Extreme Winter Blizzard Storm Watch 2009!

I was chatting with a colleague on the phone Sunday night when she mentioned offhandedly that I might consider not coming in the next day, as she heard that the weather was going to be pretty bad. I went to Weather.com and saw this at the top of the screen:

Blizzard Warning!

Now, we live in the mountains and we do get snow, but this was ridiculous. I mean, we live in Arizona, not North-freakin-Dakota. I checked again to make sure they didn’t have the wrong zip code. But no, it was really a blizzard warning. Apparently the Storm Watch had been upgraded to an Extreme Weather Alert, which had evolved into a Blizzard Warning. I’ve been a fan of Weather.com long enough to know that a Watch is pretty interesting. We might get some weather. An Alert is even more fun. Could mean a Snow Day! But a Warning means the Serious Shit is coming and it’s time to go into full-on survival mode.

After making sure we had a enough Caffeine-Free Diet Coke, Ruffles, and baby wipes to weather the storm, I kicked back and prepared to enjoy a day at home, completely trapped and unable to reach the stack of papers in need of grading that I had left in my office seven miles away.

We did indeed get a blizzard. Here’s how the day went:

7:30 A.M.

I wake up and look outside. It hasn’t started snowing yet. Liars! Then I remember that they said 8:00. Then I remember that I have a 9-month-old and yet the house is strangely quiet. I peek over at his crib and see a lump. He’s asleep! Is he dead? I sneak over and listen to make sure he’s breathing, careful not to make any sudden movements. If he sees me, it’s all over. I crawl back under the covers and get, I think, about seven more minutes of sleep, which is wonderful.

9:00 A.M.

Darin gets up and brings up enough wood from the wood pile to last us awhile. Our house is heated by a wood-burning stove. If you’re tempted to feel sorry for me (everything I own smells like a camp fire), just wait, later on tonight we will be the lucky ones.

Oscar gets his first glimpse of the coming storm.

Yes, my child does own more than one pair of pajamas. And yes, I know it’s cold outside. I only had the door open for, like, a second. Later on, when we sent Oscar outside for more wood, I did put a sweater on him.

11:17 A.M.

I get an email saying that Northern Arizona University is closed. Snow Day!

1:00 P.M.

The snow begins to accumulate and it gets noticeably darker outside.

2:00 P.M.

Oscar gets a bath. Because the only thing scarier than being trapped in the house with a baby for two days? Being trapped with a stinky baby. Eeewww.

Please don’t look closely at our very ghetto sink.

3:30 P.M.

I decide to make a turkey dinner. We had Thanksgiving out of town, which is fun at the time, but depressing in its total lack of leftovers. I had a turkey on hand from before Thanksgiving when they were selling them for like, five cents a pound, so I threw the turkey in the oven for about four hours. It would mean eating late, around 7:30 or so, which is when Oscar goes to bed and we like to empty the contents of the refrigerator into our stomachs.

7:14 P.M.

I start peeling potatoes, thinking that I will pull the turkey out of the oven soon and want the side dishes to be ready.

7:17 P.M.

The power goes out. I almost pee my pants.

7:18 P.M.

The power comes back on. I sigh with relief.

7:19 P.M.

The power goes out.

7:20 P.M.

The power stays out.

7:21 P.M.

Darin begins gathering flashlights and candles while I keep peeling potatoes. The power will come back on. The power WILL come back on…

7:22 P.M.

The power doesn’t come back on.

8:00 P.M.

I decide to take the turkey out of the oven. At least we’ll have turkey for dinner. Turkey with a side of turkey! And for dessert? Turkey!

Here I am taking the turkey’s temperature. Because nobody wants food poisoning during a blizzard. The poor turkey looks like we are sacrificing it on an altar.

9:00 P.M.

Having determined that the power is not coming back on and that he doesn’t want to listen to any more of my charming anecdotes, Darin asks what I would like to do.

What else is there to do when you have no electricity and a lot of poultry to consume?

Don’t be fooled by the fact that I’m an English teacher. I’m not good at Scrabble. In fact, I suck. Darin beats me by at least a hundred points every time. That’s because I come up with words like cat and dog and he comes up with words like Quixotic (go ahead, look it up, I’ll wait).


The power is still out and I decide to go to bed. Luckily for us, our house is heated by a wood stove, so it’s toasty warm all night. The power doesn’t come back on until after 3:00 A.M.

9:00 A.M. The Next Morning

NAU is closed again, which is a good thing, considering this is what our driveway looks like:

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