John has already been in Alaska for more than six months, and I’ve been here for almost five. I feel we have finally reached a few milestones that elevate us in status to a point slightly over “tourist”, perhaps even above “extended transient”.
1. We now have a kid with an Alaska birth certificate.
Certainly, the most exciting development is the small addition to our nuclear family. Skye was born November 5th via flawless home water-birth. Born in the same fashion as his big brother, Skye’s birth certificate is also pretty unique, citing a city of birth that has no L & D department. I was hoping this birth would go as well as my first, and it did, with the only surprises being a) the lightning-fast 3 hour labor and b) Skye’s robust weight of 9 lbs. 3 oz.
By now, nearly four weeks later, I feel almost 100% physically recovered, with the exception of a complete inability to run. I discovered this temporary disability on the treadmill at the gym on Monday, but I was at least able to row myself into a sweaty frenzy as an alternative. But enough about me…here’s Skye!
Skye is now one of the few people I know in Alaska who was actually born here. Meeting someone new usually involves an exchange of names, other relevant information pertaining to the conversation, and a mention of where each person lived originally. I have yet to hear someone say, “Oh, I moved to Anchorage from Fairbanks five years ago.” It’s usually, “Georgia”, “Minnesota”, “Colorado”, etc. I think that explains why all Alaskans love Alaska; everyone is here by choice. I hope Skye, and Silas, of course, will love Alaska as much as John and I do already.
2. The DMV knows we’re here.
For the past several months, I’ve felt increasingly self-conscious about the “California” plates on my car. In my paranoid imagination, they drew nothing but scornful, eye-rolling looks from fellow commuters every day. I even had a coworker take notice and advise me about driving in the snow, to which I had to reply, “I’m not from THAT part of California”, (though I have lived there).
Thankfully, that episode is over. In the days John stayed home with me after Skye was born, he generously braved the DMV for me and picked up my new Alaska plates. About a week later, I was able to face the DMV myself to trade in my California license for an Alaska one.
3. We’ve had a holiday that involved a moose tragedy.
Halloween was a whole new game this year. I didn’t expect the non-stop stream of trick-or-treaters, and ran out of candy. A neighbor estimated she had 70 kids stop by, which may serve as evidence of how most couples pass time in the dark winter months. I wasn’t surprised by the moose patronizing the neighbors’ yard, as I had been notified that they are particularly fond of munching on jack-o-lanterns.
What did surprise me was the over-zealous neighbor who took it upon himself to defend the throng of local children from our placid ungulate visitor. Moose are not amused by human challengers, and humans with loaded handguns are not amused by moose who stand up for themselves. The standoff ended with the moose in an injured heap, waiting for law enforcement to arrive, finish the job, and end his misery.
I couldn’t help thinking that the whole episode added up to an unnecessary waste with respect to the moose, as well as precautionary overkill with respect to carrying a loaded firearm to go trick-or-treating, but chalked it up to my California-style sensibilities. In relating the story to others, however, I found my reaction was pretty universally shared, and I was being neither too soft nor too liberal.
4. Our family holiday photo shoot took place in 15 degrees.
My only additional comments are 1) They look amazing, and 2) At least it was above zero.
5. This plug:
An indicator that you are observing a vehicle that is not parked in a heated garage and has an owner who would prefer the engine not freeze to a point that keeps them stranded at home all winter.