Getting Everything to Start in One Day in Anchorage!

This is the new version of the Alaska Teacher Placement (ATP) forum for teachers, education majors, and school administrators to discuss working and living in the state of Alaska. Those considering an Alaskan job, or considering a new Alaskan education job ask questions, and those with information and/or opinions provide answers. Although many users are teacher or principal candidates from the Lower 48, a large number of current and former school district HR and school administrators subscribe.

Moderators: Johncn, Betty Walters, Toni McFadden, Damon Hargraves

Re: Getting Everything to Start in One Day in Anchorage!

Postby marymatt718 » Wed May 27, 2015 8:37 am

And I'll also add my 2 cents....

Hi Jamie
I am one of the teachers who meets our school's new teachers in Anchorage each fall to help them shop. I have a packet of information I send to them, which I would be glad to send you. Email me at dmatthews@swrsd.org if you'd like to have it and I'll send it out. I put it together from information I got on this forum when I came my first year (quite a bit of it from Johncn), as well as information from other teachers, and my own personal experience. It has specifics for our school location, but also a lot of general information anyone can use. It doesn't cost a thing to email it to you, so if you want it, I'll send it.

Just so you know, the post office has started limiting their hours. As of March of this year (2015), when I was in Anchorage for a vet appointment for my dogs, their hours were the following: M-F 8 am to 11 pm and Sat/Sun 9 am to 11 pm.

Some of what's in the packet:

Instead of rolling coolers, which can be expensive to purchase, consider using the insulated fish boxes that are available at Walmart. These are cardboard boxes that are lined with styrofoam, and they are used by tourist-fisherman to get their frozen fish home. The rolling carts at the airport are free to use, so you don't really need something with wheels. (I have dogs in XL kennels and I never have trouble getting the 2 carts I need to get them through check-in.) I would guess the fish boxes are also lighter than most coolers, so you can use more of your weight allowance for product instead of packaging. Duct tape them for extra strength and you will have no problem.

One of the reasons I help our new teachers is so we all have enough weight, 1100 pounds, to get a bypass mail shipment together, and I don't have to deal with a bunch of boxes when I'm getting two giant dogs back out to my village. If you are in a large enough school, you might want to try that in the future. We had 11 (teachers and spouses included) of us go in on a shipment last year which was nearly 4000 pounds. It cost us just over $4000 to send out...fresh, frozen, everything...no packing, they did all of that. So for just over $1 a pound we got all our stuff sent right to our village. We used Express Yourself Expeditors, which I found on the ATP shopping and shipping section of their website. These expeditors are AWESOME! Chris Jett is VERY helpful.

Amazon Prime will be a lifesaver for you, so spend the money for it. It will pay for itself many times over. Amazon also now has a Subscribe and Save service that sends you staples on a subscription basis. I get dog food, both dry and canned, marinara sauce, pasta, cereal, GF products, laundry supplies, toilet paper, paper towels, peanut butter, instant tea, coffee.....all from this service, some things once a month, some every other month, some every six months. You save 5% on each item and 15% if you get at least 5 items a month. (My dry dog food is $58 a bag in my village, but it's $25 a bag on Amazon Subscribe and Save, with free Prime shipping.) If you choose Prime eligible items, the shipping, even to Alaska, is free. Also, don't buy microwaves, coffee pots, pots and pans, dishes, flatware, or any of that heavy stuff in the lower 48 or in Anchorage. Look for it on Amazon and find ones eligible for Prime (free) shipping and order it about 10 days before you expect to arrive in your village. You won't have to pack it and you won't have to pay to ship the weight, and if it's damaged in shipment, Amazon is easier and faster to deal with than the USPS.

There are dried vegetables available on Amazon, unless you really want to buy a dehydrator. I bought a bunch last year and I still have some of them. I use them in soups and stews. Also check the post on this forum from Bushteachers about using Fred Meyer Bush orders for produce. Awesome advice! Full Circle is an option, but try to go in with some other teachers and get the largest box. Most of the cost is shipping, so you get more for your money with a larger box....just make sure you have a cargo company other than Everts who ships to your village...full disclosure...there is bad blood between Everts and me concerning their customer service. Others love them, but...anyway, enough said.

If you have a Target Red Card, you can order stuff from Target with free shipping also. I bought a king size bed frame from Target last year and it was shipped to my village for free, and I saved another 5% on the item just because I had a Red Card. The drawback to Target is that not everything on their site is available to be shipped. Some things are "in-store only", but they still have great stuff available and when there is a sale you get that discount as well as the Red Card discount, and free shipping, oh and no tax because you're in Alaska. I think I paid $300 TOTAL ,with shipping included, for my King bedframe (original price $499 just for the bedframe) because there was a furniture sale going on. Oh and I just bought storage book shelves for my classroom and saved $200 on them because of my Red Card. LOVE Target!

I will tell you that I disagree with the flat rate boxes mentioned in another post here. A teacher did that the year I started and the post mistress is still complaining (over 2 years now) about the numerous flat rate boxes this teacher shipped with all her rice and couscous and quinoa and how nearly every box leaked stuff all over the post office. The boxes got wet coming off the bush plane, and well, these guys are on a schedule and always in a hurry, so somewhere along the way, the boxes had been handled rough enough to break some of the plastic bags inside the boxes. Cardboard is never the best option for shipping to the bush. It took them months to get everything cleaned out, including the rats and mice all that spilled grain attracted into the Post Office. In a small village, you REALLY don't want to tick off the Post Office people....or the school secretary or the school custodians....while we're on the subject.

Good luck, and welcome to Alaska!
Donna
marymatt718
 
Posts: 93
Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 6:27 pm

Re: Getting Everything to Start in One Day in Anchorage!

Postby Bushteachers » Wed May 27, 2015 2:12 pm

marymatt718 wrote:And I'll also add my 2 cents....

Hi Jamie
I am one of the teachers who meets our school's new teachers in Anchorage each fall to help them shop. I have a packet of information I send to them, which I would be glad to send you. Email me at dmatthews@swrsd.org if you'd like to have it and I'll send it out. I put it together from information I got on this forum when I came my first year (quite a bit of it from Johncn), as well as information from other teachers, and my own personal experience. It has specifics for our school location, but also a lot of general information anyone can use. It doesn't cost a thing to email it to you, so if you want it, I'll send it.

Just so you know, the post office has started limiting their hours. As of March of this year (2015), when I was in Anchorage for a vet appointment for my dogs, their hours were the following: M-F 8 am to 11 pm and Sat/Sun 9 am to 11 pm.

Some of what's in the packet:

Instead of rolling coolers, which can be expensive to purchase, consider using the insulated fish boxes that are available at Walmart. These are cardboard boxes that are lined with styrofoam, and they are used by tourist-fisherman to get their frozen fish home. The rolling carts at the airport are free to use, so you don't really need something with wheels. (I have dogs in XL kennels and I never have trouble getting the 2 carts I need to get them through check-in.) I would guess the fish boxes are also lighter than most coolers, so you can use more of your weight allowance for product instead of packaging. Duct tape them for extra strength and you will have no problem.

One of the reasons I help our new teachers is so we all have enough weight, 1100 pounds, to get a bypass mail shipment together, and I don't have to deal with a bunch of boxes when I'm getting two giant dogs back out to my village. If you are in a large enough school, you might want to try that in the future. We had 11 (teachers and spouses included) of us go in on a shipment last year which was nearly 4000 pounds. It cost us just over $4000 to send out...fresh, frozen, everything...no packing, they did all of that. So for just over $1 a pound we got all our stuff sent right to our village. We used Express Yourself Expeditors, which I found on the ATP shopping and shipping section of their website. These expeditors are AWESOME! Chris Jett is VERY helpful.

Amazon Prime will be a lifesaver for you, so spend the money for it. It will pay for itself many times over. Amazon also now has a Subscribe and Save service that sends you staples on a subscription basis. I get dog food, both dry and canned, marinara sauce, pasta, cereal, GF products, laundry supplies, toilet paper, paper towels, peanut butter, instant tea, coffee.....all from this service, some things once a month, some every other month, some every six months. You save 5% on each item and 15% if you get at least 5 items a month. (My dry dog food is $58 a bag in my village, but it's $25 a bag on Amazon Subscribe and Save, with free Prime shipping.) If you choose Prime eligible items, the shipping, even to Alaska, is free. Also, don't buy microwaves, coffee pots, pots and pans, dishes, flatware, or any of that heavy stuff in the lower 48 or in Anchorage. Look for it on Amazon and find ones eligible for Prime (free) shipping and order it about 10 days before you expect to arrive in your village. You won't have to pack it and you won't have to pay to ship the weight, and if it's damaged in shipment, Amazon is easier and faster to deal with than the USPS.

There are dried vegetables available on Amazon, unless you really want to buy a dehydrator. I bought a bunch last year and I still have some of them. I use them in soups and stews. Also check the post on this forum from Bushteachers about using Fred Meyer Bush orders for produce. Awesome advice! Full Circle is an option, but try to go in with some other teachers and get the largest box. Most of the cost is shipping, so you get more for your money with a larger box....just make sure you have a cargo company other than Everts who ships to your village...full disclosure...there is bad blood between Everts and me concerning their customer service. Others love them, but...anyway, enough said.

If you have a Target Red Card, you can order stuff from Target with free shipping also. I bought a king size bed frame from Target last year and it was shipped to my village for free, and I saved another 5% on the item just because I had a Red Card. The drawback to Target is that not everything on their site is available to be shipped. Some things are "in-store only", but they still have great stuff available and when there is a sale you get that discount as well as the Red Card discount, and free shipping, oh and no tax because you're in Alaska. I think I paid $300 TOTAL ,with shipping included, for my King bedframe (original price $499 just for the bedframe) because there was a furniture sale going on. Oh and I just bought storage book shelves for my classroom and saved $200 on them because of my Red Card. LOVE Target!

I will tell you that I disagree with the flat rate boxes mentioned in another post here. A teacher did that the year I started and the post mistress is still complaining (over 2 years now) about the numerous flat rate boxes this teacher shipped with all her rice and couscous and quinoa and how nearly every box leaked stuff all over the post office. The boxes got wet coming off the bush plane, and well, these guys are on a schedule and always in a hurry, so somewhere along the way, the boxes had been handled rough enough to break some of the plastic bags inside the boxes. Cardboard is never the best option for shipping to the bush. It took them months to get everything cleaned out, including the rats and mice all that spilled grain attracted into the Post Office. In a small village, you REALLY don't want to tick off the Post Office people....or the school secretary or the school custodians....while we're on the subject.

Good luck, and welcome to Alaska!
Donna

AWESOME ADvise here Donna.
My wife uses the Target red card. Never thought about checking for the bed frame there.
WE have not found a dealer on Amazon that will ship a mattress for free. Free to lower 48, but $500 to AK. The search continues.
We also use the amazon prescription for lots of stuff.

And I just found out about the fish boxes. I was talking with a lady in Dillingham about freds vs shopping at store for produce and she said they use the fish boxes for meat. Makes sense.

I love flat rate boxes from down south, but it is hard to make them cost efficient within the state. But whenever I do mail food in them, I double bag and tape the whole box.
Thank You for some suggestions. I love it.
Bushteachers
 
Posts: 145
Joined: Fri May 08, 2015 12:36 pm

Re: Getting Everything to Start in One Day in Anchorage!

Postby marymatt718 » Wed May 27, 2015 2:34 pm

I inherited my mattress from a departing teacher, but our former Vice Prinvipal bought his KS mattress in Anchorage and the store shipped it out for a fee. He said it came squished (vacuum-packed, I guess) in a big heavy box, and was like memory foam. He said it expanded when he took it out of the box. I don't rember the name of the store, but I do remember it was a furniture store, not a mattress store.
Hope this helps.
marymatt718
 
Posts: 93
Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 6:27 pm

Re: Getting Everything to Start in One Day in Anchorage!

Postby Bushteachers » Wed May 27, 2015 10:30 pm

marymatt718 wrote:I inherited my mattress from a departing teacher, but our former Vice Prinvipal bought his KS mattress in Anchorage and the store shipped it out for a fee. He said it came squished (vacuum-packed, I guess) in a big heavy box, and was like memory foam. He said it expanded when he took it out of the box. I don't rember the name of the store, but I do remember it was a furniture store, not a mattress store.
Hope this helps.

Wife hates the memory foam types. She wants a firm mattress which might be why we are having no luck with the free shipping from AP.

Our search continues but we are leaning towards shipping to the barge company in SEA.
Bushteachers
 
Posts: 145
Joined: Fri May 08, 2015 12:36 pm

Re: Getting Everything to Start in One Day in Anchorage!

Postby marymatt718 » Thu May 28, 2015 7:14 am

I found a GREAT powdered milk on Amazon. It's actually powdered WHOLE milk, not non-fat (Bleah!) by Nestle. It's a spanish/mexican (?) product called NIDO Forfificada, and when mixed, it's actually drinkable. It's available as a subscription item on their Subscribe and Save program and it's eligible for Prime shipping. I like the taste, and I like that it can also be used as coffee creamer, if I'm lazy, without clumping up in my coffee or settling to the bottom. I get a 3-1/2 pound can every month for about $15 and it makes about 4 gallons of milk (53-8 oz. glasses). There are cheaper products, but I didn't find any of them as palatable as this one.
marymatt718
 
Posts: 93
Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 6:27 pm

Re: Getting Everything to Start in One Day in Anchorage!

Postby schneidler » Thu May 28, 2015 9:43 pm

Yes, I was just looking at Nido recently. The other one people like a lot, that is also whole milk, is "peak." Both on amazon. I actually ordered both and am going to see which I like best. I'm also going to try mixing it thinner than they recommend and see how far I can go before the kids notice. : - )

As for the mattress, yes bushteachers I think the ones that sometimes ship for free are all memory foam because they are more magically compressible. You can't get a conventional mattress (which my wife also prefers, BTW, and we need a new one too) into a smaller box like you can with a memory foam mattress, so highly unlikely you can find free shipping. If you can find some other folks who want furniture too you can save a lot of money if you have enough to fill a 20" container, but that is a lot of furniture. But your district might order in that kind of quantity. They could in theory add your mattress to their order and you write them a check. That's if their accounting dept doesn't have a severe case of "hardening of the categories" as ours does ha ha. Hardening of the categories is an affliction that prevents the human brain from entertaining an original thought, and I think it may be contagious, at least in certain departments within our district office. : - )
schneidler
 
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Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 3:21 pm

Re: Getting Everything to Start in One Day in Anchorage!

Postby marymatt718 » Sun Jun 07, 2015 11:06 am

Hey schneidler!
I had forgotten about Peak. I was purchasing that before, but I think they took it off the Subscribe and Save list for a while. It is a better milk powder, IMHO, plus it has the added benefit of not coming from Nestle.
I have a problem with Nestle and am boycotting them now until this bottling-groundwater-illegally-in-drought-stricken-California issue :x is resolved.
I just switched over to Peak. Thanks for the reminder!
mm718
marymatt718
 
Posts: 93
Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 6:27 pm

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