The Hazy Shade of Winter

A lot has gone on since the last time I updated this blog. News on the new bathroom, it’s almost finished! I’ve painted the ceiling and tried my skills on taping and mudding sheet rock. I did okay for my first time, but I will have to say, how could anyone love finishing sheet rock!? There will be some sanding to do. It’s gonna take another week or so to level the house, hopefully and then we can install the solid surface. I have some pics of the new bathroom under construction and my shoddy sheet rock finishing work.

This past weekend and this week it warmed up substantially. It hit 40 degrees twice and mid-30s for the most part. Everything turned to slush. Talk about a big frigging mess! Driving conditions turned dangerous. My opinion, it’s more dangerous than driving in the snow. It also sucks severely to walk in. Trying to hike with dogs in slush is not the happiest thing.

Today, it’s 19 degrees and snowing. February has had some interesting weather changes. The other night it was warm and then it turned into strong wind and snow. The wind was so strong that it created scary icicles at my window. It’s like they are trying to keep me in otherwise they look like they would impale me.

It’s been snowing since last night and has yet to stop. At least it isn’t slush. My subaru has no problems getting through the deep snow in the driveway. This morning she plowed through two feet of snow like it was nothing. Gotta love all wheel drive. I trust “Zippy” to take me anywhere rain, sleet, and deep ass snow. Out of all the vehicles I’ve ever owned this by far has to be the best. No, I did not buy her new. I bought her from a retired local couple no longer in need of two vehicles. I’ve enjoyed Zippy ever since.

Two days of snowfall and it keeps coming.

Last Sunday, I started my first round of seeds for spring planting. These are the ones that will take the longest to start. These are the onions, brussel sprouts, peppers (that will stay inside to grow and fruit), some herbs, and leeks. For the first time I am trying to be organized with my planting. I alway seed things out and forget to label them. Then, they go in the garden and then it’s a big surprise what I end up growing. This year it’s not going to happen. I’m gonna know exactly what I’ve seeded out and will be able to plant the starts in the correct areas. I hope I can keep it up.

This time instead of a food up table, Dad and I made windowsill tables for my seeding out. This is much more sufficient on space. I am so excited. I enjoy growing plants and food and can’t wait for spring. Just by saying that I have jinxed us! We will probably have an extra two weeks of winter because of me. LOL I am starting to long for spring! I’m looking out the window and the snow is blowing all around. It’s quite a contrast looking past my green plants out the window to see blowing snow.

Well, I guess I’m going to clean out the refrigerator and some cleaning around the house. Then, date night with Dan. No matter what the weather or day brings, Dan makes it so much more enjoyable. He keeps me laughing.

Well, I guess that’s it. I will leave you with Gandie sleeping on my bed. He’s 15 years old and still kicking. He’s such a sweet boy. Talk to you soon!!

Dad's Alaska

Went to the doctor yesterday to get the diagnosis for my extremely high blood pressure. While I do have some restriction in the artery feeding one of my kidneys the other is fully open for business. The restriction in my right kidney is minimal and something to be watched but requires no intervention at this point. As with all things unknown, I was expecting the absolute worst possible outcome. Human nature is to expect the worst. As you might expect, I am greatly relieved to learn that the problem was caused by the new gout medicine I’ve just started taking.

Now that I know I’m not on the imminent handicapped or death list, I’ve got to get back to the leveling (lowering) the house. The problem I’m facing at this point is that the soil has fallen away from the pilings. This has left me with no place to set the jack and the jack posts. With that problem having reared its’ ugly head, I am being forced to engineer another way to set up the jack and jack posts. What I’m thinking is that I may be able to put some heavy lumber in place of the soil. Place it on the uneven ground and tie it into the pilings further back. The problem is that I need to support something like 10-15 tons long enough to cut the pilings to the proper level. Also, after the pilings are cut, there needs to be enough heavy structure to support the jack posts I am going to use to lower the house to its’ final position. On top of the engineering problems, there has been a foot of more of new snow. This means plowing through 2 feet or more of snow carrying heavy stuff.

As I sit here, writing this blurb and sipping coffee, it has begun to snow again. The temp outside is up to 22F. Not too bad. It is cold enough to need to layer up on my clothing . Once I start moving the 4″x10″x12′ timbers I will start to sweat and need to shed some of the clothing. Sweating in the cold can lead to hypothermia. Hypothermia is not a good thing. After I have dodged the kidney failure bullet, I don’t want to maim or kill myself by getting frozen appendages or freezing to death in my own front yard.

Moving to Alaska and Homer, in particular, was a kind of spur of the moment decision. My wife of 43 years had died. Summer and I were sitting, in her Florida house, sweating and talking about having to replaced the faltering A/C unit. I had an acquaintance that makes a trip to the Homer area several times a year. His description of the area made it seem very attractive. This led us to looking on Zillow for a place to live. That’s where we found this dilapidated house. After much talk and hand wringing we made an offer on the house. Unfortunately, they accepted our offer and here we are.

Just looked down out of the bathroom window to the area I’ll be working in. The snow has drifted to about 4-5 feet deep. This is just another in the long string of impediments in getting this house level. Well-l-l-l, I guess I better go layer up and get on with it. See ya later.

Dad's Alaska

February 18, 2020

Went to the South Peninsula Hospital Emergency Room last night….er-r-r this morning at about 12:30 AM. Been having very high blood pressure readings for over a week. Last evenings’ readings were especially high (220/117) so I drove into Homer and checked myself in. I figured that they would likely put me in a room and keep me until later in the day. I got blood drawn, IV installed, three small pills, a blood pressure cuff that mashed the crap out of my arm and a crossword puzzle I found in the local paper whilst passing through the reception area.. Two hours later my blood pressure was way down (147/91) and they gave me my ‘walking papers and sent me home. That was the boring part of the adventure. The really exciting part was getting there. It was raining pretty steadily and even in the rain there was still some ice on the road at various odd places. I don’t see well at night due in part to the fact that my eyes are old and that I have some small cataracts that blur the vision and make oncoming dimmed headlights look like high powered searchlights. The two cars I met going into town were both of them on curves and I had to come to a near stop to let them go by. I couldn’t see the damned road after I dimmed my lights. I had to have my bright lights on just to see the road and then some of those highly luminescent signs were reflecting so much light back at me as to produce a nearly blinding parallax. On a road that, in the daylight, I would normally travel at 45-50 mph, I was going 25-35 mph. Whilst I’m creeping into town I’m thinking about what the nurse said, “Your very high blood pressure could cause you to have a stroke or to throw a blood clot.” As I’m creeping along, I am more than a little apprehensive that I’ll do one of those things and end up in the ditch where I will take my last few breathes. I really didn’t want to wreck the truck. Another concern was that the police would see me creeping along and stop me to check to see if I were driving drunk and delay my arrival at the relative safety of the hospital even longer. I wheeled into the parking lot at a blistering 10 mph and drove myself right into a Handicapped parking space. I had to back out and find a legal parking space. In my heightened state, the parking seemed to take ten minutes but it was likely less than two. I was a happy camper going through the door and into the reception area. There, if I threw a clot I would still die but if I just had a stroke they could administer the meds I needed in a matter of minutes. A sigh of relief.

Going home wasn’t too bad. Thankfully, I met no cars. My eyesight was no better and the signs still glared at me but being less freaked out I could remember where I was on the road. I’ve driven that road so many times that I know every curve, bump and dip, when I’m not overly excited by the prospect of dying. I got home at about 3am made a glass of sweet tea and peanut/jelly sandwich and hit the sack for six hours.

Today was a lazy day. I mostly just sat around playing Spider Solitaire and watching the snow cover up everything yesterdays’ rain exposed. All is white and pretty again. In 60 days this is going to be the mud hole from hell. Something for which to look forward with trepidation and disgust. Wish it could always be white and pretty.

Dad's Alaska

January 3, 2020

Yesterday was an unusual day because it was the lowest temp we’ve seen since moving to Alaska. The temp had dropped down to -5F and struggled to get up to +7F before the sun disappeared again. Summer walked two gaggles of dogs in the low temps. By 8:00 last evening it was +2F degrees. I crammed the stove full before i went to bed at midnight. With the temp going so low, I have been setting my iPhone alarm to 4:30 to get up and stoke up the fire. My method is to cram as many pieces of wood as possible into the stove and throttle it way down. The idea is to produce some heat over several hours and have enough hot coals at the end to start up the next fire. Good news. Got up this morning to find the temp to be +15F and going up. Bad news it is starting to snow again. Well-l-l that really isn’t bad news. I am hoping that it isn’t going to go back up above +32 and turn the snow in the slush. Today’s agenda is to 1.Recover the rest of the parts for the, dead but useful, Paquali tractor that we purchased. 2. Bring in more firewood. 3. Dig a path around the water house because yesterday evening Gandie (miniature Schnauzer) got stuck in the deep snow and could have frozen to death. Luckily Summer realized that he should have already done his business and be waiting on the back steps. She got worried, put her boots on and found him stuck in a snowdrift. Yesterday, I dug paths to my truck, the greenhouse, where the ducks and geese are living, and the shipping container, where most of my tools live. However, I did not dig a path around the water house where Gandie got stuck. As previously stated, I will clear a path around the water house today. Yesterday afternoon, I went to Homer Oil, had a propane tank filled and ordered another 200 gallons ($600) of #2 diesel for the the TOYO oil heater. Also, made the trip to the dump to drop off the trash. While I was there I found that someone had discarded a SEGWAY. I brought it home to see if I can get it going. Anyway, I’ve started the truck to warm it up before to town and pick up the last parts of the tractor. So I guess I’ll go put on my ‘long handles”, two pairs of socks, snow pants over my jeans, insulated boots, then a hoodie and a trapper’s hat. I was wearing about the same thing yesterday in +5 degrees and was sweating. Sweating is not a good thing as it can make you very cold when the strenuous behavior ceases. I’m not planning on any strenuous behavior today but I can shed some clothes, if I get too hot. Y’all keep you powder dry.

Dad's Alaska

January 14, 2020

I’ve learned a few things since moving to Alaska. Born, raised and living in the South all my life, I was ill-prepared for the weather, the lack of stores, the convenience of popping out to get fast food or ordering a pizza to be delivered. The disaster of a house we purchased has been, well to put it politely, trying. I’ve learned how to lower a house. I learned to shovel snow. How to turn clean snow into flushing water, drinking and cooking water. How to drive 50-55 mph on icy, snowy roads. How to dress ((so that when outside in below zero temps)) so I stay warm. That not only do the pipes bringing the water into your house freeze but the pipes taking water out can/do freeze, as well. I’ve learned to stop in the doorway when going outside and take a look around so as not to surprise a moose or a bear. I’ve learned that moose kill more people in Alaska than bears. I’ve learned that moose is both singular and plural. I’ve wondered why the plural of moose isn’t meese. And, also, that it couldn’t be mice because ‘mice’ is, obviously, already taken by Mickey and friends. I’ve learned to become moderately proficient with a chainsaw. I haven’t sawn off any appendages or cut a major artery. I learned, maybe relearned, how to load and operate a wood stove to get maximum heat and how to make the fire last almost all night. I’ve learned that being different in Alaska was once the norm and not so much anymore. I’ve learned that most old time Alaskans are friendly, anxious to help and will talk you through your newbie/tenderfoot problems. I’ve learned that $8 haircuts cost $25. I’ve learned that Alaska is being Californicated. I’ve learned that Anchorage has already been Calfornicated and that Homer is being Californicated in a rapid pace. When I arrived, I already knew that banning plastic bags is not only stupid but is just the first of many eco-wacko abuses to come. I learned that I need to plug in my truck when the temperature goes below +20F, so that the block heater would allow the diesel engine to start more easily. I’ve learned to appreciate sunrises and sunsets. I’ve learned that the snow on the boughs of spruce trees is a beautiful thing that can fall on your head and down the back of your neck. Lastly, I’ve relearned that things happen when they are supposed to happen and there is damned little that you can do about it.

Dad's Alaska

February 17, 2020

Compendium of Disaster

BLACK WATER ADVENTURES PLUS. Third time is charmed, I hope. I’ve tried two other times to recount mine and Summer’s adventures with frozen sewer lines. We, also, had and still have frozen fresh water lines. The hot water in the hand sink bath downstairs is working and as long as I leave the water heater off I can brush my teeth.

Day 1 The commode downstairs will not fill so I’m melting snow in order to supply flushing water. The shower does not work at all so we are showering at Summer’s significant other’s house, as necessary. All of the water is working in the upstairs half bath. The sewer lines are currently draining but I’m holding my breath.

Day 2 Our first indication of sewer problems was when the kitchen sink backed up. I was busy with other projects so Summer purchased 3 heat tapes. She attached one to the offending sewer line and re-insulated it. We were happy as could be that the sink drained. Little did we know at the time that a bigger problem was lurking in the sewer pipes upstream from the heat tape she had just installed.

Day 3 The upstairs commode would not drain. Since it had a history of clogging I took a plunger and a bucket of water and began plunging with great force and speed. I kept adding water as the water fell slowly during the plunging. I was sure that I was clearing the recalcitrant clog. So I got another 5 gallons of water from downstairs and then another. All the time cursing the clog and plunging mightily. After about a half hour, I surrendered. The clog had beaten me. Once downstairs, i proceeded to my bedroom which led me past the downstairs bath. The odor was stifling. I stepped into the bathroom, flipped on a light and observed, my to my horror, that the commode and the hand sink had overflowed and were filled to the brim with stinky brown solids and water. If that weren’t bad enough the bath tub had 2 inches of stinky brown solids and water in it. This is when the light bulb popped over my head and I realized that the lines under the downstairs bathroom were, also, frozen. As bad as this was there was worse on down the pike.

Day 4 I had my coffee, listened to Rush and waited for the temperature to rise above 10. About noon I crawled under the house and found that one of the heat tapes had, somehow, become unplugged. ((Just so you understand, going outside and staying outside in 10 degree weather entails putting on layers of clothing. 3-4 layers above the waist. Below the waist, insulated under garments are covered in a pair of jeans, a pair of insulated snow pants, two pairs of socks and insulated brogans. Gloves are worn to the repair site but then must be jettisoned to effect any repair. Anyway, I was elated to find that a heat tape was unplugged. Seeing this obvious problem, I did not investigate further. In the short twenty minutes of this excursion, I’d had quite enough of the fine dust kicked up by my belly crawling and simply breathing toward the ground. It gets worse. By late afternoon, I became fully aware that the unplugged heat tape was not the problem. I texted Summer to repurchase the two heat tapes she had just returned that morning. I was taking no chances.

Day 5 I am really, really aggravated. I crawl back under the house and find that the unplugged heat tape is working. I am surprised and happy at the discovery until I realize that the pipes under the downstairs bath are the culprits. I crawled out and looked at the plug in point for these tapes and find that the little lights in the plugs are lighted. Getting to these heat tapes requires a professional contortionist or someone with little sense and a high pain tolerance like myself. Under I go again, crawling about 20 feet on hands and knees then 20 feet with my face inches above the talcum powder like dust. I rip off some insulation to find cold pipes. The lights were on but no heat was being produced by either of the two tapes. I started parting the insulation so as to install a new tape. I got this part of the project done just as it was getting dark. BTW the insulation was wrapped in duct tape which proved to be very difficult to cut. Even with a freshly sharpened knife it was 20 feet of a hacking job instead of a cutting job. Exhausted, filthy and my nostrils full of dirt, I crawled the 40 feet back to the great outdoors where the temperature had dropped to 2 degrees.

Day 6 Began the same as all of the previous days i.e. coffee, Rush except it was a wait until the temp got above zero. Crawled back under the house and checked the two new heat tapes and duct taped all of the used insulation back on. There were a few bare spots but nothing a 27′ heat tape wrapped upon 10 feet of pipe couldn’t overcome. 20 feet of pipe now wrapped with heat tape and snugly tucked back into the insulation . What could be better. I was through. If I was lucky I’d never have to crawl back into that dusty, claustrophobic hell hole again.

Day 7 I ain’t even close to lucky. The pipes that should have thawed and drained overnight didn’t. I drank coffee and half listened to Rush’s show featuring the undocumented guest host, Mark Steyn. I was fuming over having to crawl back under the floor again. The temp got up to about 8 degrees and I suited up for a return engagement with the bathroom piping. The inspection found that one of the new heat tapes was not heating. Again I cut off the insulation, which by now was in shards, and removed the offending heat tape. Another belly crawl to the great outdoors and back into the warm house. All of this crawling had my outerwear filthy and for some reason i had not yet washed my outerwear. It was just disgusting to have to put them on every time. When I’d take them off, I’d step outside and shake off a pound or two of dirt and debris. Anyway, heat tape and packaging in hand, I visited my local Ulmer’s ACE Hardware in Homer, where the tape had been purchased. They refused to replace it and one of the managers told me that he’d plugged it in and it had melted the snow around it. (They couldn’t have replaced it anyway because they had none. I did want my money back.) I knew he was full of crap and left very angry. However, just in case I was wrong, I plugged it in and dropped it into a pile of snow. 14 hours later no melted snow. I, accidentally, left it plugged in for almost 3 days because with everything going on, I forgot about it. No melted snow.

Day 8 Still no flow. Drove 160 mile round trip on snowy, icy roads to Kenai and Soldatna to find another heat tape. Bought the last one that the Trust Hardware in Soldotna had and paid way too much. Home Depot and everyone else were out of stock or did not stock heat tapes. Seems we weren’t the only ones with problems. Got home at near sunset. Temp had fallen to 6 degrees from 14 earlier.

Day 9 I’m crawling back under the house with the heat tape I brought back from Soldotna. Also took new insulation with me on the entrance into sewer pipe hell. With much bleeding, cursing and contortion I got the new tape and insulation installed. Figured since I was already in hell I might as well make good use of he time and re-insulated the working heat tape. Crawled out with my fingers near frozen for the, who knows how many times in the past.

Day 10 The spice flows (a Dune reference) out of the sewage pipes. The water drains from the sink, bathtub and commode leaving a disgusting residue but empty of the foul smelling water. I cleaned the commode and the hand sink, using snow melt, so that they would be usable again. I ran a connection from the hand sink hot water line to the commode and it fills properly. This entailed a plastic line and a couple of fittings that I had on hand. No more melting snow for flushing water. Now, if I just had the fresh water running in the bath tub, I could clean up that terrible mess

Dad's Alaska

WHITEWATER ADVENTURES

Day 10 and the sewage still flows. Our most pressing problem now is that the water to the shower is still frozen. I’ve tried several methods over the past several day to thaw out the pipes with no luck. They are frozen inside the wall behind the tile shower enclosure. I was preparing to rip off the side of the house to get to those pipes when Summer had a better idea. Why not go on ahead and convert the upstairs 1/2 bath into a full bath by installing the tub/shower enclosure we have in the storage tent. We had intended it for the remodel of the downstairs bath but emergencies dictate actions. We began ripping out sheetrock. The sheetrock came out pretty easily and the we found that there was an electrical wire right in the middle of the new floor. Since we are planning to rewire the house this posed a minor problem for the future but for the present it had to stay connected. It was the source for the lights and fan in the bathroom. There is nothing quite like the stupid it takes to run a wire up inside a wall and then drill through 10-11 studs to get to the wall switches for the light and the fan. Oh, the nimrod who did this put a receptacle around ankle high on that wall next to the vanity. Summer had to bend at the knees in order for her hairdryer power cord to reach her head full of blonde hair. Of course, she abandoned this foolishness. The only suitable purpose for this receptacle was one of those plug in scent thingys. Worse than all of that it wasn’t a GFI receptacle as it was located next to a water source. So it was not only stupidly placed but dangerous to boot. I said ripping out the sheetrock was easy. That was because Summer did most of it. I showed up in time to rip down one large piece and help with the cleanup. A lot of small chores had been neglected during the Black Water troubles. I was able to scratch several of the off my ever present list of THINGS THAT MUST BE DONE. We finished the day loading the debris and bringing in the new bathtub and enclosure. More great news, the tub enclosure isn’t going to work because of the shape of the roof (stupid dormers) makes the ceiling too low at one end. Another problem without an obvious solution. We gave up for the day. Summer went to Dan’s for dinner and I opened a can of Hormel Chili. Yum-m-m-m

Dad's Alaska

January 27, 2020

Day 11 and the sewer is still open. BUT the potable water source is frozen in the shower, the downstairs commode doesn’t fill, the cold water faucet in the downstairs bathroom and both hot and cold work only intermittently in the kitchen. Plus the entire water system is frozen every time I take away the diesel jet heater. Continuous action is required to keep the water flowing. The shower is likely going to be frozen until Spring. As previously stated, Summer decided that we would convert the upstairs 1/2 bath to a full bath by adding a tub/shower. It is a good idea but created a great deal of work. As described on Day 10, work ensued. Knocking down old sheetrock, moving electric, cleaning up the big mess and then bringing the new tub and shower enclosure up to the second floor.

Day 11 work required taking down the sheetrock on the ceiling below the proposed new tub. This created another massive mess. The best discovery of this effort was that there was absolutely nothing that would be in the way of installing the necessary plumbing. This is the first good news we’ve gotten since the project started. Also, this revealed a way to rewire the house with out running under the house where it is currently located. The good news was just overwhelming. I almost cried for joy. On the freezing potable water problem, I, at last, got a small electric heater that was thermostatically controlled placed in the water shed. I did not want a heater that would run constantly. Electricity is very expensive here. Now the water flows except where I previously stated that it doesn’t. A potent reminder that “you can’t have everything”. Now to get started on Day 12 with a trip to the dump.

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Dad's Alaska

January 28, 2020

Day 12 and the black water still flows. However, the potable water was still a problem. The downstairs commode still doesn’t fill and flush. The kitchen sink still does not have running water. The problems seem intractable, but I persevered. I ran a line from the hand sink in the bathroom to the supply line of the commode. At last, I have a flushing commode like normal people. The kitchen sink was a totally different problem. There is no way to bypass and get water to the sink. I decided that there must be some unseen reason for the lines to freeze. I knocked out some sheetrock in the back of my closet which is adjacent to the kitchen. This action revealed a gaping hole that was allowing sub-freezing air into the wall and freezing the pipes. I stuffed some insulation into the hole for a temporary fix and then put a hair dryer blowing onto the frozen pipes. After a couple of hours the hot water linbegan to flow. This led to emptying the full sink and loading everything into the dishwasher. ally, real plates, knives, forks and spoons are again available. No more paper plates and plastic forks, etc. Dan came over to give us some advice about our remodeling of the upstairs bathroom. The surround we purchased would not fit the space available. We packed up the surround back in the box to be returned to Home Depot. Dan is going to build a solid surface surround for the bath after we get the tub set. This will entail some plumbing, carpentry, sheetrock and electrical work. Nothing we can’t handle. It will just be time consuming rather than difficult. The rest of the day I wasted by bringing in firewood, filling Homer buckets with snow to water the ducks and geese and moving stuff out of the house and into the outbuildings. We always seem to have too much crap lying around the house. Sayonara for today.

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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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