Jan 28, 201408:39 AM
The Lighter Side
Exploring the humor and peculiarities of the Big Easy
A Northerner offers some advice for dealing with a winter storm.
So yesterday I was on the phone with my mom in Ohio and she was wondering about the weather, as parents tend to do when you're on the phone with them. I told her, "Well, it's 60 degrees today and they shut the city down for the next two days because there might be a few inches of snow, maybe some ice." And she was like, "LOL what? It's 6 degrees here, tomorrow it's supposed to be -30 with another dumping of snow in the forecast. You have fun with your inch of snow!"
Now there's not much down here in New Orleans that I feel like I'm an expert on, but I do know a thing or two about snow and winter storms, so when I see the mayor on TV giving warnings or the governor declaring a state of emergency, I have to chuckle a little inside. I feel like the two most dangerous things that could happen is 1) a power outage (because hello Entergy), and 2) being on the road, not because driving in a little bit of snow is dangerous, but because no one around here knows how to do it and I'm not really sure that New Orleanians are all that great at driving when the sun is shining, let alone when it gets slippery out there.
But setting aside all of the paranoia that I've witnessed in the past 24 hours, there may actually be a winter storm and a few inches of ice or snow and I'm here to give a little level-headed advice about making it through the next few days as someone who used to spend her winters cleaning snow and ice off her car every morning before going to work and boy do I not miss that. At all.
1. Stay off the roads. If you need something, I'd say walk to the cornershop if you have one nearby. I asked my husband (who is from New Orleans) if they had salt trucks that went around before the storm that sprinkles salt on the roads to melt the ice and snow quicker and his response was, "What's a salt truck?" So just stay home. If you must drive in the snow or ice, go sloooooow and keep a nice distance from the car in front of you. And if you find yourself driving a little fast and perhaps start slipping around, remember to pump your breaks gently (if you have standard breaks and not the anti-lock kind) until things feel more comfortable.
2. Don't freak out. Even if there is accumulation, it probably won't last long so just enjoy it. One of the things that I miss about Ohio is strangely enough, being snowed in every once in a while. There's nothing like waking up on an eerily quiet snow day knowing you can stay in all day wrapped up in blankets with a nice big mug of coffee or hot soup, or my most favorite wintry food, chili. Throw in a few movies or addictive TV series on Netflix and you have yourself a perfect day as far as I'm concerned.
3. Wear layers. If you live in a house like mine, a shotgun with window units and no central heat, layers are your best friend. You should also try big fuzzy socks, or try wearing a knitted hat or a beanie around the house. And when it gets really cold, I usually only stay in one part of my house, shut the doors and keep the hot air in my room. Space heaters are your best friend, too. I have one in my bathroom and I make sure to turn it on a half-hour before jumping in the shower which makes it nice and toasty. A nice hot shower is another great way to warm up, especially if you've been outside for a long time and you're chilled to the bone.
4. Don't spend a fortune at the grocery store. You could try my favorite ramen noodle creation that I made up several years ago while being snowed in. It's basically just a pack of ramen (beef or chicken) with a spoonful of peanut butter. Tastes just like pad thai, sort of. You can get fancier and add a tiny bit of honey, sesame oil, or some canned peas and carrots, but I'm telling you it's one of the best things ever and you don't have to spend a hundred bucks on a grocery store paranoia binge.
5. Enjoy it. Take a breather. If there's snow outside, throw a few snowballs or attempt to build a snow man. Bundle up and go for a walk to look at things we might not get to see too often around here, like snowflakes or footprints.
But above all else, be safe out there and have fun, bring in the pets and don't let your pipes burst! It will all be over soon and the warmer weather and spring will be on their way shortly.