Bear in mind that exciting is a relative term.
So Friday was a slow day at work–the afternoon especially seemed to drag on for quite some time.
But then when it was near quitting time, Samara came by. She had gotten off work at the school, and we’d been invited to movie night. There’s a group of folks at the school, some of whom live together, who get together every Friday to watch a movie. One person each week picks the movie, and it’s always a secret to everyone else until it starts. The only rule is that each movie needs to have a link to the previous movie, like having the same actor, or director, or the same casting director or best boy grip. Samara was making a curry for dinner for us, so she needed to go get some heavy cream, and she also wanted to buy some Tupperware at the thrift store run by the women’s shelter.
After I got off work, we went home and she finished making the curry. Since the movie wasn’t until 7:30, we ate some. It was very spicy, even with the addition of lots of heavy cream. Samara took it to the movie night, and some folks tried it. They agreed that it was very spicy.
Anyway, at 7:30, we went over to the old schoolhouse building behind the city hall. Apparently it’s apartments now. In fact, it is divided into a duplex of two sets of apartments, but they have a connecting door in between. The side we were visiting has two bedrooms, with a gentleman in one and a couple in the other. On the other side, there’s the same arrangement. All of these folks are teachers. So I met a number of the local teachers, and everyone was very nice. Some are young and some are older. A few have been here many years, and others just arrived in Dillingham. Last week’s movie was Planet of the Apes (the Charlton Heston version), so this week we watched Shawshank Redemption, which shares an actor. (It’s the guy that plays the old man, Brooks, in Shawshank–I don’t recall his name.)
The apartments in the old schoolhouse are nice–they’re not as new-looking inside as ours is, but they have a really nice view of the bay, including being able to see the dock where the barges come in. They also have a nice view of the mountains, and get to see pretty sunsets. I’m a little jealous! Bill, who organizes the movie night, has two cats. They are really friendly, and it was great to pet cats again! One likes to eat people’s hair, and went after Samara’s head while we were sitting on the couch. One lady actually brought her beagle along with her. The dog’s name was Ginger, and it was very well-behaved and sweet.
We got finished up around midnight, and we took two different folks home. One was the history teacher, who lives in the apartments out Kanakanak Road (before you get to the airport) and the other lady lives on Tower Road, which I hadn’t been out yet. Neither one has a car here yet, so I guess we’re better off that most people now that we’ve got a Jeep to drive.
I met one guy, who is the main special education teacher’s husband. I think he teaches shop, actually. He likes working on cars, and was asking me something about fixing the ignition on a Subaru. Another guy, Pete, said that the local college is doing a class on how to convert a car to run on electricity. This is the Bristol Bay branch campus of University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), and they offer lots of distance learning classes. They have some local professors too. The electric car class, though, is one of their local 1-hour course offerings that are intended more for the community. I think the cost is $75. I may take the electric car conversion class, just because it seems interesting and they’re supposed to be converting a car as part of the class.
Once we got home, we went to bed fairly quickly. Of course, Saturday is always a good day to sleep in. The problem is that sleeping in is pretty hard when it gets light out and the only thing on your windows are mini-blinds. It gets sunny in our bedroom quickly. I’ve taken to keeping a small towel next to the bed to throw over my eyes in case I want to sleep more.
Samara got up early, though, and thought it’d be funny to take a picture of me.
That’s me, conked out asleep this morning. Lovely.
After I got up around 11am, Samara’s first thought was that we needed to head down to the post office and see if we had any mail before they closed at noon. I agreed, so off we went. No mail, but there was a yellow slip, indicating a package. And it said “back”… hooray! That means it’s a large package, and you drive around back and hit the buzzer. Then the lady lets you into the back side of the post office and shows you where your package is. (They have them organized by PO Box numbers into various piles.) I grabbed a dolly, because we had three packages! That’s right, the rest of the stuff that we mailed ourselves before we left Lexington has finally arrived! Two were boxes of clothes (and clothes hangers!), and one of those was really large. The other box was the one with insurance that included three Caphalon pans and some good kitchen knives, along with plates and cups. No more paper plates and tiny styrofoam cups! Awesome!
We’re still waiting, by the way, on a box that my mom sent us a little while back. We’ve been a little worried about it, but I’m fairly convinced that the mail is just sometimes insanely slow or mixed up in rural Alaska. These three boxes, which we mailed a month ago, arrived well after the boxes we three weeks ago. Parcel Post, no matter what lies the USPS tells you, do not take 12 days to get from Lexington, Kentucky to Dillingham, Alaska. They take anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 weeks, from what I’ve heard.
But nevermind, our things are here now. We need only wait on the barge to arrive in October, and we’ll be set!
After the excitement of new boxes, Samara suggested that we go out to eat for breakfast. Our only previous dining out experience in Dillingham (not counting movie night or the potluck at the courthouse) was at the Windmill Grille, and the judge paid for that. The food there was mediocre, and was pretty much like something you’d make at home. So I wasn’t so sure about having breakfast at the Muddy Rudder, which is restaurant downtown, about halfway between the two supermarkets. It is closing for the winter at some point, though, and I figured we could splurge just a little. I’m glad we did.
The Muddy Rudder takes credit card, unlike the Windmill Grille, and serves more than just pizza and pasta. They’ve got a full menu of Americana. We went for the breakfast, although the sandwiches I saw looked pretty nice. Samara had the biscuits and gravy, which had a good flavor to the gravy. She probably didn’t even really need to salt-and-pepper it (although she did). She also ordered a chocolate milkshake. They make all sorts of ridiculous flavors of shakes, by the way. The waitress named them off and it seemed to take forever. Fruit flavors, and butterscotch, and all sorts of weird stuff. It was a pretty good shake.
Myself, I had two scrambled eggs, toast, hashbrowns and reindeer sausage. It was all quite good, even if I did feel a bit like I was putting Santa’s Christmas deliveries in jeopardy. I also had a Coke, which comes in a can. I guess syrup and a giant CO2 setup would be a pain out here. The interior was clean and nice, and decorated with a bit of a nautical theme, not surprisingly. There were other folks eating there–locals, obviously. The waitresses were friendly, and we enjoyed our breakfast. Mind you, it would have been about $12 at Bob Evans, and it cost $36 with the tip, but it was still tasty. The prices of food here are just shocking, and it takes getting used to. I think the steak dinner was $27, and that’s without your $2 can of soda. I don’t think we’ll be eating out frequently.
As we left the Muddy Rudder, I mentioned to Samara that I wanted to drive out to the dump. I’d been told there was a shooting range there, so I wanted to check it out, and the weather is really nice today. She agreed. We headed out of downtown and up Windmill Hill, and turned onto Wood River Road. That’s the road the judge lives on, and one of my coworkers told me that was the easier or shorter way to get to the dump. We were supposed to take Waskey Road, to the left. Problem is, I missed it, because it’s all gravel roads, and it wasn’t marked. I thought it was a driveway. It wasn’t until we got to the end of Wood River Road and turned around that I found it on the way back. Then we followed Waskey for miles as it meandered through the woods and fields, with no real driveways or anything. It’s a nice wide gravel road, though.
Finally we came upon Landfill Drive, to our right. I drove on in, and it curved around a few times before you got to a little building. Jesse was there, manning the dump. He was nice, and told me that the range was a little further down the road, and that it was free. I drove on down, and it does look nice. They have four or five shooting tables at least, and it’s probably a 100-yard range. (My best guess.) It’s probably where most folks sight in their rifles for hunting. I figure it may be a good place to go relax on the weekends and take up target shooting as a bit of a hobby. It’s a pretty cheap hobby, anyway, since the range is free. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow, so I don’t know if I’ll get out there again this weekend. Anyway, I have my rifle, but I don’t have any cleaning supplies. Those are on the barge, in the Canyonero. But at least if I shoot up all my ammo, I can get more at the local hardware store!
As we got back out to Waskey, I decided to take a right, and see how far it was to Aleknagik Lake Road (or Lake Road, as most folks seem to call it). It was just around the next bend, actually, which is funny. It’s a paved road with a higher speed limit, so I don’t know why my co-worker thought it’d be easier to go down Wood River Road and take the whole length of Waskey Road to get to the dump. We drove on home on paved roads the whole way.
Now we’ve finished putting away our clothes, and Samara is talking naps. Seems like a reasonable idea.