Besh Cup 5&6

My son entered the last 2 races in the statewide series of cross country ski races. They were held last weekend here in Fairbanks. He’s not done any of these before, and has been skiing against younger kids all season. However, you must race in your division for Besh Cup races, so he was racing other 14&15 year old boys that are the best in the state. The outcome of this weekend’s races determined Team Alaska for US Junior National races next month. Alaska is the only state to have their own team at Nationals. All other states are grouped into regional teams. So, needless to say, the competition was tough.  Anyway, Saturday was a 5k skate race. Sunday was a 3k classic. The skate course was tough. Read this quote from FastSkier.com to understand why:

“The trails at Birch Hill are built on the side of, well, a hill (also, there are birch trees). The courses used for this weekend’s races were marked by an impressive Height Difference (the elevation change between the lowest and highest points on the course) of 89 meters within a 5-kilometer course. The World Cup skiathlon race that was contested in South Korea the same weekend, on the trails that will be used for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, featured height differences of only 58 and 41 meters on the two skiathlon courses.

In fact, a height difference of 89 meters is a greater elevation spread than was present on most of the traditional World Cup courses this season, including in Davos (84m), Lillehammer (74m), Falun (69m), and Ulricehamn (57m).”

http://fasterskier.com/fsarticle/besh-cup-series-wraps-fairbanks-team-alaska-named/

So considering this was his first race at this level of competition and the difficulty of the course, I’m happy he even finished. He came in last (but not by much). He was mostly doing it for the experience, so I didn’t pay the extra to have him ranked. Plus, they were the last 2 races of the season. Still, that makes him unofficially 40th in the state.

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Ouch!

2 weeks ago we went with relatives to Kodiak. My daughter, her cousin, and the cousin’s grandfather were originally supposed to go visit my sisters-in-law at a rural village, but due to a wildfire, we had to change plans. So we decided to go to our boat on Kodiak.

Everything got off to a good start. My son and husband drove down to Anchorage while the rest of us flew to meet them there. Then we all drove the rest of the way to Homer where we were to catch the state ferry the next morning.

The ferry was delayed several hours arriving into Homer. Then we boarded and made our way up to the lounge. Since it was a day crossing, we had decided not to get a cabin. There’s a padded play area. I chose a bench nearby and kneeled on it to crawl to the far end. Unfortunately, the bench was not properly together and it collapsed!

I fell into the bench, landing with my left knee on he concrete deck under the bench. I was trapped like that in the bench for a few minutes while my friends came over and figured out the best way to extract me without hurting me more.

After getting me out, I sat in a nearby chair while ship’s personnel came to see what help I needed. One of the other passengers we had met while waiting to board was an EMT, so he came over to help as well.

Ice and pain killers were fetched. A large foam pad was found to prop my leg up on, which was actually very comfy considering the situation.  There I stayed for the next several hours. My husband brought lunch from the cafeteria. Then the purser offered a stateroom, which I accepted so I could lie down. I was getting stiff from sitting with my leg propped up. A wheelchair was brought and we were escorted to our large room. It was the handicap room so it has 4 bunks. Good thing considering there were 6 of us traveling together.

After a nap, I was wheeled to the cafeteria for dinner. Then another trip up to the lounge to prop my let up and sit awhile. Finally we all took a nap before arriving in Kodiak.

Once in Kodiak, I was to be the first one off. They wheeled me down the elevator to a handicap van which brought me off the ship. It was now around midnight so we decided to stay in a hotel for the night and see a doctor in the morning since I didn’t think anything was broken and not life threatening to need an ambulance that night.

The next few days were spent at the doctor and hospital getting x-rays and an MRI of my knee. It wasn’t much of a vacation for me. The kids were kept busy by my husband and the other girl’s grandfather. The went for drives and he even took them on a flightseeing tour.

Turned out I was right. Nothing was broken or torn. However, it looked like the kneecap was slammed downward onto the fibia bone, causing cartilage damage. The doctor said I had all the symptoms associated with a broken knee except actual broken bone. He went on to say that is among the most painful injuries a person can have. Oh, goody, lucky me!

Then there was the flight home. First, even though we all had tickets, we were told we couldn’t board because the flight was overbooked so my kids didn’t have seats. We had to wait and see if people didn’t show up. Finally, we were told we could board since check-in was now closed.

Going through security was very painful. I was on crutches so had to do a pat down. I took a pain pill but it hadn’t taken affect yet.  I told her I had a broken knee and to be very careful. Needless to say she felt all around my brace from every direction, which hurt a lot. Then took a swab thing and ran that all around it too.

By this time everyone else had boarded. You can clearly see security from the boarding door but the clerk made an announcement paging us to hurry and board rather than simply asking if we were the people she was needing to board. That was embarrassing!

Next came the stairs. It was a combi plane which means boarding through the rear of the plane after going up some steep stairs. I was in tears from pain (and I have a very high pain tolerance) before even halfway up them. Finally once on, the flight attendant gave me a bag of ice for my knee and we were on our way.

In Anchorage, a lift truck met the plane where me and an elderly couple were taken off in wheelchairs, presumably headed for the elevator. The lift truck had some problems and the operator jerked it several times trying to lower the platform to the ground. Once inside the building, there was only 1 agent. I was left alone in that entry room stairwell area about 5-10 minutes while the couple were taken upstairs. The door to the elevator part of the terminal had no doorstop. When it was my turn, she banged the wheelchair around trying to maneuver and keep the door open at the same time.

When we get upstairs into the main terminal, I told what my next flight was and was taken to a gate. She even asked someone from Alaska Airlines to verify it was the right gate. When it came almost time to board and no one was around and the display still said Bethel instead of Fairbanks, I sent my son down to the other gates to see if we were in the wrong area. We were. They had just closed boarding for our flight! Explanations were made and we were able to board.

Turns out it was the same plane and gate as the Kodiak trip was. Why we were taken off then on again or to the wrong gate, I don’t know. I was taken down the elevator and did the entire process in reverse this time, banging my leg on the doors again.

Thankfully once we arrived in Fairbanks, those ground handlers were very gentle.

So today I have a follow up appointment with my doc here. I’m hoping for physical therapy and a chance to still go on our bicycle trip next month. It’s less than 5 weeks away now, so not sure if that will happen or not for sure.

BRRR!

As I write this it is -34F at my house outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. In town it is -42, and over in the community of North Pole it is -45. This morning they had -47 at 10am. The Fairbanks Daily Newsminer had an article about the cold overnight lows with some pictures showing lows down to -60 in some areas. The frigid weather is supposed to start warming up slowly tomorrow then snow in the middle of the week before heading back down to -30. Hopefully it will be warm enough on Thursday for the kids ski lessons. The cut off is -4. Last week was -2 at the start, but dropped to -8 when we left an hour and half later.

-60F

 

http://www.newsminer.com/gallery/photo_of_the_day/image_30eb3d16-68b2-11e2-a724-001a4bcf6878.html

Huh?

Even by Alaska’s unreliable standards, the weather forecasts have been very poor this winter. Usually they are fairly good about 3 days out, but they can’t even get it right for the same day lately. They keep changing it, sometimes several times in an hour. (yes, I kind of obsess over things like that). Anyway, tonight’s forecast for Friday really is a head scratcher on Weather Underground.

Mostly cloudy. Fog early. High of 10F. Winds less than 5 mph. Chance of snow 20%. Overcast with a chance of snow and rain showers in the evening, then partly cloudy. Fog overnight. Low of -6F. Winds less than 5 mph.

If the high is only supposed to be 10 and it’s supposed to go below zero, how in the world is it supposed to rain? Temperatures need to at least be near freezing (32F) for that to happen. Yes, it does sometimes rain in the middle of the winter here in interior Alaska, but not when it’s near zero all week. Now the possible rain on Sunday with expected temperatures rising from the upper teens to high 20’s makes more sense. If that happens, I’m not looking forward to driving Monday or Tuesday. Luckily, since I’m the boss right now, I can give myself the day off if necessary and put everyone else on minimal schedule so they can stay off the roads as much as possible.

Mail ordering a car

Living in Alaska, we mail order a lot of things including clothes, electronics, medicines, and books. Well, today you can add cars amount that list.

That’s right. I said we mail ordered a car. We’ve never seen the actual car in person, just an image on the dealer website. However, my husband test drove a similar one in Europe and was impressed enough to try to buy one if we could find it.

It’s the Nissan Leaf all electric car. They are very hard to find and not currently sold anywhere in Alaska. We located one in Spokane, Washington and arranged purchase over the phone. The paperwork was sent to us by mail and we mailed the completed package back this afternoon. So we have officially bought a car via mail order. 😆

Now we will go down in a couple of weeks to bring it back. The car goes about 100 miles on a charge (which takes 8 hours) so we are going to put it on a trailer and tow it to Alaska. We will likely have to wait until spring to get the quick charge unit since there are no authorized ones for sale in Alaska until then. However, it can be plugged into a regular wall outlet without it. That just takes overnight to fully charge instead of a few hours.

Fairbanks was where Nissan did there cold weather testing so it should do fine, but we still don’t plan to drive it in the middle of the winter. Supposedly, there is a super cold weather package you can get for up here, but that won’t be available until spring and is pretty pricy. So for now, we’ll park in when the mercury drops.

Survey says! Please…

My husband is taking a marketing class. For part of his group project, they created a quick survey. Please take a moment and give your answers. All answers are confidential. In fact, they don’t even ask your name. Just click the link below.

Alaskan marketing survey

Thanks!

Who has your kids?

There was a disturbing article in today’s newspaper about two young children who were taken from an Anchorage public school by OCS (office of children’s services) workers. It was supposed to be for a parental visit. Just one problem: they picked up the wrong kids!

That’s right. The state agency removed the wrong kids from the school. The agency’s excuse was that the regular worker was out sick and this was someone else who apparently got the name wrong because these kids and the correct ones had similar names.

In the meantime, the mother calls the school and was told OCS had the kids. She called OCS and was told they didn’t have any kids with those names. The mix-up was eventually discovered and the kids returned in about 45 minutes.

So a big problem here. First, why did the school not require verification of who was to be picked up? When I worked at an elementary school, they required documentation stating the CORRECT names of the child to be picked up by anyone other than the parent or legal guardian. So why was this basic policy not followed by the school? If it had been they would have known these were the wrong kids right away and not have allowed them to go with OCS.

So what if the names were similar! If they aren’t the same, they aren’t the right kids. Just because it is a state agency taking them shouldn’t mean they don’t verify who they are taking is correct. The social worker and school should have both verified they were the correct kids before removing them from the school.  The kids are age 6 and 8. As it was, neither the school or social worker checked to be sure they had to right kids.

It’s all fine and good to say the kids should not have gone with them. Stranger danger and all that, but this is a public school, where kids are taught to go unquestioningly with adults they don’t know. The kids just assume it will be all right since the school said it was ok to go. At least they didn’t try to stop the social worker in front of the kids, so that implied consent to a child’s mind.

I’m glad nothing really bad happened to the kids. The school probably verified the social worker’s identity, so why not also the names kids to be taken? Can any social worker show up and take kids like this without verification of the child’s identity? How naive! How scary!

The school and OCS need to seriously review how they handle these kinds of transactions so incidents like this never happen again. The social worker should be fired, and probably the school worker who allowed the kids’ release too.