Snowbound and Teetering on the Edge of Sanity
"Roads closed, pipes frozen, albinos...virtually invisible. The National Weather Service has upgraded Springfield's blizzard from "Winter Wonderland" to a "Class 3 Kill-Storm"!" -- Kent Brockman, "The Simpsons"
When I received Arlington County's email alert last Thursday advising residents to be prepared to shelter in place for three to five days, I smirked. Here in DC, we're well-known for our propensity to panic at the first sign of a snowflake. If the forecast calls for flurries, you can bet that every retail outlet in the metro area will soon run out of milk, bread, and toilet paper.
Only this time, it wasn't a joke. We got hit, hard, last Friday, amassing nearly 30 inches of snow. It was awesome, and not in a good way. And then, just as we were in the midst of unburying ourselves, we got hit again. Hard. The blizzard that began yesterday is nearly over tonight, but we reportedly received another 15 or so inches. Finding ways to stay sane when snowbound for days on end with two small children in a tiny house has been challenging, to say the least. Oh, who am I kidding? It has SUCKED, big-time.
But it's a new year, and in light of real tragedy in the world, I've decided to count my blessings during these storms:
We have electricity, and we have heat. Oh yes, we have heat. And it's been radiating from my children. Like dueling piano players, my kids have been taking turns running fevers. Croc, the baby, was diagnosed with bronchiolitis a week ago, and he sounds like he's been smoking two packs of Lucky Strikes a day for all of his five young months. Our pediatrician cautioned me that Pumpkin, the three-year-old, could develop a milder form of what he had, and damn if she wasn't right on with her prediction. (She didn't predict that both my husband and I would also come down with evil stomach viruses, but that's a story for another toilet. Hopefully not yours.)
We have a roof over our heads... for now. Among the many "charming" attributes of our 1940's-era townhouse is its flat roof. That fact briefly crossed my mind during the first storm, but I dismissed it, thinking I was being paranoid. Then Arlington sent an email advising us flat roof-dwellers to be mindful of signs of roof distress, such as popping, cracking, or creaking sounds. I'm no math expert, but 30 inches of snow plus an additional 15 inches, all on top of my roof... sounds like a lot. Gah! Did you hear something? Like a cracking sound? Or was that just the last of my sanity?
We have plenty of food. And all the major food groups are represented: chocolate group, fried snacks group, FD & C Red No. 3 group, and the special adult category, the liquids that come in a 750 ml bottle group. If I look hard enough, I might also find some Cheerios, and perhaps some apple juice for my daughter. Croc is breastfed, so he's covered, as long as I haven't spent much time in the 750 ml bottle group. What can I say, I used my pre-storm prep time to stock up on comfort foods. Do I have fresh fruit? No. But I'm happy to offer you a bag of naturally and articificially-flavored My Little Pony fruit snacks. It won't kill you, ok? (Not right away, anyway.)
Snowmageddon, Snowpocalypse, Snoverkill, SNOMG! Whatever you want to call it, I'm snow-ver it. And I'm waving the white flag at Mother Nature, but something tells me she might not see it. You know, because of all the snow.