Preparing for a Snow Day


As I write these words, I am being told many things by many weather stations. Some people tell me we are getting 6 inches. Some that we are getting between 12 and 24 inches. My husband is wistfully preparing for the 36 inches of his youth. Whatever may come, we will not be going very far from home this weekend and preparations need to be made. But how do you prepare for a snowstorm? 

When I first moved to Maine from England almost twenty years ago, I was not prepared. After my first snowstorm, we took a walk around the house. 24 inches deep in snow, I got halfway around the building before saying “Nope! Nope! Nope!” repeatedly and walking back to the warm inside. During my second snowstorm, I attempted to help clear the driveway and found myself using muscles I did not know existed. Even before it snowed, I realized that the sweaters I had brought with me from England could not quite cut it against the brutal cold of Maine in December. These days I am a little more mentally prepared, and when it comes to getting practically prepared, everyone has their own snow day prep.

All Images: Sarah Pinault

For my husband, it’s all about the practicalities. Is there enough gas on hand to fuel the snowblower? Do we have enough ice melt? Is there coffee? Our garage is too full to park the car in, but he has perfected the fine art of parking on the driveway for the most practical method of clearing the driveway. Not too close to the existing banks, but not too far away. Close enough to the garage to offer some shielding, but not so close that you can’t pull out the snow gear.

For the kids, it’s all about the toys. Are my snow pants ready? Do I know where the snow molds and sleds are? Is the Switch fully charged? This weekend, my twelve-year-old’s particular concern is that we have a copy of Pokémon Legends: Arceus for the Switch in the house. Released this weekend, it is actually his only concern for snow day prep this time around. That and working Joy-Cons.

In parental concerns, my husband and I share some of the preparation. Milk for cereal and tea aplenty, enough snacks and food so that we don’t need to leave the house for a few days if we don’t need to. In the first year we lived in our house back in 2008, we were without power for four days, and that has guided some of our storm needs ever since. Do we have jugs of water to be able to flush the toilet when the power to the well is gone? Is the wood stove free of clutter so that we can have wood-powered heat if needed? Do we have enough gas canisters to power the camp stove if needed? Is there coffee? 

It will be nice to not have to find masks for a few days. My daughter has whittled herself down to just one mask that she will wear, and so we wash it every night. A storm will give us a reprieve from this Covid-based world we live in, and enable us to hunker down and pretend it’s not happening. I’m not in denial, you’re in denial.

For me, the preparation is both parental and comfortable. I like to make sure my house is picked up a little more than usual. The table must be free of clutter for impromptu board gaming. We are sure to break out Winter Carcassonne and Exploding Minions in the next 24 hours. I fully expect to find time to play Kim Joy’s Magic Bakery as well. The kitchen should be as mess-free as possible so that I can sit and enjoy the falling snow instead of having to dig my way through dishes to make the necessary cocoa. Knowing the eating habits of my children, I will check the freezer and make sure the necessary products are defrosting. But practicalities aside, I make sure that I have enough yarn for my current project, and have choices if I change my mind. I also need to have my books ready.

Image: News Center Maine and Falmouth Memorial Library

Snowstorms are a great time to plow through a book in one day, and I have certain requirements for that kind of read. My parents returned from England last week with literary gifts for me of Stephen Fry’s Troy and the second two installments in the Cavendon Chronicles by Barbara Taylor Bradford. Either of these will do for a snowy day.

Something snowy this way comes, and we will be ready to hunker down. Of course, when it stops, the outside play begins. Send warm thoughts!

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