My first weekend (or at least the first half of the weekend) in Alaska has had its ups and downs. Turns out I failed on a couple things, but then not-failed it right back.
To start with, I needed to get a key right of statehood out of the way — drivers license. I did my research, I thought, and came prepared to the DMV Friday morning. All I needed to do was pass a knowledge test … not so hard, right? Wrong. Failed it. Questions challenged people like me with specifics you may not have off the top of your head. Distance to turn your brights off when a car is oncoming (versus you coming up from behind). Mandatory minimum of insurance. Minimum damage before you have to have an officer onsite to investigate. Was quite tricky. Even after spending time this Saturday morning studying the drivers manual, I still only passed by one question. But then … after 85 minutes of waiting, I got my license.
The other big project for the weekend was looking for a new place to live. I’m in temporary housing right now, a furnished vacation rental near downtown, and as part of my relocation (I’ll give bigger detail on that this week, cause Chadd Creed complained about that yesterday) is dependent on not just selling my old house but buying (not renting) a new house within a certain time frame. Since I got the offer, a realitor here has been sending me listings, and I’ve done the old “maybe, no, yes” thing. Now that I can actually see the places – a couple things came clear: 1) Garage is a must, cause you won’t build one on any property that doesn’t have one, 2) any 2 bedroom place is too small, 3) I am going to have to push my “too expensive” price up a ways to get a place that doesn’t seem like a hole. Housing is expensive up here – in part because that’s the price people can get for housing, and in part because lumber, nails, siding, etc all has to be shipped up here. Good news is with Mortgage rates where they are now, I think I can afford pushing my number up a bit … and it just gets me into the range where i can get a place that suits me well enough too. Then as I was wandering around last night, I spotted a place I can’t get out of my head … probably not going to happen, but is what I am looking for, for sure — which tells me, if I don’t wind up in that place, if I am patient I can find a place I want.
Finally, I wanted to get out and do something other than hiking or sitting around the apartment. First, I turned into a random strip mall (near where that house I was mentioning above was at) and found an incredible asian fusion restaurant. It was so good, I went back later in the night (ok, I only went back because I forgot my debit card, but so not the point). I popped off to watch a high school football game; but left at half time when it was clear the home team (Dimond HS … and no, there is no a) was getting a whupping by the visitors (North Pole HS … and no, their mascot isn’t a jolly old elf). Getting back to my place (near to downtown btw) I took a look at the paper I bought that morning low-and-behold, I was a mile walk to an irish pub playing live music Friday night. Thought I didn’t understand the tourists sitting next to me and didn’t really meet anyone, few hours later I was stumbling back home, smile on my face, tune in my heart, and more black-n-tans than I should have in my belly. Made for a hungover sleep in this morning, and some calories to make up as well. It was one of those evenings I knew could go better but I walked away thinking “I can do this, I can live in this place.”
Saturday’s plan isn’t exciting – realtor meeting, cleaning the apartment, laundry (if I can find a place), doing some paperwork for the house in Wichita. But its all in hope to clear my Sunday for a good long hike up a mountain.