Unhinged Alaska: Mother Nature’s sucker punch

The second month of the year has always been a sneaky critter when it comes to weather but sometimes it totally lacks decorum and even a modicum of politeness.

After weeks of what seemed to be Niagara rains and winds that required securing the smokehouse before it jetted off into a nearby gully, it finally calmed down.

For a few days I didn’t have to tether our little mutt’s butt to prevent her from launching toward the Caribou Hills.

The anchor was socially embarrassing to our diminutive rescue poodlette but it was better than having her assume escape velocity for a sub orbital trip that would have scorched her new trim job. Which, of course, would have been totally appalling and unacceptable to her pretentious self since she has serious issues when it comes to being seen in public with an unseemly coiffure. Never mind.

After all of those years of banging around in the high north, I should have picked up that something was amiss during the deep evening of February 20 when the exterior air rapidly morphed into something resembling a draft from an opened refrigerator door.

Even our usually clueless and aged dog Howard trundled in from his night’s toiletries and quickly curled into a tight, somewhat tasteless anal probing fur ball directly in the path of our furnace’s breath.

As the early morn hours stretched their minutes toward a lighter sky, I put the duo through their predawn sniff-n-void ambulation and noticed a few large flakes floating toward the ground like dying kites.

I should have pondered why their scattered predecessors skulked in welcoming small white blankets rather than liquefied spots on the driveway.

Big mistake.

I should have picked up on the fact that dawn had decided to sleep in and it was way murkier than the glow that customarily accompanies the hour.

I should have also taken note that my prescient-enhanced bride had mentioned several times that she felt that “Something wicked, this way comes” and suggested that I needed to drag my nose out of the latest black ops book and take our battle dogs out for a pre-emptive recon run to complete their main objective of dawn duty dumps and sundry bladder blasts.

So many “should haves.” So little awareness.

I mumbled something about being in the middle of a major firefight but looked up in time to see the look in her eyes that foretold the promise of a much larger skirmish should she have to don cold weather gear just so I could comfortably complete a chapter in the saga.

I tried to arouse the cur disguised as throw rug attached to the heater but he only cracked opened one eye and gave me a disgruntled snort signaling he wasn’t anywhere near needing to move his carcass for food much less a pee.

The little one though was wound up like an overpressured firehouse and whacking the door as if to say, “If you don’t get this thing open, I’m going to leave a high water mark Howard would be proud of.”

I could see through the front door’s window that the solid stuff was really slamming down and accumulating on the deck at a prodigious rate.

I didn’t realize how much until I released the wee beast and she shot across the threshold into about an 18-inch deck drift that swallowed her with the exception of the disturbing sight of what looked to be a frozen sphincter and periscope tail.

The vision was fleeting because she launched a tinkle boosted backward flip retreat out of the white wall that ended up terminating beneath the back haunch of slumbering Howard who was less than amused.

Needless to say it didn’t take much imagination to figure out that I needed to immediately Blitzkrieg a path to the vehicles and get them repositioned before the plow arrived.

Mother Nature had turned into a Mutha.

We ended up being plowed out twice that day but her tantrum was far from over.

Back came the winds with pre-spring temps and rain storms that could smack down a breaching humpback.

By the end of the week, moose were back in our front yard kneeling to snack on green grass. An old local coyote was cruising the perimeter annoying the critters to the point of nearly getting his proboscis kicked so far up his nether region that he would have had to peek through his esophagus to see where he was going.

Now that it’s closing on mid-March, I’m feeling much more confident that the worst is over but until April rolls around I’m checking out my book on tape.

If there is one thing I can still do right it’s shovel and listen at the same time.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if he isn’t at his chiropractor.

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