What we learned from the ice

  • Wednesday, February 19, 2014



The only thing more fun than being trapped indoors during the 2014 Ice Festival was being trapped indoors without electricity, running water, wine or chocolate.

It’s all a distant memory now, isn’t it? Temperatures crept up, the sun came out and life went on. But the interim was decidedly unpleasant. And you know me — I compiled a list, lest we forget. A lot of these cover food, because when you can’t fry an egg or nuke a Healthy Choice, it’s all you think about.

Seventeen Things We Learned from the Ice

• Clichés become clichés for a reason: An ice-laden pine branch snapping off a tree really does sound like a shotgun blast.

• Go out right now and buy 15 coolers. Take out a loan if you have to. In the coolers put all the food that you don’t want to kill you when you eat it. A simple strategy.

• Fill up the bathtubs with water. (You thought I was going to suggest gin?) Actually, you don’t need to fill them unless you plan on flushing a toilet during the three days you are trapped inside, and what are the odds of that happening?

• Everyone on Facebook has more broken limbs and trees in their yards than you do, and they post 27,500 photos to prove it. Don’t get caught up in the competition. Move on.

• Stock up on staples like Beanie-Weenies, beef stew and canned chili. Because nobody becomes a vegetarian during an ice storm.

• Open the refrigerator as often as you wish; in three days you’re going to throw the contents in the trash anyway.

• If your husband has an iPad and you have no iPad, it is perfectly okay to steal his iPad.

• Reading the Bible by the light of a Coleman lantern is both surreal and soothing.

• The best way to tell if your freezer is keeping food cold enough is to remove cartons of frozen yogurt and test the consistency with spoons. Straight from the carton, leaning over the kitchen sink, test for at least 20 minutes. Mankind is counting on you.

• Keep flashlights in every room, so you can knock them over while groping around in the dark.

• You will be surprised at how many foods can be eaten at room temperature.

• The results of an ice storm are beautiful for about 15 minutes. Then reality—and gravity—sets in and you realize life is going to be dark and nasty for a while.

• If you go to a grocery store and it is actually open and still contains food, avoid the deli at all costs. That’s where starving zombies go to grab rotisserie chickens. Do not engage them, especially if they’re armed with cartons of coleslaw. Their aim is deadly.

• When you hear the thunderous crash that signifies another falling limb (or entire tree), do not rush out to capture the moment on your cell phone. Because sure as shooting, another branch will fall on you.

• This is a really good time to perfect your poker game.

• Prepare your dog for her new mortal enemy: The generator. She will either attack it or refuse to get within 10 yards of it. Thus when it’s 4 a.m. and 20 degrees, you have to bundle up like a Russian fishwife and take her outside amongst the falling icicles. Which she will also flee from in terror.

• The nadir: You find yourself reading a five-year-old copy of Field & Stream by flashlight.



Julie R. Smith, who’s done all of the above and more, can be reached at widdleswife@aol.com.

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