I'm cheating just a bit with my "picture of the week". The picture is not from this week at all, but I have no pictures from this week and I realized that I never posted this one in the past. So, for those of you who have been wondering what in the world a kuspuq looks like, here you are: my first kuspuq, homemade by yours truly and construction overseen by a true blue eskimo.
This week has been cold. What's new, huh? Monday the students were excused from school 10 minutes early. A storm was coming in that was supposed to be pretty bad. The secretary made an announcement the last 20 minutes of class to tell us that the buses were coming to get the students and as soon as they arrived everyone would be going home, no ifs ands or buts. That meant the teacher's were strongly encouraged to go home too. Tuesday, we were able to hold an entire day of school, but once the day was over the teachers were once again strongly encouraged to get home before the roads got worse. The best part about Monday and Tuesday was that I actually was on top of my lesson planning enough that when I went home I actually "went home". I didn't bring work with me. That hasn't happened in a long time and it felt soooooo good. However, it was short-lived. Wednesday I was straight back to working before school, after school, and at home.
Tim has been making the trek down to the post office every day this week despite the cold weather and the storms. About a week and a half ago, the Can-Am store in Anchorage finally called us to say that they had finished making the keys to our 4-wheeler and they were mailing the keys, our ignition switch, and computer back to us later that day. You can imagine that we were kind of anxious to receive them. We have owned "the beast" for nearly 5 months now and have been able to drive it for less than 1. Despite Tim's devotion to mail checking, the package never arrived. Tim called the company on Friday to get a tracking number and found out the package was still sitting in their store. (Is there a way to roll your eyes in text?) Alas, we continue to wait.
Although, Tim never returned from the post office with our 4-wheeler keys, he did return on Thursday with frost bite. He was completely dressed (snowpants, coat, boots, gloves, face mask, fur hat, and goggles), yet got frostbite during a 10 minute drive on his 4-wheeler. He said it didn't really hurt that badly, but all of the sudden he could feel a sharp sting on his cheek. When he came inside a piece of his cheek, about the size of a dime, was red and swollen and our coworkers informed him that it was frostbite. Luckily, it wasn't a bad case of frost bite, so it looked pretty good by the next day. According to the locals, Tim will now have a dime-sized spot on his check that gets colder faster than the rest of his body. Several of our students have been coming to school the past couple of weeks with frost bite. They don't seem too concerned about it, like it is a natural everyday occurrence.
Thursday evening I flew to Dillingham with Evelyn and Michael (two other teachers). We had to go to the district office for some science committee meetings on Friday. Leaving is always bitter sweet. It is so nice to have a change of pace and a break from the regular school day, but it is no fun preparing for or cleaning up after a substitute. I was pretty glad to go though. The science committee is aligning and creating all the curriculum for our K-12 science program. It's a huge project, but it will be so good when it's finished. I was told I'm on the committee because of my "strong views". I'm not sure if I should be pleased by this statement or if I should stop voicing my opinion so loudly.
I returned from Dillingham just 24 hours after leaving. It was nice to get back just in time to enjoy my weekend. Tim and I spent Friday night watching Gattaca. I haven't seen that movie forever, but I've been considering using clips from it in my Biology class, so it was a good excuse to have a movie night.
Saturday Tim and I spent 7 hours at the school. Tim was kind enough to spend about half that time working on my 4-wheeler, which we are no calling "the champ" in stark contrast to "the beast". We needed a new starter brush and we've known we needed a new starter brush for a year and a half now. It just took us this long to actually get one ordered. Without the new starter brush we've had to pull start the 4-wheeler rather than push the button to electrically start it. My 4-wheeler will now start without having to pull! Wow, that's cool. I will never take electric starts for granted again.
Today was a busy day! Tim and I went to church as normal and then in addition attended presidency meetings and a baptism. In some ways our church meetings are shorter than normal and in other ways they are longer. A typical day of church in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints lasts 3 hours: Sacrament meeting, Sunday School, and Relief Society/Priesthood. (Also, typically, meetings are physically attended . . . not here though :) ) Because we don't have to take time to move from room to room in between meetings, we shave off about 20 minutes. However, relief society and priesthood can't meet at the same time in our branch since we only have one phone line. I also teach primary. Normally, primary happens at the same time as Sunday school and relief society, so those who teach primary don't attend sunday school and relief society. Instead of attending church for the regular 3 hour block, Tim starts with priesthood meeting at 9:00 am, I join him at 10:00 am for sacrament meeting and sunday school. By 11:40 Tim's meetings are over and relief society begins for me. Directly after relief society, I have primary, which ends at about 1:30 pm. Between the two of us we are "at church" for 4.5 hours. As mentioned earlier, today I also had a presidency meeting with the primary and we "attended" a baptism. There is a sister in Galena who traveled to Anchorage to be baptized. Since she will be in our branch, our branch president wanted to give us all the opportunity to join in. We were able to call into the service and sing the songs with those in Anchorage and hear the talks and prayers. It was pretty cool. Needless to say, it's been a full day, even though I have spent the entirety of the day in my living room!