The Bucket List, Part 4, Nights

This is my attempt at describing what it’s like for me in Alaska. I’ll take a typical day and break it into separate posts, so you aren’t overwhelmed by text. This is the fourth post, covering my nights. Don’t miss the first post, second post, and third post!

In the depths of winter, daylight begins around 10:30am, and ends around 4:30pm. That means both feedings take place in the dark, for about 2 months. I finish up the evening feeding around 6:30 to 7. On the occasion of a full moon, snow cover, and cloudless skies, it’s bright enough to walk around outside without a headlamp.

Socialization occurs on those rare days where we don’t feel like we’ve been hit by a truck. Far North We’ve made a few good friends here, and enjoy their company, but seeing most of them requires a 30 minute drive into town, on questionable roads, in unpredictable weather (most forecasts for our elevation include phrases like “variable winds,” “gusts up to 50mph,” and “accumulation of 1 to 15 inches possible.” “Beware of drifting snow” is also popular). It’s not uncommon to pass one or three cars that have fallen into the massive ditches that, if you’re lucky, line the section of road you fall off of. If you’re unlucky, you fall off the side of the hill into a bunch of trees. I’ve been down a significant section of the road sideways in my car once already, after the first big snow, and am not keen on repeating the experience.

Only one of the bars here is non-smoking, and we definitely grew accustomed to not smelling like an ashtray after leaving the bars in Bloomington. Anchorage has a smoking ban, but that hasn’t made it’s way south to Homer yet. The two times we braved the smoky bar scene, we both ended up sick.

Homer does have a movie theater, which plays films a couple of months after they have been released. Movies usually run for 3 to 5 days, and we occasionally muster up the energy and cash to go to one.

Homer has a number of restaurants, some good, some bad. They’re all expensive. Some are very expensive. Pizzas that don’t come close to Avers or Pizza Express cost twice as much. Ethnic restaurants are: 2 Chinese, 1 Mexican, 1 Thai. We avoid most of them, fearing the cost or the gastric consequences or both.

There is a broomball league, which I initially thought I would join, but the reality of a 6-day manual labor work week brought that idea crashing down.

We only come out at nightAnother diversion is a weekly “game night” at one of the cafes in town. Mostly consisting of Scrabble players with electronic dictionaries crammed into a small room, it was nevertheless fun the one time we went. The cafe happens to also be one of our favorites in town, and the chef, Maura, always has a few game night special meals. Our budget for prepared meals being what it is ($0), and our self-control being what it is around Maura’s food (what is self-control? nom nom nom), we have decided to avoid the temptation altogether. Instead, we’ve instituted a monthly game night with some friends in town, and we all bring food.

So, most nights involve fixing dinner, watching whatever we’ve received from Netflix, stretching out sore muscles, and falling asleep.

Next: Part 5, The Dogs