Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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08/22/2006: "Something Limbo This Way Comes"

When a friend finds out I’m leaving they act in one of two ways:

A. They’re disappointed but excited for me and want to hang out as much as possible until I leave (probably not until early December).

B. They're disappointed and act as if I’m betraying them personally, treating me as if I’m already gone, i.e. won't “waste” any more time on me.

It *is* strange; I've never had to wait 3 1/2 months to move before. I'm still fluctuating wildly between excitement and panic. This will be the first time since I was 17 that I haven’t been an Alaskan resident. I’ve been advised to sell my Tracker here, as it doesn’t have air conditioning and there’s no need for the 4-wheel drive where I’m going…it rarely even snows there! No snow! I love the snow. I love sledding and skiing and watching it fall out my window at night, illuminated by street lights.

I've had the Tracker since I was 24; it’s as much a part of me as being an Alaskan is…I don't wanna sell...and so I find myself dragging my heels on the whole “move” thing. I’ve decided to rent my house instead of selling it…and rather than sell *all* the things I can’t take with me, I’ll store stuff in my attic (I hesitate to think “until I return”) Plus, do I really need to sell my Catalina 22? The slip is paid up through next summer.

Is this crazy? I feel badly for Rod, who had to put up (heroically) with a red “bitch” alert level over the past two days. We had great fun but I was so on edge the whole time. Anyway, do you think it's possible to fully engage in a new life while maintaining a loving choke-hold on the old one?

Replies: 12 Comments

on Wednesday, August 23rd, berry bowman connell said

Don't sell the Tracker, fer cryin' out loud...
Unless yer gonna move into yer new house and never go out at all...
yeah. That's gonna happen!
There's plenty of places you'll travel to and about that you'll be wishing the four wheel drive was under you.
On the other hand, don't pass on a good deal fer a gas-miserly type car, either.
Less snow in yer area will leave you many fine choices fer decent transportation that doen't cost an arm and a leg...or whatever the going rate fer gas is, there.
Here, it IS an arm and a leg.

Now, this comes as only a suggestion.
I'm a very nice person.
I don't take things that don't belong to me.
When I discovered stuff stored in the attic of the last place I rented, I was through it like a pack rat.

That's what storage places are for.
They only cost around $35 or so a month, good security, dry, at yer disposal...
Plus, you already have a secure area fer good junk...
Are ya kiddin' me?
A 22 foot catalina?
and, as fer transporting it, can't y'just sail it down?
I dunno.
Tain't no sailor hidin' inbn this here boy, I'll tell ya.
In fact, sell the boat and buy a gas cheap car and have some bucks t'spend, too...

on Wednesday, August 23rd, Jim L said

Here's an early welcome to the Puget Sound region! But I would think again about selling the 4-wheel drive truck. You'll find that there is a ton of hikes and camping here in the Olympics, Cascades, Rainier national forests and parks - and the roads ain't always nice. Also, air conditioning is not as mandatory here as we rarely get much above 85.

on Wednesday, August 23rd, Maren said

As a woman who recently sold a 17 year old Jeep I'll say this. Hold on to the tracker. Based on its age and condition, again...coming from one who knows!, you'll likely get about as much there as here. Why don't you clean it up, take it to a trusted mechanic......I really like Fred's auto, admittedly not the cheapest in town but they have really come through for me over th years.....and tell them that you have a big move coming up and the Tracker needs a good check up. Once you get down there and do more driving or see the options available for used cars you may feel differently about upgrading vehicles. Plus, you can pack some stuff in the car, including the cats, and drive to Oly from B-ham. Heck, I might come with you....I can show you my old B-ham stomping grounds....if I remember where to find them!

on Wednesday, August 23rd, Elise said

hmmm, not sure what to think about you going through the stuff you found in storage Berry!??
But I guess that must be a natural inclination. The thing is, I wouldn't store anything personal there, nothing I couldn't survive without. Those items will come with me.

Boats aren't very good for storing things, they are damp and stuff gets moldy for sailing it down, that's one long trip to make in the winter, would take up to a month! So, not very realistic I'm afraid. I could barge it down but that's expensive. Truth is, small Catalinas aren't worth very much, the cost of operation is more than the buying price and the cost of shipping it would likely be close to the value of the boat...still, I am attached to it.

And Jim...YEAH!

I'm so happy to hear that I don't necessarily have to sell my tracker. It's a very small, light suv and gets decent gas milage. The engine still runs like a charm and I've put a lot of money into it the last year or so (new brakes, wheels, clutch, etc.). I was thinking that air conditioning wouldn't be as crucial as in Texas or other South Dakota...

Anyway, I think the drive down in winter (again) would be a little harry. My sister and dad drove the Alcan highway in December once but I'd be all on my lonesome.

Best to take the ferry down.

Anyway, sooooo much to think about, thanks for the multiple perspectives.

on Wednesday, August 23rd, Elise said

Hey Maren, I missed your post! YES! You must come with me!!!

Start planning now so you can take some time off, that would be a lot of fun. Have you taken the ferry on the Inside Passage before?

It only takes a couple days right?

on Wednesday, August 23rd,">Rob Roys said

As someone who has actually been in the tracker recently-SELL IT. If someone offers $100 take it.

I had thought you were a permanent JNU person. I will no longer waste my time on you...marumph...yeah I know I told you to take the job, but you didn't have to take it!

Sell the tracker-really-get a brand new rig in the 48. New job means a new car, a simple rule, but it is a good one for people like us who do not change jobs very often.

I am not sure when your last day is, but there is an HP Lovecraft film fest in Portland the first weekend in October...

Did I say sell the tracker? Sell the tracker, it is a tippy piece of crap that will only get worse and may kill you one day. Get a hybrid or a diesel.

This is why I try not to make any friends who have not lived in JNU for at least 5 years. *marumph*

on Wednesday, August 23rd, Elise said

ooooh Rob, I know my tracker is stinky and falling apart but that's no reason to talk shit about her!
As for your advice to "take the job" I find it interesting how many of my Juneau friends told me I should go for it, and now act shocked that I actually did!

As for not making any friends who haven't lived here for at least 5 years, I've lived here for 7, so there!!! And in all likelyhood, I'll be back before too long.

Lest my new employers should ever stumble upon this, I should clarify that while I'm in WA, I'm going to work my hiney ho off in the new position, and that I'll stay at least 1 year no matter how terrible it may be.

So, please don't abandon me as a friend! I'll be here until early December (I have to finish teaching my two classes out here at UAS first) after that, you'll have someone to visit when you come down to Seattle and I plan to come back to Juneau from time to time to check on my house etc. and then, who knows, I could be back for good in a year or two.

If I *do* move back to Juneau, it will be with my eyes wide open. Knowing the good, the bad, and the ugly (no offense). And then, most likely I would be a permanent JNU person.


on Wednesday, August 23rd, greg said

Reminds me of my mom's famous advice "always keep your contacts!" - but I guess there will always be certain friends that go off into oblivian anyway.

Still waiting on the Olympia 411 from my friend. When do you have to get a place by?

Bonus news: You will be stratigically located to make a beeline straight to some of the best ocean coastline around! It must be just 40 min or so from Oly to Moclips. A great wild place! Ocean Shores is closer. you can drive on the beach (I generally dislike the idea, but once in awhile it's fun !) :D

FYI it took my brother and a friend 9 days to motor a 38ft from Vancouver to Juneau in July

on Wednesday, August 23rd, Elise said

I'm excited about trips to the ocean, I love the ocean! Oh, and I think I'll fly down a couple weeks before the move (mid November) to find a place so there's still plenty o time.

As for your friend getting from Vancouver to Juneau in 9, that's fast. To put things in perspective though, my boat doesn't have an inboard motor, only a 7.5 HP 2-stroke kicker so, there's really no comparison.

on Wednesday, August 23rd, Kasia said

I think it is possible . Our past is who we are- wherever we go it is still with us and in us. And good memories should be cherished. Good stuff like boats, too. ;) It doesn't prevent us from looking forward to the future, to the unknown. :)

on Wednesday, August 23rd,">Jackie said

E: There's plenty of snow in the (Cascade) mountains here in WA- skiiing at Crystal near Mt. Ranier, and you'll be close to Mt. Hood in OR too. So - you could actually use 4x4 here. I don't know about the Tracker tho. There are tons of used cars to choose from here - but you could always drive your rig onto the ferry, and have it to run around it till you get settled, and then sell & buy.

on Wednesday, August 23rd, Elise said

Hi Kasia, it's true that where ever we go, we bring along with us more than just the things we own. I think it's possible to do this in phases, letting go of a good thing can be difficult, but maybe something even better is waiting for me...or not.
And Jackie, I forgot about the mountains, it will be great to be able to ski, even if I can't watch the snow out my shoveling!

I think I'll probably bring my car down on the ferry after all...I know, it is a piece of junk but the engine is solid and I can always try to sell it for a hundred bucks if I find something better. One less thing to let go of right away.