Dad’s Alaska

February 11, 2020

Haven’t posted anything in about a week. The upstairs remodel has captured all of my time and enthusiasm. However, today. I finished the upstairs bath improvement. We now have a working bathtub/shower where there was once only a half bath. It can’t be used just yet as the people haven’t yet put in the solid surface shower enclosure. My part is done. Spent most of today running the drain line for the tub. It was aggravating as hell since I was having to deal with old copper pipe plumbing that was in the way. Not only that there was a decade or more of half assed carpentry. I’m no master carpenter but I could have done a much better job even after 6-7 vodkas. The house was built around a trapper’s cabin. They should have torn down the cabin, but didn’t. This is the reason that nothing matches. Anyway, the ordeal is over and I’m, finally, able to get back to the house leveling project. I might take a day off to veg out, Nah-h-h. Tomorrow I, again, begin my under floor adventure. In the event some of you are harboring the idea of having a summer home in Alaska, let me fill you in. Anything advertised as a cabin is really just a shed like you have in your back yard. That’s $80,000-90,000 and will have no water or electricity. A great view will likely be up a dirt road and have a view (between trees and the house below you) of Kachemak Bay or Cook Inlet or no view at all for $150,000-200,000. A real view lot (no house)where you, actually, have an unrestricted view of the water $100,000 and up. A crapass house that has an unrestricted view of the water $300,000 and up. Glacier view add $50,000. A house on top of the local mountain in Homer $500,000 to $1,000,OOO. Zac Brown has a house up there somewhere. We, on the other hand, bought a derelict, on a view lot, that had been on Zillow for 400+ days. It had no water. All of the plumbing was copper pipe and had burst. Had no electricity as the main breaker panel was lying amongst a pile of debris on the bathroom floor. Had no front door. It was completely open to the elements as it had no wall in the bathroom. Had no heat of any sort. It had no kitchen. To put in perspective it was no more than a shell of a house. In many ways it has changed very little from the day we arrived September 17, 2017. The outside still needs paint and the inside still needs sheetrock. In spite of these discrepancies we have made it our home. We paid less for this disaster than you might pay for a cabin (shed) on an acre or two of land. Sweat equity would be an under statement of our position. However, the value of the house when finished should be in the $350,000 plus range. Are we ever going to sell it? Not likely. We are up the hill from the Kilchers of ‘Alaska the Last Frontier’ fame. While we have moose wandering through our yard daily, we are only 15 minutes from the Safeway grocery store and any number of other retail establishments. Homer, Alaska is a quaint little town run by Lib/Prog/Socialist Eco-Wacko Democrats. They just banned plastic bags. Now you have to take your groceries to your vehicle unbagged or buy a paper bag or bring your own filthy bag from home. These people are so smart. Aside from that it reminds me of Fairhope, Alabama sans Southern charm or manners. This place is a lot like Hawaii. Bring cash, spend it, then go home. It takes ten years of full time residency before you are considered local and the depending on where you originate it might take longer. I will say, that if you have the means to buy yourself a modest place ($150,000-200,000) in the Homer area, that it is a very pleasant place to spend your summer. There is boating, fishing, shopping, historical crap and just hanging out to be done at the extreme. Anchorage is just a short plane ride away with every known retail outlet that you can imagine and a bunch of historical crap to be seen. In other words, it is a pleasant and relaxing place to spend your summer. Do everything or do nothing. It’s all the same.

In retrospect, had I known the problems that we faced in relocating to Alaska, I might not have come. It has been ten times the work that I had envisioned and frustrating beyond belief. The local construction people simply want to bend you over and drive you home sans Vasoline. OR they won’t return you call no matter how many times you leave a message on their service. Getting any kind of work done is almost impossible and it isn’t about the money. It seems that most of them simply don’t really give a damn. The ones that do show up quote prices that are, at best, from fantasy land or they’re giving you the “I don’t want this ****ing job price”. That is the reason that Summer and I are still trying to get most of the work done ourselves. One guy wanted $30,000 to lower the house. While it is labor intensive, I suspect that three or four guys could have done the job in less than one work week. Call it 160 hours of labor divided into $30,000 and you’re paying $187.50 per hour. The top labor rate up here is around $20 per hour. Didn’t seem like a good deal to me. I keep trying to explain to people that I’m, crazy, not stupid. Last winter, I asked a guy to sand our road out to the main road. The result was about three or four bits of gravel per square foot of road. That cost us $50. Did not do that again this winter. It’s only 100 yards or so to the main road where the borough (county) plows and sands the road. Four wheel drive gets the getting to the main road job done a helluva lot cheaper. When you are new, everyone will take advantage of you. I guess that’s the same everywhere. Well, it’s midnight here. Four am on the East Coast and I still have to load the dishwasher and make coffee. Good Night!!

12Betty-Frances O’Neal, Judy Lorino Gordon and 10 others10 CommentsLikeComment


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