Is it the end of the world? No – just snow

Around the middle of last week DC was in chaos over 2 inches of ‘surprise snow’. (As it occurred in January, it wasn’t such a surprise to many of us…) How were we going to cope with the threatened 2 feet over the weekend?

The answer seemed to be: by stockpiling groceries. On Wednesday night there was a queue to get into Trader Joe’s. On Thursday morning Harris Teeter in Adams Morgan – never fantastically well-stocked – had already run out of many items. Some were predictable. Perishables that they stock on a ‘not-quite-in-time’ distribution model had gone – there were no mushrooms or avocados. There was no cow’s milk. Other things were less predictable, but I think reflect the sorts of foods people might think to cook on a snowy weekend: potatoes, onions, butternut squash and bagged greens. (This being DC they had obviously run out of kale.)

Queues for checkouts reportedly lasted 45 minutes in some stores on Thursday night. Arguments were breaking out over just 15 minute waits in Harris Teeter in the morning. One old guy made it obvious that he thought we were all overreacting, muttering something like ‘is the world going to end tomorrow?’ as he joined the queue. He didn’t appear to be stockpiling food, but he probably doesn’t have any other mouths to feed. It’s somewhat difficult for those of us used to eating well at the weekend but who have lived in small apartments with no storage space for most of our adult lives. We’re used to buying our groceries on the days on which we’re going to eat them. In Adams Morgan it’s also hard to have a car (no parking), so we don’t often go to large stores to buy in bulk. We were stocking our homes from almost scratch.

I’m afraid to say that tempers frayed. The old guy decided to focus his displeasure on me as I tried to use the self-checkout and pack my groceries as quickly as I could, grumbling that ‘the rest of us don’t want to live here, lady.’ Somewhat taken aback, I didn’t respond, but on my way out I decided I had to take him to task for his rudeness, only to be told to ‘go to hell’. Probably the most American argument I’ve ever had…

Still I left the store having succeeded in securing most of my necessities – including ground coffee, cookies, dark chocolate, and ginger beer and limes for dark and stormies. There’s no need to be deprived of nice things when you’re snowed in!

It seems others felt the same way – when we realised we were low on red wine and headed to the liquor store there was quite a queue there as well!

The one thing I didn’t understand was the advice we received rather late in the day that we should make sure to have a gallon of water per person per day of the emergency. We filled what we could, but I couldn’t help but think that this was advice for an earthquake or hurricane, rather than for an event that predicted large amounts of water falling from the sky in frozen form…


In the event, we didn’t feel like we were properly snowed in. It started snowing about 1pm on Friday and kept at it until around midnight on Saturday, dumping around 2 feet of snow on us. But on Friday evening people were still enjoying happy hour at the mellow mushroom pizza place on 18th street, and on Saturday morning we made it through the snow to the diner, where cops and dedicated brunchers were being served by presumably local staff. Safeway seemed to be open, as was our local convenience store. I guess it would have felt rather different had we lived in a more residential district; you certainly didn’t want to drive anywhere.

We decided to take a walk round the neighbourhood, taking in the nearby hill that we were told was a good place for sledging (we’re sadly rather far from the fun on Capitol Hill). Though we could mostly walk on the semi-ploughed road, when we had to come off onto the verge or to take a short cut through the park, the deep, powdery snow, made walking very good exercise. I was quite jealous of those who had come out with skis! We spent a little while watching the sledging fun – flattened Amazon Prime boxes seemed to make as good sledges as did snowboards, especially when covered in a trash bag. When we got home we took some beers up to the roof to check out the view, but were driven in by the increasing wind chill.

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This morning the sun came out and the snow had stopped. We’ve watched people start the process of digging their cars out of the snow drifts, and shovel the sidewalks clear.

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Whether it will be cleared and safe to walk to work tomorrow remains to be seen. At least I have enough food left in the house to keep us going through Tuesday!

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5 thoughts on “Is it the end of the world? No – just snow

  1. Hullo! I saw your comment on Kristy’s site and popped over. Apartment living is something I have never experienced so reading your words was a revelation for me. It terrifies me that supermarkets only carry three days worth of stock. And your space is so limited. You cannot stockpile or transport bulk groceries. Hmm. This interests me. How do you feel about that. It must be so unsettling. But you are used to snow I am sure. We do not get as much here in the midwest. I have a small farm and grow my food but like you if it looks like we might be snowed in I go out and buy bottles and bottles of wine! c

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not really used to this sort of snow, as I’m from the UK and have mainly lived in cities where we maybe get a couple of inches of snow that doesn’t hang around. I am used to apartment living though, and all its challenges! Because it’s just me and my husband, and we can always go out or get take-out, it doesn’t usually bother me how few groceries we can store. It’s also easy – and pleasant – to walk to the supermarket in our area, and very easy to pop across to the convenience store. It’s expensive, but we’re resigned to that. One day I would dearly love to have a garden and grow my own vegetables. I kept a couple of pots of herbs alive on my balcony last year – until we had to go away in the height of summer…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As much as I love farming I look back wistfully on the years I lived in Islington, London and I would wander out into the streets and soon find some great food! Being able to walk to where you are going is magic all in itself! c

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  2. We have just travelled from Melbourne to Adelaide through farming land which, in some cases, hasn’t seen rain for two years. Then, as soon as we left the area, the heavens opened and some areas are talking about the worst rain for 100 years. Didn’t we do well?
    In this crazy world, the East side of the island of Tasmania is being swept away by floods, while the West side is on fire, with massive bushfires running out of control. Funny old world, isn’t it?

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