It has been quite a week for us up here in North Pole! We’re finally getting into the groove of our new jobs, which is tiring but SO much better than sitting around all day! Jordan comes home with stories about babies falling asleep in his arms, and little girls running up to give him hugs, and I have been spending tons of time organizing, inventorying and programming the tech lab at the youth center. We both have our fancy, government-issued, computer chip-enabled ID cards and email addresses. If only our paychecks would show up faster, we would be completely finished with our in-processing (over a month after beginning this god forsaken process)!
Now, the reason I said it’s been quite a week is because our fridge started having issues at the end of last week. When I say “issues,” I mean that it was releasing the worst odor I have ever smelled in my life EVERY TIME the fridge door was opened. So, we went through all our food, got rid of all leftovers and/or produce that wasn’t super-ok and gave the fridge innards a scrub down with a vinegar/baking soda cleaning solvent. We also put every odor-absorbing element we could into the fridge (this included baking soda of course, a bowl of oats, a piece of crumpled up newspaper and a bowl of vinegar. The smell seemed like it might have diminished (although after the door being opened for so long during the cleaning process we were forced to have all our windows wide open to bring fresh air into the house). We crossed our fingers, went to bed and hoped that the problem was solved. NOT SO! The next morning the smell was back with a vengeance and we were losing our appetites every time we opened the fridge. We figured it must be the drip pan, spent a good hour trying to figure out how to get the dang thing out, called our landlords who also spent a while attempting to get it out and ended up just sticking their hands into the treacherous depths of the fridge underbelly to scrub out the drip pan and fill it with baking soda. We hoped it would work… but again were wrong – the smell was even worse and we were beginning to lose sleep over our faulty fridge! I called up our fantastic landlady who showed up later that afternoon with a bucket of chemical-intense cleaning products to scrub the fridge down with, and the two of us got to work emptying out both the fridge and the freezer, trashing anything that could absorb odor, and storing everything else in coolers. We turned off the fridge, scrubbed it inside and out with bleach, and sent my groceries to her extra freezer for safekeeping while ours took an overnight, odor detox. The next morning we woke up, plugged the fridge in, went to work and returned to a bleachy-clean fridge with no aroma! Woohoo!
That being said, we’ve been hesitant to stock back up on the groceries we lost in the debacle for fear the smell would return. Let me tell you – there are only so many things you can eat without utilizing your fridge! But I decided I would use this extra time to be smart about how we shop and eat meals by planning out the entire month’s worth of meals, complete with a shopping list for Sam’s Club (to satisfy our bulk needs for the month) and weekly lists for Safeway (to grab produce, milk and other specialty items you just can’t buy, and wouldn’t want to buy at Sam’s). I felt so accomplished after a good chunk of time looking through my Pinterest recipe board and picking out some tantalizing dishes I’ve been waiting to try, as well as incorporating some favorites and smart options like freezer lasagna for nights when I’m just not up for the extra work! Since this planning triumph, I’ve just been biding my time till we decided to trust our fridge and fill it with expensive groceries again…
We decided that the 4th was THE day and I was THRILLED! I had planned on making a fun, more complex dish like Chicken Gyros with Home-made Pitas - tasty, right?! And I’d love to tell you that’s what happened, but my hopes were dashed when we arrived at Sam’s Club at 5:56pm to discover it was closing in honor of Independence Day at 6pm (I know, we were not so on-the-ball… but in the Land of the Midnight Sun, 6pm is SO early). Needless to say, we made pasta with spaghetti sauce for dinner – wah wah. (update: we did our grocery shopping and stocked up on the essentials, though I haven’t had the time to make any fun, complex dishes with a 20 hour work “day” during our Youth Center Lock-In this weekend.)
On a brighter note, we’ve had the privilege of getting to know a couple couples at our church and had the best evening laughing at a game night with them. Brent and Leah (who moved to Fairbanks about a week after us), and Doug and Mary (who have been here for almost a year now) have each been married for about a year, but are some of the only couples without children that we’ve met. They are super-laid back and outdoorsy, so we appreciate them quite a bit. We’re looking forward to many more nights laughing with them and sharing in the future!
There’s your “weekly” update from the North Pole and the Walz’s, but wait – I forgot to explain the no-fireworks title! There aren’t fireworks shows in Fairbanks for Independence Day because it’s TOO LIGHT to see them. Weird, huh? Hope everyone is alive and thrivin’ in the lower 48, happy belated Independence Day!