Nick Varney

Nick Varney

Unhinged Alaska: Hey Julius, the Ides of January are topping the suckometer, too

The unremitting inundation set a record for our little cabin by the sea.

Julius Caesar employed a seer named Spurinna, who repeatedly warned him about impending treachery for a month leading up to the Ides of March. Ole Jul, like most politicians, ignored any advice other than their own and ended up being seriously ventilated by his boon buddy Brutus-the-Fickle and a bunch of senate grumps.

Well, I wish I would have had at least a modicum of a heads up about the ides of January because we got whacked by a series of snowstorms swapped with various concoctions of rain, sleet and freezing mists that set the 511 road reports on “scream inducing slick,” while throwing in near-zero visibility conditions that dramatically drove up the sales of specialty Depends for drivers.

The unremitting inundation set a record for our little cabin by the sea.

We’ve been plowed and sanded so much this winter that I could have probably bought a Mercedes snow plow/sander and still had enough money left over for a pack of bait herring come this spring.

In just a week, our driveway has transmuted into one huge chocolate-colored slushy from a polished ice slab that a little pack of transient moose have been using as a practice luge between yards.

It has been fascinating watching their pirouettes and full-scale proboscis plants, but much less so at night.

Trust me. Standing beneath the shroud of night monitoring the dedicated dump of a pooch while heeding the moans of gust-tortured alders in the gully makes the skin crawl.

Add a loud snort and sudden swoosh of a rattled moose zipping by a nearby rosebush before taking a spectacular header into the front yard, not only adds a white hair or two but induces a rocket retreat so pronounced that it takes a few minutes to realize the persistent yowl you hear is the dog you abandoned on the deck after beating it to the door.

Note: Yes, we have a new adoption of the small furry kind. The critter is quite a bit younger than her predecessors and I’ll have more on the beastie in a later column. The fireball weighs about 18 pounds and her name is Luna, short for Lunatic. I’ll leave it at that, for now.

Another note: Before I get back to the trials and tribulations of the incessant weather fronts attacking us, I’d like to mention Jan. 15 as a once in a lifetime experience.

I had fallen asleep in my recliner watching some inane twaddle/movie about an invasion from Mars when Luna rocketed onto my chest to announce that she had serious business outside. It was a tick or two past 03:45 hours but who am I to argue the urgency of such a request considering the alternative?

As I awaited her proper positioning, I detected what sounded like the thud of distant artillery fire or a series of muffled boom-like collapses out toward the Homer Spit. The reverberations were profound and rather eerie as I wrangled the dog back into the cabin.

It turned out to be the volcanic pressure wave from the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcanic eruptions 6,000 miles away. I was impressed. The dog not so much.

OK, back to carping about the weather and some of its aftermaths, so far.

My buddy Turk called a couple of days ago complaining that the small pond is his back acre has now grown so huge that it won’t be long before it will be eligible for a DART (Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis) buoy. He’s also pondering stocking it with rainbows and slapping up a fishing lodge if the weather forecasts remain “deluge”.

By the way, it’s not true that the hellishness winds of the 23th-24th modified our home to the point that we now have clear view of the stars from where part of our roof used to be. Came close though. The gusts were so nasty that surfable waves were emanating from the toilet bowl as the log walls rocked.

Finally, at the moment, driving to town remains a bit of a challenge with thoroughfare potholes so humongous that there are rumors of pending ferry service options. Meanwhile, engine snorkel attachments are highly recommended for the overflow sections of East End Road.

Well, it’s starting to snow again just in time to cover the latest ice sheet spanning the driveway.

I hope the coming Ides of February are much less contentious because March is up next and we know what an attitudinal @$*#%(( it can be.

Nick can be reached at

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