Denali Northern Expenditure

Tag: About Us

The About Series: The Banks!

At the beginning of the month, Think Save Retire issued a challenge to go beyond the “About Page” and give more detail about ourselves and our blog. I enjoyed the challenge as well as the participation of others, so we’ve decided to jump in to the party as well. So, here are a few juicy details about the Banks Family and Northern Expenditure.

The Art of Mooching: The Tale of Rhubarb

Let me begin by saying that I do not condone mooching if it would impact the other person’s trajectory to early retirement (even if they’re not aiming there like you are). Think about the golden rule here people. If the mooching would be annoying to you or impact you financially, don’t do it to someone else. But when it comes to renewable resources that people have in abundance, mooch away!

Our precious rhubarb plant was always the first one to pop up in the spring (nay, before spring here in Alaska). It brought hope that the snow would melt and the rest of the plants would start to turn green. This year, it never came up. It died. The appropriate Alaskan response is: “How do you kill rhubarb?!” I don’t know! Maybe it was this winters’ lack of snow (yes, Boston took all of our snow).

Moving to Alaska

After ten months of unemployment during the Great Recession and feeling like failures for having to move “home” with our one-year-old, Mr. T applied for a job in Alaska. I had a cousin that lived there and she recommended applying in the state since there was no sign of a recession there. Mr. T applied for one job. Within a week of applying, he had his second interview in ten months (this time over the phone), and within two weeks of applying, he had an offer. They asked him when he could start. Since “yesterday” wasn’t an option, the start date was in two weeks. The same day we got the job offer, my cousin walked through a house with a realtor. It was the only house on the market in our price range in a decent area of town (there’s a housing shortage in Alaska). She sent us pictures of its hideous interior (ugly paint colors, low hanging ceiling fans, and oddly-placed bead board make for a great deal!) and told us it was “seven minutes and two moose” away from her own house. We made an offer. All in one day, we got a job offer and bought a house. I had been to Alaska once, but only to a remote island when I was eleven to visit my relative who worked as the local masseuse. Mr. T had never been in the state. Ready to finally live the “American Dream,” we were gifted a snow suit for Penny, and we boarded a plane to move to Alaska just before winter started.

The Great Recession

It is summer 2009, and Mr. T, Penny and I are waiting in line for three hours to get into a job fair in the Seattle area. We finally get inside and take a look around at our options: the military, Tupperware, Mary Kay. At this moment, we realize this is some strange, historic time through which we’re living. It was still way too early for anyone official to admit it was actually a recession, and “The Great Recession” didn’t become a thing until awhile later. But now, when you say “The Great Recession,” I’m right back in that job fair deciding whether to talk to Tupperware or head home for Penny’s nap.

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