Surviving Winter 101

I have always joked that I am prone to Murphy’s Law (whatever can go wrong will), but I never actually believed it. This past winter has convinced me that perhaps I AM a little more prone to Murphy’s Law than I originally thought.

Growing up in a warm climate was never really exciting because there was no variation. We didn’t have snow days where the kids run out in the streets and build snowmen, have intense snowball fights with snow forts, or injure themselves while sledding. And while there were times where these things were missed, at the end of the day, I was warm and those poor suckers were stuck in the cold for months at a time. Well, all those years of warmth and going to the beach in the dead of winter have caught up to me.

My birthday was last week (HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!!) and as a gift, the frozen tundra decided that it wanted to give me the third worst blizzard in the past 50+ years. So here I am, Speakeasy, a kid who has never had to deal with elements before, trying to survive the THIRD WORST blizzard in the past 50+ years. Good news is, I’m surviving. Don’t worry, this isn’t some post from beyond the grave bullshit, its just really cold here.

So, let me start with the things that I still can’t get over, that way I can explain all the knowledge I have acquired over the past week.

1. Snow drifts are unpredictable and require that you proceed with caution. As a member of team being green (ok, who am I kidding, I just don’t have money for a car at the moment), I generally walk from point A to point B. Something I have never seen before are what is known as snow drifts. Imagine sand dunes and the topography of them, now subtract the sand and warmth and add snow and freezing cold, now you have your very own snow drift. Snow drifts don’t normally require a lot of attention however because I have perfect timing, I get to try to navigate them when they are three times the size that they normally are. I mean, my neighbor across the street in a one story house has a snow drift that reaches the roof… the fucking ROOF (the cool thing about it is, no one needs ladders, they just climb the snow to get on the roof). So, walking in these conditions are a little more difficult than normal and I have to leave extra early and proceed with caution so as to not get hit by a car that doesn’t see me/ I don’t see because we are both being covered by a snow drift.

2. Having a good snowblower is Important. After Frostini the Blizzard (yes, I did just decide to name the blizzard Frostini) came to town, the next part was trying to dug ourselves out of the house… and I seriously mean DIG ourselves out. I have heard the term “snowed in” before, but I don’t think it really sets in until you are standing at the door looking at a minimum of three feet of snow everywhere. The first thought that went through my head was, ‘ok, once we get this cleared, we’ll be fine’ but then I quickly realized that even after I finish removing snow from my house, none of the streets are plowed so there is no way to get from point A to point B without getting stuck. On our street alone, there were 4 cars just hanging out in the middle of the street because they got stuck and people just left them. Like I said, it was intense. Anyway, having an awesome snowblower makes a world of difference. It took me about 2 hours to snowblow the driveway, walkway to the front door, sidewalks and part of the street in front of the house. What’s amazing about this is that, with a shitty snowblower, it took other people 3-4 times as long to blow the same amount. And the unfortunate people who don’t have a snowblower or theirs broke ended up shoveling snow by hand for the better part of AT LEAST 2 days, unless they had awesome friends who would come help them.

3. Cabin fever is real and something that you have to learn to deal with. Frostini the Blizzard hit around 3 pm on Tuesday (of course right when I was leaving work, luckily, I have a wonderful guy who takes care of me so I didn’t have to brave the elements), and lasted until about 11 am on Wednesday. That doesn’t sound like a lot of time, but add in the time for shoveling and the fact that you are pretty much immobile because all the streets aren’t plowed, and you’re looking at potentially being stuck indoors for 2.5-3 days minimum. Cue the movie marathon! After a while, you start burning though all forms of entertainment: movies, boardgames, reading, exercising (if you have some sort of equipment at home), alcohol, weed, and various other adult activities. Ultimately, surviving the cabin fever part of a blizzard comes down to surrounding yourself with good people, like a guy who will sit in traffic for half an hour to travel a distance of 1 mile to pick you up so that you don’t have to walk it. : )

4. Have FUN with it. Being snowed in is a shitty situation. Shoveling snow sucks a lot. Its a very cold, wet and miserable experience. However, there are awesome parts about it. I went over to the aforementioned boy’s house the day after Frostini the Blizzard left town and we definitely had some good times playing in the snow. We busted out a ladder and jumped off of it a few times into the snow and the beautiful thing about it is, everything is fresh powder so its like jumping into a giant pile of pillows. There were contests to see who could jump further into the snow and there were shovels of snow being flung at one another. There were even bets being made as to whether or not said guy could run through a wall of snow (I won that one, and he made it about half way before he just fell the rest of the way). And the best part is, when you get tired of playing in the snow, you go inside and change out of wet clothes into warm dry clothes, make a cup of tea (hot chocolate, coffee, pick your poison), and cuddle in bed under a warm blanket.

I survived my first blizzard. There were parts that were challenging, but overall, I think it was a really good experience for me. Things are slowly starting to get back to normal with the exception of there still being A LOT of snow everywhere. There are mounds of snow everywhere because there is no place to put it and its way to cold for any of it to start melting. But the streets are plowed and people are mobile and living life once again. I have some great stories out of my first blizzard and I will always remember my first winter.

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