Thursday, June 20, 2013

That one time I tried to kill Travis

I was 95% certain for about 10 minutes the other day that I killed Travis.  Normally, before he leaves work everyday he sends me a text that he's leaving.  And I ALWAYS pay attention to the time.  This day I was being ambitious. Being a wonderful fiancee I had laundry going and I was trying to finish making a calzone and berry crumble before Travis got home. At some point I realized I had completed all my chores. Everything was cooked and the dishes were cleaned and put away. The laundry was done and folded. I started to wonder where Travis was.  I looked at my clock and realized he was a full hour late. An entire hour and a forty five minutes had gone by without me noticing my fiance was not home.  For a second I wondered if I had somehow blacked out an hour or been abducted by aliens or something.  I have not been so shocked in a while. And clearly my phone would have only 2% battery that lasted long enough for me to try and call Travis before it died.  Then I had to wait ten minutes for it to charge enough to even turn on and reach Travis' voice mail.  I knew immediately that he must have flipped his car down off of one of the sharp turns.  He was definitely lying at the bottom of the hill with no way to call for help with his broken arms and legs.  His only hope was that his loving attentive fiancee might notice when he wasn't home and would call for help. Pffffft. I went straight to the neighbors in a total panic as I knew Kim was home with Sven. But then of course there were no cars available on yurt hill, since our other halves were either at work or dying in a ravine. So I had Kim ask Beth to come home for a Travis finding trip. Luckily by the time I arrived home to grab my phone for the trip Travis managed to get the "Got a flat tire in a dead spot" text through.  I immediately poured myself a strong drink to congratulate myself for not killing my fiance. Travis came home expecting an extremely angry Miriam (a fair assumption as one of my pet peeves is un-returned texts and call that lead me to assume people are dying) but instead he's been capitalizing on the whole, "Thank God, you're alive!!" thing for a while. I'm just extremely grateful that my phone died before I called the police and told them I accidentally killed my fiance.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Some Things Are Bigger In Texas

Like the cockroaches.  Oh. My. Goodness.  Megan came to pick me up from my hotel this Saturday morning for some girl time bonding and catching up.  While we were having lunch Megan noticed an alarmingly large cockroach wandering about the room.  Needless to say, table after table started jumping up and lifting things up off the floor. It was a horrifying way to track the cockroaches progress around the room.  And just our luck the roach was finally intercepted and squashed right next to our table.  I can't even pretend I didn't have a shameful response of lifting up my feet and freaking out pretty hard.  But I felt ok about it since everyone else did it first. The waiter who smashed the cockroach got a round of applause.
We also went shopping before this horrifying cockroach incident and as one of the many salesladies came over to help.  The conversation went something like this.
Megan: "We are both brides and both getting married this next year!"
Me: "We both have our dresses, we are really excited. We are getting married in the spring! "
Saleswomen: "To each other?"
Megan: "Oh no, not each other. Though weirdly enough both our fiances are named Travis."
I'm not sure the saleswoman quite knew what to do with us.  I'm not sure how legit we sounded. And just to clarify, we went to the Galleria.  It was gigantic. And we barely went anywhere inside it.  Basically it was a giant mall with plenty of stores I wouldn't feel comfortable going inside without dressing nicer.  Like Chanel, Coach, and Tiffany's. And its has its own ice rink, it is that big.

Texas is way too warm and humid.  I can stay outside for about ten minutes before I go running inside.  But at the same time, people keep the buildings way too cold. It's rough.  Though I do think if I had to pick between dry or humid heat, I'd go with humid.  I've also been told not to go outside because the mall next door is the "Gunspoint" not "Greenspoint" mall.  Feels like Greeley to me. I should probably make another shank.  The other uncool thing about Houston, the driving.  Everyone is aggressive and the traffic is awful despite the 14 lanes.  And forget about trying to find your way anywhere.  People keep asking where I am and I can't really give tell them anything specific.  I also got to see my aunt, uncle, cousins, and meet their triplets!  They were adorable. Very easygoing as three year olds go.  Plus about three times as cute.

The plane I rode to Texas on was larger than normal too.  I rode one of those dreamliners. I was already sitting on the plane when I realized I was on a dreamliner. It was just last week I was thinking about how I'd never want to ride on a dreamliner because I'd be paranoid about battery problems.  I resisted googling plane crash statistics on my phone and played with the tint settings on the large size windows instead.  I also found out I had a usb port and my own electrical outlet. There were almost forty rows with three sets of three seats in each row.  Which means like 330 people could be on that plane according to Boeing. So we sat on the ground for almost an hour during boarding.  Then, because I bring a trail of bad weather with me when I travel, we had to sit on the ground in Houston forever during a thunderstorm.  Naturally, once I trekked through the airport for miles I arrived to find my bag was mysteriously missing and I would not be refunded my 4 dollars I spent on a luggage cart.  Not that I cared about the four dollars, it was the principle of the thing. However, I was assured I'd be returned a quarter if I returned the cart.  Thanks a bunch.  Something like three hours of my life were wasted in the Houston airport.  My hotel is awesome.  You could fit a house or two in the lobby alone.   And I made a great first impression wandering in with no luggage in the previous day's clothing (I took the red eye from Fairbanks to Denver).  But United had assured I would get my luggage by nine that evening.  Luckily other Travis (Megan's Travis) was free to come rescue me and drive me for dinner and for buying a nice set of clothes in case my luggage did not arrive.  Shockingly enough, my luggage had not arrived by the time I went to bed at ten thirty.  Less than perfect air travel service but what can you do.

The next day everyone took shuttles over to the training center for class.  It was all intro and orientation the first day.  I met the last two Alaska guys I hadn't met yet and saw the other two I have already met.  There are 28 people total in our class, 7 of which are women (assuming I can count correctly which is not guaranteed). People are working all over the place, Venezuela, Thailand, Canada, Scotland, all over the US....I'm probably missing places.  And everyone's from different work and educational backgrounds.  Mines definitely over prepared me for hard work but under prepared me for socializing. This first week we've been learning the basic tests we use when running a mud check and we worked some basic hole volume problems. (See? that whole taking fluids twice was on purpose...) Next week we get to do mass balances (this also makes me pleased because the only test I ever got 100% on was a mass balance test). Overall, I'm really pleased how much I'm actually getting to do something related to what I learned while feeling so much less stressed than Mines made me feel.  But I'll have to decide if that's still how I feel after the first test!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Camping trip!

Today I was severely chastised for not writing in my blog. I could lie and say I've been crazy busy but really I just got lazy. Oops. In my defense I instead spent time harassing Travis into posting pictures of his trip to Cordova instead. I promise next time I'll write about my Houston adventures, but I'll forget camping if I don't do it first!

So the other weekend we went camping. And it was a pretty solid adventure. We went to little lost lake, the same place we attempted fishing last year. Last year we had no luck. We watched things jump in the water all day long with constant nibbles on the bait but never caught one. By about four in the afternoon I had the most horrifying thought that what we had been fishing for all day were actually frogs not fish. I remember Travis thought really hard for a second and then told me if we had been hunting for frogs all day we were never speaking of the incident to anyone ever again and pretending it had never happened unless we caught some frogs for dinner. Luckily, I didn’t have to eat frog legs for dinner and we had enough verified fish sightings to conclude we weren’t frog fishing.

This year the fishing was no better. Turns out, the lake is only about six feet deep. So this year it hadn’t even been stocked yet and there was nothing that survived the winter. We tried our luck in a nearby lake as we had purchased a handy two person blow up raft. Roxi had her own life jacket because I was not confident in her ability to swim. Travis tossed her in and she kind of splashed about and looked stupid so we were worried. I’ve been informed she can in fact swim this week which is surprising but even old dogs can learn new tricks! But, back to fishing. The water still had icebergs in it. Giant ice sheets through which Travis recklessly rafted, terrifying me. Though he claims I worried unnecessarily. As if I would ever do that……Once we vented further out we discovered the reason we weren’t catching anything. Everything was dead and floating on the water in a morbid fish death field.

So we ditched the water and went hiking. Bald eagles everywhere! We even surprised one walking up to a tree and watched it take off over our heads. It was really cool. Apparently, Roxi is an extreme hiking partner. For two miles she pulled with her legs spread as far as possible crouched as low as she could for more traction. She looked kind of possessed so we dubbed it the demon dog walk. I’ve never seen her do anything like it before. She's always proving what a weird little dog she is. Travis also made fun of me because anytime we found animal poop I had to stop and poke it with sticks to make sure were weren’t sneaking up on moose or bears.

The last day we were sleeping there we had neighbors. Not the good kind. These were the loud music blaring, four dogs barking and howling, people screaming and drinking kind. They moved in around eight without even a courtesy, “Sorry we will be loud tonight, feel free to drop by for a beer.” So by ten thirty we loaded the rest of the coronas into the raft and paddled out on the lake to relax. Even with the noisy echoes of our neighbors ringing through the valley we quite enjoyed ourselves. We stayed out until one and it was light the entire time. That’s the best thing about summer Alaska camping in my opinion. The mosquitoes were even as reasonable as blood sucking creatures can be.

As per usual, we had an "Only in Alaska" moment.  I don't know if it is Alaska exclusive but out there we have transfer stations that we cart our trash to. And there tend to be a lot of dumpster divers.  Enough that a dumpster deserves a courtesy glance inside before you toss in something heavy lest you crush someone hunting for treasures.  On the drive back home we pulled up to the transfer station in Salcha to drop off our camping gear.  The first thing I noticed was a weird old man, either pulling things out of the dumpster or ditching the extra truck on his trailer, no big deal.  The next thing I noticed was the poor, twisted little carcass of a fox laying directly in the middle of the gates to the transfer station.  It was giving me this look like "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here."  I was pretty horrified. But just another normal day at the transfer station.