Creative Alternatives to Battling Severe Snowstorms

With all the blizzards and ice storms hitting the Midwest, there are times when it is best to just stay inside and not bother fighting the elements. Growing up in the snow belt of Ohio, my first-hand experience brings back memories of winters past and how my family dealt with the inconvenience of being snowed in. Really bad storms are dangerous. It is sometimes best to tell your boss that you’ll be in when the madness subsides, because life is more precious than endangering yourself just to get to work.

Getting food and other necessities when going to the store isn’t an option

If you’re too snowed in to get to the store, then order out. Most metropolitan areas have multiple restaurants who deliver, and some drugstore chains may as well. Call or check online to see who in your area delivers. My mainstays used to be Pizza Hut or Domino’s, and my local pharmacy delivered non-perishable items such as paper towels or shampoo along with my prescriptions. Seemingly minor things become major when you are really stuck and cannot get out of the house.

Another great resource is Amazon.com, who delivers a wide variety of grocery items. Depending upon how fast you need the item ordered, it can get to you overnight or in a few days. Generally, their regular delivery has been prompt, in my experience. To avoid paying extra shipping charges, order items listed under “Amazon Grocery” and not the gourmet items shipped from remote sellers.

Getting the car going in a blizzard

Without the American Automobile Association (AAA), my car would’ve stayed frozen in a large block of ice for the entire winter. Ok, so you have to go out, brush it off and make sure it isn’t frozen shut. If you can’t get the darned thing open, a bottle of isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) poured along the seam of the window above the frozen lock usually does the trick of de-icing. If you look at those little bottles of de-icer, their main ingredient is the same, so save yourself money and get a whole bottle for dirt cheap. Once the car is open, and you cannot get it to start, then go thaw out inside and call AAA.

When called, AAA may take awhile to get to you, due to the demands of other stranded folk like you, who need their help. Be patient with them, as you stay inside with a hot cup of coffee, and just wait. They will come, try to jump-start your car, and take it for repairs if they are needed. If you live in remote areas like I did, this service is worth the yearly membership fee (under $100).

If the phone service is out

Having high speed internet is a blessing if your phone tends to go out during storms. Dial up customers are out of luck if the phone goes out, so it pays to have the backup of the net if you live in a remote area especially. Just make sure that if you do get the high speed internet, that your phone account isn’t also attached to other services, such as cable and internet. If it is, then if the cable goes out, then you lose both phone and everything else. Keep the phone line separate.

After the storm passes and life returns to normal, it will feel great to get back to the daily routine. Until then, don’t endanger yourself by driving in unsafe conditions. A professor of mine in college was killed during an ice storm because his car slid into a truck in front of him. Also, I’ve seen large accidents started by careless drivers and large trucks. Be vigilant about your safety. Living in a cold climate has risks, so avoid them by taking a little time off from the everyday world and curling up with a book, pot of coffee and the dog or cat. Watch your kids celebrate the closing of their school for a snow day. We used to pray for them as kids. The routine will return soon enough, so give yourself a break. Use the time to relax from the rat race and catch up on things you’ve been meaning to do around the house. If the power goes out, pile everyone in the car and go to the library or somewhere else. Otherwise, make a bad situation into a good one by staying out of danger. Your family will be glad that you did.

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