Slack Tide: 36 Signs Summer is Back in Juneau

By Geoff Kirsch

Ah, summer in Juneau, a magical time of year marked by the return of whales, salmon and tourists to feed and spawn in our local waters. and, of course, closeout deals on steer manure. But the Capital City abounds in more subtle indicators of the season (e.g. the preponderance of pale exposed leg-flesh, tanzanite).

You know summer’s back in Juneau when:

• You finally take down your Christmas decorations.

• It’s 48 degrees and raining and your kids are still swimming in the lake.

• Wildflowers and dog turds are blooming all over town.

• You feel the sudden urge to take up jogging again. Don’t worry—it’ll pass (especially once you discover you no longer fit into any of your shorts).

• You get excited for closeout deals on steer manure.

• You’re consuming spruce tips and rhubarb at every meal.

• You question building all those raised garden beds now that you’re tasked with weeding them.

• You finally swap out your snow tires.

• You decide to risk a little sunbathing. Although you should probably warn Fish and Game before they show up checking into reports of a beached whale.

• You dream about grilling.

• You wake up every morning to the sound of somebody pressure-washing something that blatantly doesn’t need to be pressure-washed at 5:00 a.m.

• While we’re on the subject… You wonder what the deal is with all the leaf blowers around here; last time you checked, most local trees aren’t deciduous. So, what’s with all the blowing?

• You feel the sudden urge to take a really long hike on a ridge somewhere. Don’t worry—that feeling will also pass (especially with that dispensary right on your way to the trailhead).

• Your garage looks like something from that TV show “Storage Wars.”

• You put up your “blackout curtains” (aka aluminum foil and duct tape) and erect your “greenhouse” (aka Visqueen and duct tape).

• You’ve gained five pounds of s’more weight.

• You’re happy when it rains so the eagle poop finally washes off your windows.

• You discover why it was a bad idea to leave your bike outside uncovered since last September.

• You step in bear scat mowing your lawn.

• (Pursuant to above) You wheel your trashcan to the curb armed with a .44, or, if you’re a non-gun owner, the deadliest weapon you have. In my case, that’s a softball bat (and I’m not nearly the hitter I used to be).

• You’ve exhausted every excuse for not dealing with that defunct snow blower at the bottom of your driveway. Better slap a “Free” sign on it.

• You promise your kids you’ll build the zipline you promised to build last summer… right after you build the tree house you promised you’d build the summer before that. Thankfully, they’re now too old for the sandbox you’ve been lagging on since 2012.

• You learn, the hard way, why it’s a good idea to wear a protective cup while coaching your son’s Little League team. May as well keep it on for soccer season, too.

• You’ve rented (or are planning to rent in the very near future) a piece of gas-powered machinery. Maybe even a leaf blower.

• You’re installing a new mailbox. Yet again.

• You decide not to trim the winter beard and let it go full-on “Duck Dynasty.” After all, a big fat beard makes great natural sunscreen. Pretty effective birth control, too.

• Even if it’s hailing, you’re wearing Crocs, goshdarnit!

• Instead of feigning interest as someone you don’t know but wind up standing next to at a bonfire drones on and on and on about backcountry skiing, you now feign interest as that same person holds forth on backcountry ultra-running.

• Deviled eggs reappear.

• Kettle Corn.

• Your kids now go to bed two hours later and wake up two hours earlier, thereby effectively limiting your child-free alone time to brushing your teeth and passing out ten minutes into a David Attenborough nature documentary. Just as well. That’s even better birth control than a big fat beard.

• You appreciate the break from wearing heavy, insulated neoprene boots. You know, unless you’re going to a wedding and need to dress up.

• You’ve cut your heating and electric bills in half. However, you’ve quadrupled your expenditures on beer and ice cream, so it pretty much offsets.

• You realize there’s a very fine line between being a parent and a camp counselor.

• You discover that endless sunshine also makes you depressed. And here you thought it was just endless rain. Then what kind of weather inspires the manic party of manic-depression? Because you could use a little mania right now—tons of projects to finish before winter.

• You start getting ready for winter.

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

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