Tag Archives: oksana
June 17, 2004

Oksana's 24th

Happy Birthday, Oksana, from Arlo and his hoe! (25k image)Today is Oksana’s 24th birthday. She called me from Vladivostok last night and the connection was easily the best U.S.-to-Russia connection we’ve ever had – it was like she was right there in the room with me! Though it was her birthday we were able to verbally celebrate, I felt like I was the one receiving a perfect gift.

Happy Birthday, Oksana. I can’t wait to see you next week.


June 12, 2004

Vacation Update

I’m on a plane right now, bound for Seattle (then Orlando, Philadelphia, Norfolk, and Nags Head – should stop moving in just over 24 hours). Considering the week I’ve had, this has been the first chance I’ve been able to even consider writing an update.

In the last couple days, I finally got the opportunity to talk to Oksana. She sounded… tired. I must admit, I expected to hear signs of emotional stress in her voice, but I have a feeling that she’s just too overwhelmed to react anymore. As I wrote earlier, a week ago today she arrived in Irkutsk to the worst possible news. Since then, she and her brother have been working non-stop to make all the necessary arrangements for their mother’s funeral.

Oksana had sent me an e-mail in which she mentioned that she would call as soon as she got back to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski on the 9th. It was a pleasant surprise, therefore, when I received her call a day early – I had forgotten to factor in the whole international dateline thing.

If I have my dates straight, Nadia’s funeral was held on the 10th and Oksana said that it went as well as could be expected. There were about 30 friends and family in attendance and… that’s about the extent of what I know. I never know how to handle conversations about death, even with my own wife, it seems. I didn’t press her for information, and she didn’t talk much about it.


June 6, 2004

Bearing the Weight of Bad Tidings

Oksana and her mother at the wedding, 08-17-02My grandfather once told me that it doesn’t matter how well you plan things out, there will always be unexpected events to trip you up.

Of course, we were talking about finances, but I think that his lesson applies equally well to life in general.

Oksana and I have been looking forward to going on a vacation together since last December. Finances are really no longer a problem as we can save up vacation money fairly easily, but getting the time off from work is an entirely different matter. I have the university calendar year to plan around, while Oksana has to give consideration to her job at the Mendenhall Auto Center.

Fortunately, we knew far ahead of time what we wanted to do. There was a family reunion (on my father’s side) scheduled for late June in Daytona Beach, and we also wanted to visit my mom parents on the beach in N.C. We asked our respective bosses early and were lucky enough to find two weeks in June that we could both afford to be gone.

Even though we had such advance warning, Oksana and I made a mistake. Instead of booking our tickets as soon as we’d received permission from work, we procrastinated. We thought it would be okay since we still had more than six weeks to go V-day, but we underestimated the number of people who go on vacation in June. The flights weren’t full yet, but we lost our opportunity to purchase a “saver” ticket with our accumulated miles.

Further complicating matters, we needed to take a roundabout flight path. Alaska Airlines (where we have a mileage plan) only flies to a handful of cities on the East Coast, so in order to spend a week in both North Carolina and Florida, we decided to fly round-trip to Orlando and purchase another ticket to Norfolk, VA, on the side. We could have done all that by cashing in 40,000 miles and paying $144 each on airfare.

Instead, we ending up cashing in 73,000 miles, paid $175 to purchase 7,000 extra miles, and spent $250 each on the additional FL-to-VA tickets. Lesson learned.


May 18, 2004

The $1,149.75 Grand Prize

Over the past couple of weeks, Juneau has been amazingly nice. The weather has been all we can hope for this time of year, hovering in the 60s and 70s during the day and sunny, sunny, sunny. I thought it was a little funny when Oksana took time out of her Saturday to go indoor tanning at Northern Hot Spots, but we are planning a two-week beach vacation next month, so I can appreciate the need to build up a burn-preventing base tan.

What would probably have changed her mind, had she known about it, was that Northern Hot Spots was using Saturday to promote their business with a radio broadcast. When Oksana arrived, she was immediately asked if she would like to participate in a live, on-the-air interview. My wife is the sensible type. She said “Heck no!” and went about the business of darkening her skin.

At the counter, she noticed that there was a “today-only sale” – 15 tans for $47.25. Since she had been stealing my tans of late (purchased to prime me for Cuba), she decided to lay down the cash. Being a full-on promotion day, she also accepted a tanning lotion sample and threw her name in for a prize drawing.

She told me all this, of course, upon her return home. Then we promptly forgot about it.

The next day, after spending more time out in the sun at Eagle Beach, we returned home and decided to take a nap. Strangely exhausted, we both slept like rocks/logs/babies and didn’t even hear the phone ring. That evening I awoke first, stumbled out of the bedroom, and promptly sprawled myself on the couch. Oksana arose a short while later, droopy-eyed and with lines etched into her face from the wrinkles on her pillow.

“Beh,” she said. Could’ve been Russian, but I think she just needed her tea. She noticed the red-flashing button as she passed the answering machine on her way into the kitchen. She pushed it and we heard:

“Hi, Oksana. This is Terry calling from Northern Hot Spots to let you know that you won a year’s supply of free tans in the drawing this afternoon. Congratulations.”

In an instant, Oksana went from slouched and drained to conscious and jubilant, her fists raised to the ceiling in celebration. She’d won the coveted Northern Hot Spots grand prize, sure, but was acting like it was the first time in her entire life that she’d won anything at all. Wait a minute… it was.

Anyway, Oksana’s happy. The next time you see her you may notice a big smile – or, at the very least, a darker epidermis.

Me? I get my Cuba tans back.