New Steps!

In Alaska, in the winter, footing can be very treacherous.  Especially in SE Alaska.  i grew up in Barrow, and it’s really not that slippery there for most of the year.  In the fall when the snow comes, we skip right past 32 degrees F and go right on down to the sub zero temperatures.  Since it’s rarely near the freezing point of water, it is rarely slippery.

In Haines, it can be right near freezing for a good portion of the winter, which makes for some slippery footing for a good portion of the year wherever there is any slope at all.  If you’re at all familiar with Haines, You know there is not much flat ground to be had in the Chilkat Valley.

IMG_6549Holly and I got to thinking about or driveway and how difficult it is to get from the car to the house and we decided it would be better to spend some money on a safe way to get into the house than to risk accident and injury later on in the winter.  So we called up Coleman Stanford and asked him to build us some steps. 

We told him we really liked the landing style steps that Randy Miner built so he built us some similar steps to go up to our house from the lower drive-way and also from the upper driveway.

We really like how they turned out.  They are just like we wanted, and the finishing on the concrete is first rate.  I’m convinced that the steps are going to be very safe for many years to come.

In the photo above, you can’t really tell that the upper steps are landing style, large steps, the last step which ends at the driveway is a standard step.  In the photo below, I think you can see that the stairs are pretty gradually sloped.  The only thing to add still is the railing at the bottom of the steps plus a light-pole at the bottom with a 3-way switch.  The steps are beautiful to walk down.


We had stairs and a sidewalk before, but we rarely walked on the sidewalk, we always went down where these stairs no go.  We still need to get the extra dirt hauled away, as you can see in the photo above.


Also today, we did the picture day retakes for the school, plus retakes for the community photos, I replaced the toilet seat which had a broken hinge, and I cleared the brush out to the shed so we can get some electrical service installed out there for lights and the occasional power (battery charger) need.

Mark’s Birthday

I suppose birthdays are important.  When you’re young, they are huge.


This year, Holly wanted to invite all of Mark’s 1st & 2nd grade IMG_2907combined class (with Ms. Kitayama) to a bit “Choice” time at our house.  Choice time is what they call it at school when kids can choose whatever they want to do out of a range of selections the teacher has made.

Holly invited a number of the parents of kids in the class to volunteer to man the various stations.  I got put in charge of the sword fighting & wrestling room which was also the sock war room.  Steven tries to fend off Wesley, early on in the competition.


There were only a few kids that broke out into tears.  In the kitchen in the dining area, the crown station was headed up by Lilly Boron and Rochelle Galinski.  Holly was careful to include activities that both genders would like.


Courtney ran the foot painting station. 


In Mark’s room, on the top bunk of the triple bunk bed was the bionicle station where the boys built and played with the Lego Bionicles.  It was mostly the boys that were into this station.


Out in the utility room was the rock band station with a keyboard, a pretend guitar and some drums.  I think it was actually the glasses that made it so fun.


Right before the cake and present time, Holly did a magic show and passed out the party favors: Books.IMG_3027

Once again, Margaret out did herself and made healthy meals for all the kids to eat before they ate the cake.  Each plate was individually wrapped.



Then we had the happy birthday song, and the unwrapping of the presents.


The present opening time was fun for Mark too (duh).  Courtney helped out a lot writing down the gifts and who they were from.IMG_3069

One interesting thing about the whole party was Luke’s reaction. 

After the party, he was stricken with grief and jealousy.

“Why did Mark get SO MANY PRESENTS?!  I didn’t get that many presents at MY birthday.” IMG_3054

His party was a couple months earlier and we invited three families, each of which have a few kids.

This was true. “But Luke, Mark got so many presents because he invited so many people to his party.  His whole class came to the party.”

IMG_2919Luke: “But I had a lot of people at my Party too!  We had Izak, and Aric, and Irene, the Chapells, and the Palmeries!  And I only got a few presents.  Hardly any.  And Mark got WAY many presents.

Is this what Adam and Eve should have dealt with when Cain and Able had parties?  I better deal with this in a good way.

IMG_2949 “But Luke, it’s like this,” I said, “Usually what happens at a birthday, each family brings a present.  And at Mark’s party, almost all the kids were from different families, so Mark got about 16 presents from his class.  Each family at your party brought a present, but each person at the party didn’t bring their own present because that would be too expensive for the mommies and daddies.”

“Well, that’s not FAIR.  I want a big party too.”

“So when you get in school,” I said, “do you want to invite your whole class too?”


I’m not sure if I did the best job there with the birthdays.  It seems like I could have steered a little further away from the whole consumerism thing.

At least it was a fun party and ALMOST everyone had a good time.