My second winter in DC was cold. My favorite season, fall, lasted a whopping two weeks, and then temperatures plunged into the teens and stayed there until March. The high winds and little snow made it even more miserable. What fun is the cold if you don’t get to play a little?
Every day that summer -- when I would arrive to work drenched in sweat, makeup melted off, unable to stay hydrated, sweat marks showing through my new Banana Republic suits (finally caved and bought new clothes for my doughnut body)– I reminded myself to never complain, because, hallelujah, it wasn’t cold!
Then fall 2009 came, and I braced myself. However, we had quite a nice season, a true autumn with the leaves changing and temps in the 60s, the kind of weather that beckons you to take a stroll down the charming DC streets and just enjoy the scenery and love that you’re alive.
“I hear it’s going to be the harshest winter DC’s had in a long time!” people told me as the holidays approached. I didn’t believe them. “Nothing can be worse than last year – how do you people not remember this?” I’d respond.
Winter officially hit sometime in December, and we had Snowpocalypse right before Christmas (pshaw…if we only knew what was coming a month and a half later). Marge and I got in a scary snowball fight and made a snowwoman, and Megan came over and we drank mulled wine and ate mac and cheese. We even got a snow day! Lovely!
I figured after a foot and a half of snow and a “blizzard” (again…pshaw), the whole snow thing had run its course. We got a pretty little sprinkling the last weekend in January, and I walked down the sidewalk admiring the beauty of it all and remembering Snowmageddon fondly. (The better word to use here would be “smugly” – who did I think I was, acting like I was now a pro at snow?)
Later that week the forecast showed snow, and it was gonna be big. The storm was slated to hit that Friday, and the days leading up to it we Washingtonians checked weather.com hourly to see if it was still happening. Thursday afternoon we got the news that we should work from home the next day, and we all scrambled to get set up to do so. A sort of day off – yippee!!! (The following Web site was created to direct Washingtonians in the proper way of handling the snow: http://snowpocalypsedc.com/)
DAY 1: Friday morning I woke up around the time I would normally be arriving to work. After signing into webmail, I peeked out the window to see all the snow. Nothing. I nestled into my comfy yet stylish armchair in the living room and turned the TV on Lifetime (“Wife Swap” reruns are the BEST!).
Around 10:30 I got hungry, and chili sounded really good, so I put on clothes that were really just pajamas, paired them with my Uggs and a ponytail, and I ventured out into the non-blizzard. The night before I’d heard horror stories of the grocery store lines, but I didn’t think they’d be that bad anymore. I called Harris Teeter just to make sure, but they had restocked during the night, so I was golden. I wrote out my shopping list for Jamie Deen’s chili and drove on over. Once in the parking garage, it only took me 30 minutes to fight tooth and nail for a parking space that happened to be submerged in greasy water. Inside I only had to wait another ten minutes to find someone kind enough to carry their groceries out to the car and give me their cart. I quickly made my rounds, which is the beauty of a shopping list.
Except I think I’m out of pickles – A NECESSITY! Ooh, and I should probably buy stuff to make a Superbowl dip. Maybe two dips. What’s that recipe again? Thank goodness for mobile emailing! (My sister to the rescue.) And I need chips – wait, they’re out of Tostitos??? Ooh ground beef, that’s important. Where’s the ground beef? Oh there it is – and only three packages left.
My eyes darted from left to right – didn’t look like anyone else needed ground beef right at that second, so I took it all, you know, just in case we came close to starvation over the weekend. As that was my last item, I simply stepped sideways and was instantly in the checkout line. As I moved forward I cursed my decision to walk up the salad dressing aisle – why didn’t I choose something more interesting, like chips, salsa, and snacks? Even baking and sugar would have been better. After another 30 minutes it was my turn to pay – and of course I’d forgotten my grocery bags (we’re charged 5 cents a bag in DC now to help clear up the Anacostia River, but really, whoever goes over to the Anacostia River? I’d rather not see a severed head bobbing in the midst of trash, thanks).
When I drove out of the garage (dodging three other cars all trying to get my parking space at the same time) the snow had begun, but it wasn’t really sticking. All this panicking for nothing! I easily drove home and got the chili in the Crock pot just in time to watch a rerun of “Millionaire Matchmaker” (so glad she got rid of the bangs). Over the next few hours the snow slowly began to accumulate. One of Margaret’s friends got stranded in the city and another needed a place to stay for the weekend, so we invited them in till the storm blew over. I had freelance writing to finish, and it became increasingly difficult to concentrate as the snow came down harder. It’s just so pretty! Even Noli couldn’t help herself from watching.
Around 11 p.m. I wrapped up my work and took Noli outside for one last tinkle before bedtime. We stepped outside and I heard the familiar sound of...quiet. I remembered it from the last snowstorm. U Street on a Friday night with no people? Only a blizzard could cause that. I turned my face up to the sky and let the flakes hit my cheeks, listening to the soft pit pat pit pat of the snowflakes on the sidewalk.
To be continued...