When Things Go Sideways

by Lynn
This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series Chasing Pipe Dreams to Follow Alaska
-Listen to your Gut-

Soon, summer was over. Fall came and went quickly that year, and then winter set in. The fastest four months of my life had just passed in the blink of an eye. By this time, we all realized without a shadow of a doubt, that this place – that company – was not where we wanted or needed to be. Things were fixing to go sideways.

We were onto their shenanigans by the fall, which is when the woman (the owner) blamed her spouse for everything and asked me for help. That turned out to be a lie too. (But I already suspected that at the time she was discussing that with me) They are two peas in a pod.

By this time, we were all looking for different jobs – jobs that would pay for the actual hours we were working. This company was the polar opposite of the company that my husband had left behind. 

What was said and agreed upon was continually changing with them. Their excuses for their behavior were wearing thin on all of us. Blaming other people and other companies was on the list of their go-to reasons to try to cover their lousy behavior. 

We were also looking for different housing and were still waiting on our home in the lower 48 to sell. At that point, none of us cared what we lived in as long as we were together, warm, and had work. We just wanted to get away from there and have our personal space back intact.

We longed for the day that people wouldn’t just walk into the house (or, in that case, an apartment above the shop). Having these people go through our belongings while we were gone or to walk in and sit down at the table while I’m taking a shower, not knowing anyone is there, is not okay! Employee housing or not, personal space is PERSONAL SPACE! And doing things like that is not alright!

True Friends

The short version of what happened next is this; Within a week after our “bosses” had figured out that we had figured out that they were con artists – they let all of us go and gave us three days to get out of employee housing. 

Thanks to the kindness of strangers here, who knew what was happening, for softening that blow. Thanks to my best friend in the lower 48 for keeping me as calm as you could from 4,000 miles away. The kindness that we were shown as our once semi-stable lives turned upside down will never be forgotten. 

We found ourselves surrounded by people, and pizza, which happened to be at that moment in time, strangers here except for one that we had gotten to know pretty well. 

Lifetime friendships were forming in the most unlikely of circumstances.

Fountain of Youth

I went outside by myself one night to try and collect what thought process I had left. We were finally away from that place, but now we were in limbo.

Which direction were we going to go? 

How did this happen?! 

Why did this happen?!

My mind was racing…

No plan is fool-proof, but especially not when dealing with evil, selfish people who are excellent at lying and manipulating. We had all gone to work for the same company. Regrettably, we had put all of our eggs into the same basket. Those people proved time and time again to be untrustworthy on so many levels. 

Lesson learned. 

This horrible situation was our first setback after moving here. We all knew we would have setbacks but did not expect it to be like this. 

As the tears poured like a river down my face on a negative 30-degree night, I sobbed until I was out of breath and could barely breathe. (crying like that way out of the norm for me, much less crying like that). 

When I finally got a hold of myself, I realized I was shivering because my body had not been acclimated to the climate yet. 

I stood up in the snow and looked up. 

My eyes met the sky. 

There is something about the Alaskan sky that will calm your soul, to its core, instantly.

I had found my fountain of youth. 

Wait — that caused you to find your fountain of youth?! 

Yep. It sure did! I even forgot that I was cold for a few minutes!

Seeing the blanket of stars above me, so many of which I had never seen before, immediately took me back to the days of my youth. Only now, I was not sitting on my bed reading about this place. 

I was seeing it right before my own tear-filled eyes. And oh, what a sight it was at that moment! Add in some Northern Lights, and oh my God! 

I don’t know how long I stood there, but it was long enough that hubby came looking for me. 

I thought to myself, “Dry your face, woman! You’re home!” Don’t let him see you like this!

We were home and, I knew it. 

My family knew it. 

Imagine that! 

We were not going to let the vile ugliness of 2 people destroy our game plan. It was time to re-focus on the positive things and not what had just happened.

Christmas Faded into New Years

This short time was a humbling transition period for all of us. 

We were told by many people that we had not been the first people the owners of that company had done this to, and we would probably not be the last. (and we weren’t) 

There had been a long history of this behavior with those two, with court records and ongoing cases to prove as much.

5-star customer reviews on Social media and Google can be very deceiving in cases like this. Especially when most of those reviews were made by fake accounts they had created! 

Bad stuff happens in life, even if you try to be a good person. Sometimes shit happens that is beyond your control. The setbacks were to strengthen us, we all discovered in the months following that. 

We realized that there are things that we want to do that we had never even thought about doing through all this. So we learned, after some time, that this life, this place, these adventures; are only the beginning for this family. 

This was only the beginning of our Alaskan story, and it was not going to run us off. 

Through the encouragement of a few great people who had faith that we could make it because we did not just try to take off at the first sign of trouble. It was time to readjust our game plan.

Our story was not over yet. Not even close.

We brought in the New Year one chilly night at some more newly found friend’s place.

I looked around at everyone we were now surrounded by. 

We had found ourselves embraced by strangers that all quickly became friends. Lifelong friends. 

As the fireworks deployed, I found myself watching these people and my family interact at both places we were that night. I wanted to remember these moments from all of them, forever, and I will, without a doubt. 

Full-time work was found but delayed because of the holidays. So now we knew which direction we were going. Daryl was given a temporary job at a local company to help get us through this transition period and fill in for one of their workers who had gone to see family for the holidays. 

More friendships came from that! 

What a way to end a year that had been so bittersweet! To be surrounded by different people that went above and beyond to make us feel at home. This is proof that no matter how bad a situation is, good things will always come from it!

Welcome to Valdez

The day after New Year’s day, it was time to hit the road again. We loaded up and headed south out of the Copper River Basin and into Prince William Sound. It was heartbreaking to leave the place we had fallen so in love with, but we knew that we would be back someday.

Valdez became our new home. At least momentarily. 

We had to make the hard decision to let our house that was still for sale in the lower 48 go back to the bank at that point. Making payments on a home that had been for sale as long as it had been on the market at that point just did not make sense anymore. We had even dropped the price to just what was owed, and it still did not budge.

Our land and building our cabins were going to be on hold for a little bit longer after the domino effect of that circumstance from when we first got here, but that’s okay! Apartment life it was for the moment!

It took a few months after that to get back on track, but we did. It has taken a lot of hard work, which we are not strangers to. After all, our life in the lower 48 consisted of all work and little play. 

We are people who have never even taken a real vacation for cryin’ out loud! Everyone got back to work, and I got to experience dock life, with paid overtime on my checks again. So never take your overtime for granted! 

The views weren’t bad, either!

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