Wednesday, September 28, 2005

23. Greetings from an internet kiosk in the Anchorage airport

.....Well, I'm off. I have a six hour layover in Anchorage which might give me a chance to get some food packaged to ship, except that the layover is from midnight to 6 am.
.....I was getting all the last minute shopping done. Fred Meyer's (hypersupermarket), Michael's (crafts store), Target (whatever it is), Payless (cheap shoes), Petco (pet supplies), etc. I realized in the middle that I really ought to appreciate this, since it is probably the last time in a long time that I can shop and buy whatever I want (within limits). But I was too rushed to appreciate it.
.....I got little booties for Max (my schnauzer). They are red fake-suede, with fleece lining and waterproof bottoms. I wanted to get the matching red fake-suede jacket with fleece lining, but they were out of his size. I got him a hooded sweatshirt.
.....I had everything packed to go in boxes to take on the plane, but then my parents who were helping me decided I should take the minimum with me and they would Fedex the rest. It does make it much easier (MUCH!) especially since I have Max with me. But I went through everything so fast to put all the immediate necessities into the box I'm taking that I think I forgot some stuff I need like toothpaste and the leash.
.....Deering does not get cell phone service. I tried to call to get a land line put in. However, the principal thought that all I have to do is call the phone service in Deering and tell them that I am moving into Joe Schmoe's house and they would flip the right switch. Well, I called them and they said I have to go through the main office in Kotzabue. Well, the office in Kotzabue does not know Joe Schmoe, and the people in Deering do not know the actuall address of Joe Schmoe's house. So I won't have any phone service or internet access for a bit. Also, I fear, no TV!!!! SO, y'all will hear from me whan you hear from me (tautology).

Monday, September 26, 2005

22. Deering overview

This websire has picturesof the whole city -

21. D-day -1

Well, the school district finally let me in on little secrets like my salary and when my insurance begins.

My parents have decided to sell my sweet little wonderful house.

I am still trying to get the medicine. I have made a whole bunch of calls to my doctor’s office, the pharmacy, and the insurance company. Everyone blames someone else, no one gives a damn, they are all just brushing me off. The doctor’s office is trying out a new computer system that does not seem to be working, so they have me on hold for about 10 minutes each time I call, which the recording also blames on “heavy volume” but if they ALWAYS have heavy volume, maybe its just normal volume. The computer system at the insurance company keeps asking a bunch of multiple-choice questions, my answer is rarely one of the choices, and the computer does not like my New York Accent. I am on hold with one of the three right now, and I forgot who. No one is willing to contact anyone else to try to help, they just blame each other. I think the trouble lies with my insurance company.

Someone let out Fuzzbutt again

I want to go buy some jeans tomorrow and some sneakers. Shirts I can always buy over the internet. Also socks and underwear.

I’d better go make a list of everything I have to do last minute. Ta-ta until tomorrow.

20. Write to me please!!!!!!

The Northernmost Jew
Deering, AK 99736

19. Q & A I

Answering some questions left in comments to my posts:

Q. Would you mind enlightening your readers as to why you are moving to northern Alaska of all places?

A. I need a teaching job. They need a teacher.
A. I have always envied people who have lived in different places. It would have been hard for me to do with a kid. My daughter just moved out.
A. For the adventure.

Q. Can you tell us how you have been preparing for the physical challenges you will face in attempting to survive on your own in such a brutally harsh environment?

A. I bought a warm jacket.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

18. subway map

Anyone out there willing to mail me a New Yok City subway map fpr my wall?

17. D-day -2

I leave in 2!! days, and am losing my mind.

My father bought me a new computer, so I don’t have to drag along the old laptop (which was held together by duct tape!). He also got me a smaller printer, so I can travel with it more easily. (Also, the old printer uses a parallel port, which new computers don’t have.) And he bought me a really nice warm winter jacket.

Packed up all my Judaica stuff: a Lenox seder plate my mother gave me twenty years ago, that I have used about 4 times, since I mostly go to my parents for the seder (maybe I should take it with me and have people fly to me for the northernmost seder in North America and invite that guy in Barrow?), a whole lot of benchers some from events I was at, and some I have no idea where they came from (who are Naomi and Darren?), a brand new Chanukiyah I just bought when the candle store near me went out of business, a lot of fancy Chanukah candles (some made in Tzfat, some in Brooklyn, some made in China), a havdalah candle I never knew I had, besamim from a havdalah service bar/bat mitzvah for twins, several hagaddahs that my brother and his wife gave me, and a whole bunch of mezuzah covers. I have to pick out what to take with me. I just realized that my best challah cover, hand embroidered by some Jew in Ethiopia, is at the dry cleaners, along with my favorite dress.

I have to take my cats to the vet for health checkups so they can travel (I already took my dog) but I can’t find Fuzzbutt.

The icemaker in my freer decided to malfunction and the water just keeps pouring into the icemaker and overflowing. I am home to find my kitchen beneath four inches of water. I will call someone tomorrow to come look at it, who will probably need to get a part and who knows when he could come back.

There was a headache with the tickets. Finally my ex ordered tickets for me with his miles.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

16. map

Here is a map of Alaska. The red dot is Deering.

Friday, September 23, 2005

15. A dry town

Deering does not allow alcoholic beverages. Since there are no roads from there to anywhere else, it is not like you can go outside the city limits and find a bar. I found this out from the internet; no one at the school mentioned it to me. I don't care about alcohol. It is no problem to give up my approximately-four-drinks-a-year habit. (No wild Purim or Simchas Torah celebrations.) Still, it would matter to a lot of people, and I am surprised that no one mentioned anything to me.

14. Strategy games

One elective I will be teaching will be strategy games that help thinking. Anyone out there have any suggestions? I got some suggestions at the last Mensa games party. So far, I am thinking of:
Othello / Reversi
Three Stone
It is too bad I am not good at Chess or Go.
I'd love the game Kaliko, but it is very expensive.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

13. Grrr again

At the moment, I am not sure what will happen. The principal and I got annoyed at each other on the phone. I sent an apologetic e-mail (to which he never responded), but as I think about it again, I am pissed again.

He feels that it is MY fault that I did not receive the e-mail confirmation from the airline. When I called Alaska Airlines, they said they had never received my e-mail address. The principal said that it was my responsibility to make sure that the administrator who took care of the ticket had my e-mail address. Well, he did have my e-mail address since I e-mailed him the itinerary I found before he arranged for the ticket!!!!! If he could not find it, and he had to give an e-mail address to the airline, wouldn’t you think he would realize he didn’t have it and call me? He also had my telephone number.. The airlines e-mailed the confirmation to someone in his district.

I don’t know who screwed up so that the ticket only goes through Anchorage. I am not sure if it was someone with the school district or someone with the airline, but I had nothing to do with the ordering, so I know IT WAS NOT MY FAULT!!!

If I end up having to pay more because they have to get me a last minute ticket, I am not sure what I will do.

Sorry for all this whining. I’ll try to stay away from it for a while.

12. Whoops! II

I am definitely not really the northernmost Jew. I was looking through some articles about Shobbos near the poles. There is some Jewish physicist working in Barrow, and there have been Jews in Prudhoe Bay working on the pipeline. Yes, I know, I am also ignoring Siberia and whatever. Tough, I like the name for the blog. Besides “Frozen Chosen” has been done to death.

11. Or else!!!

If Dark Chocolate M&M's come out, I expect everyone to mail me some!!

10. Grrrr update update

The school district can not advance me money for moving expenses (other than the cost of the ticket). On one hand, I can certainly understand; they don’t know me from a hole in the wall and I could just take the money and disappear and they would have a hard time suing me from Deering. On the other hand, I have expenses associated with the move, and no money at the moment. I have to get the animals certified to travel, ship a bunch of stuff (and shipping to Deering is EXPENSIVE!!), pay to take the animals on the plane, and pay any expenses for getting things set up there like cable television and phone service and DSL, and whatever. I borrowed some money from my parents, but it will not be enough, especially since I have other normal expenses too, including my daughter’s rent and getting food to take with me. My ex-husband is now taking a cash advance on his credit card so I can have some money to use (and taking a cash advance is expensive with a fee and a higher interest rate). The principal had said I could get a cash advance, and I have been trying to get it for a week. If he had told me this a week ago, Stephen could probably have gotten me a rush copy of his credit card and saved us a lot of money. When I tried talking to the principal, he said “We are expecting you on Monday. Figure it out,” or something pretty close to that that I did not memorize. (BTW, they reimburse up to $500 in moving expenses, and the ticket alone costs a good bit more than that.)

They also have not yet told me what my salary will be. I faxed them my transcript on the 13th and they were supposed to get back to me.

I had been expecting a paper ticket to come in the mail. Used to be, if there were more than two legs to a flight, they had to issue a paper ticket. Well, it is an e-ticket, and I was supposed to get a confirmation by e-mail. But I was not expecting it, and I get about three hundred pieced of spam a day, and a lot of them say confirmation in the message line, so I may have deleted it. I have to get another copy of the e-mail.

(a bit later) -
a. I just spoke to the adminstrator. He is REALLY upset about my deleting the e-ticket, but it should not be much trouble. I will call Alaska Airlines.
b. NOW he lets me know that there is a $500 pet-deposit. The principal that I have been dealing with has known for a while that I am bringing pets. He does not know if it is refundable.
c. My psyched-level was really high, but it is diminishing rapidly.

(a bit more later) -
They never gave Alaska Airlines my e-mail address. The confirmation went to one of them. SO THERE!!

(a bit more later)
Screw up with the ticket - it just has me going to Anchorage.

9. Operation Magic Carpet

I just found out that Alaska Airlines was one of the airlines was one of the airlines involved in Operation Magic Carpet, the operation in 1949 that brought over 40,000 Yeminite Jews to Israel. The Yeminites had never seen an airplane, and this was the fufillment of their centuries old prophecy that they would return to Eretz Yisrael "on the wings of eagles".

8. 1904

The Jewish community in Fairbanks was founded in 1904. This is significant because it is the same year as the opening of Stuyvesant High School, the start of the New York City subway system, and the invention of the ice cream cone.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

7. Grrrr update

The administrator finally reached me. He said he will have to get back to me about an advance. I think he is worried that I’ll take the money and disappear.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

6. I missed it

Today Deering had an Inupiaq Day potluck. Too bad it wasn't a week later, after I get there.

5. Whoops!

I was just informed that I will not be the northernmost Jew. My ex-husband told me that there is a Jewish guy living in Barrow whom he met at a bris in Anchorage. (Barrow is the northernmost point of Alaska.) Oh, well, it's too late to change the name of my blog.

4. Grrrr

I am really getting annoyed. When I spoke to the principal at the high school, he told me that if I needed an advance, I should speak to him. Well, I do. I e-mailed him on Thursday. On Friday he told me that his business e-mail was down, so I sent the e-mail to his home address. On Monday, he told me to speak to the vice administrator or something-or-other of the school system, and he (the principal) would tell the administrator-whatever that I was going to call. I called the administrator and left a voice mail message asking him to call me. He did not call. Today I waited and then called and left a voice mail message. I also e-mailed him. When I didn't hear from him again, I e-mailed the principal, but I haven't heard from him either. In the meantime, there are 3(!) more weekdays left, and I have to take care of a lot and I don’t have the money My parents are lending me some money, but I shouldn’t have to ask them. I also don’t know if it will be enough, but I was scared to ask for more. My mother was not happy. It is not just a matter of moving expenses (they did order the airline ticket, which I have not yet received, BTW) but of getting a lot of stuff now that I can’t do during the year. I have to get a lot of dental work done this week (Today I got $670 worth of dental work done, and I need more on Friday, with insurance covering about 50%). I need to take the animals to the vet to get an OK to travel, I need to get sneakers and some pants because I can not get those without trying them on, I want to go to Costco and get some food because they don’t sell much there. I also need to pay COBRA for my insurance for me and my daughter since Portland Public School insurance runs out at the end of September, and Deering insurance doesn’t kick in until November. I also have to get phone service and DSL and cable started, and I am not sure how much everyone will want.
While I’m at it, I am trying to get medicine for my ADD. I think that if I could get it under control, I would have a lot fewer problems. A lot of my trouble last year was that I could not get my grading done for hours and then I was up late and did not get enough sleep. I spoke to my doctor and got a prescription for some ADD medication whose name I forgot but I think it starts with A. Well, my insurance company doesn’t normally cover this medication for adults. It costs a lot without the insurance coverage. I need my doctor to speak to the insurance company. I called my doctor’s office on Friday to ask them to call my insurance company. They said that I needed my drug store to fax them a request. The pharmacist said that is ridiculous, but finally they agreed to humor me and fax a note to my doctor. Yesterday, (Monday), I asked my doctor’s office if they spoke to my insurance company and they said they have a 3 day turnaround. I asked if they could do it asap, since I am leaving this weekend, and they gave me a definite maybe. They told me that they will call my insurance, and my insurance company will make a decision and call my drug store who will then call me them (my doctor) who will then call me. I called my doctor’s office today to see if they called, and they said they’d call me back and never did.
Thanks for letting me vent.

Monday, September 19, 2005

3. Pets

I am going to have to buy a sweater and booties for my dog.
Can I let my cats loose, or do I have to worry about them getting eaten by a polar bear?

Friday, September 16, 2005

2. Deering

Deering, Alaska was established in 1901 as a center for gold mining.
Current population 136, so I guess I’ll make 137.
Longitude -163.015543, latitude 65.784125
Land Area: 4,063,706 square meters
Length of day 12/21/05 2 hrs, 42min
On June 21, the day is 24 hours
44 students in the school K-12
area 13.3 square kilometers, 5.2 square miles

1. Before I Go

Everyone says that since I am going to Deering, Alaska to teach, I should keep a blog. So this is it.

I tried to get candle lighting times for Deering, but it is too far north, and the program crashed. It is about 20 miles south of the arctic circle, so theoretically the sun rises and sets every day. I will contact the rabbi of the Chabad in Anchorage to ask.

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