Slack Tide: 27 random thoughts while staring out the window waiting for snow again

By Geoff Kirsch

1. What happened to all our snow?

2. And what happened to the Canadian reggae singer Snow? You know, he scored a hit in the early ’90s with that song “Informer”?

3. I’ll tell you what happened: with one or two exceptions, it’s been hot and wet for a solid six-weeks now. And not hot and wet in a good way.

4. I’m guessing the other Snow joined the witness protection program? You know, after all the informing he did.

5. And we were off to such a promising December, too… Oh, well. That’s the way the Pacific Decadal Oscillation oscillates.

6. Maybe we’re still being punished by the universe for failing to adequately support the Wal-Mart it once so graciously bestowed upon us.

7. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Juneau’s weather is like a bad girlfriend/boyfriend. “Oh, no, I promise it’ll be different this time,” it seems to say, and maybe it is for a while—like around the holidays, for instance, things were wonderful. But then it turns crappy again and stays that way until you’re ready to call it quits, and then it gets all nice again, but only just enough to keep you hanging on.

8. Indefinitely.

9. On the bright side, no snow means not putting on shoes to pee off the deck.

10. Of course, it also means dealing with all the junk you thought you could hide under the berm at the bottom of your driveway.

11. Earlier this February, Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter… sure, for the Lower 48. But ever since 2009’s Senate Bill 58, we Alaskans don’t observe Groundhog Day; we celebrate Marmot Day. Well, it’s been 13 years now — 13 years and 25 days, to be precise — and nary a marmot has weighed in with a prognostication. That’s so like Alaska, to declare an official Marmot Day but then never name an official marmot.

12. Think of all the money we’re saving on plowing and sanding this year. Certainly enough to fund a line item in next year’s budget for a state marmot.

[Slack Tide: Everything you want to know about snow…and less]

13. Maybe even a few marmots, you know, to keep as understudies.

14. I’ll admit it: I’m glad not to be out there chipping ice from my driveway with a splitting maul.

15. I sure could use a blizzard right about now. Or a “Blizzard”™ (with brownies, cookie dough and peanut butter cups).

16. Too bad there’s no Dairy Queen in Juneau.

17. Kids aren’t nearly as excited to go out and play in the sleet.

18. Who can blame them? Would you want to have a snain ball fight or build a wintry-mix man?

19. It’s nice to stroll around downtown without an ice axe, crampons and a partner on belay.

20. Snow that falls in the form of a ball rather than a flake is referred to as “graupel” or “soft hail” (although, be warned, it’s a little touchy about its turgidity, so you probably shouldn’t say “soft hail” to its face).

21. Rekindle your love of the great indoors. Every day can be a powder day, provided you have enough confectioner’s sugar.

22. You probably won’t get “snow blindness.” Warning: you are still very much susceptible to “beer goggles.” That’s an all-season, all-weather affliction. Just ask my wife — she continues to suffer the after-effects of a particularly rough bout she had, let’s see, it’ll be 22 years ago this coming March. Which reminds me, better buy some flowers or something.

23. Does missing the smell of snow-blower exhaust make me a shoddy environmentalist?

24. But I am jonesing for it, though; I’m tempted to go fire up the lawn mower.

25. My mildew garden is flourishing… and by mildew garden, I mean my vinyl. siding.

26. By the third week of February, snowfall at sea level in Juneau should exceed 60 inches. But of course, as any weatherman will tell you, it’s not the size of your snowfall that matters — it’s how you use it.

27. Better start planning for summer now. There’s a really good chance it’s also going to be 40 degrees and raining every day.

• Geoff Kirsch is an award-winning Juneau-based writer and humorist. “Slack Tide” appears twice monthly in Neighbors.

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