Monday, September 28

Leaving Juneau!

The adventure home begins in 20 minutes. Coffee is brewing. I need to load the kitties in the car and head to the ferry.

I hate goodbyes. I didn't say it to really anyone. Some people were going out last night. I was out for half a Bud Light then peaced-out. I hate the hurt, the prolonged hugs, the reminiscing. I think I may have hurt some feelings by being so distant. Sorry friends!

Juneau - It's been a crazy up and down summer. This last two weeks has made me remember why I love it so much in the city. I've gotten to see the places I love, visit my favorite shops and spots. I've made some awesome friends and I will miss them.

It's time to go.

Friday, September 25


Having B back is awesome. I'm woken up more in the night with an extra set of paws running over me, but I love it. He is a skinny little guy, and his face is beaten up, but he still gets his love-groggy eyes and purrs just the same. I'll get his fur washed up and get the jail smell out of him, and he'll be right as rain.

I'm getting even more antsy to get out of town. I've done all sorts of ferry comparisons, and I'm going to try and change my ticket from leaving Tuesday, to leaving Monday. I'll have to get up super early, but the extra day will be worth it. So, that puts me at T-minus three days!

I was supposed to have today off, making it one of the only three day holidays the entire time I've been up here, but they put me on a special charter. After that this morning, I'll get my car vacuumed and the tires attended to, then start trekking my stuff to the car. With the departure being at 6am on Monday, I have to be there at 4 to check in, and I don't want to leave anything to the last minute. Have you seen me in the mornings? It almost ridiculous that I want to open a coffee shop - my comprehension skills are worthless in the a.m.

Other update - camera is still missing. If I had to give the universe something to get Baxter back, I understand. I just wish I had gotten the photos off it first before it was traded.

And in other things wonderful, look at this post from one of my favorite blogs. The image of the book wall makes my mouth water!

Enjoy the day.

Wednesday, September 23

Happily ever after!

Baxter has been found!

What a weird day of events. Just four hours ago, I wrote mopey email to Dan saying how I couldn't believe I was driving home with only one cat. Carrie came home an hour later and said she was thinking of getting a cat after I left, and she had stopped by the humane society. She found a cute Siamese kitty and we quickly logged on the website to see her picture. After ooing and aweing about her hopeful potential new boo, I scrolled down the page and looked through the other kitties. There was a striking all black male named Charlie that I fell in love with, but I quickly got distracted by a picture of a male named Reuben. Reuben was black and white, laying on the top of a cat tree, looking completely happy. I couldn't see his nose all the way, but promptly called their number to see where he was found. Could Reuben be Baxter?

They said he was found on 3rd street on Douglas (about a half mile from here) in the middle of August. I found my pictures of him that I used for the Lost Cat posters and drove over.

They put me in a cat meeting room, which smelled horribly like antiseptic (understandably so), and in a few minutes a lady walked in with Baxter in her arms! It took two seconds to tell it was him. He was fawning all over the attendant, draping himself in her arms. Such a sweet boy to everyone he meets - three ladies came in the room as I was filling out paper work to ask if they could say goodbye to their "sweet boy."

Same yellow eyes, same black spot, same white ring around his leg. My B is home! He's having a hard time with Bruce at the moment, as he never got a chance to get used to him before he ran off. Lots of hissing. Lots of hiding. I feel bad that he'll have so much change so quickly, what with me leaving town on Tuesday, but better now than never.

I can't believe he's home! I joked that he was off having an adventure of his own, just like me for the summer, but there came a point at the beginning of August where I pretty much gave up hope. I wish I could meet the person that found him. I wish I could know those circumstances.

So, I left Illinois with two cats, and I'll return with two cats. Baxter is micro-chipped, and when I get home, I'll make Kodak a part of that club too. If Baxter wants to go outside, I'll take the time and energy necessary to make him aware of where he lives and how to get home. That will be some time from now, as we have 3600 miles to conquer first, but I'm thinking about all the same.

Anyone want to come see him? The prodigal cat returns! Kill the fatted calf! Let's have a party!

I am beyond happy. Thanks to everyone who has been so kind through this whole ordeal. It really meant a lot to have people care. If you want to come meet Baxter (and Kodak) you're all welcome down anytime.

Tuesday, September 22


One week left! I leave on the ferry next Tuesday, at 8am.

I've been packing even more, cleaning out my car, and making a list of the last things I need to buy for the road trip. I have misplaced my camera, a huge bummer, and am hoping it pops back up before I leave. Last I had it, I was out at Allen Marine taking shots of the awesome clouds just before a storm. I put it in my bag, and then it vanished.

I have taken ill these past two days. The horrible lung muck that Carrie brought home with her from Boston has finally taken root in me. I asked to not do any tours if possible, as me talking/hacking does not make for a pleasant vacation story. I did helicopter transfers yesterday, but today I'm back to touring. I guess they don't care about what people think of the company with only two actual ship days left.

I made some super tasty tomato and basil soup last night with come crispy bread. Warm and filling. I drank a grove of orange juice, but still this morning, cough cough, wheeze wheeze...

Ciara had her second ablation surgery yesterday with unsuccessful results. She will be going in sometime to do some treadmill running tests to measure her heart rate and other body functions. Hopefully that will lead them in a new direction to help her arrhythmia. I'm glad I'll be down in Portland again so soon after seeing her in July. Just a few days. Hopefully I don't have any hang ups in driving so I can get all the time I planned with her.

She gave me the great idea of filing for unemployment after my job here ends. Something to help fill the gap between this Sunday, and the beginning of my new job. It never crossed my mind to file until she said something. I could fill everything out from here, but some of the papers I need are in the file I left at Dad's house, so It will have to wait for at least another week. It is such a relief to know I can keep going without sinking into financial stress. Will money always be stressful?

All this gets me thinking about jobs again, and renters, and all the things to do when I get home. A bright spot: Dan has been great about keeping me in the loop about the house. He seems to be excited about the changes. It feels good to know he wants me there and isn't just playing along with a whim from his silly girlfriend. I asked if we could carve pumpkins when I get there. "Sure" was all he said, then he laughed at me. I think we'll be good for each other.

Saturday, September 19

No ships today!

The town is empty of cruise ship passengers. This is the first day we haven't had a ship in port since May. No throngs of umbrellas stabbing innocents in the head. No photos taken with the gigantic stuffed eagle outside the fur shop. Just people enjoying the cafes and the weather.

Lauren and I went to Thai last night. So tasty. Then we drove around all over Douglas Island looking for a house for rent that Lauren's boss mentioned, and in looking for it, we found all sorts of great neighborhoods we never knew existed. Douglas is a little treasure! We happened to be wondering around just as the magic hour was starting, and the golden light setting over the channel and seeping through the trees made me think of Cour d'Alene lake in the summer. We didn't find the house for rent, but we spotted some great little nuggets that were for sale. Maybe Lauren will make a long term decision. Either way, it was fun to drive and see the great homes.

Then we went out. All I can say this morning is ouch.

The good news, we walked by a cute little three story walk up that is next to the Governor's Mansion that had a for rent sign in it. It is right in the corner where my favorite house in town is located, and hopefully, it will be Lauren's new abode. It would be great if she could live down town.

I'm going to enjoy my coffee, my book, and my cat for the next few hours. Happy weekend everyone!

Tuesday, September 15

Update from Work!

The last six-ship day is tomorrow. This is amazing. I am so excited! It's almost over!

I've got a couple trips scheduled out to Allen Marine for whale watching. Fairly straight forward. Then this Thursday will be my last day in dispatch. Thursday night we have our appreciation dinner complete with sappy photo montage, I'm sure.

I was pleasantly surprised by a package on my bed yesterday. Linda had sent up the next book from the Swedish series she got me started on, with the fantastic protagonist, Salander, the snarky and quiet crime fighter. I really wanted to read the next book and I was going to patiently wait to borrow it from her once I got back to IL, but she sent it! It is in my backpack right now! I got to read it for hours and hours today! Thanks Linda!

I am hoping I can sneak some time on Carrie's computer once I get home in a few minutes. Being at work, I am denied access to my fantasy football website. Urlacher has a dislocated wrist and is out for the season. My quarterback, McNabb, has some busted ribs, and overall, I need some reassurance that I'm not going to nosedive because of the sudden injuries. Luckily, it's just fantasy and it doesn't really mean anything. :)

Happy Wednesday! Less than two weeks!

Saturday, September 12

17 Days

Kodak has taken to sitting on top of the TV. He lays down and curls his little paws like an otter and takes a nap. Jacque and Carrie could be shouting and tapping away on their computers, and the volume on the TV could be super high, but he just shuts it out and takes a nap. I will try to channel my inner Kodak this next week.

My job has decided they don't like that I get overtime so after this weekend I'll be back to just driving. I don't try to understand their motives or their crosshatched thinking. I'll still get overtime, now we'll just be short a dispatcher on at least two days. Repeat after me Ariel - It's not your problem.

Only a little rain yesterday, and I think today is going to be sunny/chilly. I'm having dinner with my friend Sydney from Allen Marine at the Island Pub, then coming back home to hopefully go back to sleep for a ridiculous amount of time. Usually I just say that everything will be better in the morning. At this point in the season I should be going out and doing all the things I didn't get to do, but all I want to do is rest.

Yesterday was the last day the Island Princess will come to Juneau this year. The Shore Excursion manager has been great these last three weeks, helping me down on the docks. I was down there checking in all of the tours before their all aboard time, and this gigantic huddle of people show up to say goodbye an hand out gifts to the ship. At one point Brian came up to me and gave me a hug and wished me a good end of the season. It was the first hug I've had since Dan left.

It makes sense now why I'm tired and so ready to go home. My introverted self needs my world of few friends. Too many comings and goings. Too many withdrawals from my energy bank and not enough deposits. Not enough hugs from people that know me.

I'll see Ciara around the 1st, and that is close.

Thursday, September 10

It's all taking a toll

We're supposed to have The Storm of the Century up here today. Winds up to 40 mph - tours are precanceling and the tram is shut down. Lots of rain already. Again, I'm glad I have my rain pants.

I was cut from my duties, and base is kind enough to let me use the computer, so here I am, soggy and tired, happy to be going over to Paradise Cafe in a bit to have coffee and some quiet.

I was able to change my ferry ticket in time to get a refund for Lauren's spot, and I'm in the process of getting my money back for the virus software that did not work on my computer. Those are little sunny spots in the day. I work so hard for my money, I hate the idea of just throwing it away. But I'm sure most people don't like throwing their money away.

Jessie sent me a new photo of Cecilia in a cute little dress - she's starting to look like a person instead of a baby blob. Cute little cheeks and dark eyes. Mom is finishing up her visit with Miah and Jessie today, and Dad starts his road trip over there on Friday. I threw out the idea to Ciara to ride back to IL with me, but we'll see if that works out. I think it would be great to ride with her. Plus, she could see Cecilia and the family, and I'd make sure there was a Dan sighting on the visit too. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it works out.

I am beyond ready to be on my way home. Yesterday was a mess, to the point where I left the shuttle line 30 minutes early so I didn't explode on the tourists. I know it's the end of the season and my patience isn't what it used to be, but the herds are mean! Pushing on to my shuttle and tours, yelling at each other. I want to tell them they're acting worse than the first and second graders on my mom's school bus! Be nice. Keep your hands to yourself. I you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. Yes, I'm in the service industry. I am well aware that am answering questions and providing information in a friendly manner, but I'm still a human. More flys with honey...and all that. So I left the shuttle, came back to the yard, laid down on the floor in the office, and shut my eyes. The rest of my tours were fine.

I keep thinking about what it will be like back on the open road. Nothing around me but trees and mountains. No angry people upset that it's raining in the rain forest. No people upset because they didn't see a bear. No one telling me I'm not suited for my job because, obviously, if I'm driving the shuttle I'm on the driver second string. The road will be so kind to me. My Kodak will sit on my passenger seat and sleep. My book on tape will tell me about something wonderful, and I'll start to remember all of the good things about this summer.

Tuesday, September 8

Still no computer. Still working a lot. Still miss Dan and IL, and my family, and my friends, and pretty much everything that isn't here. Love you Juneau, but I need some space already!

Only 21 more days - well, 20 now that I'm done with my horrible 14.5 hour day with the whipped cream that is shuttle duty.

I've been having extremely stressful dreams. Can't get rest at night. Feel antsy in the morning. Can focus.

Only 20 more days.

Bed time! Thanks Jacque for letting me use your computer!

Friday, September 4

My computer is dying. Posts will be few and far between until fixed or replaced. My next computer will be a Mac.

Thursday, September 3

Beautiful, beautiful day off

We had three days of sunshine. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday - all 60 degrees and sunny. Work was easier, tourists were happy, solving problems seemed to be a cinch. The rain is back now, and I'm watching a sad movie on my day off, loving the small things like hand lotion, hot coffee, and dangle earrings that hit my neck.

Lauren got a promotion this week. She is the new Transportation Manager here in Juneau. It's a year round position, and great stepping stone to move up in the tourism business. She will be moving to Juneau from Spokane, and is required to attend meetings at the end of this year. Great for Lauren, sad for me, as she won't be driving back with me now. Duty calls. I'm flying solo again.

I was a little concerned about how we were going to get both of our belongings into my car, so that isn't an issue now, but I was excited for both the girl time and benefit of having two drivers. I'm going to search out some books on CD. They were my saving grace on the way up, and they'll take the place of conversations with Lauren on the way back.

Only 26 more days!
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