Winterizing for your Geeky Lifestyle

I promised an Austen post today, but lo, the Snowpocalypse is upon us!

Seriously, we’re supposed to get about 2 feet of the glorious white stuff here in Minnesota and thus far it’s fine stuff, not heavy, wet, and capable of collapsing tree limbs and powerlines on it’s own kind.  We had that stuff a month ago and a I lost a whole weekend to driving people around in it.  In fact, thus far we have had three major winter storms and I have driven for hours in each of them. So my goal for the Snowpocalypse is to stay in my apartment and not drive further than the bookstore and only then if I am promised coupons and food.

I’m bracing for the worst here and I thought I’d share some of my checklist for battening down the hatches in the face of extreme weather (applicable year round, thanks Tornados!)

The central point of my severe weather strategy is to assume that you will lose one or more utilities at any moment. I’ll refer back to that throughout, but the thing about extreme weather is that it can do weird things. It can knock over a tree and the roots can clip your gas lines, it can cause a car to hit a power line, it can get so cold that your pipes freeze. Basically, the idea is to be able to survive without utilities until they are back on line or the storm is over.

1. Get a variety of Food.

If the lines at the grocery store (and the liquor store) were any indication, folks around here have this one covered, but to sum things up briefly.

You want to have some food outside your fridge. If the power goes out for half a day your refrigerator can probably keep your food cold enough, as long as you don’t open it. So that means having something to eat in your cabinets. I have a gas stove so cooking is still an option, but if the power’s out I might not have water. Luckily I have an electric kettle, so that and my biggest teapot will be full of drinking water until the storm blows over.

If the weather’s just bad and I don’t want to have to leave, it’s just nice to have good, potentially work intensive food to eat.  The idea is to prevent Cabin Fever, so making a new food, or an old food a new way (I tried Fake In-N-Out Burgers a while back) can spice things up. (Sorry, that one was way to easy)

2. Charge Absolutely Everything

Assuming you lose power the battery life of your devices is gonna become very important.  That old laptop with about 45 minutes of life? That’s a whole TV show or a bunch of minesweeper.  Your old iPod can save whatever juice is in your smartphone for non-entertainment purposes. I have no idea where a flashlight is in my apartment, but between my iPhone, my iPod touch, my DS and my PSP I have hours of light. Incidentally, I have used all of those objects and many others as emergency flashlights, not because I needed them to get around, but because I was reading and needed better light to see. So while you have power, charge anything that can be charged. While you have power, prioritize things that use electricity, playing Xbox over your DS for instance.

3. Make the Most of Daytime

It’s winter, night comes early, but while you have daylight being without power can be kind of fun. You get to unplug, read that dead tree book you’ve got sitting around, play a board game, maybe use the fireplace (this is what I did a month ago, it was a total blast). Do your unplugged stuff during the day when it’s warmer, easier to move around, and when you have light to see.  I don’t think you want to try cleaning your place by iPhone light.

However when you actually get to night, you might have some things to consider, especially if you’ve been without power all day. Can you stay where you are overnight? Do you have heat?  Do your friends/family have power? Safety guys! Don’t freeze to death if you don’t have to.

4. Remember your Towel

If it worked for Arthur Dent it can work for you.  Besides, if you’ve ever been in a blanket fort when someone spills hot chocolate, well you probably wanted a towel too.

5. Cabin Fever

I love that movie. The way I see it you can fight Cabin Fever or you can embrace it, but if the storm is really bad you shouldn’t run from it. I’m prepped to be as ADD as I need to be. I have writing to do, naturally, that bar for Project Rizzo Allen hasn’t moved in over a week, but additionally,  my nails are unpainted but longish (I may go full on Lantern colors again), I’m cultivating a desire both to read books (my shortlist: more Austen, more fairy tales, Dragonflight, Hikaru No Go, and Deathnote) and to watch any number of movies and TV shows (my shortlist: Kill Bill, Love Actually, the good Pride and Prejudice, Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island, Firefly), I have some cleaning to do, I have christmas decorations to make/put up, I could build another treasure chest, there is Christmas Knitting, and there are video games. I’m just gonna follow my fancy and hope it doesn’t leave me too bored.

6. Clean What You Can Before it Arrives

I did not follow this one, but I wish I had. The idea is that some things are not great if you might lose power or something.  I wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a load of laundry or dishes when the power or water went out. Ditto cleaning out the fridge (Cabin fever takes strange turns guys). Vacuuming is not as bad but you could end up half done. Even taking out the trash leaves you in the cold/storm for a bit. If I was perfectly prepared, my apartment would be spic and span right now, but it is so not, and the dirty dish smell might get to perceptible levels tomorrow when I can’t do much about it. It stinks, but what are you gonna do?

Those are the tips I’ve got, and now it’s late and I’m gonna sleep while we accumulate another half foot or so of snow! Stay safe and warm guys!

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1 Comment

Filed under Ponderings

One response to “Winterizing for your Geeky Lifestyle

  1. Good, fun, and useful tips! I don’t live in a cold weather climate, but even the slightest bit of ice wreaks havoc on most Texas inhabitants. Or at least the ones who’ve never lived anywhere else. Thankfully I’ve lived in the not-so-frozen tundra of North Carolina, so I have a little bit of experience with ice and slushy snow.

    I did notice you forgot one thing in your grocery list. Sure, we need food that doesn’t need to be refrigerated, but if you pay attention during any disaster, the things you really need are: bread, milk, eggs. When disaster strikes we need FRENCH TOAST!

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