Saturday, February 28, 2015

It's been a while...update on Juneau/Douglas

Well it's been a while since our stuff came in boxes and we began unpacking. John and I spent all weekend and multiple nights doing nothing but unpacking. It was tedious and felt like a never ending process, but eventually it did come to an end. By the time we had everything unpacked and organized, John and I had filled the dumpster a half a dozen times and made 3 trips to the storage unit. We came to the conclusion that we have WAY too much stuff and that we needed to condense. In the past, we never went through everything, instead we just stopped when we got tired and were ready to be done. However this time around we pushed through and got it all done. It's amazing how much stuff we've held onto and never really looked at in the 9+ years we've been together.

In the last month, we've signed the closing papers on our condo and received a new matching fridge that works as well. We have most of the place decorated, with just a few more pictures to hang. In less than two months, I think we've paid for our Costco membership twice and earned more free gas from Fred Meyer's than the 6 years in Pocatello. We both really enjoy coming home at night to our little place and a spectacular view. We've both been cooking much much more and using our kitchen far more often than we ever have before. It's been a very warm winter in many parts of the country so we haven't skied or snowshoed, but we have spent many days walking on the beach with the dogs and hiking to glaciers. The great thing about Juneau is that it still has a lot of outdoor activities to offer when snow isn't around like glaciers, rivers, waterfalls galore, and trails at your doorstep! Sandy beach has become an almost daily occurance when we get home from work. It's a great place to take the dogs for their walk and it's so close. Em actually learned at school the other day that the reason it's called Sandy Beach is because it's the only beach in Juneau with sand. The rest have just rocks funny enough.

The animals are doing great and have adjusted well. I think Mili and Ammo actually get more exercise now than when we had a yard, because we make sure to take them for a walk/run every night since they don't have a yard. TJ has adjusted well too. He still comes by the door and looks out, but plays with his toys a lot and Ammo keeps him busy. Poor kitty will always want to be outside. He's figured out that if he jumps on Em's side of the bed at night he won't get kicked off, because she sleeps through it, unlike John :)

As far as work goes, we are managing. It's been a VERY busy couple of months and things haven't been perfect, but they are progressing. Em has gotten her first IEP's submitted and gotten to know a lot of great people at her new school who have all been really helpful. The special and general ed. teachers are always willing to help her answer questions and figure things out. This last week was great for Em, she got and is getting a lot of new supplies for her class. These supplies will make planning much easier and help her to feel more efficient while she teaches. She's excited to see other teachers excited about adopting a new curriculum and looking forward to getting all of the new goodies that will help make the classroom great for her students! This new curriculum has a lot of the things that Em believes in and likes to use in her class's anyway :)

John really enjoys being out at the mine and looks forward to the days he's going to be there. He finds it all very interesting and always stays busy while he's there. The guys out there are great and it's a beautiful area. He's been learning a lot more about payroll processing and supporting the payroll process. He's looking forward to learning more about the mine processes in the future. Em can already tell he's learned so much when we go to the beach and see the old mining equipment. On our most recent trip to the the beach, Em took John up to her newest discovery...the Glory Hole of the old mine that is at the base of a beautiful waterfall! This trip was even better than usual because it was a week day and John got home early from work, plus the sun was still up, so we got to go for a walk together before the weekend!

We haven't been out and about in a few weeks because of the rain and our busy schedules, but this weekend we knew it was going to be beautiful! John took Em and the dogs out to Herbert Glacier, where he had been once before in December. However this trip was more adventurous and longer! The sun was shining all day and the sky was BLUE! I can't believe the day we had when it's still February. It's been sunny the last few days, but it always feels better when you can get out and enjoy it. The Herbert Glacier is about 20 minutes away from our place in the other part of town and about a 4.5 mile walk one way from the road. The parking lot for Herbert is small and easy to miss if you're not looking. You would have no idea there was a glacier back in the area, if you weren't looking for it. We hiked in the 4-5 miles to the view of the Glacier and the Herbert River. It was amazing and no picture will do justice, but we did make sure to get some good ones. We were walking and couldn't see it and then we just came around a corner and there it was front and center. The river goes right up to the glacier so you can't just walk up to it like you can the Mendenhall Glacier, but you can hike (or slide) around the rocks and sit on top of small peaks to get a better view. With equipment and probably no dogs, we may have gotten within a few feet of the glacier, but we were very satisfied with the the views we got and the adventure we had. It was also 1:30 and we still had a 4-5 mile walk back to the car and it was starting to get cool. By the time we made it back to the car John's Fitbit said he walked 25,000 steps so we all know Em walked more because she's a shortie. The dogs did great and were far less tired than we thought they'd be considering the last big walk we went on Em was literally dragging Ammo the last 3 miles. We discovered that Ammo is very agile on the rocks and seems to think that we all take too long being safe. Mili was still playing in the water even though it was probably below freezing and of course doing her best to keep the crew as close together as possible. We had an amazing time and even ran into some friends that we met on the ferry towards the end of the our trip.

 The rainforest leading up to Herbert

 Herbert Glacier

 Winding up for the fetch

 My man crush!

 Everything I could have asked for!

As time goes on we are getting more settled in and learning about all of the great things there is about living in Juneau. Just to give you an idea, here are some friendly facts for you:

Fact: It definitely rains more here than anywhere else in the country
Fact: No matter how much it rains, it's still beautiful and it keeps everything GREEN year round
Fact: Running/walking in the rain and/or colder temps is far better than hot muggy temps, you can only take so much off but you can always put more on. Oh and everyone plays outside regardless of the weather.
Fact: Sunglasses aren't really necessary here
Fact: My eyes are sensitive so it's ok that the sun doesn't shine as often
Fact: When the sun comes out, it's something people celebrate and take advantage of. It'll literally brightens your matter what.
Fact: The produce in Juneau is meh
Fact: Safeway has the best produce
Fact: Juneau (especially Douglas Island) gets VERY windy (90+ mph winds) every few weeks (or less) for a few days often resulting in power outages
Fact: The infrustructure and trees here are use to the high winds and seem to handle it quite well. Damage is rare and usually minor compared to what we've seen in Nevada and the Palouse. The power company is also very efficient and fast working before the power even goes out!
Fact: The locals have told us that this has been a very abnormal winter and that it doesn't usually rain THIS much
Fact: Our rain coats and Danners that we've had for 1+ years (most many more) have earned their purchase 10x over in the time we've been here
Fact: It is completely normal to see bald eagles every day
Fact: Our view is still stunning and seeing mountain goats from our condo has become a normal thing on the weekends
Fact: Juneau is quite the adventure!