Snowed In: 2014 Style

Winter 2014

Winter 2014

Last week, prior to the polar vortex, I wrote a column recalling my family’s experiences of being housebound during the major snowstorms of 1977 and 1978. Little did I know that within 48 hours of finishing that article, I would find myself snowed in again. Luckily, this time we were snowed in 2014 style.

Being stuck indoors isn’t much fun regardless of the era, but I would contend that the 2014 version is far easier than 1978. Instead of three television stations showing soap operas, this time we were blessed not only with cable television but also Netflix. How exciting to have the inclement weather enforce a television viewing marathon upon us! The only problem was deciding which program to watch. We focused most of our viewing on HouseHunters International.

Since the polar vortex happened in early January, many of us hadn’t even had time to fully break our New Year’s resolutions yet. Since mine was to exercise every day, I was able to jump on our elliptical without interrupting my television viewing marathon. In 1978, few of us had any way to exercise at home during the blizzard, let alone exercise without ceasing our television viewing.

No matter how tempting a day of watching mindless television sounds, it still gets boring pretty quickly. Then it is time to break out the books and read a bit. In 1978, I remember re-reading books that we had in our house to pass time. In 2014, a new book is only seconds away courtesy of e-readers. With just a few clicks, my Kindle had the newest bestseller awaiting me.

For me, the best part of the polar vortex 2014 was the ability to correspond with my friends via text or Facebook. During the snowstorms of my teenage years, not being able to chat with my friends was the worst part of being homebound. This time the conversations went on for hours. Lots of good laughs were shared as no one was too busy to chat.

Oddly, the access to technology helped us find two low-tech ways to enjoy the weather. Even though I am 53 years old, and have lived through a few snowstorms, these were snowy day activities that I had never experienced. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

As the temperatures reached -9 degrees, one of my friends posted a video of his kids conducting a science experiment. Intrigued by the video, I encouraged my husband and son to boil a cup of water and throw it out the back door. It exploded into a fine powdery snow in the air. The first time it happened, I laughed harder than I had laughed in a long, long time. We repeated the experiment several times throughout the day and I laughed uncontrollably every time.

Next, I began to see Facebook posts about Snow Ice Cream. What a fun snowy day activity to make homemade ice cream from freshly fallen snow, sugar, vanilla and milk. All you need is ten minutes and some excited kids to enjoy this activity! Word to the wise: if you have a pet, choose your snow carefully though.

But, the very best thing about being snowed in 2014 is access to the internet, specifically travel sites for warm weather getaways. I spent several hours researching a late winter trip on TripAdvisor. And before the Level 3 snow advisory was lifted, I had succumbed and booked a trip that involves sun, sand, and cocktails with little umbrellas in them. Even though our house was cool, my soul was warm dreaming about a tropical getaway.

So, here’s to hoping we don’t have any more major snowstorms this winter, but just in case stay prepared with coats, hats, mittens, boots, shovels, and alternative heating sources. And more importantly, keep your laptop charged and Netflix account current!

Be warm.

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