Being an Alaskan Wife

Along with being an Oilfield Wife I am also an Alaskan Wife, or what I like to refer to as a NOW (Northern Oilfield Wife).  In some ways, Alaska is just like everywhere else. We live in a normal house – not a cabin in the woods without indoor plumbing (although there are plenty of those places around, too).  People drive normal vehicles – there aren’t dog sleds going up and down main street….well not everyday anyway.  We even have Starbucks and Walmart.  But there are differences, too.  We have been here 2  1/2 years so some differences seem normal now, like the midnight sun in the summer, the high cost of living, the crazy unpredictable weather, and the fact that no one gets going until 10:00 am.  That was a big change for us because we are morning people, our motto was  get up early and get it done, which is impossible to do here because businesses don’t even open until 10. That means there isn’t much you can get done in the early morning.  Although it’s not what I am used to or what I prefer, I was able to adapt.  Yes, I have become a sleeper inner……it was easier to do than you might think. Ha.  The overall mentality up here is very laid back. By nature, I am tightly wound and I find these laid back Alaskans difficult sometimes, just like I’m sure they find my inability to go with the flow just as irritating.  I’m definitely more relaxed than I used to be, but I have a long way to go before I would consider myself “Alaskan laid back”.

I have done a few of the things that I think make someone an Alaskan though, even if being relaxed isn’t one of them.  I have seen the Northern lights,  gone Salmon fishing, seen Mount McKinley, and been blueberry picking.  All those experiences have been crossed off my Alaskan to do list.  Even though I am adapting to this lifestyle, there are still some things that continue to amaze and entertain me about living in Alaska, primarily the nature and beauty of it all.  The views are breathtaking from every direction. Rivers, lakes, mountains….all within 5 minutes of our house.  Last week we had a moose in our yard. (This is NOT one of things that amazes, as a matter of fact it’s pretty mundane.) In the summer moose visits are down right annoying, especially when they eat and trample my garden. But this time it was a unique experience. It’s only the second time that this has happened since we’ve lived here. The moose actually came right up to our kitchen window and stuck his nose up to the glass and peered in at us, instead of passing by or hanging out in our yard. After checking us out, he trampled my landscaping and ate most of my ferns (moose do not have very good manners) – but up until he did that, it was an awesome experience. The kids sat up on the counter and looked out the window and got to be (safely) face to face with a wild moose.  Just staring into each other’s eyes.  That is a truly Alaskan experience.  Our other wild life experiences have been seeing loons, bears, and eagles in the wild – and an unfortunate incident with a porcupine in our yard.  I managed to keep the kids (and dog) away, and I will be more alert from now on. Of course it happened while my husband was gone. These stressful and scary problems never seem to happen while he’s home, I think it’s the law of the oilfield.  We all have our set of things that seem to go wrong while our OF men are gone, whether it’s the sink getting clogged or a household appliance breaking down.  Being an Alaskan wife comes with a whole new set of problems – getting snowed in, having the garage door freeze shut….and dealing with wild animals  (like porcupines)  in the yard.  All my screaming at the dog scared the porcupine into the culvert that goes under our driveway. Eventually I threw rocks in the culvert which scared him out the other end, and then I chased him into the woods. My adrenaline was pumping until he ran (well…waddled) out of sight.  That was a new experience for me, not necessarily a good one either.  Never a dull moment around here, that’s for sure!

Living in Alaska has been an amazing, exciting adventure. Even if it means having to adjust, or not being able to do everything my way.  Change is never easy, but life would be pretty boring without it. I am grateful that I have this opportunity to be an Alaskan wife.

About jenna

Jenna has been an oilfield wife for over 12 years. Her Hot Oil Man husband started working in the oilfield a few months before they were married. The oilfield has lead them all the way from Northern CO to Alaska, where they've lived in the Matanuska Valley for 4 years. The family consists of their two children; a strong-willed daughter age 10, and a goofy son age 7. And of course what family would be complete without a couple of dogs and rabbits thrown in the mix. Jenna is a stay at home mom who doesn't “stay at home” much, and enjoys gardening, baking, reading, watching movies, four wheeling, hiking, fishing, and LOVES shopping. Since moving to the last frontier they have also started home schooling, which is another adventure all it’s own.

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