Cyclone Snow Bomb 1, Yeti 0 - It Was a Snow-i-Cane Alright
I’m not telling anybody who was in town January 3-7 anything new here. I bet everybody has a story about being snowbound, bone-chilling cold and worrying about their pipes, literal and figurative, freezing.
In my case, I had to face the snow bomb cyclone alone, as Bonnie drove to Philly on the eve of the impending blizzard and got stranded there.
I, on the other hand awoke that Thursday morning to a four-foot snow drift blocking my front door. And it was 17 degrees.
Heading to the rear of the house I managed to pry open the inward-swinging back door to stare at the north face of Kilamanjaro. And back to the pleading face of the dog. Alas, Windsor stood there, trying to be a good boy.
Dear readers, this was a job for which I was ill-prepared. For going on 36 years now, I have had a resident shoveler. Certainly, I used to help out, but let’s face it, my contribution tended toward providing Swiss Miss.
I donned two pair of Alaskan souvenir socks, two pairs of sweat pants (which, for their first time might experience actual sweat), a long-sleeved shirt, topped with a hoodie cinched around my head and my puffy Eddie Bauer coat. I didn’t know whether I looked like a South Park cartoon or the Abominable Snowman. I went to put on shoes but could not bend over. What followed was Old Frankenstein walking stiff-legged, then force-folding myself into a chair to try to reach my feet to tie my laces. I may have heard Windsor chuckling.
Finally ready, mittened hands grabbing the show shovel, I carved my way down the back steps, flinging snow and battling my way into the yard. I could have used crampons and climbing rope. By the time I hacked through Everest and cleared a square foot doggie comfort station I was panting so hard I was a human snow blower. If only.
So I looked back at Windsor and called for him to come down the steps. He u-turned and ran for the sofa.
I waddled, back up the steps and lumbered into the house as if Windsor had invited the neighborhood Yeti for lunch. I grabbed the dog, held him under my arm like an inflated Carson Wentz and went back outside. The second his Schnauzer paws touched the ground he turned tail and raced back into the house.
Dammit. I wobbled after him, grabbed his leash and burst into hysterics from the act of trying to attach a leash to a collar while wearing baseball-glove-sized mittens. But this time I had him. We both went back to base camp, he could not escape and business was conducted.
As I looked around the postage stamp yard, I realized that both gates opened outward and were also thoroughly blocked by ginormous drifts. I was indeed, completely snowbound.
Now I have never been claustrophobic. By this time, Bonnie would have dug her way out with a spoon if she had to. But not me. However, there’s something about the sheer silence of a snowbound neighborhood with nobody moving, no cars, no plows, no bird sounds, no nothing, which gave me the yips. In case of emergency, I was seriously trapped.
I tried to put it out of my mind, avoiding the Weather Channel and CNN, both of which made me think of various states of emergency. I binged on Law and Order SVU, I read a lesbian romance novel and I played iPad Bubble Buster. But I couldn’t shake my discomfort.
So I put a step-stool against the front window, checked how wide I could open it (dubiously wide enough for Big Foot) and figured how to punch out the screen. Picturing myself climbing up, thrusting a leg out the window, trying to haul the rest of me out, so I could flop into a snow angel on the porch gave me odd comfort.
I spent the next two days, eating leftover matzo ball soup, watching TV shows I like but Bonnie doesn’t, and wishing Windsor was a slightly better conversationalist.
I fielded dozens of calls from pals asking if I was alright, and made many such calls in return. I learned that my neighborhood is chocked full of generous, energetic people, several with snow blowers, and I was tickled to have a crew show up by late Friday to dig me out.
My spouse returned Friday evening and we hibernated all day Saturday, feeling our joints calcifying from lack of activity. By Saturday night I was chasing Windsor around the dining room table yelling “Gimme that toy!” just to get myself moving. We didn’t brave driving until Sunday morning, and even then, conditions remained crappy, with frigid temps.
But I survived the snowicane. Next year it’s Florida right after the holidays. We stayed too long at the fair.
Fay Jacobs is the author of As I Lay Frying—a Rehoboth Beach Memoir; Fried & True—Tales from Rehoboth Beach, For Frying Out Loud—Rehoboth Beach Diaries, and Time Fries—Aging Gracelessly in Rehoboth Beach.