No, this was not “winter storm <some stupid dumbass weather channel name>”. Seriously, just give it up, weather channel, no one is buying it. Hurricanes get named, blizzards get a year. The blizzard of 2016. End of discussion, your marketing scheme has failed. If we must name them, the people will come up with clever, witty, fun names without any need of yours to get involved. Snowmegeddon… Snowzilla… and this one I’m calling Snowfucked. As in… we are SNOW fucked… #Snowfucked2016 #WeAreSnowFucked #Blizzard2016 #NoWeatherChannelNames
We put in plenty of food in the lead up to the storm, so we had no reason to panic shop for bread, milk and the ever popular toilet paper (because apparently the mid-Atlantic region takes a huge number of shits during a snow storm… who knew!). Picked up a few six picks of beer, staged our shovels near the doorway, and watched it snow for 36 hours. And 36 inches. Ouch. We wrote, edited stories, read, watched movies and played online. Had a pretty nice time of it, too. Now comes the hard part.
We are a shoveling family. Sure, we could pay for plow guys to come dig us out, but we like the hard work that comes with moving the snow ourselves, and that sense of satisfaction when you finally clear the last encrusted wet nasty shit down by the road and start trudging back up the slippery slope just as another plow comes by and pushes the slop back into your fresh opening. I like to call that sloppy seconds. This one, though… this one has me seriously wondering how much a plow truck would cost. I’ve already been out for an hour, clearing a path from the kitchen door along the back of the house to the first bit of the driveway, and we’ve got four and five foot drifts out there. For fun I walked a little ways down the driveway, my legs buried to mid-thigh in the powdery fluffy whiteness. Great snow for playing in, lousy for making snowmen or forts. Tried to make a snow angel, but the snow is so soft I had a difficult time pushing myself back up onto my feet. We’ll take 30 minute shifts with long breaks in between, and maybe by the end of today we can get a big chunk of it done.
So how do you survive a blizzard? Well for one, grow up in Maine or other places that are used to them. You won’t see them as a cause to freak out so much. Then, do the following:
- Get some water in jugs put aside.
- Pay attention in winter to weather warnings way ahead of time. If there even seems to be a remote possibility of a coming big storm, shop THEN, don’t wait until the day before (because let’s face it, shopping the day before is incredibly stressful and half the shit is gone because of all the other folks panicking). Don’t worry about frozen stuff, even if the power goes out you’ve got plenty of snow and/or ice to work with to keep it cool.
- Have a “warm room.” Wood stove? Make sure you’ve got wood inside. If power goes out, that warm room will make things cozy for you. If you don’t have a wood stove or fireplace, see if you can insulate a small basement room with extra blankets and a couple of small lanterns for light and heat (be careful of fumes if they use propane). Hang extra blankets over doors and windows, press small towels into cracks. Break out the cards.
- Plenty to read, plenty to do. Keep yourself busy so you don’t get bored and go a little stir crazy.
- Plan for plowing ahead of time. The moment the storm is guaranteed to hit, call them and set up an appointment. If you wait until after the storm, they’re going to be busy, so get on the list early if you prefer to have someone clean the driveway for you.
- Mark out the driveway for plowing. Get some long thin poles and reflectors to put on them to line the edge. They need to stick up above the snow pack. Or if you know when they are coming, go out and walk the edges of it, give them something to mark with when they arrive.
- Collapsing roofs are the biggest problem if the snows are wet and heavy in particular. Have your roof checked in the summer. If you get a really heavy snow, you have no choice, you need to get up there and clean it. Yes, even during the storm. But only if your roof is flat(tish). Ours is very steep, though we have a couple of rooms on the first floor that aren’t part of the main structure and those roofs aren’t slanted as much. But they aren’t very wide, so I’m not worried they’ll carry too much weight.
- If it gets cold in your house due to loss of power, find the main water valve and turn it off. Turn on faucets to drain the line. You don’t want pipes freezing and exploding.
- Have plenty of books on hand. Paper and pen. Play fun games, like posting humorous hourly updates to Facebook. Cards. Board games. Spend naked time with your SO if you like them “that way.”
- Don’t get pissed if the people in real cold weather climates mock you for your overblown storm updates, they’re used to this shit.
And now back to my writing, already in progress. I’ll go shovel more later. Like I said… we are #Snowfucked2016