My husband worked for an airline company and some employees had transferred in from another airport. He and a few other employees had been bumped down to part time due to seniority. Needless to say 24 hours a week does not pay the bills. He needed a full time job.
He had said working for the airlines was the best job he ever had and would like to continue to work for them. He applied to other airports around the country. Three months later he finally got a reply. It was from Anchorage, Alaska.
The first time we went out was in March. Since my husband works for the airlines we were able to fly out for free as long as we flew on stand by. We flew from Columbus, Ohio out to Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was five-hour flight from Minneapolis to Anchorage.
We stayed at The Millennium Hotel. The hotel had two restaurants. We figured since we were in Alaska we ought to have crab legs at least once. We ordered one plate to split between us since they were so expensive. While we were waiting for our meal, we saw a waitress walk by carrying a big, juicy hamburger. Hamburgers were my husband’s all time favorite. And we hadn’t seen anything like it on the menu. When we received our meal there were only three crab legs split down the middle, some green beans and a roll. Talk about a rip off. Even though we both love seafood, we weren’t too thrilled over the crab legs. Later on we found out it was the other restaurant that had the hamburgers. We ate there the rest of the time.
We went to bed at 8:00pm. It was 11:00pm back home and we weren’t accustom to the time change yet. I woke up at 11:30pm. When I was coming back to bed, I peeked through the thick curtains. The street lamps were just becoming to come on and it looked like dusk. No wonder Alaska was known as the land of the midnight sun.
The airport asked my husband if he could start on Monday. We went home and packed the bare necessities. We had planned to come back home every three and a half months and get more things as needed. We still had to find an apartment. When everyone found out we were moving to Alaska, they thought we were out of our minds. They even asked me, “Kel, are you going with him?” Why wouldn’t I go with him? He was my husband.
Getting back to Anchorage was nothing short of chaos. We flew from Columbus to Minneapolis no problem. Then we found out the plane to Anchorage had been down graded. Since we flew stand by, we weren’t considered a priority even if my husband did work for the airlines. We ended up finding a plane to Oregon that had a few empty seats. So we switched our tickets. At least it would get us closer.
After arriving in Portland, we had to pay and switched to another airline to get a plane to Seattle. I remember thinking Portland was pretty, what I saw of it anyway. The plane we flew to Seattle on only had 50 passengers and one flight attendant. We were sitting in the front row, the first two seats. I had quite a good view of the propellers.
When we reached Seattle, there were six different planes going to Anchorage. Surely, we could get a seat on one of them. All of them turned out to be overbooked. Even though the chance of us getting a seat was next to nothing, we still went to every gate. The next flight to Anchorage was scheduled for 6:00am. There were two other people besides us who were flying stand by to Anchorage and one was even a pilot. They wouldn’t even let him on since he didn’t have a confirmed seat. My husband and I ended up spending the night in the Seattle Airport. We finally arrived in Anchorage at 9:00am the next morning, Alaska Time.
The hotel we stayed in this time had a pool and a hot tub. The pool would have been great if it was heated. Every time we tried to go swimming the water was so cold it felt like a refrigerator. We spent most of the time in the hot tub. This hotel didn’t have it’s own dining room so we had to go out or order in. I had chicken fingers almost every night. We also ate at Golden Corral and ordered pizza one night. One time my husband ordered a white Russian and I ordered a Shirley Temple. They wanted to card me when my drink was non-alcoholic.
Everything was at least ten dollars more than it was back home. And it would get even worse once tourist season hit. Tourist season started the middle of May. There are two weeks out of the year when Alaska is lush, green and fragrant. But the rest of the year it is just dull. During tourist season a hotel room that was normally 66 dollars a night would jump to 266 dollars a night. We couldn’t afford that. Taxi’s weren’t cheap either and we didn’t have our own vehicle up there. A simple bag of groceries cost around 80 dollars.
We started to look for apartments. Each one was in worse shape than the last. The porches were sunken in the middle. And the doors wouldn’t hold up against a windstorm. Some of them weren’t in the best part of the city. We looked at one that came furnished. It was so small and cramped; you had to sit on the bed to cook on the stove. If you wanted to use the computer you would have to sit in the bathroom. And they still had to put a television in there somewhere. And each place was at least 800 a month.
Everywhere we looked we saw mountains. They were beautiful, but after a while we wanted to see something different. If you wanted to see all the sites in Alaska, you had to drive about 200 miles to get there. We also saw seagulls, Canadian geese and one time we even saw a moose in the field right next to our hotel. That was the highlight for me.
My husband went to work the next morning and I had my second interview at the NBC television station. Later that day, they told me they had selected someone else. The real reason I didn’t get the job was because I was married. My husband was on first shift and I would be on second shift. They didn’t like to give that shift to a person who was married since the couple would never get to see each other. I would have made fourteen dollars an hour because of my experience. With the way things cost in Alaska they would have to pay me that much just to break even.
All in all neither of us were really happy there. Every night my husband would say, “I want to go home.” We missed home and our family. My husband is a country boy at heart. And Anchorage is definitely a city. A lot different when you are used to living in a small town of only 1300 people and only one traffic light. The outrageous cost of living would have killed us alone.
Needless to say, we decided Anchorage wasn’t for us. After three weeks of thinking and talking it over we made the decision to come home. We had tried it. Now we wouldn’t be sitting around thinking what if. We took the red-eye overnight flight back. We transferred in Minneapolis and then again in Detroit. When we were getting ready to leave Detroit, a flight attendant saw my husband had on his airline jacket and she asked us if we would like to be upgraded to first class because he worked for the airline. It would be my first and only time flying first class. Unfortunately, I was almost too tired to enjoy it. The seats were really large and pretty comfortable. Since he worked for the airlines we also got a free box of snacks.
When we got back home, the temperature was 82 degrees. The temperature in Alaska had been 45 or 50. But because we were so close to the water, it hadn’t been too bad. And sometimes believe it or not, Alaska is actually warmer than it is here. We were so jet lagged; we went to bed at 9:00pm and slept until 9:00am the next morning.
Even now my husband says he would like to go back to Alaska and go on a cruise. If nothing else he would go back for one of those big, juicy hamburgers.