This past weekend, all up and down the Eastern seaboard, we were under a “Winter Weather Advisory” or depending on where you lived south of us, a “Winter Storm Warning.” For the uninitiated out there, that means that we were getting a snowstorm. Interestingly, here in the Hudson Valley, we got less snow than say the Jersey Shore, but we had to shovel five or six inches. But the way the television news and their meteorologists (who used to be called “weathermen”) got all charged up, you would have thought that Armageddon was a-coming. Precipitation, even here in the precipitation capital of the world, is treated as a life-changing event. It’s not. It’s water that’s frozen and falls from the sky. Pretty magical when you think about it, but not cause for the alarm that was sounded here for two solid days prior to one flake falling.
I used to get worked up about the weather—both hot and cold—until I talked myself off the ledge and realized that one, we were not going to run out of food even if I didn’t go grocery shopping prior to the big “snow event,” as it was being called, and two, we would survive regardless of how long the storm lasted. According to the weather reports, I should have stockpiled enough food to last a week and one of us would definitely perish unless extreme precautions were taken.
There are a host of other pieces of advice. I list them below with my take on them.
1. Dress in layers. Needs no elaboration, you would think. Unless you’re child #2, who wears a short-sleeved tee shirt under an unzippered winter coat, and ankle sweat socks inside his boots. Are the meteorologists targeting child #2’s demographic, a group of 10-year-old boys who don’t feel the cold? I wonder about that all the time.
2. When shoveling, bend at the knees. I’ve been bending at the head. Is that wrong?
3. Don’t drive if you don’t have to. Unless you’re towing three hundred pounds of sand and wearing a DPW vest, I think this is very good advice.
4. Make sure you look in on elderly neighbors. Again, good advice. They’ve got all the stockpiled food. My grandmother, who died in 1981, was still using the sugar supply that she had stockpiled during World War II until the day she passed.
I made the mistake of going to a local drugstore chain on Saturday afternoon to buy Christmas lights. We were putting up the tree, and of course, only half of the lights were working. The snow hadn’t started yet, the start time being revised hourly as the storm passed us by and hammered our neighbors to the south and east. But the people at this local strip mall apparently hadn’t gotten the memo. Driving through the parking lot to find a spot, the panic was palpable. Did I mention that this strip mall houses a gourmet grocery store, the aforementioned chain drugstore, the post office, and most importantly, the liquor store? Frankly, I saw more bottle-shaped bags being hoisted in the parking lot than bags containing groceries. Jack Daniels, it would seem, is a much better companion, and a much better stockpiling option, than disposable razors or paper towels. Hushed whispers about snowfall totals punctuated my long wait at the drugstore.
“Did you hear? It could be TWO FEET!”
“I know! I had to come out and buy milk! We won’t get out until Monday, if we’re lucky!”
People, we live on the East Coast. We have had snowstorms before and we knew for an entire week that this one was heading our way. We will not be snowed in, despite what the meteorologists tell us. If we’re stuck inside for twelve hours, it will be a lot. My guess is closer to eight. (In actuality, it was more like…two.)
And as for those meteorologists, I know that they’re supposed to be smart people. But the one who was rabble rousing on our local channel this weekend once did an interview with Miss Puerto Rico, who just happened to be marching in the Puerto Rico day parade in New York City, and was conveniently wearing a sash across her ample bosom that read “Miss Puerto Rico.” His question to her?
“Where are you from?”
If I’m going to get my panties in a wad about the weather, I’m surely going to trust someone who can read cues better than this guy.
Happy holidays, Stiletto faithful!