Monday, September 19, 2011


A question I get often now is: so when do you leave for Alaska? 
If only I knew. 
There is a problem with our house in Alaska. No water, and no plumbing. (And, lately some heat issues tied to the plumbing) This is a big problem that was supposed to be fixed this summer. Or last summer. We've known for several weeks that the plumber is coming this week. We don't know if that means things will be done and ready for us this week or if it means things will be done and ready next month or never. The rumor is that it is all supposed to be done by the end of October. The other rumor is that they are hoping it will be all finished before Thanksgiving. There are several houses on our "street" that are in the same situation. Right now, the plumber is working on the ones farther down the road, but I don't know if he is doing step 1 for each house and then going back and doing step 2 ect or if he is doing one house start to finish before moving on. 
If it's not done by November, it is likely that it is not getting done until next summer because the ground will be frozen! So that just drags up all sorts of major questions like what do we do if it doesn't get done? Live apart for a year? Have Dave resign his position? If he resigns mid-year, where do we go then? How do we deal with feeling like we've abandoned his school kids and co-workers? We don't have good answers. If I go up there now, it would mean putting Julia in disposable diapers, hauling water from the school for cooking, bathing at the school, and using a 5 gallon bucket as a toilet since there isn't an outhouse either. It means accepting the health risks that come with no plumbing, but it would also mean that we are living as a family again. It could mean a two week inconvenience/adventure or it could mean that I decide it is too hard to live that way indefinitely and I move back south to live with family. The transitions would be hard on Julia, I think. 
I could take classes this fall at a community college here, putting me closer to starting a midwifery program. I would have to start next week, and not finish until December. Or I could take one or two online classes up there. 
Here, Julia is happy living with my family. She loves Uncle Olaf and Uncle Joe and her grandparents. There she gets her Dad back. 
Nothing is clear. 

We do have an address now. 
100 Cranberry Lane
Chuathbaluk, AK 99557. 

I invented it. 
No streets and no PO boxes. The post office guy said to have stuff sent to "general delivery, Chuathbaluk" but that is rather hard for most companies to stomach. My lengthy experience with unusual addresses is that companies are much happier to have a fake address that sounds real than a real address that sounds fake. 
at Holden, my address was:
HCO stop 2
Chelan, Wa 98816

or it was also
HCO Box 2, since nobody could fathom what it meant to have your mail delivered by a boat, but they could happily interpret Box as PO box. 
Oddly enough HCO stands for Highway Contract Zero which is funny, since there is no highway. The DMV doesn't find that funny though. 

For them my address is
11155 Railroad Creek Road. The Wenatchee DMV has one woman who understands enough about Holden to feel confident in issuing Holden staff the fake Railroad Creek Road address, but not the HCO Box or Stop 2. Don't go to the Chelan DMV though. They don't understand!
Don't report me, but I have not changed the address on my license from Railroad Creek Road because I can't prove my residency anywhere else. We have no mortgage, no utility bills, none of the usual things the DMV wants. Dave gets some mail sent to his dad's house. I get some mail sent to my parent's house. We can't prove we live at either. I have not changed to an Alaska address because I have enough trouble with the Washington DMV and can't fathom how the Alaska DMV manages to issue licenses to people in villages where they know perfectly well that there isn't a residential address because there are no streets! 
Seems my life is never simple!


  1. Glad to hear what's happening. We lived at the Granary in Dennison for 2 years without running water, but didn't have a baby. It's doable--heating is always the most critical factor, in Minnesota and Alaska. Are these new houses, or being refitted?
    Best wishes

  2. The Alaska DMV does pretty well with the bush--we didn't have any trouble getting street addresses on our driver's licenses--even joked with the clerk about making it up. They realize that you need a physical address on your license to buy a firearm in Alaska--I didn't have to show any proof of where I live--only had to do that when we intitially switched from a Virginia license to Alaska.

    Have ya'll thought about living in Aniak and Dave commute?