Thursday, February 7, 2013

Watching for a Blizzard: Making your snow day great

We consider it a point of pride our masterful handling of snowstorms in the Northeast. Regardless of how calmly or recklessly we manage the actual storm, we scorn the poor souls in the other regions of the U.S. that just seem to have no idea what to do when frozen white water begins falling from the sky. In my lifetime I've seen some historic weather: ice storms that coated whole towns in sheets of frigid glass for weeks, foot upon foot of snow closing down the streets of NYC, and near-hurricanes bringing eight foot swells into shore. Two winters ago we had snow accumulation almost every week for five months straight. Hell, I saw it snow a few days before Senior Prom (in June).

Now they are calling for 12-24 inches tomorrow into Saturday and New Englanders are relishing it.  Now we get to be austere and stoic about the weather while ‘working from home’, watching crap television, and drinking an irrational amount of alcohol.

So let’s talk about the perfect snow day. Living in the city opposed to my childhood in the  country, snow days have a different meaning (no impromptu four-wheeling in the streets of Boston unfortunately) but there is still a formula behind any good snow day.

   1) Knowledge is Power

      The first step to any situation is to know what you are up against. Are you totally cleared for the day off? Shut off your alarm, immediately. Got the inkling you will be let out after lunch? Dress as comfortable as possible for the workplace, wear boots, and load your weather app to reference at least several times an hour. Play time can start soon enough. Was your boss awesome / silly enough to say everyone could work from home today? Wake up shortly after you would have to be at work normally, check your email, make sure to respond and copy as many people as necessary, then make some hot chocolate and turn on netflix.

   2) Prepare

      New Englanders play it real smooth in the run up to a storm, but I promise there isn't a soul in these six states that doesn't immediately go to the store ‘for a few things’. Moms buy milk, bread, and vitamins; most everyone else buys beer. This is the first world, so it’s highly unlikely you’ll really be snowed in for any extensive period of time, but having the appropriate snacks and beverages really takes the snow day up a notch. We have wine, beer, brandy, tea, and cereal. We can make do for at least a week.

3) Access the possibilities 

By now you know exactly how much free time you have, as the storm may or may not be whipping outside. What does your heart desire? What does your neighborhood have to offer/allow? Sledding in the city is a bit more treacherous than in the country, and most of us don’t keep sleighs in our condos. But if you want to go sledding, improvise! I hear cafeteria lunch trays work quite well. If you want to watch six seasons of Xena Warrior Princess, do it. The key is to enjoy yourself (no one will know what you do unless you tell them!)

   4) Wish it, want it, do it 

      You've done it. You are out of work for the day, you've got extra provisions, and a plan. Now enjoy the hell out of your free time. And make sure to check accumulation regularly so you can talk about the weather thoroughly like a proper New Englander.

Serious Nor'easter, Boston 2010

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