I live on the East Coast of Canada and that means it’s pretty much always winter and it’s always cold and there’s a lot of snow all the time. I mostly just ignore snow or blizzard or wind chill or freezing rain warnings and assume everything will be fine or whatever. You know, since there’s always snow anyway. Also, I have no common sense or survival skills or anything like that, so I’m ill-prepared for pretty much any unexpected situation ever. Usually this is fine, because nothing ever happens except that the roads are terrible for a couple days.
This past week, though, everyone was FREAKING OUT more than usual about the blizzard that was hitting us on Saturday. I did nothing to prepare. In fact, I made a hair appointment for Saturday, convinced the whole thing was being overhyped. In the end, it was just medium bad. We got a bunch of snow, but not even close to the 30+ centimetres they were predicting. Mostly there was just a lot of wind. The most annoying thing was that a water main broke and I lost my water Saturday morning briefly, but then it came back almost immediately and now most of the city is on a boil order. Fortunately I didn’t lose power or anything, because honestly I don’t even know what I’m supposed to do if that happens.
Anyway, as a recent blizzard survivor, I have some helpful tips! With my guide to storm survival, you too can make it through a totally inconvenient winter storm.
Stock up on food. The day before the blizzard, I went to the grocery store and stocked up on all kinds of perishable items – cheese, salmon, eggs – oh, and Diet Coke! I bought an entire case of Diet Coke while people around me were running around looking slightly panicked and buying a bunch of canned goods. Canned goods wouldn’t do me any good anyway because I am incapable of using a regular can opener, and an electric can opener won’t work if the power goes out…I think. Right? Whatever, I have a limited understanding of how electricity works.
Stock up on drinking water. I mean, I THOUGHT about buying bottled water, but then I was like, ugh, do I really want to carry an entire flat of water alllll the way to the elevator that leads to my apartment? (No. Definitely no.) And then before I went to bed that night I looked at my Brita, which probably had about one glass worth of water in it and thought, I should totally fill this thing! But then I didn’t instead. When I found out about the boil order, my first inclination was to just drink Diet Coke all day, but I’m not really great at handling caffeine, and I feared that excessive Diet Coke intake could lead to a psychotic break. I also tried actually boiling water, but it was a super weird colour, and I didn’t want to ingest it, boiled or not. So instead, I bundled up and went to the nearby Dollar Store – one of the only stores in the area that was actually open – and purchased four bottles of Dasani.
Practise living like a pioneer. The best way to be prepared for a lack of regular utilities is to do some important research in advance. I did not do this, and therefore, when I woke up without water, I totally panicked. Do I immediately need water in order to survive? This is not a situation I have dealt with before. So I called my mom (duh). It went like this:
Mom: Well, it’s not that big of a deal. You have bottled water, right?
Mom: Oh. Well, did you fill your tub with water last night so you can flush the toilet.
Me: THAT’S A THING? What do you do, you put the water in the toilet tank?
Fortunately the water was back pretty quickly, and everything was fine. Don’t worry everyone, I survived for a whole half-hour without running water. And if the power HAD gone out, I would have been totally prepared – I have five tiny, vanilla-scented candles and no flashlight. Good for me!
Be productive. Since my hair appointment was cancelled and I was stuck in my apartment all day, I needed something to do. My apartment could have used a good cleaning, but I felt like I was being forced to clean, which made me feel resentful, and you know what they say – never clean out of resentment. I guess I could have at least read a book or something, but after the mental and physical energy I put into leaving the house for 10 minutes to buy water, that seemed like a lot of work. Instead, I caught up on my TV shows, watched a couple movies, and started 35 Facebook Scrabble games (seriously, I just counted…I currently have 35 active games and it’s out of control).
It could be worse. I mean, I have Netflix and cable and an iPad and the Internet in general and nail polish and food and, you know, an apartment, so a storm is really just an inconvenient first world problem. Still, I’m going to buy a flashlight. Probably. One of these days. Soon.