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

My Valentine

If you know about me, you know that (like many women) I lust after Idris Elba. Me and my cyber girlfriends fight over him like a bunch of schoolgirls all the time. (Seriously, he doesn’t even know we exist. We’re not even friend-zoned. We’re fan-zoned!!) The competition to be his imaginary boo has been increased by his latest promotion to win a date with him. (It’s a great cause – raising funds to help educate girls in Africa. Contribute if you can!)

I reposted a video of my future-baby-daddy consulting the experts on how to make our date special, and one of my girlfriends asked if I’d put my name in for consideration. I just tossed my name in the ring (but could still use a few sponsors). But her question inspired me to write a poem about what a date with Idris would be like. Fellow writer Elisabeth Velasquez inspired the cinquain format. (Check her out!! She’s AWESOME!)

My Valentine

Yam Smash
Criss-cross dancing
On fluffy clouds of joy
My Valentine’s Day date and I.
Oh yes!

9729333279_471ab5b743_b
Just look at him…so sexy..not too long! Look away!

Photo credit: Tina Franklin

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

 

Hell Hound

Today’s post was inspired by the daily post prompt and the words in caps below (link provided). The Daily post prompt word is: Joke

I was in the market for a dog. I always wanted a dog, but could not settle on a breed. Since I downsized from a four bedroom house to a two bedroom cottage, I thought a smaller dog, like a poodle, might suit me well. I’d placed calls to a number of sellers, but hadn’t met my “match” yet. So when I heard a knock at my door and opened it to find a well groomed, brown Cavapoo sitting on my front step, I considered it fate! We took to each other like tea and scones!

There was a note attached to the dog’s collar that read: WEEP AND TREMBLE! FOR I AM THE EMISSARY OF DOOM AND DESPAIR, COME TO BEGIN THE FINAL CLEANSING OF MANKIND! It was such an odd note to attach to such a cute and friendly little pooch! Surely, it was joke! I took the time to check for any outward appearances of disease or neglect, and to determine the gender. Finding no signs of illness, or boy parts, I named my new friend Lola. She seemed to like the name.

“Well, Lola! How about we get you something to eat? Hmmm? Would you like that, sweetie?” Lola barked and wagged her tail at the mention of food. I already had a steak marinating in the fridge for my dinner. But it wasn’t big enough to split between us. I had some meatballs that I cooked and placed in the freezer for future meals, and decided to give her that until I was able to get her proper dog food later on. I warmed up the food and placed it in a plastic dish. I fixed my dinner while she ate. I made a six ounce sirloin steak with sautéed onions, potato wedges and steamed broccoli. I could not wait to dig in! Lola had finished her meatballs and was sitting near the kitchen table, waiting for crumbs to rain down on her. I sat down at the table and said grace. I heard Lola growl a little bit as I said, “Amen.” Maybe she was thirsty. I got up to get her a bowl of water, and to grab the A1 Sauce out of the fridge. When I looked back at my plate, the steak and potatoes were gone. I scolded her. At least she had the decency to look ashamed. I decided that I might as well go to the store to buy some dog food, since she seemed to be a bottomless pit and I needed to buy myself some take-out and a few other essentials.

Since the pet store was next to the burger joint, I made that my first stop. I got her food, a leash and food bowls. I also made an appointment to get her shots done and to get her chipped the next day with the in-house vet. I ordered my burger and fries, and gave her a warning death glare as I got in the car with my dinner. She understood my meaning and looked out the window on the car ride home. In order to prevent her from stealing my food again, I let her explore the back yard while I ate. Ten minutes later, I heard barking, snarling, whimpering and whining. I ran to the back porch to see a hole Lola had dug under the fence between my and my neighbor’s yards. I ran to the fence and saw Lola chasing Rex, my neighbor’s Rottweiler. She managed to catch him and clamp her jaws on his leg and she wasn’t letting go. Rex’s owner, Bob came out to his back porch and started wailing and flailing his arms about before grabbing the water hose and spraying Lola with the hardest setting. It worked. She yelped in surprise and let go of Rex long enough for me to jump over the fence and tackle her be for she went for his jugular.

“What the hell is that,” Bob screamed.
“I’m so sorry, Bob! This is Lola. I just got her today. I’ll fix the hole under the fence. I promise! Is Rex ok?”

Rex was cowering behind Bob, whimpering and squealing. His eyes were rolling around and he was baring his teeth and backing into the wall behind Bob.

“NO!! He’s not ok!!! Look at his legs! That rabid animal of yours just about took the flesh off his bones! Look there! His skin is dangling! You’ll be hearing from my lawyer!” When Bob threatened to call his lawyer, Lola went wild. She broke free of my grip and charged at Bob and Rex. Now, they were both crying and screaming on the porch. Without taking his eyes off of us, Bob scrambled to open his back door so he and Rex could slip inside and put a barrier between them and Lola. Lola stood at the foot of the porch and growled and barked so hard, her body bounced. Once he was safely in his house with Rex, he pointed an accusing finger at Lola and screamed, “That animal is possessed! Get that thing off my property! I’m calling animal control!” And with that, he slammed his door shut and Lola stopped barking. She turned around, grabbed Rex’s rawhide bone between her teeth, and happily trotted back to the hole under the fence. She kicked some of the disturbed dirt into the yard with her hind legs before disappearing under the fence with her spoils. I hopped back over the fence, and followed her back into the house.

Within the hour, Animal Control arrived at my house. I let them in and explained how I came to have the dog. I assured them I would be taking her to the vet in the morning to have her checked out. They watched as she ran around the living room, happily barking and rolling around on the carpet. Every now and then, she would trot up to one of the officers, place her paws on their leg and force her head under the palm of their hand to get a little scratch behind her ear. They thought she was cute and friendly, if not a little hyper. They issued me a warning, wished me a good evening and went on their way.

“That was close!” Lola yapped in agreement. I took a look at her and noticed she was quite dirty after her backyard adventures. So I decided to give her a bath. She loved it! She tried to eat the bubbles, and she splashed in the water like a toddler. There wasn’t a dry surface in the bathroom by the time we were done. Lola settled down to play with her recently acquired rawhide bone, while I cleaned up the bathroom, then showered. I came out to the living room to check on the puppy to discover that she had pooped on my white Corinthian leather love seat. I took a deep breath and counted to 20. She was an innocent animal. She didn’t know any better. She wasn’t housebroken, I repeated these words in my mind over and over as I gathered supplies to clean up the mess. I placed a plastic bag over the dustpan, and another over the broom and slid the steaming mound of poo off the love seat. I had to hold my breath because the mound, which was almost as big as the dog’s head, had a strong sulphuric bouquet. It made my eyes water. I noticed it was melting the plastic bag and dustpan, and a charred hole in the loveseat. Even some of the bristles on the broom began to curl. I wasn’t certain if that was because of the odor or the heat coming off of the mess. I didn’t think stool from any living being was supposed to be so noticeably hot. I quickly found a glass jar and tried to save a stool sample to have the vet examine it in the morning, but while I was trying to clean up the melting dustpan, the glass holding the sample shattered.

“I give up, ” I muttered. Lola whined apologetically. I gave her another death glare and she quieted. I decided to quickly sneak the plastic, the broken glass and the brimstone poo into the hole under the fence in the backyard. Hopefully, Bob wouldn’t notice and I could deal with covering it before he saw it.

The rest of the evening was calm. Lola slept in the bed next to me. She snored like a full grown man and her breath smelled like an open grave, but she wasn’t terrorizing animals three times her size, or leaving a trail of combustible excrement around the house, so it was a good night over all.

The next morning, she was quietly and patiently laying next to me, waiting for me to wake up. I got out of bed, gave her a fresh food and water, showered, dressed, and took her for a quick walk. (I brought my kitchen fire extinguisher with me, just in case…) We returned to the house from an pleasantly uneventful walk. I was certain that this day would be a better day. I had a quick breakfast and took my shower. As I was doing my hair in the bathroom, I heard Lola barking and growling in the bedroom. I poked my head in to see what the fuss was about. She was looking at herself in the full length mirror on my closet door. Lola, once again was barking hard enough that her entire body bounced, but her reflection was not! As a matter of fact, her reflection barely resembled the cute little puppy I was standing behind. The dog in the mirror had matted brown fur, blood red eyes, and long teeth that looked like pointy, white needles, and it was snarling and growling at Lola! I stifled a scream and tossed my bathrobe at the reflection as I leaned down and scooped up Lola! I ran out of the house without my purse or shoes, and drove five miles to the dog pound. They could figure out what was wrong with her! I pulled up to the building, jumped out the car, ran inside and placed Lola on the reception desk.

“Her name is Lola,” I shouted as I ran out the door.
“But Miss,” I heard the receptionist call behind me. I didn’t stop to hear what she had to say. I flung a trash can and toppled a fake ficus as I ran out the door. I sped away from the curb before she made it out of the of the building. I don’t think she was able to take down my license plate number, and I did run at least two stop signs, but Lola was out of my life!

When I got back home, I removed the mirrored closet door and set it out on the curb for trash collection. I called the landscaper to fill the hole in the backyard and went in search of the card that was attached to Lola’s collar. I found it on the console table by the front door. I read it again. “Fear and tremble,” it said. Silly me, I should have paid attention to that line. I turned the card over and noticed an additional note I’d missed in my initial excitement. I read the note, drew my blinds, turned off my phone, hid in my room and began to recite The Lord’s Prayer. The note said:

P.S.

HER SISTER IS STUCK IN QUARANTINE AT THE AIRPORT, BUT WILL BE DELIVERED TO YOU WITHIN 48 HOURS. WE APOLOGIZE FOR THE INCONVENIENCE.

GOOD LUCK!

Ella_the_Cavapoo_puppy

 

Dead Meat

I wrote this story some time ago as part of a writer’s workshop. I decided to open the story with dialog and as I continued to write, the dialog just kept flowing.  So, I let it flow! It was just as much fun to write as it is to read! Enjoy!

Butcher's counter

“Mel, you have nothing to worry about.  Just relax.  If you look nervous, they’ll know!”

“I can’t help it. I’ve never done anything like this before.  Are you sure no one will notice?”

“Positive.  I’ve been doing this once a month for the last year and I haven’t been caught yet.  Just act like you are checking prices.  Do a lot of inspecting so you look like a serious shopper.”

“Oh! Excuse me.”

“What?”

“I get a little windy when I’m nervous.  Sorry!”

“Mel!”

“I can’t help it Lynn!  We could go to jail!  Do you know what happens to women like us on the inside??? Do you?!”

“Mel…don’t make me slap you!  Calm down! Here…sniff some of this lavender and pull yourself together!!  I knew I shouldn’t have brought you.  Pastor’s wife’s thought you could handle this.”

“The Pastor’s wife?!  You brought the Pastor’s wife!!!!  We’re all going to hell!  You’ve corrupted the Pastor’s wife.”

“Are you kidding me?  She’s the one who told me about it!”

“What?!  Oh my gosh…oh-my-gosh! I’m involved with a cult!”

“Mel! I’m going to explain this to you one more time!  The people who own the place are blind!  Can’t see a thing and they’re deaf.  They wear hearing aid’s but Lester, the guy they hired to help them, takes them out.  He is also hired as their security guard.  He is the only sighted person here.  They treat him like dirt.  They pay him $20 a week to keep an eye on the store.”

“Lynn, he’s getting paid.  It’s not great pay, but he gets money for his services.  I don’t see how they are harming him.”

“Well let me tell you: he has to get here at 4am every morning, fix them breakfast, bathe them, drive them to doctor appointments on his dime, open and close the shop, and he’s security!  This is how he balances things out.”

“Oh Lynn, this doesn’t feel right.  It doesn’t seem right at all.  He looks happy, they look well taken care of.  Maybe we should just talk with them and see if they can’t do something to lower their prices.”

“I didn’t want to say anything, but this business has been willed to the church when the owners pass.  Right now they are the only butcher shop in the area.  We would have to travel at least 30 miles outside of town before we found reasonable prices.  Trust me, this is the best option.  The last time the community made a fuss about meat prices, everything in here went up by 10%.  Trust me Mel, we are handling this the right way.  We’re just waiting for the old bitties to croak and then the church will have another source of income.  Now, listen.  I’m going to hand you the packs of ground meat. Put them in your belly pouch.  You do have the belly pouch, right?”

“Yes.  I-I have it on.”

“Great!  Remember…meat side out!”

“Hail Mary! Full of grace…”

“Mel?”

“Hmm?”

“We are Baptist! Not Catholic!  Why are you saying ‘Hail Mary?’”

“Sorry! It was the first prayer to come to mind!”

“Quit praying and start stuffing, woman!  Hurry up!  He’s giving me the signal that they are coming over.  I won’t tell you what happened the last time someone was caught stealing from them.”

“Something happened to people? Were they hurt? What happened?! I can’t go to jail!  I don’t want to be bunk-mates with some 6 foot tall tattooed woman named Tiny! I’m a good girl! I don’t even have a parking ticket on my record and now this!”

KEEP STUFFING!!!!

“Hello Lynn! I thought that was you! How are you doing sweetie?”

“Hi Ms. Liz! I’m doing just fine! How are you feeling? I heard you were in the hospital for a few days. “

“Oh, I’m fine sweetie!  Nothing serious.  I was careless and tripped over my cat in the middle of the night on the way to the bathroom.  Thank God for Lester.  He was sleeping on the floor in the hallway, just in case I needed him. He broke my fall, but poor Mittens…”

“Mitten’s was hurt Ms. Liz? Will she be ok?”

Let’s just say she’s in a better place now.

“Oh! I’m so sorry to hear she died. She was with you and Miss Ethel for so long!”

“Died? Oh no sweetie! Lester said she ran away when he opened the door to let the paramedics in!  I guess she wanted to preserve her last three lives!! Heh, heh, heh!  So who is your friend here? She’s breathing a little heavy…is she ok?”

“Oh! How rude of me! This is my friend Mel! We go to the same church.  She’s new to the area and she and her husband are expecting their first child together! Isn’t that precious?”

“H-h-h-hi Ms. Liz.  V-v-very nice to meet you.”

“Oh dear! Are you well, child?  I used to be a mid-wife.  Let me feel your belly.  You sound like you might deliver any minute now! Oh my! Your belly feels…well very soft and lumpy!  Let me check your pressure! Your arm! It feels so…so…swollen!  Well, I’ve never seen such a thing! Are you sure this isn’t affecting the baby?”

“Oh! Ummm…well she is a bit of a workout diva and clutz! Her doctor told her not to workout so hard while she was pregnant, but did she listen?! Nooo! Hahahaha!  She was doing a high kick and lost her balance doing a…umm a…tae bo workout! She fell on her side injuring her arm and is suffering a little nerve damage and swelling.  The doctor said she’d be fine.”

“Is she mute, Lynn?”

“Umm…No ma’am…”

“Well, how about we let her speak for herself.  Mel?  How, are you feeling sweetie”

“Umm..uh…I…I no speaka the English..my English not good. Very bad is my English.”

“Oh…dear…well that’s too bad because I have something very important to tell you both.  Lynn, maybe you can translate for Mel.  The truth is, Ethel and I each have one good eye and one good ear.  We hired Lester to balance out our lack of visual and hearing senses.  People steal from us all the time!  It breaks our hearts because we try so hard to keep our prices low, so people don’t have to travel outside of the community for quality food.  Well, we realized not long after hiring Lester, that he was helping the thieves!”

“He’s helping the thieves? Oh the shame!  Why haven’t you fired him or called the authorities?”

“ Well, he’s not the brightest crayon in the box.  We know he’s not the master mind of the thievery that’s been going on over the last year or so.  So we’ve been working with the authorities to pinpoint who is involved and we think we have pretty solid list of all parties involved.”

“Is that so?”

“Oh yes!  Would you like to know names?”

“Well…umm…”

“Come now, Lynn!  These are your neighbors!  People you think you can trust!”

“Umm…I….uh…I would love to say and chat, but we really need to go.  Mel, probably should’nt be standing for this long….she suffers from edema…she probably needs to put her feet up.  Isn’t that right Mel?”

“Sí.”

“That’s too bad, especially since some of these people have already been picked up by the authorities.”

“There have been arrests?!  Who? How did you find out who was stealing?”

“Oh! So glad you asked!  Do you see that big, gold pig head right behind you?”

“Yes…”

“It’s a security camera!  It’s digital and all of the images are stored on our computer at home.  We go over it every evening.  These thieves are so clever!”

Copyright 2013 Nike Binger Marshall