Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Ramblings of an ex? Alaskan

So my hubby and I moved AWAY from Alaska in September 1990, shortly after our wedding and just before the winter weather set in. While it wasn't the *only* reason we left, we were happy to get away from the cold weather, the snow, the lack of transitional season (ie: spring & autumn.)

We moved to Colorado and were pleasently surprised by the weather here. Our first autumn (yes, a real autumn!!) when I took our then 1st grade daughter (that would be Yennae) trick or treating and the wind breakers I took for us got carried the whole way (this after a childhood (mine) of getting costumes 2 sizes too big so they would fit over snowsuits). Fall got over and winter set in, and the weather was still so mild that most of the time we were just in light jackets or sweaters. I'm not sure if we had any snow that year for Christmas, but it obvioiusly it wasn't a big deal if I can't remember.

The 15 winters between have been equally mild. We typically get a few snowstorms a year and as soon as the front passes the snow starts melting, and within a few days the snow is gone. Once every several years, we may get a blizzard which dumps a bunch of snow on us and after that it can take a couple of weeks for the weather to warm up enough to melt the snow entirely, but not really often enough to complain about.

This year has been a drastic change! The week before Christmas we got a blizzard (this was after an early blizzard less than a week before Halloween), now here it is, 5 weeks later and my kiddo's had a late start yesterday as the roads recovered from the 5th snowstorm in as many weeks. And, the weathermen have predicted another one this weekend.

You might think I said ex? Alaskan because I feel like I'm home lately, and you would be partially correct, but there is another reason. In the past week or so my husband and I have been batting around the idea of going back, and I don't mean just for a visit. Many have heard me say, "Alaska is a great place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there." Now I am rethinking that philosophy.

* Alaska is so majestic and beautiful
* it still has so many unspoiled wilderness areas
* there is the permanent fund dividend (an annuity paid to Alaskan residents that varies from $500 to over $1000 per person each year)
* my children have never had the opportunity to live near family like that - I so miss the big family gatherings I grew up with
* summer nights are so fun when the sun only goes down for a few hours (or is that the teenage me talking?)
* it would mean a fresh start
* no sales tax
* Aurora Borialis
* (for my hubby) ice fishing

* Colorado is majestic and beautiful as well
* our adult children live here in the states and a move to Alaska would mean we couldn't visit them and our grandchildren very often
* The weather here is not usually this bad
* we love to take road trips, which in Alaska would be just within the state
* there are certain people still in Alaska that we intentionally moved away from
* while those late summer nights are fun ...
* they aren't as warm as the ones here
* they get annoying when you can't get enough sleep
* they come with winter nights that are much longer - with the sun rising after you have arrived at work or school and ofter setting before you get back home
* even though there isn't sales tax, the prices are slightly higher there, which kind of counteract each other
* earth quakes
* (for my hubby) shorter golf season

So, it would seem there are more in my cons list, but are the pro's weightier? Who knows? This is just an idea that we are batting around and don't intend to leave here for at least 2 or 3 years. I guess we will continue to discuss this for the next couple year and make a final decision based on how our business is doing by then and what kind of winters we have here between now and then (we will also be watching the weather in Alaska and making our comparison)