Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Blizzard of 2010 Round 1 or Survival Skills When You Are Snowbound

We just finished with the 3rd snowstorm for the year and the weatherman says to expect the 4th one today. No rest for the weary and snow bound here in Southern Maryland (aka Washington DC Metro area).

My ordeal started last week after returning from a business trip in San Diego, getting home at 10 pm Thursday night. I woke up, jetlagged, Friday morning to light but steady snow which never let up and just got heavier and heavier and heavier. The photo above was taken at about 9:00 in the morning of 2/6. It's snowing but my lenses didn't capture that - I didn't bother changing the setting. As you can see the pool is now an ice rink and everything is pretty much covered and things were just getting started.

Then late Friday night -- we lost power! And we didn't get power restored till Monday. Oh, yeah, my house is 100% electricity - no gas for heat or cooking, george! Survival training kicked in. We had batteries, some tea lights (I really don't like using candles as they can be fire hazards), water, enough food in the fridge and pantry. Our biggest concern was firewood. We definitely had to ration it and to supplement the fire Mike used his stash of printing samples. The power company didn't have a clue on when they could restore power. They were estimating 5 - 7 days!

I must say, we did pretty well during the power out. We hunkered in the living room by the fireplace. We had music on my iPod till it ran out of power. After that, my son, Iggie mcgyvered an old Walkman attaching it to a speaker so we had music and could listen to the radio for any news updates. Iggie also took out Monopoly and proceeded to kick our butts. I went bankrupt within four hours and he and Mike went on for most of the day but Mike's coffers got cleaned out as well - hotel rent in Marvin Gardens will do that to you!
Meal times, I cooked in our fireplace. Mike would build a fire that's not too hot, put a grate over it for a flat surface. I sacrificed one of my skillets to cook our meals in. My mountain climbing days kicked in and for breakfast fare we still had fried eggs, ham which I would glaze with brown sugar (melt the brown sugar with a pat of butter and warm the ham in it - be careful not to burn the sugar though.). I even did pancakes. Iggie asked for toast one morning and I just gave him a "you're pushing it, kid" look. For meals, I roasted hot dogs, cooked hamburgers and generally warmed up leftovers we had in the fridge, did some garlic fried rice upon request from the growing teenager who by now, I'm ready to auction off coz he's eating us out of house and home! Not to mention demanding gourmet food out of my fireplace!

In the evening, we slept in the living room by the fireplace, of course. But because we had to ration the firewood, we couldn't afford to keep the fire burning all night. We had every sleeping bag and thick and thin blanket we could use. The thermostat dipped so low inside the house that it looked like it was in the 30's. Brrr!

Sunday, we decided to tackle the snow in our parking lot. We had about 4 feet high and 6 feet wide of snow behind the car that we needed to clear out. The snowplow that cleared the street in our development did a great job of packing the snow behind all the cars! Anyway, we cleared out our space and our neighbor's as well. They're a nice elderly couple and the man, unfortunately, is also ill with cancer. We were at it for hours till finally the bobcat hired by our development finally made it to our side and cleared the last of the snowpile. We were so happy, we even tipped the guy! Mission accomplished.

By this time, I was worried the food in the freezer would spoil so I placed them in a styrofoam box, packed in some snow and placed it out in the balcony also covered with snow. I also filled the crisper and the snack trays from our fridge with snow and placed that in the fridge to keep things cool. It worked and no food lost to spoilage.

Come Monday morning and we have power at last! However, there's news of Blizzard #2 due to hit Tuesday (which is today). Mike ventured out to get more firewood and he managed to secure some. So we wait for the next snow storm. Monday and Tuesday - school is closed, bus service is sporadic if any at all, Metro is running with 30 minute wait time but will close as soon as the storm hits, federal government is closed, road accidents for drivers who get careless, sidewalks are non-existed so pedestrians who have to be out there are walking on the road. Winter in DC.

Here are more photos:
The parking lot war zone - that pile of snow is over 5 feet high.I guess these people said, "The heck with it! The car stays buried."
After breaking your back shoveling snow to clear your parking spot, you deserve to reserve it. Love the irony of using a beach chair!
At end of it all, Mommy, Daddy, baby and little doggie are safe and happy! Stay warm America!


Anna said...

Regina, I give you huge props for cooking in the fireplace and to cook such great foods, too! You are amazing! I hope you don't lose power again with this storm. We are getting part of that same storm here in NE Ohio, so I kind of feel your pain. (We just haven't lost power). Hope, too, you were able to restock the wood pile some.

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