Friday, November 25, 2011


There's a reason I named this blog Kristin's Kapers.  This week is clearly proving that.  Last Weekend I went with 6 kids and the wrestling coach to Selawik where I got sick.  I was really sick and wanted nothing more than to get into my bed and stay there.  Unfortunately, I was sleeping on the floor in the school in Selawik.  The staff there were really helpful to me, but I just wanted my bed.  I tried so hard to get back to Kobuk, and got really close, but in the end didn't manage to go back until our scheduled charter on Sunday (by which point I ironically was feeling better again).  Then just a few days later on the day before Thanksgiving I try to leave Kobuk to go to Anchorage and get stuck in Kotzebue.  I am currently stuck in Kotzebue and am beginning to despair of actually making it to Anchorage.  This is of course why I scheduled my flight from Anchorage at Christmas for 3 days AFTER my flight to Anchorage.  So here's the skinny on my current situation.  It's quite a story...
Wednesday we had school all day, but the last hour was a program with coffee and desert for the parents.  It went really well.  The elementary students sang a song and some of the middle school students signed it. The high school students interviewed everyone in the school (or really close to it) and made a video about who we were thankful for.  It came right down to the wire on that one though.  We got the video finished about 20 minutes before the program was to start and then we still had to figure out how to get it to work with the projector in the gym (a total misnomer, our gym was once a classroom and it is the size of a classroom complete with carpeted floors and the ceiling is slanted.  At one end it is classroom height at the other it is higher.  You should see the kids play volleyball in there, it is comical).  It all worked out though and everyone loved it.  Then I was busy cleaning up and trying to get ready to go because my flight would be somewhere around an hour (or less) after the end of my official workday.  I left school right around my scheduled end of workday (a rare occurrence for any teacher).  I then called Era in Kotzebue to find out the routing of the upriver flight (Upriver refers to Ambler, Shungnak and Kobuk and the flights go to all three and can go in any order.  They announce the routing on the VHF as the flight leaves Kotz and you can also call and ask the routing.  When I was trying to get home from Selawik I thought I had gotten them to re-route the upriver flight to come to Selawik and pick me up - there was a miscommunication though and the plane didn't come).  Well, when I called I got the first surprise.  The woman told me that the flight hadn't routed yet.  I said, "It hasn't routed yet?  That means it hasn't left yet..."  It was supposed to have left at 3:30 and it was 3:50.  She told me that it was Wednesday and on Wednesdays they go to Red Dog (a mine) and the plane's late.  I'm now concerned about catching the jet from Kotzebue to Anchorage.  After I hang up, I call the Alaska Airlines 1-800 number to ask if they were flying on Thursday because I knew the Bush airlines weren't.  I called and the woman was probably in Seattle and I could tell she was a little surprised by my question, but I had started off with that I was trying to fly from Kotzebue to Anchorage (and briefly why I might miss my flight).  She replied "yes, we're flying tomorrow."  But then I could tell she was looking up information based on what I had told her because her voice slowed and you could hear the surprise in it, "but... we're not flying between Kotzebue and Anchorage."  So now I had a decision to make.  Do I get on the plane and run the risk of getting stuck until Friday morning in Kotzebue or do I just bag the whole trip and stay in Kobuk.  I had really wanted to go to Anchorage, but I was torn.  I called my parents who really didn't know how to advise me and I was debating the situation when I got a phone call.  The plane had been turned around due to mechanical problems.  Another phone call and it appeared actually the plane hadn't left Kotz yet because of mechanical problems, but still the result was the same, even less likelihood of catching the jet.  I texted my aunt to tell her that it didn't look like I was going to make it.  She then called me and we talked.  When I told her that FBC Kotzebue was having a Thanksgiving dinner she said, why don't you just do that.  Plan to spend Thanksgiving in Kotzebue and then catch the first flight out on Friday morning.  The ticket's already paid for and we're not doing our celebration until Saturday (because my grandmother is in Montana).  While she was saying this they came on the VHF announcing the flight departing Kotz.  There is a possibility of just making the flight... I call the pastor of First Baptist Kotz and ask him if I get stuck in Kotz can I stay at the church he says yes and so I prepare to leave Kobuk.  At the airport one of my co-workers asked me if I had called Alaska in Kotzebue and told them that I was on my way.  I hadn't and asked her to do it.  She said she would, and I'm sure she did.  Three other ladies got on my plane in Ambler also wanting to catch the jet to Anchorage.  When we landed we could see the jet was still there and one went running ahead to tell them we were there while the rest of us got the baggage handlers to get our luggage for us without making us wait for it to come out through baggage claim (I know I asked one of them and showed him where it was and he stopped where he was unloading the plane and grabbed my bags for me).  We get to the Alaska terminal and they are still boarding, but they have closed out the flight.  I speak with the woman in charge and she is rather rude and won't let us check in (yes I know they have closed out the flight, but it IS possible to re-open and they weren't flying the next day which was a big family holiday).  For a while I thought she was going to let us check in if we found someone to get our bags (she said she would), but then she didn't.  Matter of fact she never even told us she wasn't going to she just walked off and took all her agents with her and left us standing at the counter waiting and never came back.  After the flight left, an agent came and changed my reservation to the first flight on Friday.  I was now scheduled to get in 37 hours later than planned (she was also very appolgetic and said that it was wrong and she would have done it, but she wasn't in charge.  She also gave me a card and told me I should absolutely contact the local supervisor about it).  I also found out that the flight had gotten into Kotzebue late and left early.  That says to me that the woman in charge just wanted to be done and go home and didn't care what she was doing to us (the flight only has a 59% on-time departure and they left early).
So I was met at the airport by the pastor of First Baptist and his son.  I went out to dinner with their family and then they took me to the church where I stayed in the church basement.  Thanksgiving was fun and I had a really good time so I don't regret the decision, but it has been frustrating.  I met a lot of interesting people and it was also good to meet some of the people in the church in Kotzebue since that's the closest church of any size (I've been the only one left in the sanctuary after the kids left for Children's church before in Kobuk).
Then this morning, I got up way to early to be ready to leave at 7 am to go to the airport.  I went to the airport and checked-in and they told me the plane was delayed an hour and that I didn't have to be back until 8:30.  That is rather worrisome because John had checked at 6:15 and the flight had left Anchorage late, but was still scheduled to arrive on time.  An hour late makes things suspicious and I'm afraid the flight isn't going to make it at all.  I then posted on facebook about being delayed and a friend commented that there were storms moving into Anchorage.  So I may not make it to Anchorage at all (the Bush flights I don't think are flying today either though).  We'll see.  I'll post this now and post an update late.  Life is one giant adventure and I'm trying hard to keep it in that perspective.