The struggle is part of the story

“Just because you are struggling, does not mean you are failing…”

I know we all have struggles.  I have heard many stories of my parents in the early days of their marriage.  Struggles with living situations, cars, finances, jobs. And then kids. New parents. Etc.  We’re no different, except right now we don’t have kids.  I’ve never been one to pretend my life is perfect. Because it is far from perfect. Sure, we live an unconventional life, and I like to highlight the adventures, but we still have struggles just like every other young adult couples whether they admit it or not.   Ben hasn’t been able to find a job here… and the interviews he had back in March and April?  Those jobs that were so promising?  Well, those positions have since been closed due to Covid.  The law firm in town that we thought Ben would have a chance with just released a memo announcing a hiring freeze.  Until 2021? Great. So we are back to the drawing board. Because what else can we do? We never wanted to live on one income. Who does? Ben is an attorney with a masters in environmental law and a significant resume with time spent working in the white house. The White House!  And he can’t get a job right now.  And now we’re in a pandemic, which means we’re wondering whether he’ll be able to get a job in the near future? And if not, what do we do? Ben is tired of being a house hand. I think that’s what he called himself recently. He’s overwhelmed just sitting at home: job searching.  Coming up with nothing. I would love to stay at home most days. Raise babies. Ben would love to leave the house and work work work. But right now? That’s not in the cards for us unless something changes. Quickly.  And I’m not getting any younger.

On another topic: Covid has made it impossible for me to leave Alaska. And I feel trapped.  Alaska has very strict rules regarding entering the state.  And to make matters worse, my job has made the rules even more strict than Alaska.  Leave the state? Want to come back to work?  Test negative.  Twice. Maybe 3 times, depending on where you test. With 7 days in between tests.  So basically: leave the state? You’re off work. For a long time. How would I ever get that kind of OKAY to be off work that long?  That’s right. I won’t. So I don’t leave. I was supposed to celebrate my WEDDING on July 19th in California.  Could I? Of course not. Because of my job, and being unable to leave this state.

Neither of us had any idea that Covid would continue this long and not only continue…. but continue to cause restrictions to become more and more severe Despite the fact that the death rate in Alaska is .07 percent. That’s right. .07! We’ve had 18 deaths. All with comorbidities. The only Covid patients I’ve seen at my hospital in AK have been sick, sick people before they contracted Covid. Like, 10+ comorbidities. Likely would die if they caught any virus. Not just Covid.  The news here says their intel says our ICU’s will be overwhelmed really, really soon. Except a week ago our ICU was down to 3 patients. They were sending nurses home left and right. They closed the unit I worked on because we were down to 3/13 patients. Three.  So they shut the unit and moved those patients to the ICU so that they could cut down on staff.  Don’t always believe what the media reports. 

Fall is approaching. Holidays are coming. So what do I do? Skip them all? Spend them all here, with no family? Just me and Ben and the dogs with our 5 hours of daylight and cold? FOR A JOB? I’m a seasoned nurse and I just graduated with my Master’s Degree. I can get a job in any state in this entire country. Quickly.  So we stay home and let my job rule my life both at work and outside of work? You probably know me better than that.  I will never let a job dictate what I do in my personal time. Ever.

Why does everything Alaska related have to be such a struggle? Always?

Yesterday we took two trips to the emergency ER.  $1,000 later and after they totally drugged (overdosed) my dog and we thought he was going to die —- all they could tell us is what we already know: Copper has a bad back and his lab work and organs (heart, lungs) are seemingly in perfect health.  But that back? That back is going to kill him some day.  And probably soon.  And what do I see? I see a dog who I will not allow to suffer. We’re taking it one day at a time.  And I am crushed.

Why does everything have to be a struggle?

Despite all of this…. this time Alaska has been different. We love our town, the area, the wildlife. This place! It’s really great.  Alaska is wonderful. But we don’t love the struggle. We said when we moved here we’d give it the summer.  We’d like it to be longer (1 year minimum).  But not at the cost of Ben not being able to find a job.  Not at the cost of me not being able to leave the state.  We just won’t stay in a place that has us locked down like this with very few options. How can we?  Truly, how can we?

So you wonder how we’re doing?  We’re hanging in here. We have each other.  Ben is currently cooking me chicken and dumplings (my favorite comfort food).  Copper is asleep in his dog bed right next to us.  He’s hurting today.  He’s not usually like this. It’s hard to watch.  We are going to Homer in a few days because I was able to get 6 consecutive days off work by scheduling myself at the beginning of one week and the end of another. We want Copper to be able to walk on the soft sandy beach. So, we’re okay.  Life is full of anxiety right now. But we’re okay.

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