What to do when a Blizzard Turns into an Ice Storm with a Bonus Power Outage

In case you missed the news, the east coast was abused and assaulted by snow, ice and high winds Monday night into Tuesday. Power in my area went out at around 7:30am and didn’t come back on until about 6:30pm. Some people in the region were still without power this morning.

In between my four naps yesterday, I had some time to think about things I could have done to be better prepared and entertained while waiting for the power to come back on. Here is my list. (In no particular order…):

  1. Layer up – Wear two or more pairs of socks, heavy sweat pants, long sleeve t-shirt, heavy sweatshirt and hair bonnet (to keep head and ears warm). Gloves, optional.
  2. Stay out of the fridge – As much as you can, keep the fridge closed to prevent food from spoiling.
  3. Take a cell phone picture of the contents of the fridge – so you won’t have have to keep opening the door to see what’s in there.
  4. Use your phone for emergencies only – Curb your usual daily usage habits! Don’t take a lot of pictures, stream video, etc. Trust me, you can live without social media for a few hours!
  5. Use protection – Do I really need to spell this one out? Ô_o
  6. Purchase room temperature edibles before the storm – Most people go for milk, bread, and eggs to make it through the storm. But consider purchasing things like: bananas, oranges, apples, bread (still makes the list), chips,  and peanut butter. Don’t forget about the packages of jelly you swipe from your favorite greasy spoon. They come in handy at times like this!
  7. Make sure the heavy comforters and blankets are clean – You may need to layer up in bed as the temperature drops overnight.
  8. Books – Real books. Paperback, hardcover, any genre, any topic that tickles your fancy. Curl up under the layered blankets and read your heart out!
  9. Make lists – That’s what I did while waiting fro the power to be restored. Try it. It’s quite therapeutic!
  10. Talk – If you live with other people, this is a great way to pass the time and get to know each other better! If you live alone, talk to yourself. (I’m being serious!) It’s a great way to problem solve or brain dump!

What would you add to this list? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Snow Day
Snow Day by Nike Writes
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Happiness Thieves

It happens every holiday. The holiday thieves come out of the woodwork to steal your happiness and enlighten you as to why you need to be as “woke” (meaning enlightened, mentally and spiritually evolved) as they are. If you celebrate a religious holiday like Christmas or Easter, you are labeled as “sheeple,” and pretty much called stupid for daring to celebrate these religious traditions for various reasons that they have spent countless hours researching. It’s a little worse when days like Valentine’s Day or Sweetest Day roll around. The “too woke” crew starts barking about how it’s just a holiday created by the candy industry to take your money, and how you shouldn’t need a holiday to remind you to tell someone you love them. If you really love a person you should give them flowers every day! Say, “I love you,” everyday. (How many times have you seen one of these “too woke” people holding a bouquet of roses and professing their love to anyone on a non-holiday? Yeah…my point exactly!!!)

It’s sad, because these “Too Woke” folk come off as angry and unhappy. (I’m sure they have a few good days, here and there.) They are always finding fault with everyone else’s joy. So what if I spend MY hard earned dollars on some cheap chocolate and flowers on a designated day of the year? The problem is, you’re TOO WOKE! Lack of sleep makes you cranky (and quite annoying to the rest of us well rested folk)! So, to all of you “Too woke” people that may read this, I encourage you to look at this Valentine’s Day as a day of rest. Take a chill pill. Meditate on happy things (please). Read a book and continue your course on February 15 when the celebration of love is over. Buy some discount candy on the 15th and experience some of the love you’ve been missing. Share some of your discounted candy haul with your significant other and see what happens.

And for all my “sheeple” out there, I wish you much love!

 

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It was a dark and stormy night…

Actually, it was the third dark and stormy night this week. While I usually enjoy rainy days, this was too many days of precipitation in a row. It was making my body ache. My bones creaked like a set of old wooden stairs. My hips, thighs, knees and back protest whenever I try to raise myself from the edge of the bed or out of a chair.

Why didn’t anyone tell me that once you reach a certain age, your body will fight you for every vegetable you didn’t eat and pull-up you didn’t do? Well, if you’re reading this, consider yourself warned!

Today was a better day. It was overcast, but not as drab as it’s been since Friday, which gave me a little bit of energy. A few more days like this, and I should feel a little more like myself in no time.

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Sleeping Fennec Fox

Overload

Sometimes the issue isn’t not having enough to write, it’s having too many things (writing related and non-writing related) rolling about in your head at once!

Today was one of those days. :-/

I’m going to try again tomorrow.

 

Breaks and Breathing Room

I took a break from the 30 day challenge yesterday. It’s necessary sometimes. Writing happened in the wee hours of the morning, but nothing coherent that I thought you would appreciate. (I certainly wouldn’t appreciate just reading story notes! I want the meat with the potatoes!)

I spent the last day chewing on some thoughts about the latest Black*ish episode that everyone is talking about. Because those thoughts are more political in nature, I posted my thoughts here. I’d love it if you took a read and shared your thoughts on Medium. I like to keep this site focused on the sharing fiction, poetry and writing tips.

I will be back tomorrow with a short story. It’s going to be a continuation of a previous post that I left with a bit of a cliffhanger! (You all have been asking about the rest of this story! 😀 ) You’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out which story it is!

Until tomorrow, friends!

 

Due to Inclement Weather…

There will not be a story posted today due to inclement weather and other unscheduled fun activities. I’ll be back tomorrow with an interesting lesson I learned while driving through snow and foolishness.

But if you are REALLY fiending for something to read on a wintery day, you may want to grab a warm beverage and back-blog and binge on these posts:

Enjoy your evening!

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Happy New Year!

 

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Welcome to the new year! This month, planners and organizers are flying off the shelves, gym memberships are up, people are making resolutions that they’ll forget before the month ends, and quippy slogans about how great the is year is going to be are rolling off people’s tongues! Ain’t tradition grand?

There is something to be said for having a symbolic starting point. January 1st seems like a great time to set or reset goals. But maybe, instead of setting goals once a year for the entire year, it might be more manageable to set one or two goals to achieve by the end of each month. That way, one isn’t putting too much pressure on his- or herself. I’ve found that process works for me quite well. I actually get more done and meet more of my goals with this “bite sized” approach than giving myself a 12-month deadline.

So, whether you are setting weight-loss goals, or trying to be better organized in 2017, just remember that there are 365 days in a year. You can only live them one day at a time. Whatever wonderful things you set your hands to, I wish you much success in 2017!

Happy New Year!

 

Sometimes I Wonder

Sometimes, I wonder about him. He was devastated. I called him about a business matter, but he mentioned his pain. I couldn’t ignore his grief. His father died. I told him I understood. I could relate to him losing someone he loved, because I’d lost someone recently, too. I told him it would take time to heal, and how crazy family can be during a time of loss because everyone is trying to show the deceased how much they were loved and appreciated. There’s not a blueprint for how to grieve. Everyone does it differently. I wonder if he remembers my words.

I heard he lost his job because he started drinking. I guess he was trying to numb the pain. It feels prideful for me to say this, but sometimes I wonder if he remembers our conversation. I would call and check on him if I had his number. To be honest, I don’t even recall his name. I just remember the pain behind the voice on the other end of the phone. I wonder if he remembers that someone cared, and understood. I guess I still care, even now. I hope he’s doing well. I hope he’s healing.

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How to Not Sleep Effectively

As you may have noticed on the previous blog post, I got absolutely NO sleep last night. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Big ol’ goose egg. None. I didn’t fall asleep until about 5am. I have been dragging all day long. A similar thing happened to me a few months ago and I took to social media to share my thoughts on “How to Not Sleep Effectively.” (Because in this century, oversharing is the new black.)  Here is my list. (Feel free to add to the list.)

  • Be “dead dog” tired.
  • Play FreeCell on your phone until 2am.
  • “Powder your nose” every 30 minutes to an hour because your bladder is not accustomed to being up so late.
  • Acknowledge that you understand why babies cry when they are tired, because you are on the verge of tears yourself.
  • Read Facebook posts from two days ago.
  • Adjust the fan so it’s blowing right in your face and drying your eyes out.
  • Write down those new story ideas that usually pop into your head as you are about to slip into REM sleep, but tonight they are showing you mercy by appearing prior to REM.
  • Look out the window to see if the Sandman travels by reindeer like Santa.
  • Look for DIY videos on YouTube.
  • Cry. 😢
Victoria Crying
I now know why babies cry when they are tired.  Photo credit: Tostadophoto

 

Ten Degrees Past Hell

Today’s post was inspired by The Daily Prompt’s one word prompt: Youth.

 

Our air conditioner unit is on the fritz. It tried to give up the ghost a few nights ago and the temperature went from a comfortable 72 degrees to a rather warm 82 degrees rather quickly. My daughter wondered aloud how people survived prior to the invention of central air and window units.

I chuckled as I thought back to my own childhood. It could be 95 degrees outside with the heat index making it feel like 112, and as kids it didn’t seem to bother us one bit. We lived a an old row house in Brooklyn, when I was a kid. We didn’t have central air, a window unit (until later), or cable or an Atari game system, like some of our friends. During the summer, mom didn’t allow us to stay in the house all day. While she was at work we had to do school work. Actually, I had to do school work. My older brother got away with murder! I had math workbooks and penmanship workbooks. I hated both! Once my mother got home, IF she was satisfied with my work, I’d be allowed to go outside to play. Sitting in front of the TV was not an option. We ran from the backyard to the front. My brother was allowed to go over to his friend’s house or play with them on the street, as he was older and deemed capable of handling himself if trouble were to arise. Summers in Brooklyn had a smell. On the hottest days you would catch a whiff of tar as it softened under the blazing sun coming off the streets and some of the rooftops, exhaust fumes from the busses and cars, and depending on which way the warm breeze blew, you might even catch the fragrance of stale urine and trash that lingered around the El just one block away.

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Third Avenue Elevated Line, Bronx, NY by Jack E. Boucher

You could see the heat, rising in waves, off the pavement and parked cars. It’s amazing how much heat the roads, sidewalks and concrete structures hold. Kids used to open the fire hydrants and play in the water to cool down. My mom wouldn’t let us get in on the fun when the hydrant was open. We lived on a one way street. Cars were always parked bumper to bumper on either side, but the boys (and even some of the men) would get out in the middle of the block and play stickball, the city variation of baseball. It didn’t matter that Highland Park sat at the end of our street. They could have had a proper game of baseball/stickball in a more open space. But no, right there in the middle of the block was where the games happened.  I don’t recall any cars being damaged or the windows on anybody’s house being broken during these games.

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Boys playing stick ball, Havana, Cuba, 1999 by Cliff

 

 

If we weren’t outside in the sweltering city heat, we were hanging out in the basement where it was cool. On the main floor of our house, my dad had the windows at the front of house open, and an olive green metal box fan in one of the windows in the dining room at the back of the house. The back door in the kitchen was usually open, too, allowing for more airflow. Knowing what I know now, it was probably still 80- or 90-something degrees inside, with the fan swirling the warm air around the house. Dad constantly warned me to stay away from the fan. He was afraid I would stick my finger between the slots and lose an appendage.  I liked to sit in front of it and make funny noises, and giggle as the fast moving metal blades would chop the sound of my voice up, making me sound like a robot. 

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Olive Green appliances were all the rage in the late 70s and early 80s.

Older people don’t tolerate heat as well as kids, it seems, because the olive green box fan was soon replaced by a wood paneled window air conditioning unit from Sears. Windows were locked, doors to other rooms on the main floor were closed and blocked with draft socks in an effort to keep the cool air contained to the living room and dining room. (Side note: My mother made a draft sock that looked like an extra long dachshund. She named him, “Struggles.” He was accidentally kicked down the basement steps as my grandmother was heading to the basement to do laundry. Struggles slid down the side of the steps like a snake and scared THE CRAP out of my dear, sweet, grandmother. We both got a good laugh out of that moment!) Dad even installed and accordion-type room separator between the galley kitchen and the living room/dining room area. During the summer, the temperature in the kitchen seemed to always linger somewhere around 10 degrees past hell. The only relief was to open the back door and turn on the exhaust fan over stove, which brought the temperature down to a more comfortable 3 degrees past hell.

But somehow, we survived the heat. Our bodies acclimated to its environment. I don’t recall hearing about heat-stroke and dehydration until we moved out of NY, then again, I was very young. Someone else was responsible for worrying about such things. Thankfully, my A/C unit is displaying some “act right” about itself and my daughter and I won’t have to figure out how well our bodies (and attitudes) would acclimate to existing in 80 + degree inside temperatures plus humidity.