I now have a new reason to look forward to getting old.
Future Aprill now gets to be that old person who sits her grandkids down and forces them to listen to the story of how I survived the Great Blizzard of 2013.
Yes, dear reader, yours truly has finally joined the ranks of the privileged few (million) who have lived through a historic storm and therefore have earned the indisputable right to bore those who didn’t experience it with their endless tales of what it was like (tales that, trust me, we will force you to listen to until the day we die or the day you die of boredom).
And it’s about time. I can’t tell you how often in my life I’ve had to listen to some blowhard launch into yet another “ah, yes, the blizzard of ’78” when I was growing up in Ohio and “oh, I was there for Hurricane Carla, all right” when I lived in Texas and “aw man, Boston had the worst winter ever right before you came here” anecdote.
But now? Now I get to be that blowhard. Regaling everyone who wasn’t quick enough to jump out the window at the first sign I was about to launch into the well-worn story all about how the city shut down as two feet of snow was unceremoniously dumped on us by Mother Nature (although, over time, obviously some of the details will get a bit exaggerated, such as it was 20 feet of snow and 400 mph winds and people started eating each other and then got sick and then turned into White Walkers whom we survivors had to battle as they tried to storm the giant ice wall that Boston built to keep them out).
The only thing left for me to do is to perfect my story. And by perfect I mean ways to drag it out.
There’s the whole pre-storm saga, where my husband battled overly panicked soccer moms (the most dangerous breed of mom that exists) at the store, eventually eschewing the riot mobs going after bread, milk and eggs (because apparently everyone has the overwhelming need to make French toast during bad weather) and coming home instead with Captain Morgan and a giant ham. Meanwhile, I maniacally cleaned the entire house under the assumption that our power was probably going to go out and as a result we were going to die and thus, I really wanted the people who found our bodies five days later to say “Hey, these frozen corpses kept a pretty tidy home.”
And then there’s the storm itself, which, well, was a whole lot of sitting on the couch, drinking rum and eating ham, and periodically saying “look, it’s still snowing” to each other. I’m…uh…still working on this part.
But perhaps the best part was post-storm. Waking up the next morning, seeing all the snow, trying to get our dog, Buffy, to go potty in snow that was higher than his head and him being vehemently opposed to this plan. Standard stuff, really. But then came the digging out process that afternoon.
Now, being a native mid-Westerner, I’m sure at some point in my life I have shoveled snow before. Granted, I can’t think of a single, specific time, but I’m pretty sure you’re required by law to do it at least once in Ohio. Just like you are legally obligated to drive like a jackass every time it rains in that state.
But, suffice it to say, it has been many, many moons since I’ve picked up a shovel. However, wanting to be a good neighbor (re: not egged next Halloween…again) I dutifully dug in (heh) and helped my husband and the rest of the neighborhood try to make some order of the chaos that had become the sidewalks.
Well over an hour (and many, many “holy crap, I think I might die of exhaustion” breaks) later, I had made a path that maybe an anorexic pixie fairy could get through. Which we all decided was, screw it, good enough (or at least, that’s what I’m assuming everyone else was thinking since most of them are fairly trim, although a fair amount rounder than your average pixie fairy). And then I went inside for some more rum and ham.
It wasn’t even an hour later when the pain started.
By the next morning, I thought my husband had tied down my arms in some hidden kinky whim he decided to indulge in during the night and I had simply had too much rum and ham in my system to notice. When I realized it was simply only gravity holding them down, I started to worry. When I tried to move them, I outright panicked.
“BABE! I think my arms are broken!”
“Yeah, well, I’d love to come help you but my back is currently holding my body hostage at this delightful 90 degree angle.”
As it turns out, shoveling uses muscles you never knew you had. Or needed. Or wanted. Until it’s too late. My arms were so sore they refused to raise more than roughly two inches. I couldn’t even pick up my weighs-less-than-a-pound cell phone without my body screaming at me to knock it off.
As for anything heavier? Forget it. In fact, rather than attempt to bring my coffee cup to my face, I just jammed a bunch of straws together.
And as for washing my hair? I literally brought my head down to my arm’s level.
There’s more to this whole story, of course. But I don’t want to give it away all up front. I’m just going to bide my time until you’re stuck in a windowless room and someone happens to mention the weather.
And then, well, I’ll never forget where I was during the blizzard of 2013…
It’s weird about the ham. In my experience, it’s the go-to food in a crisis. Always have plenty of ham. And always be willing to lend a helping ham.
Dude, we should totally be neighbors.
Aprill – I was an avid reader of your work in Texas. You not only have not lost your touch, you continue to refine your “voice.” I have said it before, but I look forward to your first book of funny columns.
Wow! Thanks, David. You just made my day. And just between you and me (and every other single random person who can read this) I am working on a book of columns.