Here in Juneau Alaska, the sun rises at 8:17 am and sets at 3:15 pm this time of year. The difference in temperature between day and night is two degrees. It's raining a lot, snowing just a little.
There is a woman, born in Juneau 100 years ago, who is completely used to the short days in the winter and the very long days in the summer. She was born here before Alaska was a state. She raised six children here and sent them all to college, despite the fact her husband died when she was pregnant with her last child, and she has never even had a driver's license. She is my husband's grandmother.
Her birthday has drawn about 50 people to Juneau, all of them related to my husband. Many of us are in the same hotel. It's close to the airport. So close that when you get out of the shower you have a great view of the control tower and the people in it. So close that when we arrived, we just walked across the street and checked in.
Juneau is a popular stop in the summer for cruise ships and for people sightseeing and hiking or fishing. The only way to get here is by water or air. The road only goes so far. You can drive out to the end of the road, from one end to the other, in less than an hour. In the winter, many of the stores and restaurants are closed.
Dark, chilly, wet. Lots of cousins. Not really anywhere to go. I'd say couped up would describe it. We have the room above the office, which contains hardly-working persons who do not appreciate the fact that there are at least five people above them, walking, stomping, jumping, wrestling, and occaisionally tossing a baseball around. We've gotten a phone call asking us to quiet down. Um, didn't they place us in this room? Didn't they see we have three boys?
So we decided to use the conference room at the hotel for a game night. We invited all the relative over, and we gathered dominos, cards, a jigsaw puzzle, and a couple other games. We were ready to occupy tonight, when the ever-so-attentive staff (oh I'm sorry, do I work here? I'm watching TV!) told us OOPS someone just rented it out. So while a bunch of ladies are trying on lingere and learning the ins and outs of all kinds of different sex toys, my husband's relatives are piling up in the tiny lobby and we are trying to figure out where to put everyone. I had the idea of going across the street to the airport where there is lots of room to run around, but no one seemed to take my suggestion seriously. I could hand-signal the control tower staff and ask if it's OK.
I better go down and see what's going on. I want to be there if one of the relatives wanders into the conference room.