For all its untamed appeal, getting through a year in Alaska poses steep challenges for even the most seasoned sourdoughs among us. There’s plenty about the Alaskan life to moan and groan over and here’s a few that bug us enough to whine about pretty regularly:
1. The cost of keeping a home heated.
In spite of the fact we’re an oil and gas state, maintaining the delicate balance between keeping an Alaskan home decently heated vs. spending a small fortune to do so is our nemesis. Whether on the grid or off it, the amount of cold hard cash and/or time and energy spent chopping wood and stoking fires is costly. No one realizes quite how expensive it is until we’re too sucked in to back out. Our only consolation is commiserating with fellow Alaskans as we tightly clutch steaming mugs of hot beverages to warm our frozen hands.
2. Clearing off the roof.
“I’m so excited! It’s time to shovel the roof again!”, is something no Alaskan has said, ever. Scaling the rooftop to clear it off before it collapses under the weight of several feet of heavy wet snow is one of those must-be-done all-too-frequent evils of winter. Lucky is the family with strapping young teenage boys they can harangue into doing the job. For everyone else, it just straight up sucks.
3. The mail and newspaper boxes
Between vehicles crashing into the row of mailboxes on icy road days and snowplows burying them under heaping snow berms, simply accessing one’s mailbox is a task worthy of American Ninja Warriors. It’s understandable many give up and transition to a PO Box. For those who don’t, venting betwixt neighbors helps dissipate pent-up aggravation. As for the newspaper — at least now digital subscriptions are an option.
4. Getting stuck behind a snowplow.
We complain when they don’t come to our neck of the woods fast enough and we complain when they are out doing their job. Of all the vehicles that suffer under the ‘wrong place, wrong time’ stigma the humble (yet obnoxiously large) Alaskan snowplow takes the cake. There’s nothing worse than being late for something and finding yourself trapped behind a snowplow on a single lane two-way road. There is no passing the monstrosity and all hope for being in the vicinity of punctual dies a slow, painful death. This is quite possibly worse than being stuck behind a summertime camper caravan — at least those, you can blame on the tourists.
5. Fake seafood
And by fake seafood, we specifically mean farmed salmon. We love to hate farmed salmon. For us, it’s Alaska grown and wild all the way.
6. The smell of spring
In most places, spring is filled with sweet fragrant aromas of various flora. In Alaska, we have ‘parfum de caca de chien‘. That’s right, as the frozen north thaws, so does an entire winter’s worth of dog poop-sicles. Alaska-wide, the young and old loathe spring yard clean up chores — it’s just gross!
7. The cost of living
It’s not rocket science that living in Alaska is expensive. It’s just that some things are significantly more expensive than others. In fact, back in 2014, USA Today ranked us 4th behind New York (3rd), DC (2nd) and Hawaii (1st) on their list of 7 most expensive states to live in. With milk starting at $4.00 per gallon the reason we complain is painfully obvious.