It’s never as good as it sounds

Classified advertisement in the Daily Interlake reads – “Bigfork Small 2Bdrm, 2bath guest cabin, W/D, pets ok, $695/mo+ $150 dep. 837-4915”

I call the lady because it’s worth a look.With a price that high, it’s bound to be nice. Unlike all the other places I’ve looked at. I also thought maybe I could talk her down on the price, because it’s just me.

She tells me it’s up by Echo Lake and gives me directions…but no address.

I drive out there after work as it’s starting to get dark. I finally find it, after what seemed like forever. Looking for things in the Montana dark isn’t easy.

I follow a road down past some buildings and houses, down to the right. There’s the lake! I was getting excited. I came to a fence that said NO TRESPASSING, PRIVATE PROPERTY and BEWARE OF DOG. It turns out the scary dog is a chihuahua with fur…that barks until it gets a pet.

I called the lady and she told me to keep coming. So, of course I did. And I start heading down this hill. I get to the middle of it and the lady tells me “stop, don’t go any further” because I’ll get stuck. There was a 1/2-inch of snow on the ground.

I wasn’t sure, but I stopped anyway. I walked down to the guest cabin, which is pretty much in her backyard. Her front-yard is the lake.

It’s like a gingerbread house with blue shag carpeting and a maze of tiny rooms and staircases. None of the rooms would be big enough for my queen size bed. The bathroom is the size of an airplane bathroom. But there are two decks and a lake view.

Unfortunately I, being so tall at 5’8”, have to duck to go upstairs and walk around in the rooms. She told me a group of people was living in it before. I thought I wouldn’t be that comfortable living there with one other person.

But she also said she would bring the rent down. I thought $550. She thinks $650 is a screaming deal. I’m thinking, “I’m probably not going to live here even if you do allow pets and I get a lake view.”

I told her thanks and that I would call her.

I get in my car to drive up the driveway and make it about half way up before I start slipping. Seriously! What the hell.

I try again and again. Nothing. She comes out of the house and apologizes. Now it’s a two person project.

Note to future house lookers-don’t take BMWs down hills with snow.

I pull my crappy chains out. It’s only the second time I’ve used them in Montana. I’ve lived here for 4 years. I get the chains on while she shines the flashlight.

She keeps saying “You poor thing.”

I’m thinking in my head, “I’m not poor, just a little stupid sometimes.”

The chains don’t work. After 20 minutes of messing with them, and taking a run at the hill, all I get is one of the chains to come off and stuck in the same spot I was stuck before. So she goes to call her neighbor.

He’s not home. She grabs her truck to go find him. But I tell her all I need is a rope. Because it’s only 5 feet of hill and I can screw a tow hook into the front of the car.

We go back down to the house and look, there are two short pieces of rope that we tied together. She still sounds doubtful that this will work.

We hook it up and we go for it. No problem. She still is saying “You poor thing.”

I keep thinking, “This poor lady, she probably thinks I’m just another idiot from out of state with a nice car.” Which I am. But she doesn’t need to think that.

It was an adventure and I actually thought it was fun, after I got unstuck of course. But I’m not going to live there.


Sports reporting 101

It would appear that I have some rather large sports shoes to fill in my new role as reporter. Jordan, the recently departed editor, was an extremely thorough sports writer/photographer/community member.

It’s a little daunting.

And intimidating as my sports reporting abilities started on Monday with two articles. Which, I reported over the phone because the tourney was over the weekend and I didn’t start until Monday.

I now have two more articles to write and parents/coaches to impress with my awesome abilities. Maybe I should have taken the sports reporting class with the talented Nadia White. I could have come into this with a little more preparation.

I’m not a stranger to sports. I grew up with soccer running through my blood and out of my feet. I should be able to grasp the concepts of the others. I think.

I guess I’m in like a polar bear plunge into icy unknown and possibly unforgiving territory. As long as I can keep my head above the frustration of a long, drawn out learning curve for both me and the town of local sports fanatics, I think I’ll be okay.

After all, it’s true. Montana towns take their sports very seriously, I hope I can do their expectations justice.

No pressure.


Montana fall, bright and brilliant

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This Missoula fall was in sharp contrast to fall 2009, when leaves froze early and hung brown on downtown trees until spring’s thaw gave them new life.

It’s December and trees are now bare, as this year’s fall came and went in October, bringing with it a swift color change in the air and on Missoula’s streets.


I did it.

I graduated at the ripe old age of 29. All I have left to do is pay my parking tickets. That $75 stands in the way of making it official.
But, what about a job.

I have one! And it’s in the field I graduated in, journalism. I know, I’m nuts. Making just under $30,000 a year for an education that cost me almost as much seems ludicrous.
It is.
I think I’m okay with it because I haven’t started seeing the bills yet. There’s also the important little factoid – this is actually what I want to do.
Bigfork is the community that wanted me and here I am. Looking for a rental that makes my hourly wage worthwhile has proven difficult. And in the end I will live in a place that is probably crappier than anything I’ve lived in since I was 22.
Oh well, I guess it’s the experiences that make it worth it. Right?
And as usual I’m on the internet, avoiding writing an article, because I’m in the middle of one and stuck. Writers block of one kind and the need to ramble because I’m thinking about my life.
It’s exciting.

I’m someplace new. Small new, but still new. New people, new job, new community, new snow, crossing my fingers for a new-old place in my price range.

It’s stimulating.
I need it. After two and a half years of school taking up my entire life. My thoughts, my time, my day, my night. I needed something new.
And here it is, watching snow fall in the parking lot outside my window that faces the Bigfork Stage Stop, whose owners also own the Flathead Lake Lodge and a rental company that doesn’t like to rent to people with dogs. Especially pit bulls. Dog racism. Big surprise.┬áMy money is no good.

But, back to the point.
My computer screen holds 10-inches of writing about a new school nurse that started three weeks ago at the Bigfork schools, K-12. She used to be a trauma nurse. Big change.

I’m about to drive over the the high school and speak to a sewing class that made 18 wheelchair bags for the senior center.

Yesterday I spoke to a mother whose 13-year-old child had brain surgery this summer and has to wear a leather helmet to play basketball. His teammates wear skull-caps during warm-up as a way of supporting him. Will take photos of that this evening.

The high school basketball team plays Eureka tonight. And yes I will be photographing and writing about that as well. Pretty frickin’ sweet if you ask me.
My job=awesome.
At least for now.