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Diggin’ out

February 8, 2010

Constitution Avenue January 7th 2010

Washington DC  has been hit by a record blizzard, dumping up to 38 inches of snow just north of the City.  I am stranded here and unable to get back to Vermont and the office.  Luckily there is the internet and I can continue to work from here, almost as if I was in my office.   AgrAbility has a conference call scheduled at 2:30, so I will be able to take that from here as well.  Life continues even when the roads, metro and airports shut down.

What was really interesting to see is the difference between rural readiness and city readiness.  In all fairness, Washington does not get this kind of snow and simply does not have the plows or sand trucks to keep things cleared up. Washington is a green city with so many trees all around, and  it was easy to see that power was going to go out and when it did, were my hosts equipped for the long haul?   A bathtub filled with water so that toilets could get flushed?  Bottled water to drink?  Flashlights?  Shovels?  What about food?  Were there ready-to-meals that could be cooked on the gas burners? It seems like common sense for us in Vermont to know how to prepare for a winter storm, but if I was at home would I be prepared to hold out for a couple of days?

Turns out that my hosts were not really prepared and were lucky to be out of power for only 5 hours.  Also lucky for my hosts,  there were stores that were on generators that opened the next day and were in walking distance.  Many other people were in the same predicament.

I teased my host about his tea-spoon sized  shovel. But in fairness, they hardly get snow of any huge amount here in the Capitol, so he dug out a smidge at a time.  He said that every time he had gone to the hardware store, he saw decent sized snow shovels, but figured that he would just pick one up some other time. Then, when all the warnings went out about  the heavy snow storm in early December and then this one, there had been a run on shovels and none left.

Hmm.. sounds familiar.  I often think that way too. I use the last of something and think I will pick more of it up, then get busy with my day and my other things and when I need that thing I don’t have it.   We all know that there is going to be more snow.  And we are going to lose power.  You might have a generator, but if you don’t have the fuel ready to go, it ain’t worth much.   We all think we can hang on for a few days and our pantries are full, but what of our neighbors?  Especially the ones that live out of town and not walking distance to the store.

Everyone is digging out here, and taking it all in stride.  The airports are hopefully going to get going again, as there is another storm calling for a wet and heavy 6 more inches of snow.   People are hustling to get stuff ready.  I wonder if anyone has told them that they should be looking at shoveling off their roofs?   A couple of buildings have already collapsed, but still, you gotta wonder if this snow is not the norm, then how would you expect anyone to know this?

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