Vacation ending, going back to work and friends.


I’m not doing things in a hurry.
Around the backyard I don’t scurry.
     My leisure’s not lacking
     I’ve started in packing,
And we had a fine dinner of curry.

I’m getting ready to leave Alaska and go back to Iowa.
Packing comes with a special set of problems involving frozen fish logistics; I’ll be mailing home a box of clothes, leaving a rolling duffle, and bringing a hundred pounds of frozen, tasty Alaska fish. Doing so in the high temps of August requires planning, strategy, and a good knowledge of the basic laws of thermodynamics.

I miss the people at home who miss me, and as my departure date nears I exchange more and more emails to that effect. For the first time since 1979, coming back from vacation doesn’t mean coming back to work; it means coming back to friends.

OK, it means I’m coming back to work, but the line between work and friends has blurred as the years went on. I sent an email yesterday and made a phone call, and I’ve got two jobs lined up already. Neither will violate my 30-mile, one-year non-compete clause. Both will involve much longer commutes than my Barrow assignment (see my posts from June and July). But I’ll be living at home, tending my garden, sleeping in my own bed, taking saxophone lessons, and hanging out with my friends and family. And I’ll have more time to enjoy them; one offers thirty-two hours a week and the other a maximum of eighteen.

One job will involve ninety minutes of driving a day. I’m not looking forward to the commute so much as I’m looking forward to seeing Siouxland from a different perspective.

Les and I spent most of yesterday dealing with camping gear. Tents, rain flies, boots, and tarps had to be hung up to dry; clothing and camping dishes needed to be washed. His rifle (a beautiful Sako .375 H&H Magnum) needed to be cleaned. Sleeping pads had to be deflated, dried, and rolled. Coolers needed to be washed. Propane bottles needed to be disposed of.

We didn’t rush the process. Sometimes we talked, and sometimes we just enjoyed each other’s company. We took a break to walk the dog. We took another to inspect two Civil War rifles his wife inherited (both of which appear to be fully functioning and quite capable of self-defense from the moose and brown bear that live in the neighborhood).

I took thirty minutes to make calls and change my airline tickets.

In the early afternoon he went to work; I blogged and napped and checked the predicted weather for my homecoming journey.

We worked in the clear summer Alaska sunshine, the best weather Anchorage has seen all summer. I conscientiously used sunscreen but my color visibly improved by the end of the day.

When the equipment was all taken care of and I’d posted blogs, I split a bottle of hard cider with Les’s son, Gavin. Overwhelmed by neither the alcohol content nor the sweetness, I enjoyed them both. And at the end of the day, Gavin, Les, and I sat down to a very good meal of Indian food.

I’m a family practitioner from Sioiux City, Iowa.  While my noncompete clause ticks away, I’m having adventures.  If you want to post a comment, click on the title of the blog.

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