The Backwoods

Where we teeter between our love of modern convenience and the yearning for something long past; a world where neighbors knew your name and a “Friend Request” was eye contact and a smile.

Frozen Assets

Posted · 23 Comments


This afternoon I drove down to HOOKED ESPRESSO here in Ninilchik, Alaska.  Hooked is the coffee shop owned by my teen daughter, Destini.

(Read about that HERE and this story will make a lot more sense.)

I’ve not been down to Hooked in several months though I’ve driven by a thousand times. Destini is closed in the winter while off at college so there has really been no reason for me to venture down.  But sometimes the desire for creamy coffee concoctions can lead to desperate measures, including forging snow drifts in search of a flavor.

The first thing I noticed is that the portable coffee shop which sits up on a trailer with wheels, seemed to have shrunk. The front door was shorter, the drive-thru suddenly easy access for children or small animals. I unlocked the door and it didn’t budge. I then looked down at my feet and realized I was standing about a foot higher than the norm. And it wasn’t snow….it was ice. I kicked the door until it flew open, stepped inside and let out a loud, slack jawed, OH MY CRAP.

We’d been flooded. Then frozen…then flooded some more until the entire floor of the shop was submerged in inches of ice as from somewhere behind the building, water emerged from the swamp land to engulf the bottom of our building. The refrigerator door was frozen shut.  The broom froze in place where last it swept. Essentially everything that was on the floor had become one giant iceberg.  And the rustic wood floor, sawmilled from local trees, a solid floor that has held up for years, three owners, and thousands of footprints…was buckled and ruined. Essentially the entire bottom foot of the building will have been destroyed by the time summer brings a thaw.

The tool with which we teach our children business, both loss and success, has been destroyed by the ravages of an Alaska winter.

Destini’s college fund no longer operable without thousands of dollars in repairs. For a business that might gross $10,000 all summer long…the profit is just not there.

And as we step back and evaluate our options, mourning the potential loss of our daughter’s summer income, we have to think there is a reason for this catastrophe. Something to be learned, growth to be had…perhaps even a positive result will emerge from the ruins. We can only hope.


The front deck is somewhere under this berg…


Railing concreted in ice…


Several inches of ice on more than 3/4 of the floor…


Ice from beneath has pushed up the floor and buckled the wood…


See the solid ice sticking up in the bottom of the doorway? That’s how thick the ice is from the ground up…at least 18 inches from the dirt at this point.


How Hooked appeared in the Fall when we closed…Destini’s college fund…not any more!


23 Responses to "Frozen Assets"
  1. Sarah Joslyn says:

    So when’s the Kickstarter going up? I’d help. Seriously, think about it! All these readers who love you guys. You’d have that place working again in no time.

  2. Kat says:

    Don’t assume it’s a total loss yet. Wait for the thaw and then reassess. It might not be as devastating once the ice/water recedes. Can she live with a buckled floor (if it isn’t a hazard), do the machines still work, what can be replaced on freecycle or craigslist? If not, how can we help?

  3. countrygalbelieves says:

    I would love to donate too..! When someone figures out if it can be done… let us know!!!

  4. Kelly M (MN) says:

    Totally agree with folks. You have a following on your blog, please ask us. The only thing I’d throw out there is I doubt Kickstarter would approve this kind of project (they have strong guidelines to be accepted). I’ve just learned about Indiegogo, which is a rival to Kickstarter. They have more relaxed guidelines AND you get to keep the money you raise (if you don’t hit your kickstarter goal, all the money goes back to the donors). Anyway, just a thought. ASK US, WE’LL HELP!

  5. I had ask one time why your house was on stilts. Now I know.

  6. I would invest in her business. Long term .

  7. polishmomma says:

    I second the Kickstarter idea!

  8. Nancy says:

    Give us the go ahead. I’m sure most of your readers will help Destini out… I feel so bad for her..

    • Crystal says:

      This. I am hoping there’s insurance…but if not, or if it’s not enough…I’m sure your readers will help, I know I’m willing <3

  9. Ross Atenveldt says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this. But you have an amazing family, Keri. I know that you will find a way to help a Phoenix arise from these ashes.

  10. Peggy Nichols says:

    Let me know if you start a fund for her!

  11. Sombrera says:

    Create a Kickstarter project and ask us to help promote & fund it. Then ask people you respect to tweet about it to their followers. Hooked will live again. 🙂

  12. Say the word BWM, we’ll work together to find a way to help! 🙂

  13. Djenn Kenaz says:

    If there IS a Kickstarter thing for this, let me know. I want to donate–AND I will help promote it!! Y’all have worked TOO HARD and for TOO LONG to let this go……..

  14. Lois Groat says:

    I’m sorry, so sorry. I agree with the Kickstarter people. How many readers do you have? If we each gave $20…

  15. Kristy K. James says:

    I agree with Lark. I just heard about Kickstarter a couple of weeks ago when an author friend mentioned she was doing one. Apparently it’s pretty common, and this sounds like a great cause. I’m sure there are a lot of people who would be willing to help a young lady working her way through college.

  16. Lynn Falconer says:

    It will be a hard thing to walk into after the thaw. But one thing I know, the Riley family are strong, stick together folk. If anything can be salvaged it will be and what can not will be moved out. Something else will take the place of Hooked, perhaps another building or work in another area. Good luck Destini, don’t be down, this creates a further opportunity.

  17. Pam in California says:

    Something good, somehow, will come of this. Yikes!

  18. Lark says:

    Oh no! Would it be worth it to create a Kickstarter project to raise money for the repairs?

  19. Megan Ancheta says:

    I am so, so sorry. I can only imagine how devastating this would be – especially for Destini. Sending you all lots of hugs. 🙁

  20. Holly Malone says:

    How sad! Poor Destini

  21. So sorry. Won’t insurance cover this?

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