Little Bear's two front bottom teeth are both coming through. There is much unhappiness in our house these days.
Of course there is also much joy, because it's the octave of Easter! And Matt wound up having a three-day workweek (because he was sick Monday-Tuesday, but we're focusing on the positive here), and it is warm (30s!) and sunny outside, and despite the teething Little Bear still does have plenty of sweet, happy, adorable moments. He's getting so good at pulling himself up on furniture, and laughs and claps his hands when he succeeds. So cute.
The technical term for spring in Interior Alaska is "breakup." The hardpack on the roads is breaking up, the daily runoff freezes, cracks, and thaws again the next morning, and the lake and river ice is shifting, preparing to break up and head downstream. Because of this, we do not wear "rain boots." We don't wear "puddle boots." We don't wear "mud boots," "rubber boots," or "wellies." Interior Alaskans wear "breakup boots."
This term made my then-fiancé crazy when he first got here two years ago, but I think he's finally resigned himself to it.
The first Canada geese have returned from overwintering in more southerly parts, which is one of the first concrete signs that breakup is upon us. (Aside from the warmer weather and melting snow, of course.) I'd been halfheartedly hunting for a pair of breakup boots for a while, but when I heard that the geese had arrived earlier this week, finding boots suddenly became a top priority. Plenty of stores here carry breakup boots of varying qualities, but unfortunately, not just any boot would do... because real Alaskans wear Xtratufs.
The Xtratuf is synonymous with Alaskan footwear for any time of year that it isn't below 0 and snowing, and wearing any other type of rubber boot is to clearly label yourself a city-dweller, tourist, or Outsider. (In Alaska, Outside refers to anywhere not in Alaska, but also specifically to the rest of the U.S.) They are known for exceptional quality and durability, lasting 15 years or more in day in-day out work under all conditions. Having been born and raised here, the idea of buying anything else was abhorrent, but you do pay for what you get: they aren't cheap. Fortunately for our checkbook, I found a pair this morning that, through a combination of sale prices, coupons, and rebates, was almost 50% off! What luck!
Enough about boots and crazy Alaskans... Yesterday, Matt, Little Bear and I joined the Catholic Student Association on campus for mass and a birthday dinner for the priest who works with the students, whom we've known since he was a seminarian. Fr. Sean is such a great priest; he reaches out to all of the students who pass through, Catholic and non-Catholic, and really works to meet kids where they are while at the same time challenging them to keep growing and living their faith more fully. We really appreciate his willingness to speak the Truth, even when it's not the most comfortable thing to hear. God grant him many more years of ministry!
So far my theory that screaming babies get you faster service is holding up: Little Bear and his unhappy teeth came to the DMV with me to renew our registration, and I didn't even have time to sit down and start filling out the paperwork before they called us up to the counter! So far we had only tested the theory with convoluted phone trees, so it was good to chalk up another success for it on our first in-person attempt. For our next test, I think we will visit the post office...
That's all I've got! Don't forget to visit Jen at ConversionDiary.com for more quick takes, and have a great weekend!