Friday, October 24, 2014

Sunday Morning Chat...on Friday...

Hello Everyone!

I know I left you all with quite the cliff hanger and from what I gather I have a lot of minds wondering about what's next, who's Bob and so forth.  I also posted on FB that I had left out some details about what life was "really" like with Fred. Basically I got more interest then I expected. I just didn't want to offend in any way, but I get the impression the curiosity is there so I'm going to back track a bit.

First I want to say, I learned a lot from this whole experience, and looking back I see things I should have paid attention to.  I should have made the decision not to move there; however, also looking back I realize I got very wrapped up in the whole exciting and energy that revolved around "I'm moving to Alaska".   People were very excited for me and at some point I felt it crossed to a place where I don't think I would have known how to unwind it all and not move, and in my heart I felt Fred loved me and I loved the feeling of being loved. 

I had gone to visit Fred several times before moving there.  I was fortunate in the fact work paid for many of the trips because where Fred lived was in my work territory.  I also had tons of airline miles so I could get free airline tickets.  Fred and I also met in Seattle, WA to spend time together as well, in fact Fred proposed to me on a horse drawn carriage ride in Seattle before I moved there.  How romantic is that.... all part of why it was hard to unwind.

During the visits I had my relationship with Megan and Michelle began to grow, in fact I had a better relationship with Michelle at that time, then I did after I moved there.  Megan was starving for any sort of mother image she could get her hands on, so she was close to me instantly. She had my phone number and would call me on her own whenever she wanted to, which I was happy about.

Megan had a pet horse, I forget the name anymore, it's been 10 years now, it was an old horse, and she loved it to no end. Megan had a few pets around there and she mothered all of them.  She had a dog as one of her pets, this particular dog wasn't a mushing dog.  She worked with this dog all the time and it knew all sorts of tricks.  Well one day I get a phone call and Megan is just sobbing on the phone, to the point it was almost impossible to understand her.  It turned out her horse had died.  Now, this little girl had a heart as big as Alaska and was super sensitive. I knew this and I had only known her a very short time.  Well instead of having it hauled off and having a memorial to the horse, or burring the darn thing in the pasture, Fred strung it up in front of the pole barn right outside her bedroom window and proceeded to butcher it for the dogs to eat.  I was so pissed at him.  But to him, it was practical. 

That was the first of many animals I saw strung up and butchered.  I wasn't bothered by any of the others, they were our food and had been fed, fattened up, and grown for that purpose.  I am a meat eater, so animals sacrifice their life for me to eat.  I know this, and understand it.  I also respect it, and the one thing I've learned over the years is that most people who kill their own food do it in a fast and respectful manner.  I prefer that any day over how commercial animals are handled. Fred was no different.  I watched pigs get killed and they never suffered, they also lived a comfortable life up until that moment.  But I thought what he did with the horse was horrible and unforgivable.  It hurt Megan deeply.

Megan also struggled in school. She had a hot little temper at times and it got her in trouble quite often.  As I had mentioned previously Fred paid little attention to anything related to school and education, and was all to happy to pass that off to me.  So, I started hearing from the teacher on a regular basis.  Most issues were manageable because I had a way with Megan, and I could usually get her squared away pretty easily.  Then one day I got a call from a teach about Megan being pretty mean to this one little boy.  Now you all know by now Megan had been through hell and back already in her life.  During the conversation the teacher says to me., " I know Megan has been through a lot, and I can't tell you any details here, but no matter how bad Megan's situation has been, this little boy's situation is much worse".  I didn't know what to think or say.  I thought, OMGoodness what could be worse then what Megan has gone through with her mother and then being left with Fred as the person you had to rely on for life itself.  Well time went by, I continued to work with Megan the best I could, I was living there full time and the days clicked by slowly.  I got to know a mother of one of Megan's friends and she stopped by one day.  We were chatting at the table and I shared with her what the teacher had told me.  Well this was a small town so she knew all the details.  This little boy's Dad had a fight, disagreement, grudge, whatever you want to call it with another man.  So instead of handling it like a man should and setting a good example for his two boys (the little boy had a brother), this Father shot and killed the man, strung him up like a deer and gutted him in front of his boys.

He did go to prison for this crime, but an important part of this is how people view things up in the wilderness there.  It is truly the last frontier and I learned many of the people who live in the wild do so because the can't deal with normal civilization.  In a few of the comments I've received over the time I've written this story a few people have said, "I don't know how you didn't knock Fred's block off"...(something to that context)... this is why.  I chose to stay alive.  To this day I believe Fred had the ability to do bad things.  He never laid a hand on me, but I also didn't give him reason to.  I played the game and made my plan to get the heck out of there.  There would have been no benefit to irritating him for me.

Now you can also understand why my decisions I made for leaving were so critical. Each one had to work and each decision was important.  Even up until the day I picked up Lisa at the airport, I got meat out of the freezer as if I was going to be cooking dinner that night for everyone.  I kept it looking like no surprises were coming, life was going as he wanted it to, dinner would be made like he wanted and so forth.

This bring me back to where I left off from last week.  I don't want you to have to wait a whole week again, so I will pick up there and write a bit more.

I was driving what was now "Fred's" truck back to the house and Lisa was driving the rental.  The way the driveway was we needed to have a clear path out of there and it was a skinny, very, very long driveway, almost like a short road, so the big truck I was driving needed to be parked somewhere else so we could load the rental and get it out again.  I hid the truck further down the road we lived on, there was so much snow back there, so I just kind of stuck it back there hoping I would get it out again.  Lisa had the rental in the driveway and we quickly gathered my last few belongings.  Talk about your heart racing, my heart was going a million miles an hour.  We still had things to pack.  I had suitcases hidden under the bed that were half packed, but we had to throw the remaining items in there and get them in the rental. We were flying, and we weren't neat about it.  The last thing I did in that bedroom was throw the cell phone he had give me on the bed. We got it all loaded up and then I needed to get the big truck back and then we were out of there.  The big truck was a one ton dual wheeled diesel that was 4-wheel drive and had a long bed on it, so it was good size. In Alaska is was common.  I went to get it and it started to be stuck. I thought holy crap, you have got to get out of here.  I tore it up getting it free, but I could have cared less, I just wanted it in the driveway so everything looked normal.  I finally got it over there and Lisa and jumped in that rental.  We were backing down that long driveway and I could hardly breath.  To this day I can remember the feeling as I made the turn backing out of there that put me on the road.  As the rental turned, I looked at Lisa and said, "I'm free".  I immediately started feeling relaxed.  Just writing this I can feel those feelings again.

I called Bob because he was waiting to hear from me, he had told me he was really worried about how it would all go and had told his secretary that if I called he was to be interrupted.  I really appreciate him, without him during those last few days it would have been much harder if not impossible to accomplish getting out safely.  Lisa and I were in a comfortable 4 wheel drive rental SUV, we had a 4star hotel room waiting for us in Fairbanks, all paid for by Bob! And we were free.  We now had 4 days to wait for our flight out of there. 

I will leave it here and pick up with this next weekend!  I hope you enjoy the read!

Hugs, Jane

Sunday, October 19, 2014

More Sunday Morning Chat.... the Story Continues...

So, there I was on Thanksgiving, enjoying the peace and quiet with everyone gone, playing on and, as I mentioned last week, I meet Bob.  Bob was pretty handsome looking in his picture, and to be honest I was just goofing around anyway.  Heck I couldn't meet anyone new, I was thousands of miles from St. Louis.  I mostly just needed something to do since TV up there is useless.  Way up North, getting TV channel is ridiculous, the satellites are not Soaimed in a way that helps Alaska much, and local channels aren't any good, so playing on seemed like better fun.  But let's face it, the last thing I needed was another man.  But what's the harm in a little chit chat, so I send Bob a message.  I picked Bob to write to for a few reasons. One he had this clean cut responsible look about him, and after being with Fred, that looked good.  Secondly he stated he made the highest income bracket they had on there - money's good right? and Thirdly, he was online and I was looking for something to do.  To be honest the third reason was my biggest motivator.  While I was glad t be alone, I was bored.

So, I send Bob a message and within an hour or so he writes me back.  Good.  So now I have something to do.  We write back and forth a bit, until he say's "I would really like to talk off of here on the phone, and maybe make plans to meet".  Oh crap....  you got it, I hadn't told him where I was or what was going on.  So now I had to come clean, I thought wait until I tell him a few details, that will be the last message I get from Bob.  But I really have no choice I need to tell him because I can't meet him and if we talk on the phone he's going to wonder about the area code.  So, I throw a few bits out there about how I met this guy, didn't go good, he's a jerk, working on coming home, have a flight booked for early December...blah, blah, blah.  Thinking that's the last of Bob....  Oh was I wrong, that was just the beginning of Bob!

So, he write me back and is wanting to know everything and fix it all. Now he really wants to talk on the phone because he's going to save me.  Well at this point I could use a little saving, so I thought what do I have to lose.  I give him my cell number and he calls.  Bob was really nice company that Thanksgiving evening. We chatted for hours.  Bob seemed smart, he was a business owner and also ran another company, he was divorced, his children were grown, he had one grandchild and we seemed to have a lot of quirky traits in common.  So Bob and I connect big time on the phone.  We spoke again the next day all the way up until when Fred pulled up in the driveway.  So now our option of speaking on the phone is over, we have to resort back to emailing, which we do.

Bob and I emailed every day as we both waited for the day I had my flight book to come back home.  It was booked for December 8th because December 4th my friend was flying up to visit. She didn't know the details of what was going on at this point, and even I didn't know how it was about to all shake down.  So Bob and I are beginning to really enjoy our daily emails, we miss talking on the phone and we're making plans to meet when I get back.  Meanwhile I was getting really organized.  I had nothing to go home to - no car, nothing.  So I buy a cell phone on line and get it mailed to my friends house, I got my old job back, which was fantastic.  I even bought a car over the phone from the person I had bought so many new vehicles from and I was going to stay with my friend for a while. I was steadily mailing things back home and stupid Fred was clueless.  He would sit there are night with the computer on and up, surfing for women thinking he was being clever, and I thought you idiot, if you only

By now it's the day before my friend is to arrive and Fred is at his worst.  I get told I'm not allowed to use anything in the house, it's all his.  He tells me I will be allowed to HIS truck the next day to pick my friend up at the airport, and he will allow her to stay at HIS house, but that's it.  I realize I have to leave when my friend arrives, but I have no access to the computer (when he or the girls are there), no access to the phone, the truck, nothing.  I needed a hotel room booked for myself and a rental car, but I have no way to do it.  I didn't want to call my Dad for help because he wasn't a regular traveler and didn't know much about handling what I needed done and he would have just gotten really worried.  So I decide I need to call Bob.  I had asked nothing of him up until this point, but I knew he was a business man and could do what I needed. to call him...

This is the first and last time that dang outhouse same in   I pretended I needed to go to the bathroom, but took my cell phone with me.  I didn't stop at the outhouse, I went deep into the woods because the phone lit up when you used it and Fred didn't miss a thing.  I called Bob, I had only a few minutes.  I told him as fast as I could that things were seriously bad, I was sorry I needed to ask for help, but I needed a hotel room for myself and my friend, and I needed a car.  Bob said something strange during that phone call.  He said, "I'm going to get this done for you, if there were more time I would have someone there to get you out of there".  I asked "who", thinking, who does he know in Alaska?  He said, "I'm well connected".  I couldn't focus on this, I needed to get back in the house.  We agreed he would email me the details of the things I needed.   By nights end I had a few moments alone to check email and it was all there. 

Now I had a problem to work out.... do I pick my friend, Lisa up with the truck loaded with my last bit of worldly possession, drop them off at the hotel and run the truck back to the house with her following in the rental and get out of there in just minutes (Fred commonly stopped by the house during the day while he was working) or do I leave the items I have at the house, pick her up, come back, spend 10-15 minutes getting the items in the rental and leave.  The first option - what if Fred came home and saw all my stuff gone and HIS truck gone, he would surely report it stolen.  Second option - what if Fred came by the house while we were there moving my last things out the door.  Both options were bad, but I went for option #2. 

Finally morning came, Fred left for work, the girls went to school and I went to pick up Lisa.  When she arrived I hugged her and said, "plans have changed", we're going to pick up a rental and we're checking into a hotel.  Oh, and BTW some buy named Bob is paying for it all.... yep you heard right, he had insisted he was paying for the hotel and car even though I was good financially (this is significant).   Lisa's like who's Bob? 

We get the rental, she drives it, I drive the truck and back to the house we go to get my remaining items, this is it, we have to be quick, we have to get out of there without Fred coming home.  My heart was beating so fast and so hard.  I was praying my plan would work out ok. I just needed to drop off that truck, grab the remaining items, and get the heck out of that long driveway in the rental and I was a free woman again....

See you next Sunday.....

Hugs, Jane...vv08

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Morning Chat Time!!!

Ok back to my Alaska stories.....

As time went on living there became harder and harder.  Fred and I didn't see eye to eye on anything at all.  Winter was beginning to set in, it was late September and the snow was piling up.  All Fred wanted to do at the point was mush dogs.  You recall all the chores the girls did that involved caring for the dogs.  Well, they both told me in private that they didn't even want to dog mush.  It was Fred's dream, not theirs. Yet they had to work their tails off to care for the 30 dogs that lived on the property. The days were getting much shorter very quick and it was getting cold. The temperatures were starting to hit around 0 degrees around that time, so it was cold.  It snowed every day.

The snow is different there though, it's really dry.  So you can have 6 inches of snow fall on your vehicle, open the door, jump in, slam the door and all the snow falls off the car...  it's the same way on the roads, it mostly just blows off.  They don't use salt up there, they put down gravel if there is ice.  That makes for endless broken windshields.  People mostly drive trucks and they get the gravel it their tires and it flies out and hits your windshield.  I was getting chips fixed all the time!

I mentioned last week I had found a job in North Pole, AK.  This was one interesting town.  Yes, Santa really does live there.  I saw his house every time I went to North Pole. I visited him a few times.  Oh, btw - he has an RV park right next to his house and he has real reindeer in his yard (all true).  One of the funniest things to me, that I saw was, as you drove into North Pole the first thing you saw was a building advertising  with the way things were for bathrooms in houses, many people did not have showers in their homes so they had to drive somewhere for a shower.  So, North Pole catered to them and had a shower facility.  North Pole didn't have a lot, it had a very small grocery store, a McDonalds, Taco Bell, and a few small businesses.  It was mostly just one road through the middle of the town and that it - it as called "Santa Claus Ln" of course.  Santa's house was just off this street.  The funny thing was around Thanksgiving people started mailing out their Christmas cards, well many of them wanted their cards to be stamped from North Pole, AK so they would drive for miles to go to that post office.  It was crazy around that post office the closer it got to Christmas!

By October I was just going through the motions, I had become closer to Megan and more distant from Michelle.  Michelle was always lying about something, skipping school, all sorts of stuff. I stayed out of it with her and let Fred handle her.  He was failing miserably at it, but he was a clueless man that thought he knew it all.  About the only thing that changed in October was the length of the days and the temperatures.  We had put away all the food for the winter, which meant Fred had butchered the pigs and chickens (I'll spare you the details) and put the vegetables up by blanching and freezing them.

November rolled around and I knew I had to leave. Fred showed so many outbursts of anger it was frightening.  He mostly showed them towards the girls, but since I had started protecting Megan more that was a problem to him and he directed some of his anger towards me for that. I knew by then I simply hated him. I know that's a strong word, but I couldn't find much of anything about him I liked and definitely was ready to go back where I had come from.  He didn't think I would do that since I had moved so far....silly man...the highway and the skies go both ways.  So, early November I decided to leave.  As I mentioned Fred's anger toward me was bad so I knew telling him I was leving would not go over well. He may have been a jerk to me, but he wanted me to stay because I helped with the girls, chores, cooked, etc.   So, to keep the peace for a while longer, when the girls went to school and he went to work, I was packing up boxes of my belongings.  I worked part time, and managed to find these great boxes in a shed of his, so I took them and started packing them up. They were really big and I figured I could fit three of them across the back seat of the truck.  So every Tuesday and Thursday (my days off), I hauled 3 big boxes of my belongings to the post office and mailed them to my best friends condo in St. Louis.  Fred was so into the dogs and running his little homestead he didn't even notice my belongings  

Then about mid-November I told him I was leaving.  Meanwhile my best friend had decided to come up and visit so she had booked a flight to AK arriving early December.  I decided to let her keep planning to come up there. The biggest obstacle Fred and I faced with my leaving was the big fancy truck we had was in both our names and needed to be in just his.  When we originally bought it we used my truck I had been driving as the vehicle that was traded in to get the truck.  Only problem was - I was upside down in it.  I had been buying new vehicles all time and rolling my "upside downness" into the next vehicle, and the next, and the next.... So not they were all rolled into this fancy truck that he needed to re-finance into his name.  Everyone said "no" because now the truck was used to make matters worse.  I was freaking out about this - I needed my name off that truck so I could leave., and I wanted to go. We tried several options and all were a dead end, until one day when I called who it was currently with and they said they would refinance it. I was elated!! 

At this point I told Fred I was planning to leave, it was now about a week before Thanksgiving.  If Fred wasn't a big enough jerk already, he was about to get worse.  He treated me like crap, he started looking for new women on right in front of me (I didn't care because I despised him, but you have to agree it's rude), and he just became more and more arrogant.  He planned to drive 6 hours to visit family for Thanksgiving, I chose t stay home.  When they all left I was doing the happy dance. I had 2 days worth of peace.  So...what's good for the gander is good for the goose right?  So I started scanning in my picture to, writing my profile and out there I went and lo and behold on Thanksgiving day I met Bob....

This is where I'm going to end for this bog post Bob is a whole store in itself... I'll pick up next week with more as usual! 

Big Hugs,

Friday, October 10, 2014

And the WINNER for Flash Contest #15 is.......

Congratulations to LilRhondaLee!!! You are the winner of Flash Contest #15 - which was sponsored by Mike at TupeloDesignsLLC!  Please contact either Mike or myself to collect your winnings!

Thank you all for playing along and always, thanks for your support!  If you haven't checked out Mike's store, please take a look around.  You can get to his store by clicking on the link to the left, or at the bottom of the page.

Thanks again!
Mike and Jane vv08

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Flash Contest #15 - Color, Color Everywhere!

This is the blog post for Flash Contest #15!  Your answers should be posted as a comment to this blog post.  This Flash Contest will be open until 5:00pm Central Time Friday evening - remember I'm in  St. Louis, MO if you need to check time zones.  The drawing for the winner will be Friday night, or Saturday morning!

The PRIZE - always the best part - if your name is drawn you will win $10 to spend in Mike's store, TupeloDesignsllc, not bad for a quick 24 hour Flash Contest prize.

So, here's the store link   Head on over and find the answers to the questions!

Thanks for playing and Good luck  to everyone!

Mike and Jane.... vv08

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Yep, It's Sunday Morning Chat Time... and the story continues

Hello Everyone,

Well I didn't mean to leave you all hanging last week, I just couldn't type the whole story in one day, it's too long, especially if I was going to give you all a lot of detail.

Ok, so I left of at my arrival to live with Fred, and it's now August 2004.  Fred had decided before I arrived that he was going to add a bedroom on to the house.  I was aware of this already and it was intended to be de before I arrived, but it wasn't so that made for a bit of chaos because the house was't very big, you have to remember, the people who live there typically build their own houses and Fred was no exception.  So my belongings ended up staying in the back of the truck until the room was done, which wasn't too long.  It was like the rest of the house, it had plywood floors and he installed an oil stove for heat.  I ended up painting and trimming it out to look nice, but it was funny, the rest of the house didn't look like the bedroom.  The bedroom was the only room made with boards and drywall inside, the rest of the house was made from logs so it was rustic everywhere else.  Now, you might think - wow, how neat, I bet all those logs were  Nope..  those "home made" houses are very basic and they're all over rural AK, many do not have much in the way of closets, or space in general.  Most of the time it's very cold so everyone in the house has all of their winter gear out. And you need serious winter gear, not like what we have in the Midwest.  I mention all this because in a very short time it was very cold after I arrived and I soon figured out all the hooks and nails I kept noticing were used to hang coveralls, coats, gloves, you name it.  When everyone came in, they would take all of their outer wear off and hang it all over the place. It's just how it is, and the heat from the stove dries everything and keeps it warm and toasty until you need it again.  So, if you like the romantic, beautiful look of a log home, you won't find it in a home like this.

So, how did my life go with Fred after I got there? That's a question I need to answer the end of the story makes sense.  As soon as I arrived Fred showed me a little bit more of "how they do things".  Well as you can image, a dishwasher was just something they laugh at, that's what the girls were for.  So, here was the routine that was shared with me.  Fred worked on Eilson Air Force Base in a civilian job.  He had a very good job, I don't recall what he did, but he made good money.  Anyway, back to it, he told me he got up early and now that I was there, I should make his breakfast every morning, and it should be a big breakfast, sausage (which he made fresh right there), toast, eggs, and potatoes.  I was to get the eggs from the chicken house and set them out to thaw, it was so cold they would freeze.  He had another big barn building that he had sacks of potatoes in from the growing season, so everything was there for me to do this for him.  I was also told I needed to learn about taking care of the dogs so I could help with that.  There was always loads and loads of really dirty laundry needing to be done, and I would need to plan a big dinner for everyone and have it cooked each night. 

It became very clear overnight, that Fred needed a hand, not a girlfriend, not a future wife, but another worker.  All of the "sweet, nice" Fred was gone just that quick.  He had these expectations because his wife who passed (who was native Alaskan), had done all these things.  I was devastated, and immediately full of regret.  I was there though, and the younger of the two girls was so excited she couldn't stand it. I had to figure out how to live there, or head back home, and if you saw how happy Megan, the youngest was, you would understand why I decided I had to give it my best.

Also within a day or two of my arrival Fred took me to Megan's school, she was in 5th grade and was doing really bad.  He introduced me to her teacher and the principal of the school, and let them know I would be handling everything with the kids schooling...  news to me too.  I couldn't figure it out at the time, but the teacher and principal both seemed "over" excited about me being in the picture.  I soon figured out why.  The oldest girl was 15, here name was Michelle, and in high school, which was on the military base.  There were so few children in this part of Alaska that there was no high school for them.  The way the grade school worked was that many grades were combined.  It wasn't what I was used to, and I'm not sure if it was the best set up.  I know Megan was lost.  She had barely learned to read, and by this time she needed to be using reading to learn, not still trying to learn to read. 

Michelle was a handful.  On my first day there alone, when Fred had gone back to work, she skipped school, was lying to me about everything, and clearly did not want me there.  Both of these girls had been through hell.  At the time I didn't know how bad, but I later pieced it all together. Megan was 10, so I did the math backwards on her.  Her mother had been gone for a year, so she was 9 when she lost her, and her mother had been sick really bad, to the point she didn't even know who Megan was for many months before that, so that put her back to 8, and her mother had been sick for about 3 years prior to that, meaning she was only 5 when her mom could not longer care for her the way she probably wanted to, so Megan had missed out on her mom all together for the most part.   For Michelle it was different.  She had known normal life with her mom and she was hurting terribly, but couldn't express is.  And, let me just say, Fred's attitude was "there's work to be done around here, so stop your whining and get (whatever) done".  When one of the girls asked Fred if they could do something or if they wanted something he always said, "we'll see".  I hated that, that wasn't an answer.  And he had these girls doing chores that were a crazy amount of work.  If they balked at all, or said anything, he would yell at them and say "I'm the King of this house and you'll do what I say".  By now I was wondering what in the world had I gotten myself in to.  Megan had fallen in love with me because she needed to love someone. And no one had been sensitive to her needs like I was.  Michelle hated me, and Fred just needed another worker...

But if I thought my responsibilities were much work, they were nothing compared to those poor girls.  Here's how their day went, especially when the cold set in, and don't forget the darkness - the sun didn't rise until about 11:00am starting by about October or so.  The girls had to get up at 5:00am, and give food and water to 30 dogs.  Now, keep in mind it was usually between 10-15 below zero.  In order to give water to the dogs, they each got out a plastic sled, then they would get 5 gallon water buckets and fill them with hot water and put two or three of them on each sled. They would then pull them in the snow from dog house to dog house and break up the ice from the previous watering they had had, and put new hot water in their containers.  The dogs drank most of it immediately before it would freeze on them again.  Then they also had to feed them.  If a dog needed more straw in it's house they had to take care of that too.  Then they had to get ready for school.  When they got home from school they had to tend to the dogs again.  They had to do the food and water routine all over again - keep in mind, it was dark again, because the sun was only up until about 2:00pm.  They also had to "train" with the dogs, so they had to help Fred hook up the whole mushing set up, which is not small deal, and they would mush some dogs so they were all ready for their weekend mushing league events.  Then the girls ate dinner and they had more chores around the house to do, which started with the day's dishes. Fred wanted all the dishes left for them to wash.  I wasn't to do the breakfast dishes, nothing, the girls were to do them all at night.  Those chores always varied, they were whatever Fred needed done such as feeding pigs, chickens, he even had the butchering chickens and cleaning them, whatever he could think of.  Then finally about 8:00pm they were done and could start their homework.  Well - now you understand why Megan could barely read.  I found myself trying to do as many of their chores as I could to free up some of their time.  I hurt for those girls while I was there.  I tried multiple tines to talk to Fred about it, about their education they were not getting to work at, and got no where, he saw no value in anything but "work". 

Megan and I continued to get closer and closer while I lived there.  She began to turn to me for everything. I got very involved in her schooling.  I made a point to go eat lunch with her at school once a week which she loved.  I also walked her to the bus every morning.  BTW - those girls walked over 2 blocks in darkness so dark you could not see your hand in front of your face, to the highway where the bus picked them up.  They had to tromp through deep snow, and wait in horribly bitter temperatures.  It was brutal, but for them it was normal.  I also made Megan read to me every night.  I battled Fred for time for her to do her homework.  And it was a battle let me tell you. Megan was different then Michelle, Megan was curious about the rest of the world and wanted to see it.  She had taken a trip to AZ when her Mom was ill because her Mom had been there for treatment.  Megan realized there was more out there then just AK.  So I stressed to her all the time the importance of her education.  I told her it was her ticket to see the world. She could go to college in another state.  To this day I hope she was listening.  I hope she reached some of her dreams. But with Fred in the picture, it would have been hard. Ten years have gone by, it's hard for me to image, she's a 20 year old woman now, and I wonder what her life has become.

I got a job for myself while I was there because I needed out of the house and to be around other adults besides Fred who I was quickly growing to despise.  I got a job at the State Farm office in North Pole, AK.  I sold mutual funds.  I was a licensed broker already so it was a perfect position.  The women I worked with were all from the lower 48 too, they were military wives, so it was perfect, we all got along really well. That job was my connection to normalcy.

Before I go today I wanted to share a few other tidbits about life there.  In the winter, no one turns their car off when they run errands, it's just too cold. So you can go to the grocery store, bank, post office, anywhere and you just leave your car running with the keys in it and no one takes it.  It's just how it works.  If you do have a job, usually the employer supplies an electrical outlet area for you to park in, so you pull in, get your extension cord, plug it to an outlet attached to the building, and plug it into your vehicle (which are equipped with heaters). This way when you come out of work 8 hours later your car or truck will start up.   We lived 15 miles from the closest town, which was North Pole, and 30 miles from the biggest city there, which was Fairbanks.  North Pole is where Santa really lives... it's Christmas all year round there.

Ok, I need to run for today and get some other things done.  I'll pick up here next week and tell more of the story... 


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

And the WINNER to Flash Contest #14 is......

Kim! Congratulations on winning!  Thank you all for playing.  We appreciate everyone looking around at the product in store.  We also hope you found it easier to find things.  We chose to let everyone be eligible to win since it's really hard to keep up with the product count around here - we struggle with it!!! LOL  Kim will receive an ATC which I will get done for her just as quick as I can.

I also want to let you know there will be more Flash Contest coming soon.  Mike and I are settling into a new normal around here and it will allow me to get back to business as usual!

Thanks again everyone and Kim - please get in touch with me!

Big Hugs,