Since it is apparent we’re not going to avoid another killer snow, it looks like we’ll be inundated with all the common-sense things you should do in an extreme weather event for the next couple of days. But having been through a bunch of these, allow me to add 5 more:
1. Go buy furnace filters. If you’re like me, you replace them the first time you run the air conditioning each year and the first time you switch over to heat. Twice a year usually works. But the last time we got one of these 2-foot snowstorms, I noticed the heat wasn’t keeping up that well. Thinking “oh great, there’s something wrong with the furnace at the worst time of the year” I then noticed it seemed to be running in shorter cycles. So I went down and replaced the furnace filter, even though I had just done so a few months prior. Don’t know if it’s all the moisture in the air turning dust into oatmeal, but it fixed the problem immediately. I replaced the filters in both upstairs and in the basement yesterday just in case. For $20, it’s a cheap insurance policy.
2. Go look for your gloves NOW. Snows like this last over multiple days, and you will need multiple coats and gloves. I started out each time with one coat and 2 gloves, came back in covered in sweat, and couldn’t go back out with a hat and gloves that were wet from both the snow and sweat. If you’re young and in great shape, perhaps you can wait until it stops and shovel out 2 feet. I ended up going out multiple times, trying to get it in 8-inch segments, so I went through three different sets of gloves, hats, sweatshirts and coats. Finding them now prevents any domestic disharmony that could be created by asking “what did you do with my stuff?”
3. Check on your neighbors. When I moved here, I was just over 40, and my next door neighbor was in his 60s. I saw him out one day trying to shovel snow and told him to go inside; I’ve been doing both our driveways ever since. The last thing in the world I wanted to see was my neighbor having a health crisis over something I could easily handle. My problem now is I’m almost 60 and he’s 80. We’re both waiting for some young neighbor to come up and tell me “old man, go inside, I got this.”
4. Everyone makes a run for milk, bread and toilet paper, but consider ingredients for dishes that make a house smell like a home. We always brew a big pot of chili, forego the Keurig and keep pots of coffee going during the day, and typically bake some cookies. It may be my imagination, but a snowstorm seems to keep the aromas inside the house more and make the place smell like it’s a holiday. And if you’re running back and forth outside shoveling snow all day and night, it’s a lot easier to grab a bowl of chili and a cup of coffee that’s already made than coming inside and wondering what you can consume for energy before going back out.
5. Dig out those old laptops and charge them. Everyone remembers to charge everything that can be charged, but the laptops get overlooked. It’s not because you’ll use them. But your cellphone becomes not only your phone, but your internet gateway when the power is down. It’s priority No. 1 when it comes to keeping something running. Those old laptops have USB ports which will charge a phone. They won’t work with IPADS, but they will recharge a phone.
Keep in mind that when you’re prepared, it means it won’t snow. If you assume it won’t snow, we get dumped on. So because everyone is saying it will snow this far in advance, I’m skeptical it will really happen. But it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Worst thing that happens is we will get to have chili on Saturday :)