You know how at this time of year you play the studded tire guessing game? Smart Alaskans know that at any moment a devastating ice storm can roll in, turning local streets into rivers of ice. On the other hand, we’re also frugal as a homesteader watching the last barge sail away in September. You don’t want to put on your studded tires before it’s time and wear them out. There have been winters where Homer channels its inner Seattle and pretty much gets stuck in the “rain and near freezing gloom” for months.
But on the third hand, Alaskans also don’t want to get caught in the rush at the tire shop to change over tires. You get major sourdough points if you put on studded tires right before that big snowstorm rolls in. It’s like you’re Ms. Farmer’s Almanac and predicted the first storm. People might mock you for a few days while you drive around with that clickety-click of studs, but when that snowfall reaches more than a foot, you will be a super Alaskan.
Of course, you could do like some Alaskans and drive around all summer with studded tires. The Betster did that one year during grad school when funds were tight. It helped that back then Alaska had more gravel roads and cops couldn’t listen for studded tire scofflaws. With all this paved road stuff now you would be so busted.
The tire changeover is just one more check box on the winter punch list. The Betster recognizes that putting off winter prep chores is another form of denial. With travel difficult this year and being able to retreat to warm places a wee challenge, we might actually have to spend the entire winter here in the Last Frontier.
So drag out those tires, order more fuel oil, buck up a few more cords of wood, turn off the outdoor faucet tap, wash those heavy jackets and look for the snow shovels. When you’re all warm and cozy, you can celebrate with these Best Bets:
BEST DRYING PAINT BET: If you’re a political junkie like the Betster, all last week you probably kept checking national news sites for the latest projections on who won the presidential race. That drama still continues as the last states finish counting votes. Here in Homer as of press time, we still don’t have an update from the Alaska Division of Elections for the House District 31 and Senate District P races. There might be results in the morning, so keep checking the elections website at https://www.elections.alaska.gov/results/20GENR/index.php and remember to refresh, refresh, refresh.
BEST FORWARD INTO THE FUTURE BET: For its “Inspiration and Adaptation” conversation at 11 a.m. Friday, Bunnell Street Arts Center features Homer artist David Brame. He will discuss Afrofuturism, his comics, and his recent scholarly creative accomplishments including “Sanford Biggers: CODESWITCH,” in collaboration with Professor John Jennings, The Bronx Museum and produced by Yale University Press. Brame’s scholarly work explores issues of race and identity in the context of the American South, Black Gothica, mysticism and the African diaspora. Register for the talk at www.bunnellarts.org.
BEST HIT THE BOOKS BET: Need someplace for your remote learning kid to study? The Homer Council on the Arts offers free study space for students in need of WiFi access for remote learning from 9 a.m. to noon on regular school days. Space is limited and registration is required by calling 235-4288 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The study hall is monitored by a registered substitute teacher who can offer students assistance if needed. COVID-19 safety measures apply, including mask wearing.