Tuesday, January 26, 2016

SNOW

We were trapped in our house here on the western North Shore of Long Island from very early Saturday morning until late Sunday afternoon due to 30 inches of snow in the immediate area.  That's a huge amount of snow, all coming down in a 20 hour period.  Fortunately the predicted high winds did not arrive and there was no ice storm involved.  That means that there was no good reason for power to be off in our area, and for once it was not.  Our Sandy inspired generator did not need to kick in and since it has not been serviced in almost five months, that's a test we did not miss.

We had company.  Two of the caretakers that work here were also trapped here.  A more than adequate amount of food had been planned in advance, but just for us.  Always maintained supplies of cereal, oatmeal, pasta, Rao's marinara sauce, couscous, and Progresso minestrone soup(add tabasco to taste, and dashes of cumin and fennel pollen) supplemented what we had.  It was fine.

The storm of this magnitude was a surprise.  Generally speaking, I discount the dire forecasts of the weathermen, as they are rarely right and seem to be designed to keep television viewers staring at pictures of reporters being rained on, reporters valiantly hanging onto a railing as they speak, or reporters standing in water or snow up to their knees.  They want viewers.  With Jonas, as this storm was called, the forecast for our area was first 8 to 12 inches of snow, then a final 12 to 18 as the storm hit.  That would have been tough.  30 inches was almost impossible.

Others were taking the storm more seriously than I was the day before.  Grocery store shelves were depleted, as in empty, when looking for basic items.  There were no Thomas's English muffins of any type when we went, after we grabbed our carton of eggs there only one left, and prepared food entrees were in short supply, meaning only the least desirable were left.  One thing on our list that was plentiful was Tide. As a friend noted to me, people were not worried about doing their laundry.

At the time, I attributed this panic buying just to "Sandy trauma".  Little did I know.  In fact Sandy was the last storm that came in far beyond any forecasts.  The 2012 Sandy hurricane was forecast correctly as extremely large and dangerous.  What was completely missed until the day two before was that a major storm coming down from Canada in an easterly direction would conjoin with Sandy to create the monster that it would become.  Many people, including us, will never forget that experience and now Jonas has reconfirmed the fear.  Some in the house will no doubt be watching or listening to weather forecasts intently and often for the remainder of the winter.

After badgering our spoiled, lazy, and not too bright(a reliably bad combination) snow removal contractor to finish the job on our driveways(he would only remove the snow in front of one garage door at first as it was "too hard" to do more.  I suggested that he and his compatriot get out of the cab of their plow truck and use a shovel. He replied, looking astounded, "Shovel?"), we are set. Surrounding areas are not and driving is dangerous as many two way roads are practically speaking just one lane and any intersection without a stoplight is difficult due to high piles of snow on all sides.

We were lucky with this one.  If the worst part of the experience was just the realization of being trapped, less food choice, and eating a supposedly fiber healthy but faux English muffin that tasted like baked sawdust, that's a wonderful outcome compared to Sandy, which keeps coming back to our minds in times like this and always will.

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