Unless you are living under a rock (or on the West Coast, possibly), you know my fellow mid-Atlantic-dwellers and I are currently experiencing a record-breaking December snowstorm, which the Weather Channel has dubbed "a winter wallop." Now, aside from the obvious grumbling that this had to happen on a weekend and couldn't buy us all a few days off work by doing its walloping on, say, a Tuesday, I've learned a few things in the past 12 hours. With the exception of a year and a half I spent being a Viking in Copenhagen, Denmark, I've lived in the mid-Atlantic region (Maryland) since I was nearly 8; the better part of, um, 15 years?! Eeep. Anyway, my point is not to age myself. My point is to illustrate that I should have a basic understanding of what you need before -- and what you need to do after -- a major snowstorm. Here's a list of things I've come up with of basic things responsible adults need to do before a snowstorm.
Things Adults do Before and After Snowstorms
1. Buy salt for sidewalks and walkways.
(I live in a house, not an apartment where they have groundskeepers to "de-snow" for you). I realized we should probably get salt for our walkway around, oh, 9:30 last night, after it had already started snowing. I needed to go to the grocery store anyway, so I thought it wouldn't be a big deal to pick a bag of rock salt for the walk there. Unfortunately, rock salt is either hardware store-exclusive or they were completely sold out of three grocery stores. I'm guessing the latter, considering it was already snowing and meteorologists have been predicting snowpocalypse since Wednesday. More on grocery store madness in a minute.
Anyway, being the resourceful Bob-Villa-cum-McGyver that I am, I picked up a $.52 container of table salt and decided that would work for the walk (we don't have sidewalks in our neighborhood and thus aren't bound under sidewalk clearing laws -- in my parents' neighborhood, they have to be cleared within 12 hours of the end of snowfall). I came home, ripped the spout off the container and "liberally" "sprinkled" the walk. When I woke up this morning and saw over a foot of snow outside my bedroom window, I ran to the front door, anxious to see my salt at work, doing it's chemical-melting-thang on the walk. Um, no. EPIC FAIL #1.
2. Locate your snow shovel. Place it by the front door, ready for action.
Last night, I was explaining my brillant table-salt-on-the-walk idea to my roommate (sounding overly pleased with my "resourcefulness," I'm sure). I distinctly remember saying something along the lines of "No worries if it doesn't work, we have a snow shovel." Well. Thing I've learned number two is that you need to know where your snow shovel is to USE it. Like, if it's sitting out back, leaning against the side of the house, maybe go grab it before there is over a foot of snow on the ground. Now I have no idea where our snow shovel is and the table-salt-on-the-walk brilliant chemical reaction isn't working. EPIC FAIL #2. This will probably become EPIC FAIL #s 3, 4 and 5 when my roommates and I need to "dig" our cars out.
3. Go to the grocery store, stock up on necessities, like bananas.
Wait, bananas? As mentioned above, I did have the foresight above to go to the grocery store (after it had already started snowing) to get some "necessities." "Necessities" for me included soy creamer for my coffee and cottage cheese. Normal people's snow storm "necessities" include things like soup, milk, eggs and bananas. Wait, bananas? Yes. Man, it was crazy. I just wanted two or three bananas to go with my greek yogurt and oatmeal and you'd think that bananas are out of season on the East Coast (haha, wait a second...!). In all seriousness, though, three out of three grocery stores I visited were completely out of bananas. In two of the three, the banana area of the produce section looked like the water aisle at Harris Teeter in Charleston after Hurricane Hugo. There were ripped open banana boxes everywhere and not a banana in sight. When checking out of the second store, I spied one lonesome, already-browning banana right by checkout. I grabbed it. The old woman in line in front of me was like "Wow, where'd you find that banana?" I was pleased to have gotten what was probably the last unclaimed banana in three states. In retrospect, I probably should have offered to give it to her. Oh well.
It's still snowing, so this list will probably grow once it stops. I'm going to gear up and go on a Snow safari to find the snow shovel and, once I do, pretend the excursion was my plan the whole time. Maybe I'll also go visit Mike Seidel, Weather Channel's on-location reporter in Tenleytown (about a mile from me) who just said "oops, I tripped over slush" on the air. Maybe I can audition to be the next Jim Cantore. Where is my favorite meteorologist, anyway?
Stay safe, DC. Don't let your white pets out in the snow. Enjoy your bananas.