Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Another Adventure Ahead

We have lived in California for about seven months now.  And as I type, there are packers in all rooms of my house, boxing up our belongings.  Yes, we're moving.  Again.

Family and most friends know what's up, but I thought I'd better catch up here because it's been far too long.

Just a few months ago, we were mostly settled in to living in California.  But a very unusual situation came up on a Coast Guard ship in Alaska, resulting in the need of a new commanding officer. I'll spare you all of the military procedural details, but in short, my newly-promoted lieutenant commander husband was the right rank with the right experience to take on such a job. And his bosses here in California knew what an opportunity this could be for him.  The stars aligned, and as of tomorrow he will be the new commanding officer of a buoy tender in Sitka, Alaska.  This is the position we have been working toward ever since his first tour over ten years ago aboard a buoy tender in Kodiak.  It's definitely not something you turn down. So, off we go!

We have been to Sitka once before...on our ferry trip to move to CA!  We even went for a little hike while there.

Sitka view
This move holds several firsts for us.  It's the first time in six moves that we are traveling separately.  Mike is already in Sitka, living aboard the ship, while I am back in California handling the move of all of our stuff.  It's the first time we have moved in the middle of a school year.  I'm sure some people would have chosen to wait out the rest of the year and head to the new location when school lets out for the summer, but keeping our family together as much as possible is more important to us.  And honestly, both of the kids are excited to move now.  At least one of them could benefit from the smaller classes and new set of friends waiting in Sitka.  While California has been a fun break in the "real world," our hearts are really in Alaska...and this is quite possibly our last chance to go back.

This move has the shortest turnaround time of any of our moves so far.  Thanks to all of the extra hoops to jump through when moving OCONUS (Outside of the Continental United States), we didn't have the official travel orders in hand until about 5 weeks ago.  One week later, we had already sent one shipment of basic essentials to our new address, and Mike's brand-new Subaru with only 400 miles on it was dropped off in Richmond, CA to make its way north.  Thank goodness we have done this enough times to know how an Alaska move works, because there is quite a bit involved in arranging everything.

Things have actually gone very smoothly so far.  We found a new house to rent in Sitka almost immediately.  It's a bit small for all of our stuff, but we have learned that you have to compromise when living in Alaska.  It meets our major requirements: single family house, fenced yard, pet friendly, energy efficient, and not on an icy-in-winter hill.  As a bonus, this one is even on a paved cul-de-sac and has mail delivery right to the house.  Those things aren't standard in all AK locations.

The moving company we were assigned this time seems to know their stuff, and even started packing a day earlier than planned.  The only downfall of moving to Alaska in the winter, though, is that it can take up to 6 weeks for our shipment to Sitka.  Like Kodiak, Sitka is an island, only accessible by boat or plane.  From what I hear, there is a barge once a week on which our household goods will need to take a ride to get to us.  So, we are sending everything this week, but we don't depart CA until the second week of February.  We'll be "glamping" in our house until then.  We have a stash of air mattresses and basic kitchenware in our "do not pack" closet.  We managed to mix chocolate chip cookies last night in our camp pot with a fork and bake them 6 at a time on our one small baking sheet, so I think we'll survive.

Seeing as I have two more days to "supervise" the packing up of our home, I'll fill you in on the details our upcoming trip to Sitka tomorrow.

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