Lessons Learned: Settling, Sourcing and Settling | News

Like everyone who lives anywhere near here, my antennae perked up when I heard these words as part of the upcoming forecast: Ice storm.

The historic and catastrophic event of 2009 provided a wealth of experience from which to draw, including what worked, what didn’t and some lessons should/should/could.

I remember being particularly impressed in 2009 by my daughter – whose contingency plan is usually to call mum or dad to save her from the coming disaster – but after her house became dark and cold there is 13, she figured there would be one place in town that would almost certainly have a backup generator and access to food. So she headed to the hospital and camped out on the lounge chairs in the waiting rooms, eating in the cafeteria, reading trashy magazines and staying safe and warm.

It wasn’t going to work for me, but memory prompted me to think about alternative sources of heat, light, and food that might be available to me if traditional options failed.

For warmth, well, I have big socks, a big woolen blanket and a dog that likes to cuddle. To verify.

Lights? What can I say: I live like a vampire most of the time; sliding around the house in the dark is what i do anyway. I don’t watch much TV, although I confess to a certain fascination with The Weather Channel at events like this, but honestly I can just look out the window and glean the essential information. So, again, check.

The main problem with the loss of electricity is the threat to the food in my refrigerator. I dragged my picnic cooler from the depths of my warehouse and placed it next to my back door, so that if my power went out, I could just transfer all my frozen pizzas and TV dinners ( do people always call them that? People next to me, I mean) in there.

With temperatures fluctuating between 32 and below all weekend, everything would “hold” perfectly. So I gave myself a big “cheque” on that item too.

(Here I’ll note that in 2009 I didn’t have a cooler, so I put my frozen food in a box and put it on my back patio. Turns out squirrels like Salisbury steak and peas ‘n’ carrots. Who knew.)

Keeping food frozen wouldn’t be a problem if my diet was cut, but the bigger question was, what would I actually eat? I have an electric stove and microwave so if there was a power outage they would turn off too.

I opened the doors of my refrigerator, freezer, cupboards and pantry one after another, scanning the contents with a critical eye. What could be prepared without electricity? The availability menu looked pretty bleak: Cheerios, peanut butter and crackers, two cans of tuna, and a handful of granola bars strewn about. If in a hurry, I could eat soup or vegetables at room temperature…but then I remembered that without heat, the room temperature could be less than moderate.

It meant I had to go to the store as much as I didn’t want to. I bought a few packets of Swiss cheese and slices of ham from the deli, along with a French baguette. Just for fun, I tossed a package of banana nut muffins into my cart, justified by the thought that the extra fat would help keep me warm.

Hey, you get through the ER your way, I’ll get through it my way.

My boss had already given me permission to work from home, so now – with my checklists complete – I’ve settled in, fueled up, and squatted.

Whatever happened now, wherever on the scale of disasters, I had done my best to prepare.

So I sat in the moose chair by my window, wearing thick socks and wrapped in my big woolen blanket with my warm dog dozing at my feet.

Not because I had to; just because I wanted to.

And I hoped and prayed that everyone was as safe and warm and comfortable as I was.

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