Our Kitten, Pepper

So, we have a kitten named Pepper.  Since he’s been with us (2 weeks now) we’ve given him a few nicknames:

  • Baby
  • Kid
  • The Kitten
  • Trouble
  • Persistence
  • Poor Baby
  • Crybaby
  • Prickles
  • Bundle of Energy

There are also some other names I’ve thought of calling him, but haven’t yet, including:

  • Pain and Suffering
  • Sorrow
  • The Black Plague

Despite some of his names, he is fun.  He chases tennis balls down the hallway.  The next step is to get him to bring it back to us.  His nicknames mostly come from his antics involving our dinning.  For the most part we would like him to stop mewing at us, while we’re in the kitchen, like he hasn’t eaten in a month, has no friends and he’s going to die in a matter of moments.  Also, that he will soon finally learn that no matter how hard he tries, he still can’t have our food.

Pepper

Losing Track of Time

Daily time

I thought I would attempt to give a brief explanation of what happens to one’s concept of time while in Alaska.  Basically, you lose it (or at least I have).  I’ve heard a few other people also bemoan their inability to tell time easily, here as they would elsewhere.

A recent example: we had a game night a couple nights ago and after a while of playing games the phrase, “well it’s 10 O’clock, we should get going”, came out.  I was shocked.  The light outside still had me believe it was only a little after 6 or 7.  It is nice to have all the sunlight, but it has been playing with our minds some (especially not growing up in these conditions).

Seasonal time

In a different form, I was listening to Christmas music a couple weeks ago.  I had all of these Christmas songs stuck in my head, and I kept having memories of past Christmases and feeling reminiscent of that time of year.  This has faded, but for a while I was ready for Christmas vacation a few months ahead of time.

I have a theory about this.  For most of my life I’ve followed a school structure.  Go to school for 3-4 months, with the same daily/weekly routine, and then have Christmas vacation.  For the past year and a half I’ve been out of that system, and for a while I didn’t have anything really structuring my time.  Now that I have work and have been following that daily routine, I realize I reached my four month mark and I think my mind naturally figured it was time for Christmas now.

Never setting sun*

That’s all I had to say on that right now.  I was going to post a picture showing how bright it can be at midnight, but Jonelle has the camera and I don’t feel like walking back to the hospital now.  Instead I will say that we’ve walked home a couple times when she gets off work at 11:30pm.  If I didn’t know otherwise I would have figured we were walking home at around 7 or 8 O’clock.

*The sun does set, even at our longest day.  Then we have hours or twilight, in which the sun is only technically set and it’s still much the same as full daylight. It does actually get dark in Kodiak, from around 3-4 in the morning, even on our longest days.

From the Midst of a Storm

So a lot has happened and I’m finally sitting down to type one of those happenings down now. For those that haven’t heard, I now have a job! Hurray! I’ve actually been employed for a little while, but have only just worked my first full week there, this past week. I’m going to back up some and start by explaining the title, a little.

So, Jonelle and I moved to Kodiak in the winter which, as we’ve been told and as you can imagine, isn’t the best time to travel through Alaska. Since arriving here we’ve experienced, what the locals tell us is, the worst winter Kodiak has experienced in a long time. Apparently this winter has been much colder, with more snow (in earlier months), than is usual. And while there have been times when we thought we were moving out of the perpetual snow storms, by the string of clear, sunny days or just normal, rainy days, the snow would come back to annoy us all again. Now it seems that we might be coming out of that time and hopefully Spring will abound once more (for the first time in our experience of Kodiak). Similar to this, I am coming (I hope) out of the storm of my new job.

Background on getting a job:

Since arriving in Kodiak, I spent most of my time running around setting up things. Like our electric bill, my drivers license, etc, and getting Jonelle and I moved in to our apartment, while she was at work. I hadn’t been working very much on job hunting. Despite that, God was working. Friends we made through church heard about me looking for work, through our typical introduction of who we are and why we’re in Kodiak. One of these friends, Jimmy (who I think knows everyone on the Island), passed my name on to the new CFO of the Kodiak Community Health Center.

Sometime after that I got a call from the CFO wanting to talk with me. We played phone tag a little, while I was either out on some errand or he was in another meeting, but finally connected. I ended up sending him a resume and a list of IT related projects I had done over the years, professionally, academically and personally. Then I didn’t hear from him for a while. After some time I decided I should try to get a hold of him again, soon.

Before that happened I received a call from the Community Health Center. I was asked if I could come in that morning to meet with the Executive Director. I said yes (agreeing to meet in an hour and a half) and immediately began scrambling around to get ready to go. I made it to the Health Center and got to meet with the Executive Director, who told me she liked being informal, which made the whole meeting that much more enjoyable. Mostly she wanted to know if I worked well in team environments and had good people and communication skills. I was given a brief tour of the facility and then told I would receive a call from the consultant they are using for IT support.

After going a little while without any word from the clinic or the consultant I called back to see what was going on and if I was still a candidate for the job. I was told they were still considering me and the consultant was gone for a week and would give me a call on Friday. Friday came and went and still no call. I decided I would call after the weekend, figuring that I would have a better chance of getting a hold of people.

As I was busy on Monday and lost track of time, I decided I would call Tuesday. Then, on Tuesday morning I received a call from the IT support consultant, Dave, before I called the Health Center back again. We ended up having a nice, little, thirty-minute phone interview. An hour after our interview ended I got a call from the Health Center asking if I could come in to meet with the Executive Director again. I said yes and made an appointment to meet in a couple hours.

During this meeting I was told that the former IT manager had left, which was most of the reason the were looking at hiring me. I got an overall impression that I had the job, but was still left unsure by this one comment: “I would really like to give you the job, and it’s too bad you won’t be here when Dave is.” To explain, I mentioned that I would be out of town for a couple weeks in March for the wedding on my first meeting. Dave was going to be arriving on the plane I was taking out of Kodiak. I was assured that it was okay that I was taking this time during my first meeting, but I started to wonder now.

Regardless, I was given new-employee paperwork to fill out at the end of the meeting. I was given a privacy policy and employee handbook and asked if I could look them over and come back at 8:30am to finish the paperwork. I agreed and came back the next day, prepared to finish the paperwork and then maybe run some errands or something afterward. What ended up happening was me finishing paperwork and then being given a list of articles on Google Apps for businesses to research. I came in expecting to be there a few minutes and ended up working an eight-hour day. I then proceeded to work the next two days, and a little bit the Monday before I flew out. Apparently I got the job.

Kodiak Community Health CenterEpilogue: The Storm at Work

Since starting work I have been faced with an onslaught of tasks.  As the former IT manager left before I was brought on, there wasn’t anyone to get me going on the ins and outs of the system.  So a lot of my work has been discovery as much as, and probably much more than, support.  My first few days have involved someone asking for something, me spending a couple hours just trying to figure out where whatever program I need to use is and how to use or configure it (as well as how to log in), and then trying to solve the initial problem requested.  Dave, the IT consultant, is in the same position of trying to learn the system.  Though he has more experience and was able to come on site, while I was gone, and get up to speed with some things.  We are still working to get a better hold on everything.

Now, as I’ve been at this a little while, the work is still monolithic (and will probably remain that way for the next few months, at least), but I’m getting more a handle on everything each new day.  I really enjoy working here and am so thankful that God opened this up and allowed it to work out.  After going so long without work, to having temporary jobs opened up, to this, I am so grateful.  Also, to add to the joy of this, I had 2 or 3 people come up to me the Sunday after I was hired and tell me about work that was opening up somewhere else that I might look into.  That was a new experience, turning down job opportunities because I already had work.  Also on the note of new experiences, coming back here after the wedding was the first time I haven’t had to look for work immediately after traveling.  God is good!

So, now at the end here, you might have figured out that I started writing this entry over the weekend.  Life is still very busy and we are both, often, very tired.  We keep hoping for this ethereal someday when life will be less chaotic.  Regardless, the sun is out and it would appear the storm is clearing (we hope).

Update (2/21/2012)

As of now our things still aren’t here.  We’ve been told the barge will be docking today and sometime from that point to a few days later we will actually get our things.  I’ve mostly adopted the sense that we will never see our things again (or rather not until we get back in March, after our vacation in the “lower 48”).  So far we’ve been doing pretty well without all our things.  We have reached the point, many times, of wanting something, as it would make operation X,Y & Z smoother, then remembering we do actually have such a thing, but it’s still in transit.  It’s kind of silly.  For example, we bought a $5 utility knife.  This has become the knife of the kitchen.  We cut meat, sandwiches, quesadillas, apples and pizza with it.  We also wash it like 12 times a day, same as our dishes.  Those five dollars were well spent.

In other news, Jared and Janessa have been here for a week.  It’s nice having them here and not having such an empty apartment.  The down side in there time here is that Jonelle has night shifts.  She should be working evenings mostly and a couple night shifts, but scheduling is kind of crazy at the hospital now I guess.  This means we see Jonelle for 3-4 hours and she is usually very tired, trying to adjust to her new nocturnal lifestyle.  Hopefully this will change soon, as none of like it.

On the note of work, I had a meeting with the executive director of Kodiak Community Health Center, about working in their IT department (right now consisting of one guy).  This facility is attached to the Providence hospital, where Jonelle works.  That would be nice if we could work close like that.  We’re hoping this works out, or anything else (though preferably something with computers).

In conclusion, many things are still up in the air, we are still working on settling in and so far we still really enjoy Kodiak.  It is a beautiful place.  Especially when the sun is out.  Hopefully there will be many more sunny days in the future, and that the snow will go away at some point.  As of now snow is still covering most of the walkways and paths.  We’ve heard that it usually snows in March.  So we’ll see what happens.  The days are getting longer though, and the sun starts rising at around 7:30 now.  Also, there are 17 days before our wedding and I don’t think either of us are really prepared for that, or really consider that it is that close.

Lastly, more pictures will come, someday, hopefully, when we actually think straight again and get the camera out.

“Wait for the LORD;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the LORD!”

Psalm 27:14

Our Journey to Kodiak – Epilogue

Kodiak
Our First Weeks

Sunday

The next morning I went out to the car to see if I could find our extra tube of toothpaste, as we had run out last night. I went out sometime a little after 9am, and it was dark. There was no inkling that the sun had decided to rise yet. Aside from that I couldn’t find the toothpaste, so I asked the front desk and went about getting ready for the day. The night before Jonelle and I had decided to check out Kodiak Bible Chapel this morning and maybe other churches later. We looked up when it started and directions to get there. Service starts at 10:45am and it would take about 10 minutes to get there, so we figured we would leave sometime around 20 after, just in case we got lost.

We found the church alright, after sliding past one of our turns once and turning around. We were also a little early, so we just wandered around, lost, and found a place to sit in the empty sanctuary. After a couple minutes the Assistant Pastor’s wife, Suzanne, came over and greeted us. I think we had a flashing sign that read: “We’re new and lost and have no clue as to the usual operations of this congregation” over our heads. She was very nice and gave us lots of information on Kodiak, places to look for work, people to get in touch with, and activities going on. After telling her that we just moved and were waiting for the rest of our things to arrive she told us to come by her house later as she had extra things, left behind from coast guards leaving, that we could have.

The service was good and afterward there was a potluck. So we stayed around for that as well. We got to meet more people and found out that there are quiet a few people associated with the hospital at this church, one of which is Suzanne’s dad. Suzanne’s parents were also very kind and helpful in getting us acquainted with Kodiak, and also offered us furniture to borrow as we waited for our own.

After church we went and found our apartment. We pulled everything out of the car, which was wonderful. We didn’t have to worry about repacking or what to leave and what to take. We could finally move in. After just sitting and relaxing a little we went out to pick up things we were offered at church. Before we went to bed that night we had an inflatable bed, a card table and chairs, and some rugs, cleaning supplies, shower curtain and towels. God is good!

Week 1

Monday morning Jonelle got a call from the hospital saying she could start orientation. Before this we thought she would have to wait until her license went through. Also, one of the guys that had put in the carpeting of our apartment came by to finish the job, as they had to stop early because it got too late. By the end of Monday Jonelle had her first day of orientation and our carpeting was finished. I worked on organizing all the stuff we had more or less just dumped in the apartment when we moved in.

The rest of the week Jonelle continued with orientation while I drove around town, figuring out where everything was and getting various things done and checked off our list. In short I: got us a P.O. Box, set up our account at the electric company, KEA (Kodiak Electric Association), did our laundry for the past couple weeks, mailed off our request for a marriage certificate (so we could work on Jonelle’s name change), hooked us up with an Internet connection, and printed off resumes.

Week 2

The following Monday I got an Alaska driver license and a library card. Both of which were an adventure. First I needed three forms of ID for my license, one being my social security card, which was in San Diego (which my mom mailed up for me). I couldn’t get a new one or anything of that nature, as a guy comes to do social security appointments once a month (which we are now currently waiting for, for Jonelle).

Then, for my library card I needed an Alaska ID with my local residence on the ID (so a driver license would work, once I had it. I also needed something like a bill mailed to me, with my address on it. When I had those and I was being set up with a card I answered the following questions: “What’s your phone number? Do you have a local phone number? (No) Do you have a work phone number? What’s your email address? Is this your mailing address? (To differentiate between our 2 addresses) Who is a contact we can get a hold of if you aren’t available? (My wife) What’s her phone number? Does she have a local number? (No, but she works at the Hospital –Oh that’s good) What’s her email address? Goodness, I felt like I was applying for another driver license. When I got a library card in Washington it consisted of me showing the lady an envelope with my current address (because I wasn’t at my San Diego address anymore) and she gave me a card.

We are continuing to get settled and hopefully keep this site more up to date, than trying to type up some adventure from weeks past, like this, again. Hopefully pictures will also follow and be more prevalent as well.