Facing the storm with a blizzard of preparations


I prepared all weekend for the storm.

Friday morning, 6 a.m.: Gathered kindling in the back yard while cleaning up after the dogs. Cut some old oak flooring. Ripped apart six cardboard shoe boxes. Pulled apart an old kitchen chair. The weather forecast made it clear: We would have to burn everything available.

Went shopping Friday, early afternoon. Fought the mob. Bought a turkey with a pop-up timer. Bought diapers. Bought one jug, milk. Bought one gallon, cranberry juice cocktail. The weather forecast made it clear: We would need to drink and eat everything available.

Bought dried fruit and Slim Jims, figuring, you know, it was the kind of ready-to-eat food I could stick in a pocket and keep with me if I had to leave the house. If I found myself stranded away from home for several days -- if I had a sudden urge to visit old friends in Garrett County -- I could sustain myself on the Dick Gregory Apricot-and-Slim-Jims Diet.

Next: Clothing. The weather forecast made it clear: This was a killer storm requiring killer clothing.

Broke out an old coat. Fetched my torn down vest. Patched it with duct tape so it would stop leaking.

Hip boots. . . . Couldn't find 'em. Spent most of Friday evening wondering where they were.

Ski gloves. . . . Spent a good part of Saturday and Sunday looking for 'em. Beautiful pair of ski gloves -- red, white and blue, as I recall. Bought 'em on sale at a ski resort. Jack Frost? Big Boulder? Big Jack? Frosty Boulder? Can't remember. Haven't worn 'em since. Still can't find 'em.

Ski pants. I have a pair. Navy blue, with suspenders and zippers on the ankles. Couldn't find 'em, either. Looked all weekend.

Batteries. No problem. We joined Price Club. We now have enough batteries to power the Light Rail line.

But, alas, I didn't have to use the batteries. We had power all weekend. And enough food. The need to eat batteries never presented itself.

(Also as a result of Price Club membership, we have a massive supply of toilet paper and, as a result of that, we have a fully insulated basement. I have enough shaving cream and razors to give the Iraqi army a new look, too. In some ways, you could say we started preparing for this major snowstorm the day we joined PC.)

Coleman stove. Check. We have one -- somewhere. Coleman lantern. Check. Looked all weekend. Couldn't find it. Might have left it in Pennsylvania last summer.

Got out the expensive, yuppie bread-baking machine developed by very smart Germans and marketed by even smarter Germans. Got out the flour. Checked for yeast. We had plenty of both. The weather forecast had made it clear: We would have to bake our own bread.

But, alas, the bread machine was not needed.

I got up bright and early Saturday morning and went, even as the first snow fell on Baltimore, to a 24-hour Giant. I went when I was sure there would be no crowds -- 4 a.m. The only bread left was Giant pita bread. Pita pockets. Lasted all weekend. Must be a preservative in 'em. Must be made from a recipe developed for fallout shelter supplies during the Cold War.

So, I didn't have to bake bread.

I didn't have to break out batteries.

I didn't have to eat Slim Jims.

What kind of blizzard was this?

All in all, it was a beautiful weekend, a grand time for cocooning.

I read "Aladdin" to my little Nick Saturday afternoon and we fell asleep.

In other words, I had a nap!

It felt great, too. It fully energized me to deal with the rest of the storm.

In fact, while we're on the subject, let me say something about naps. Naps are good. Naps should be part of our national health policy. Someone tell Hillary.

Hardship? It was a bad storm, but we've seen worse in these parts.

It seems to me that, with all the dire predictions and hyperbolic warnings that came from the weather wonks on Thursday and Friday, anyone who got stuck in this snow . . . well, I won't say they deserved it. I'll just say they were recklessly daring. How's that? Or should I call them common-sensically challenged?

Or perhaps I should refrain from judgments and just say this:

Next time, and always -- stay home! Prepare for the worst.

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