This is a record of the Roder Family’s experience with the epic storm of January 2016, dubbed “Snowzilla” by the Washington Post. (For the purposes of posterity, this writer will document all trials, difficulties, and opinions associated with the storm, including the fact that I think the name “Snowzilla” is a little lame.)
Wednesday, Jan. 20
12:00 PM: In preparation for the storm, I have ventured into the vast wilderness known as “Target” for supplies to sustain my family these next days. Despite reports from my compatriots of jungle-like conditions in neighboring “Giant” and “Safeway,” my chosen supply post is relatively empty of wild life, with only a few yoga pant-clad moms stocking up on milk and toilet paper.
I am chagrined, however, to discover that the Target employees who staff the snack bar have called in sick, and I am forced to do my shopping without my fountain diet coke. A sense of foreboding overcomes me as I consider this ominous presage of what the coming days may bring.
9:00 PM: The region is crippled when 1 inch of snow falls on untreated roads two days in advance of the expected storm. My husband asks if I remembered to buy sausage.
Thursday, Jan. 21
5:30 AM: I wake to my daughter climbing into my bed, claiming to have dreamt that her father turned into a pirate and beckoned her to come to him from the top of the stairs. She is terrified and wants comfort, so she snuggles under my blanket while the pirate stirs next to us, preparing to get up for work. I reach an arm out into the icy bedroom air to check my text messages. A missive from the county alerts me that schools will open two hours late. I pump my fist and exclaim, “Yes!” then turn off my alarm.
7:51 AM: I wake to my iPhone buzzing yet again. This message alerts me that schools will remain closed all day. I celebrate by getting up to nurse the baby.
The children eat breakfast and then rush outside to make snow angels.
Friday, Jan. 22
7:00 AM: The kids and I are home all day for a planned day off of school. Yesterday’s snow has melted, so we amuse ourselves with books, toys, and TV. In anticipation of a potential power outage, I make significant progress on reducing the back up on my DVR.
10:00 AM: My husband calls to say that pork roast is on sale for ninety-nine cents a pound, and should he stop by Safeway on his way home to pick some up. That and sausage. “Better you than me,” I reply.
5:00 PM: I am relieved that all of my loved ones are safe in our home as the record snow fall begins. The heavens dump three inches of snow per hour over the Washington region, stranding people in their homes, cars, and work places. Combined with the whipping wind, the snow causes white-out conditions, and visibility is less than
1/4 mile. I make a pizza, and my family watches “Inside Out.”
Somehow, Sophia doesn’t notice
that she is touching Raymond, and possibly becoming infected with his little brother cooties.
Saturday, Jan. 23
9:00 AM: After a night of waking every two hours to nurse the baby, I emerge from my bedroom to face the day. The children are already up and buzzing about, preparing to venture out into the still falling snow. I help them into snow pants, boots, and mittens, after starting the coffee.
9:50 AM: The children are finally bundled and headed out the door. The baby and I watch from the safety of the family room.
11:00 AM: My husband heads out to shovel snow. This proves to be a Herculean effort that might have claimed his life (or at least his back) were it not for the help of some neighbors. Ten minutes after he’s finished, our driveway and sidewalks are again covered in waist-deep snow. My four-year-old celebrates by climbing Snow Mountain and base jumping off of it.
1:25 PM: I realize that I forgot to buy onions at the store. I cannot make spaghetti sauce. With sausage. My husband offers to walk to Safeway. I tell him that’s insane. He sinks into a deep depression. But wait! Forsooth, a neighbor has some onions! She sends her teenage son out into the storm, and my husband meets him in the road. Dinner is saved!
4:09 PM: I email my Pastor to ask if there will be Mass this weekend. He responds that he is already at the church and will hold the vigil Mass tonight, and will do his best to return in the morning. I tell him we will try to come. God laughs at me.
Sunday, Jan. 24
8:30 AM: It is obvious that we are not going to Mass today, or anywhere for that matter. The snow continued to fall through 11:30 PM last night, and our street looks like this:
I prepare for another day indoors with the children and curse myself for not going anywhere on Friday morning when I had the chance. I could’ve picked up the pork and sausage. Why didn’t I pick up the pork and sausage?!
10:00 AM: For the fourth day in a row, I make the children help me with chores that they don’t normally do. They impress me with their commitment to maintaining an energetic complaining regimen throughout the entire exercise, despite having expended so much of their complaining energy during the previous three days.
1:00 PM: Two of them go outside to play in the snow again, and I praise all that is Holy.
1:44 PM: A text from the county alerts me that schools will be closed again tomorrow, surprising no one. I pray that I can get out of the house at some point in the next twenty-four hours.
4:00 PM: We are reduced to a family of savages. Fights over use of the Kindle and the television are frequent and intense. Shouts of “Moooooo-ooooom” can be heard echoing through the halls. As I write this, the children are pawing at my office door attempting to get in. I plan a dinner of chicken tenders and hot chocolate, praying that it somehow soothes their tempers.
6:00 PM: The evening is spent watching more television in pajamas before an early bedtime, aided in part by the darkening winter sky. We will await the snow plow and its glistening steel blades, which may come tomorrow and free us from our home. In the meantime, I thank God that I have shelter, warmth, food, power, helpful neighbors, a hard-working and dedicated husband, and four snuggly children to tuck into bed tonight.
How did you spend Snowzilla 2016?