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Millions of Americans are in the path of a huge snow storm as winter begins in earnest. After weathering a number of whiteouts here in Washington, DC, I have developed a checklist of some last minute additional thoughts for such a potential 2-3-day solo staycation.
1. Last minute items to purchase if time remains:
Ditch the flashlight in favor of free-standing LED lights. Get ones that allow for hands-free use and/or stick to most walls. These are great after the storm to have enough light to dig through the back of your closet and find your favorite Bruno Maglis!
An old-fashioned can opener in case your electric one fails you.
Snap-on cleats that fit over the soles of boots and most street shoes. (They can be hazardous inside on slick floors. I also often find one falls off in the snow and gets left behind. Probably best to buy 2 pairs.)
2. When charging all your electronics, don’t forget to download some ebooks to chase away cabin-fever.
3. If the electricity goes off, avoid opening the refrigerator frequently, and create your own snow-filled icebox outside.
4. If you live in a house rather than an apartment, be sure you have a snow shovel and ice-melt at each door, and figure out your best exit ahead of time. I previously lived in-town in a house where the door opened outward. I only really noticed it when it snowed a foot or two, and I was virtually captive. A deck exit can be a challenge, too, since in cities they often lead to unplowed alleys or in the short run to “the road to nowhere”!
5. Use your sports gear as “blizzard wear”. Besides donning your ski togs, get out those golf shoes if you didn’t make it to the store to purchase cleats. Use a ski pole for traction as well.
6. Sign up for an app like “NextDoor” so you can connect with neighbors.
7. If you have to go out, be careful to watch for downed power lines and falling trees. One winter I just missed being in the path of an enormous tree that totaled my car. Fortunately, running late downloading photos from upriver on the Amazon, I was just opening the door when the tree fell missing me.
8. If you have street parking, think strategically about the safest place to park it if a garage is not affordable. I opted for a legal spot next to a snow emergency route, making it likelier that the streets nearby would be plowed first.
Rescuing your car after the storm: Don’t drive until the storm has ended and roads are cleared, but be prepared to dig your car out. With parallel parking on urban streets and weeks of cold weather, moving your car can be a challenge. Although sand is sometimes suggested, it may be sold out so try kitty litter available in most grocery and drugstores. One problem: If you run out of salt or de-icer on your sidewalk, kitty litter does not degrade and is a huge mess to clean up afterwards.
9. Haul out the garbage to avoid having to live with it for a week if streets are blocked.
10. If you have to go out with a large dog, if you have a halter, use it rather than a leash. It is more stable making it less likely that you will get dragged down in the ice.
Enjoy your staycation: Curl up with a novel by your favorite author, and relish having a break from running errands or going to work!