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Digging out from the snow here in Washington, DC, I quickly came up with a practical list of do’s and don’t, especially for solos.
1. DO: Learn to walk like a penguin!
As a fan of weekly shows like Aventura Animal, I was fascinated watching Antarctic penguins walking on their heels. In my first post-blizzard’s trek yesterday, I found out why: Placing your heel down first and then your toe really makes it easier to walk on snow and ice.
2. DON’T THINK: Plowed streets can make it easier for pedestrians.
After the storm ended, I headed out to my health club, only to find enormous snow dunes looming ahead! I had to walk the length of the block to find a crossing! The problem? The curb cuts were all now under tons of snow.
3. DON’T FORGET: After the blizzard is over, heavy snow starting to melt can still pull down power lines.
Eyeing my over-stuffed laundry bag, I thought what a great day for doing loads of wash while the city was shutdown. The risk? If power goes out before you finish, you will have a mess for several days.
4. DO: Carry your own ice melt.
If you have to go out early in the morning, watch out for refreezes. Walking my dogs on early morning, I carried an 8-pound container of ice melt in one hand. Living just below the crest of a hill, a glacier awaited me on the sidewalk right outside my house. If you are a skier, take your ski poles to navigate the clogged streets and sidewalks. (Even if you are not a skier, buy some ski poles on sale. Not only are they a real help in snowstorms but you will enhance your athletic image without ever stepping on the slopes!)
5. DON’T SAY: “I’ll just be outside for a minute.”
One night I stepped out with my dog for “a minute” without grabbing my gloves, cell phone or faithful ski poles. The next thing I knew I was tumbling down in the snow pushing myself back up with my bare hands. The bottom line: Take your phone and keys and dress for the weather each and every time you step outside. Don’t let your door blow shut behind you leaving you in shirtsleeves wondering how to find a locksmith!
The good news is once the storm is over it is still possible to telecommute to work and cross-country ski at lunch.