Posts tagged ‘blizzard’

How to Survive a Blizzard

Been off-line for a bit with no power due to the greatest amount of snow I’ve ever seen while living somewhere that shoveling it was my responsibility. I measured 21 inches on Saturday and have gotten another 5-7 between last night and today. (And it is still snowing.)

I was without power at my house for nearly 80 hours. No lights. No internet. No land-line phone. No stove. No furnace. And, for the first 48 hours or so, no way to leave the neighborhood without a much better pair of boots than those I own.

Am I glad it’s over? Hell yeah. But, it was, as these things often are, not an all-bad adventure and it was, as these things can always be, a learning experience. Here is some stuff I’ve learned.

1. Putting groceries out on the porch is a great idea because food that is ruined because it has frozen does not smell as bad as food that rots inside a refrigerator.

2. Chivas Regal snow cone? Not bad. Not bad at all.

3. In the early 70s, Panasonic made some kick-ass radios. A few posts back, I mentioned that I once had a very cool electric-blue radio shaped like a donut. Well, turns out, that very item was still in a box in the attic. I put in a battery and voi-de-la, after 30 years of non-use, it still worked. (And that is how I got to listen to Super Bowl 44.)

4. My thermostat only goes down to 45 degrees. Beyond that, who knows?

5. If you can see your own breath in your home, you need to be concerned about freezing pipes and . . . makes sense but who knew?. . . freezing toilet bowls and tanks. If turning the water off at the main and leaving immediately for Key West isn’t an option, the thing to do is leave the lowest faucet in the house running at a trickle and add a bit of anti-freeze to toilets and drains.

6. Shoveling snow is a good way to get warm. And, if it is cold enough in your house, even old, out-of-shape muscles do not ache from even the most extreme bouts of shoveling.

7. A well-timed cup of hot coffee can save a life.

8. When bad circumstances arise, people are pretty darn swell. They smile. They wave. They knock on doors. They lend a hand. They invite you in. They help each other shovel it out and laugh it off.

9. When bad circumstances arise, people are pretty damn stupid—like the lady who wouldn’t get out of the street, despite there being a good 10 feet of shoveled space right in front of her and despite the very icy conditions that make it impossible to completely, reliably control a vehicle and despite my very polite, genuinely concerned, and sincerely friendly pre-flight waving and honking before attempting my one and only slip-swerving, white-knuckled, come-on-baby shot to get up hill 1 of 3 to reach Home. Had I not managed to slide by within inches of her motionless, stubborn, hand-on-hip stare, I could have gladly used her fat ass for traction.

10. You can make an almost passable cup of tea with hot tap water.

11. Forget stocking up on T.P. and bread. Stock up on unread books!

12. If you place a lot of candles on cookie sheets lined with tin foil and fashion also a tin foil back drop of sorts, you can generate a bit of heat, do a crossword puzzle without squinting, and throw enough light that a neighbor will call to see if you somehow got your power back on.

13. Mini marts and Rite-Aids do not sell tonic water.

14. If you get dressed in the dark it is impossible to tell if your socks match.

15. You can survive without heat. You can survive without lights. You can survive on a strange variety of foodstuffs. You can survive without internet, facebook, and email. But you cannot survive without family and friends.

Thanks to those who noticed the absence. Thanks to those who tolerated the babbling when I did make contact. Thanks to all who offered help, concern, understanding, and cheer. The cockles of my heart never even caught a chill.

What did you learn in the blizzard of 2010?

February 10, 2010 at 8:59 am 2 comments

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