Tuesday, February 9, 2010
After 16 hours without electricity, heaven Saturday night was a long hot shower. Spending the majority of the day without power has given me new insight into what a person should purchase in preparation of an impeding blizzard.
Inspiration hit about hour nine of no power. Layered in more clothing than a Walmart shoplifter and doing whatever I could to stay warm, I made the decision that the essential shopping list in preparation for a possible power outage needed a drastic overhaul. Updated by one with experience in the freezing my ass off for way too long category.
We are all familiar with the milk, bread, eggs, water, batteries and toilet paper list that are broadcast over and over through various news media organizations. I understand these items are viewed as the basic necessities by “the powers that be”; but when the power is out, when one is stuck at home in a snowstorm, ninety percent of the items on the list are not needed and will not meet the “normal” person’s wants or cravings. So I have decided to supplement the list.
It is amazing how fast the temperature in a house will drop during a snowstorm. By 4 p.m. the inside room temperature at our house was 42 degrees. Of course I should disclose that our thermostat is set at 64 degrees in the winter to try to save on the power bill. The lesson I learned, crank the heat up when the snow storm begins, at least that way if the power goes out you are starting with higher inside temperature. If you never lose power, then consider it a sauna treatment. I hear heat is a great way to cleanse the pores.
So how does one stay warm with no heat? My attire, North Face insulated tank top, long sleeve tee, Columbia fleece pullover, Under armour Long Johns, jeans, and Uggs. Before losing power I considered Uggs, well ugly. But now I have a new found love for them, they kept my toes warm. I will pick warmth over beauty every time.
Next, I call this the all important relaxing on the couch layers; Snuggie, fleece blanket and hot hands. Never again will I ever make fun of a Snuggie. Put your arms in, tuck it around you body place a few hot hands in the pockets and sleeves and voila an adult warming blanket without electricity.
Which leads me to the next item. If I was told I could only buy one thing before a snowstorm, my must have, a box of hot hands. I can’t begin to describe how wonderfully marvelous those little pockets of heat felt. I was cold, but I wasn’t freezing and there is a huge difference. One might question my choice of hot hands over food, I think it is safe to say, most of us have enough food in our cabinets to get us through several days. So add to the 'essential' shopping list, hot hands and a snuggie.
No power equals no television, no internet, no computer time; it can become disturbingly quiet. What is a person to do to stay sane? Nintendo DS and my iPod help pass the first few hours, but even the strongest of charges will not last, so it is important to have a back-up plan of entertainment.
I discovered Sudoku, People and Us magazine help pass the time much more effectively than a book. I planned ahead, purchased Dear John for my reading enjoyment. I imagined myself sitting by our fake fireplace, with the snow falling gently outside the window, wiping my eyes from the latest tearjerker by Nicholas Sparks. Didn't happen. My brain was too distracted by the lack of heat to concentrate. Add to the shopping list; gossip/celebrity magazines and new game for portable gaming devices. Also, remember to download free games and new music on the iPod.
Milk, bread, eggs, the three items one is always told to purchase before any type of possible emergency be it a hurricane or snowfall. During Snowmageddon not once did I long for a tall cold glass of milk, bread or scrambled eggs. Add, when the power went off, the general idea was to keep the house as warm as possible and the perishables as cold as possible, to accomplish that goal I avoided opening the refrigerator. Honestly, who wants cold food when you are freezing? What I ate/drank, hot tea, soup, chips, salsa, any junk food I could nibble on while reading or playing games. So on the list replace milk, bread, eggs with soup, tea, and your favorite munchies.
On a side note, always buy a house with a gas stove, doesn't matter if you have power or not, you will always be able to prepare hot food!
After recent events in the news I think it is important to address one last item on the list. Not my list but the powers that be, the ever sough after, toilet paper. Of course I wonder why is toilet paper even on the list? Doesn’t everyone keep an adequate backup supply in their house? In our hall closet there are eight rolls of toilet paper neatly stacked. If the supply of toilet paper dwindles below four rolls there is a Costco trip planned. Running out of toilet paper is one nightmare I never want to encounter on any day, never mind during bad weather. I can't be alone in that fear.
With that understanding, I find it puzzling that the vast majority of the population rushes out in a panic to scoop up all the toilet paper. One online news site showed the empty toilet paper shelves at the local Super Wal-Mart. Have you ever seen the toilet paper aisle at Wal-Mart? It must hold 12,000 plus rolls, including the 3000 rolls masquerading as toilet paper but they are actually low grade sandpaper. Is it possible that everyone magically ran out of toilet paper at the same time? Is that fear so great that bad weather causes mass hysteria?
Why do I mention toilet paper? It was also reported, in a panic over toilet paper, a fight broke out at our local Rite Aid. A man had the last four 4 packs of toilet paper in his shopping cart. A woman who was also in search of the ever elusive toilet paper, asked him if it was possible for her to have one of his packs. He refused, a fight soon commenced. What does that say about our society when the police are called to a store over a toilet paper dispute? The beauty, I hear they never run out of toilet paper in jail.
When I read the article, my first thought, why couldn’t the man just let her have one pack of toilet paper? It was a reasonable request, I would have given her one. Then I wondered, how often does this man go the bathroom? Maybe, instead of believing he is a hoarder I should be concerned for his health? I wondered how much toilet paper does he use? Is he singularly killing the environment? The maximum amount of snow they were predicting was 30 inches, and most roads would be plowed and passable in several days, four days at the most. My brain began to calculate and question. Why does this man believe he needs sixteen rolls of toilet paper to get through a few days. The paper didn't say, maybe, he has a large family. If not and he truly needs four rolls a day, is he going to sh*t himself to death? What if the sewage system stops working....Hmmm, maybe as a precaution I need to add Imodium AD to the essential shopping list?