plane, Liggy’s eyes were as big as golfballs as she was loaded into the back of our little plane. At least we were all together on this one, everyone was seated in the same compartment. I could turn around, look past the cargo net and see the three girls. Hang on everyone, here we go. One more flight. At least Monkey wasn’t serenading us. If only because Taku had her muttering out the unorthodox feline hex as well. Bonding at it’s finest.

Welcome to Hoonah-lulu

Ah, what a relief.

Not that we finally arrived after traveling for two days, with three cats and five pieces of luggage. One of which was the cat’s suitcase, I kid you not.

But we arrived back where we’re supposed to be.

A good friend greeted us with open arms at the airport, we dropped our stuff at the house, got the girls situated so they could find hiding spots inside the house, then we drove 2 miles of paved road to the grocery store.

It felt like a giant scratchy coat had been shed and cast aside.

I could finally breathe.

I was lighter.

I wasn’t stressed about having to drive down the Boston highway with 14,839 crazy drivers, making left hand turns from right hand lanes. Or taking 90 minutes to go 16 miles. Or swerving lanes as they text on their cell phones.

All of the frustrations of my previous job slid off like waves on a fine sand beach. No longer my issue. Not my problem.

The next day we went into work, doing what we know best…cruise tourism. People are excited about the future. Excited about the possibilities. Excited about the potential. There’s talking, laughing and sharing ideas. There’s big ideas, big plans and things are happening.

There’s no time to sit back. It’s time to jump in and see how we can help. What can we do? Where do we start? It may be the countdown to the end of the 2019 season, but the 2020 season is already in planning and new projects are unwrapping faster than birthday gifts.

It’s thrilling to be back.

Wait, did I mention the view from work?

Elevator, How I Love You.

The building I work in has three elevators.  I swear, the elevators are pulled up and down by a team of anemic squirrels wearing Cottonelle toilette paper on their feet.  These are some of the slowest elevators known to exist.

Grass grows faster.

Paint dries quicker.

The Karate Kid finished waxing the car faster.

Than these elevators move a total of 6 floors.  You would think these squirrels were having to move the cars 60 floors.  Nope.  Just 6.

You press the button and wait.

You wait so long The Fonz leather jacket has come back into style along with poodle skirts.  If you’re not watching these doors like a hawk, the doors will open.  Close.  Continue to next floor without you even being aware.


2/3 of them don’t have bells.  Or buzzers.  No ringers.  Forget it.  There’s no chime to be had when the car arrives at your floor.  These elevators are the silent, agony inducing, mechanical jokers of our work day.   Silently cursing you should you miss their arrival, departing every so silently with a hushed sigh of the door closing.

There you are with your hands full either with your lunch tray (Who actually goes to lunch anymore?  Oh yeah, first graders and Palm Beach housewives.)  or your work survival kit for the day:  laptop bag, purse, lunch bag, umbrella and mega-mega sized coffee.   You’re watching for the arrow to light up.  Just like the red or green light outside a Catholic Church confessional box.  Red = Not so fast.  Green = confess your sins you sloth.

Side note:  What a flash back.  I grew up Catholic.  I think nearly everyone who went to Catholic school has been traumatized in one way or another.  I can still remember standing in line waiting for the confessional.  I’d rest my head against the cool marble wall, wishing the earth would swallow me trying to think of what sins I had that week.  Come on people, how much trouble can a 5th grader get into?  I’m sure the priests were just jumping for joy when their schedule read:  Hear Sister Marie’s 5th Grade confessions 10:00AM.  I’d spit out a list of “sins” and then end with “I lied” only to cover the fact half of what I just said was a big, old, fat, LIE!


The elevator doors open at the first floor and obviously, people have to get off first.  Logical.  Then the herd of us going up can get on and go.  Go.  GO!

This is what kills me about the elevator.

How many times have you been waiting for the elevator on the ground floor?

The doors open.

You see there are people inside so you patiently wait for them to unload. They look at you.  And it’s apparent….

Everyone inside is waiting for a personal invitation to get off the car.

Or, you’re inside the elevator and it arrives to your floor.  The doors open and the people waiting to get on obvsiously had their noses pressed up again the door.  They actually have to side step to let you off.  I don’t fucking get this.  When did the elevator become your own private transportation service?  Could you move over so I can get off?  If you try to run me down as I am getting off, I will hip check you into the door.





Or, they don’t move one inch AND they’re annoyed because obviously you are in their in their way.  Hello.  You were waiting on me to arrive.  You must wait for me to get out of the way so you can get on.  If anything, I am pissed you’re in MY WAY.  Now fucking move over.

I’ve been standing, waiting in the hallway for an elevator, when one of these elevator obsessed, I must be first over everyone, junkies has also been waiting for the arrival of the electrical beast.  They plant themselves square in the middle of the crease where the doors will part.  The only thing separating them from the cool slick metal is a small exhale of coffee breath.  It’s as if they’re expecting money to come shooting out that little crack and they want to be there to catch it.

Doors open.

They make a good ol’ college try to charge into the elevator as the doors are slowly opening….but alas,  Melvin was fierce and bolts out of the car like a bull in a rodeo competition.

I’ve also had the pleasure of being inside the elevator when another person gets on and they stand nose to  crack.  Now, I’d understand it should the car have been full.  When it’s just the two of us, I don’t get it.  I’m pretty sure I don’t smell and I definitely am not muttering to myself or carrying a hack saw….so I don’t know what the deal is.  Damn, that close you can’t even see what floor you’re passing.

There’s also the silent gratification when you see someone running for the closing elevator door.  Oh no!  They’re late!

For a very brief moment, a moment that passed quicker than a duck fart…. you actually consider holding the door for them.  In fact, you give them a grimaced look and frantically try and find the “Hold Doors Open” button.  The last thing they hear is a muffled, “sor.”

Opps.  You accidentally hit the “Close Doors Quick Cause That Guy is Coming Who Always Smells Like Burned Popcorn” button.  So sorry, you lose.  Better luck next time.  Thanks for playing, popcorn dude.


People want to ride them.

Want to get in them.

Watch them open and close, like a silent mechanical Jaws plying the air of the building.

Taking one but not another.

Sneaking up on you.

Teasing you.

It’s like muskrat love – but different.