Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Sunday, December 11, 2005

"It doesn't matter what you look like on the outside, whether you're white, black, or sasquatch, even."-Meatwad, Aqua Teen Hunger Force


Our first sunset Outside. Not bad. I give it an 8. You can click on it for a larger version.

So, it was time for a trip Outside.

When I say Outside, I don’t mean just beyond the humble door of my log abode. No. I mean someplace that isn’t Alaska. That’s the definition of “Outside.” Oh, my schedule touring with Gregg Rolie keeps me busy (one night he’ll headline, the next I’ll headline with my spoken word version of “The Cat In The Hat.”) and going Outside, but this is with The Mrs., The Boy, and The New Boy.

I make reservations for us all. Since The New Boy is so gosh darn fresh, he gets to fly for nada, being the little straphanger he is. The Boy, of course, costs as much as The Mrs. and me even though he won’t eat nearly as many pretzels.

Fairbanks is a very well connected city, if you want to go to Barrow, Anchorage, or Seattle during the winter. During the summer, I hear there’s even a direct flight to Hamburg. Really.

So, I see that there’s a flight that leaves to go direct to Seattle from Fairbanks at 1:30 AM. How could this go wrong? It’s so late that The Mrs., The Boys, and I will be in slumber the whole time, so we will all get to our final destination in the Midwest as bright and cheery as a bowl of noodle soup.

The night before we leave, though, we pack until about 2:00 AM. Not so good. After spending the next day preparing to leave as well, The Mrs. and I were running on just a dab of sleep when we get onto the plane. At 1:30AM.

The Boy, getting onto the plane at night, was a bit disoriented. As we accelerated down the runway to takeoff speed, he said, and I quote, “Scared, scared, scared . . .” followed by “cool,” as he saw the full moon break over the clouds. We were on our way.

Needless to say, The Boy and The New Boy didn’t sleep right away. When they did finally go to sleep, we couldn’t. For one, blessed, fifteen minute stretch they were both asleep. Then The Boy awoke with a wail that would put a banshee to shame. This was followed by the immediate chain reaction cry of The New Boy.

I’ve had my sleep interrupted on many a flight by a crying child or infant. Now I am the guy with the squalling kids. I guess this is just the cycle of life completing as I move from irritated to irritator – Hakuna matata.

So, we finally land in Seattle just as dawn is breaking. The Boys have had just enough rest to make them alert and cranky. The Mrs. looks like the living dead (zombie living dead, not vampire living dead). We have coffee, that elixir of the gods, sweet, sweet caffeine. We perk up a bit.

We catch the next leg of our flight, now off to the Midwest. It was finally time to fly to see the first batch of our family. Another few hours in the air, and we’re off to pick up our rental car. When we left Fairbanks, the temperature was –17F. As we arrive at our destination, the temperature is 34F. Shirtsleeve weather!


To those that had a question about air quality in Fairbanks - this photo shows where a few million people live Outside. Fairbanks is sometimes foggy. Get the picture?

At this point, we were nearly comatose or cranky or just plain confused by the change in light and the multiple time zones we’d skipped. We took a tour of the city and headed to my brother’s house.

Now, my brother’s first name is John. If you thought my first name was John, well, you’re right. Apparently our parents weren’t all that imaginative. For some reason, he goes by his middle name (Ebenezer), even though he’s the older John. Go figure.

One time I called his office, and asked for him. The conversation went like this:

Me: Can I speak to Ebenezer Wilder?

Receptionist: Who shall I say is calling?

Me: John Wilder.

Receptionist: (Snort) Yeah, right. I’ll get him.

So, John Wilder called up John Wilder and he came home and we chatted. One thing about living in Alaska is this: you cherish the time with your friends and relatives when you get it a lot more. Even though you may see them for more time than you’ve seen them in years, well, the distance itself makes the experience special – you can’t drive and see them on a weekend (and you wonder why you didn’t do that more) so when you see them, it’s a trip. I imagine that life was much like this before the automobile made the United States shrink and shrivel like Robert Redford. Ironically, the distance brings you closer to the people you love, so far away.

The Boy, however, is not sold on this theory. He’s currently very angry and wants to move away from Alaska. Reason? He misses interstate highways. A recent conversation went like this:

Me: So, you like Alaska?

The Boy: No.

Me: Why not?

The Boy: No interstates.

The Mrs.: Well, there’s no other state to connect too.

The Boy: What about Nebraska?

The Mrs.: Do you want us to move Nebraska so we could have an interstate?

The Boy: Yeah.

The Mrs.: Heck, we could just build a bridge to Nebraska. Would that work?

The Boy: Yeah.

So, if you’re upset about our now-deleted “Bridge to Nowhere” well, take heart. If The Boy has his way, soon Alaska will be connected by bridge to Omaha.

So, we made it Outside. We have a sleep deficit, (36 hours??) however, that rivals the Federal deficit.

Next: My Visit To Beer Nirvana

14 Comments:

Blogger Lady Luck said...

"Hi! This is my brother Darryl and my other brother Darryl...."

"Let's see here.... John...Ebenezer...John....Ebenezer...Mom, I'll pick Ebenezer there are too many John's running around!"

LOL! Love it!

6:32 PM  
Blogger John said...

lady,
well, I'll tell the truth, his middle name isn't Ebenezer. It's Sasquatch. Actually, truth be known, it isn't either, but rather the same as The Boy's first name. So, his middle name is The Boy's first name. But (really) both our first names are John.

7:08 PM  
Anonymous GodIhateCalifornia said...

I know you are there. And I am not. But isn't Fairbanks on the EPA's list of 6 worst CO offenders. And isn't that my point: there are millions of people in the "Outside" but Fairbanks is still up there. In other words 30,000 people do what takes millions down in this &^%hole of a state. I mean where I live we don't have "Air Quality Alerts". I just don't know John. You say it is clean but the EPA and others suggest it isn't. I guess I find out for myself.

7:11 PM  
Blogger Woofwoof said...

I don't really like this episode style of blog writing. I hope you are not trying to be like J.K. Rowling or George Lucas.

The last time it took us 3 weeks to meet the President of Taiwan, and he turned out to be a Floobees salesman. Can't we get the whole trip report in one download? But I like the new pictures.

7:37 PM  
Anonymous Oz. said...

I can just see it when you were younger: "Hi! We're Johns." What
a great conversation starter...

7:43 PM  
Blogger Coldfoot said...

Fairbanks doesn't have a CO2 problem, Fairbanks has a cold problem.

Temperature inversions keep the bad air locked-in when it gets really cold. Things clear right up when it warms up enough to snow. (Yes, it has to warm up to snow, it doesn't normally snow at temperatures below -10.)

Even so, we haven't exceeded CO levels in a half-dozen years, except during forest fire season, but the EPA doesn't count that as an infraction.

A forest fire is an act of God, a temperature inversion is not. Go figure.

4:47 AM  
Blogger Garry said...

Last time we went on a long trip, Herself was so excited, she made the cheese and tomato sandwiches on the Tuesday night, and we weren't travelling until the Saturday! And, you know, those tinned tomatoes make the bread go soggy.

7:29 AM  
Anonymous Loren97 said...

I don't know anything, but I can't see how Fairbanks could have an air problem.

Contrary to WoofWoof, I quite enjoy the episode styling of your blog! Woof, go to happynews.com and find yourself something to smile about.

So if the Boy likes Nebraska what would he say about the east or west coast, the massive metropolitian sprawl interlaced with so-called interstates that become a sluggish crawl at rush-hour. I guess ya'll didn't end up in any traffic jams or construction delays on Nebraska's rendition of Eisenhower's Road projects.

Cheerio!

2:15 PM  
Blogger Woofwoof said...

I want my President of Taiwan now :)

7:15 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

Good luck! We are also in preparations to venture outside...although this year, we are going to Florida/Carribean instead of the Midwest. There was nothing like escaping the snow and cold to be trapped by 22-inches of snow and cold with people who don't know how to drive.

Enjoy family! Happy Holidays!

12:05 PM  
Blogger HP said...

Awesome photos, John. Welcome back Outside.

One question...Why would you Ever book a red eye flight with two kids? You generally demonstrate your intelligence, but this time I'm not so sure. Poor kids...poor you on the flight.

BTW, love your snow blower chains
looking forward to more stories of snow and beer!

5:38 PM  
Blogger John said...

godihatecalifornia,
coldfoot is right. The air is good (except for summer smoke) here. Well, and for when we have our septic pumped. That's bad air quality.

woof,
I will have to contin

woof,
ue this at a la

woof,
ter time. Besides, if everything happened all at once, we would hardly need watches. Well, I guess I don't need one now, since I haven't worn one in a year . . .

oz,
Hey, it worked for us.

coldfoot,
Yeah. And in our neck of the woods, no problems at all . . . ('cept during fire season).

garry,
Go for the PB and honey next time. The honey makes the bread crunchy. Plus, I don't think there's mold on the planet that can digest 'em.

loren97,
Keep in mind, at his age a traffic jam is just a chance to look at more cars. Or, rather, the same ones for a long time.

woof,
Pati

woof,
ence.

lori,
Heh heh. We'll be going to see family in the Midwest until we can figure out how to duct tape the kids down for a week.

hp,
Just utterly idealistic . . or, as The Mrs. might say, "What were you thinking???"

As far as snow and beer, they may be the most abundant elements in Alaska.

6:21 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

Salt Lake City had the same problem with temperature inversions. The worst kind, too. We'd go for weeks at a time and never see the sun (and you thought it was bad in Fairbanks.) I also don't think it's fair to rate a community's emmissions abuse solely on its air quality. There are too many other factors in play.

8:42 PM  
Blogger Woofwoof said...

Checking for 2nd installment. I am a dog. I don't live that long, and I don't have 9 lives.

7:44 PM  

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