Thursday, July 30, 2009

DMV & Home-Labyrinth

Well, we got our new licenses, registration, title and plates yesterday and it was totally amazing. In and out of DMV in under an hour, with everything in hand when we left! People were grumbling about how busy and slow it was... and I'm thinking that they have no clue what busy and slow really is (try WA, VA or CA if you want truly excessive time-suck at the DMV). It was completely refreshing to go in, do your thing, and get your stuff... no real wait times, no temporary crap that you have to wait for the real thing to come in the mail (hopefully before your temp expires!). And we got it all done for less that it used to cost Gungnir to just renew his annual tabs/registration... ah, bliss!

We also stopped by Alaska Dept of Fish & Game to find out about hunting, trapping & fishing licenses and regulations. They were really helpful and tried to have us only get the licenses and stuff we'd really need for this year (as a "non-resident" things are much more expensive) and give us tips on who to contact for other stuff so we didn't need a license (i.e. who always has extra fish or game in our area that we can barter for so we don't need to get the license or tag, etc). They may even be willing to bend the rules ever so slightly and overlook the exact date we moved to the state so that we can qualify for resident/subsistence licenses 9instead of "sport") next year even though the season starts a little earlier than our move-in date... they just care that we are really planning to stay, which we are, so it's all cool. But having someone who works in a government agency actually try to be helpful and save us money is a totally new experience ROFL!!

We sketched out our tent platform and cache/temporary cabin and formulated a materials list for lumber & such. Then went to the local lumber yard, and the two home-improvement labyrinths to start price research. Lumber actually seems to be the only thing cheap these days (cheaper up here than in Seattle for sure)! I'll have to tally everything up, but I don't think it'll be all that expensive to get our first winter's "cabin-ette" framed up... especially since it's going to be a shed/shop at some point and doesn't have to be too perfect or super-insulated, just keep us from freezing this winter so we can build the real cabin in the spring. Nothing special, just a stick-framed box (shudder) but it's only an out building, I'll have more opportunity to be cool and nifty on the main cabin.

One thing that constantly amazes me (although I should know better by now) is how disorganized the home-improvement stores are for certain things. For instance, we couldn't find concrete pavers (to use as foundation pads) anywhere near the lumber. There was tar paper, and concrete & sand bags, and even some cinder blocks... but no "pads". Go figure. Maybe they're hiding in lawn & garden?! But seriously, you'd think they'd put everything required of a single task (especially construction) all in the same place ya know?! Really... what can you do with a cinder block in the "construction center" without the pad to put it on?! If there isn't enough room in that aisle for something useful & related , at least put up a sign telling people where to find something obviously related. Jeez!!

Another pet peeve... put friggin' pricing signs on things. I hate finding the perfect thing (in this case a window), and not having any price information posted on or near it. I realize that prices can change due to options or sizes, etc... but seriously, if you mark the price label with "as shown" or "price may vary" then you clear yourself of legal obligation to give them a $219 4x6 window for the $99 price posted for a 2x2. I know that they want you to talk to a sales person or a "contractors consultant" but you can never find one when you need one and they get really grumpy with you when you tell them that you're just looking and doing price research. Either have really good customer service that is actually helpful, or post a friggin' price list with all the nifty disclaimers already. Makes me want to pull out my hair LOL! Maybe I'm just a little too counter-dependent, but I truly loathe talking to sales people when I don't absolutely have to... I'm the same way with mail & internet ordering, I'll go somewhere else if you make me have to call for pricing, etc. (I think the Aspergers might have something to do with not wanting to talk to people to get things done).

It's also been pretty hot up here. Sure, go to Alaska it's so cold up there... not this summer. Yesterday it was kissing 90, but I'm glad we got out of Seattle because it's over 100 down there right now. ICK!!! Also, there's a forest fire south of Fairbanks and it gets smokey when the wind shifts and we get rained on by ash. Same problem in Manley down near our property, worse actually since the fire is closer (across the big river, think we're safe). Oh well, as long as we can keep breathing it's good to keep the mosquitos away.

But the heat is definitely sapping my already tenuous strength and making it even more difficult to sleep. Really can't wait until I'm over my "moving lag" and my body clock isn't all jacked up anymore. Of course, it doesn't help that the city decided to re-gravel the perfectly good road in front of Kari's house... those weenies start with the big trucks around 7am, so I'm only getting about 4 hours of sleep. Joy! Much as I love Kari and appreciate her letting us stay with them, I'll be pretty happy to switch to our temporary base of operations in Manley on Saturday, if for no other reason than to get some quiet (the noise and commotion is really starting to tweak out my AS and I don't want to have to take my anxiety meds).

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