This is what I woke up to this morning.
Needless to say, I was late for work. I sincerely contemplated putting my car into 4-wheel drive and busting through the barrier like a locked gate in a thriller movie. Instead, I woke Naomi and tried to sound pitiful so she would save the day. She rolled out of bed, grabbed the chainsaw (that is literally in her room) and marched out towards the fallen tree, Loki trotting alongside her. It all seemed surreal. She looked like a superhero. I contacted my coworker and told her Naomi was chainsawing me a path out of my property and she simply responded with, "Good luck."
I must just be full of excitement, because I kept thinking of how i'll miss all of Alaska's inconveniences. I'll miss having to run outside and start my car every 30 min in -40 degree weather . I'll miss those mornings that I'm running late and have no time to warm my car up and must therefore drive using only the 5 inches of clear glass at the base of the windshield. I'll miss getting stuck in snow or running out of gas and having to walk two miles in -36 to find help. I'll miss Naomi coming to my rescue like she always does. I've been so spoiled by having her in my life.
Today, I have been overwhelmed by gratitude for all the beautiful things and people I take for granted. I am counting down the days until I depart, and I've also been dolling out large sums of cash for some last big expenses, but I've never felt happier handing over my debit card. I've been working towards this, saving my money, researching, seeking out help. It's amazing how my mental attitude effects how easy problems or tasks appear to be.
My car is the biggest issue, or at least it was, until I found Rick..
Rick comes through College CoffeeHut almost every day. I've served him coffee for over a year now. I knew a little bit of what he did. But, when you work in a drive-through espresso stand, conversations don't last long. So, I didn't really know him too well.
I could tell my car was acting weird. It wasn't driving right, and it was getting worse. The steering wheel would pull to the right, it shook, it felt like my shocks were out somewhere. I intended on taking my car into a mechanic before I left, but felt nervous about not knowing anything about my car, which common sense told me had some issues. I hadn't had any work done to it, other than oil changes since I bought it last February. Turns out, neither did the last guy. Rick offered to take a look at it before I took it to a mechanic so I would be knowledgeable of my car's issues. I brought it to his shop after work two nights ago and my fears were confirmed. At some points, during his inspection, I could hear Rick's voice bellowing out from under the hood, "Oh god! Oh man!" It sounded like he was watching scenes from Saw under there.
I would need new front tire rods, wheel hub bearings and lower ball joints, on both front tires. To anyone who doesn't know, this is a huge and expensive repair. He warned me that it was dangerous even to be driving it. I would have been lucky to make it to Canada. I just sat there, cringing at the bad news.
While Rick was working on my car, we got along great. We joked around and talked the entire time. I could tell he loves to teach people things and I love to learn, so it was the perfect combination. By the end, I was under the hood, helping him and learning all the intricate details and physics of my car. I felt like I was scoring a free college class under the table.
We discussed the numbers and my options and then Rick offered to do the work. We drove to the auto parts store and I bought $115 worth of parts and planned on buying $80 more later. I took Rick out for a beer and dinner to thank him. Throughout dinner, I kept getting the feeling like I had found the secret cheat in Mario Bros. Rick was saving me thousands of dollars and single-handedly, making my dream a reality. I hope that I will continue to come across people like Rick. I hope I can be a Rick one day. That's a sentence I never thought I would say.
Today, I brought him a coffee and burrito and we got right down to it again. I was posted up on the seat next to the car and he proceeded to take apart my tire right in front of me. He explained every minute detail along the way. He seemed genuinely happy to be doing what he was doing and to have company. I learned the names of all the tools used, how to clean the parts, how they work and how they differ from car to car. I felt like crying I was so overwhelmed by gratitude. He is an amazing mechanic and it is funny watching him work because he is so different than me, always going back and making sure everything is done correctly. I forget to put the oil cap back on and end up driving around with it sitting on top of my engine for three weeks. I call him the double checker.
I needed to get some work done on the computer, so I brought my bike and rode it to the local comic shop a few blocks over. My roommate, Naomi manages the store. Yes, I have two roommates both named Naomi. This one we call little Naomi. She is like 90 pounds and so cute I am constantly fighting the urge to squeeze her cheeks. She set me up in the "Gaming Room" and I'm currently sharing a space with 30 young males playing a diverse assortment of card games, from Star Wars to Magic. I'm trying to blend in.
Tomorrow, I'm taking Monty to the vet to get some shots and his health certificate, so that I can take him through Canada. I'm guessing it's going to cost at least $100, but hey! I'm invincible!
I'll also be having an assortment of friends over for dinner and to go through the last of my things. I hope I will have some quality time with them all. I just keep imagining me as Michael Scott from The Office on the episode Goodbye Michael. I want to make time for each individual person, but I will probably end up doing what he did, leaving a day early in secret and snatching the unfinished mittens out of Phyllis' hands.
In the theme of being thankful and positive in the face of change and stress, here is a video created out of an interview with a 6-year-old, by a filmmaker named Bianca Giaever (pronounced Gay-ver). It will make your day. If you like it, follow the link to her website to find more of her work.