Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Battening Down the Hatches

So, they are predicting a "storm for the records" complete with blizzard warning and predictions of anywhere from 12-24" of snow here in the Chicagoland area. While the heaviest snowfall isn't supposed to really get started until later this afternoon, people have already lost their collective minds. I stopped by the grocery store this morning just to get some milk (can't run out of that or we'd risk being latte-free, an unacceptable state of affairs in our house) and the shelves were nearly empty. I ran into a neighbor who told me that, apparently, yesterday was so bad that people couldn't park their cars to even go into the Dominick's.

Now, call me a cynic, but is this really necessary? I don't know about most people but I have a pantry stocked far too full to ever give any concern that my family might starve unless we're forced to remain completely housebound for at least, like, a solid month. Sure, we'd be eating the canned salmon and stale Ritz crackers, but we're not about to risk empty bellies for quite some time. Do people really live so close to the edge that being unable to get out of the house for two or three days means they'd start eying the family pets like a cartoon pork chop?

Too, this storm might put a full stop to things for a few days, but I'm guessing by Friday the roads will be passable enough to make a grocery store run if absolutely necessary. We're not talking about Castaway levels of isolation, here. I get that the inability of delivery trucks to transport the goods necessary to restock empty shelves is a real possibility, meaning no milk or bread for a bit longer. Again, however, I doubt the stores will run completely out of food such that you wouldn't be able to find something to get you by if necessary. Take a cruise down the ethnic aisles and give couscous a try - it's fantastic.

The one pre-emptive effort I did make was to fill up the gasoline container for the snowblower, thinking we'd need the extra gas and wouldn't want to/have the ability to get to the gas stations. Unfortunately, I didn't know that you have to mix oil with the gas before using and now my husband is in a snit because he doesn't know what ratio we now have gas to oil-wise. I have to fix that before the snow starts flying. No good deed goes unpunished.

My kids are already planning for their almost-guaranteed snow day tomorrow. Hubby has cleared his schedule so he can work at home. I'm planning on doing nothing constructive since snow days are like surprise holidays and therefore should be treated as precious.

It will be interesting to look at this from the other side. I can't count how many times the media gears us up for some monster storm only to have it fizzle out. They shake their heads and tell us we were very lucky that this storm "took a turn south/north and we just barely missed it." If we end up with only three inches on the ground, I have some kids who will be mightily disappointed.

(Photo credit: Chicago Tribune archive photo, 1967)

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