Because we actually do need milk, and bread, and wine!

I didn’t make a mad dash to the grocery store before the storm came last week. I had already gone to Trader Joe’s a few days beforehand, bringing home reasonable items like feta cheese, red onion, spinach, chicken and swiss milk chocolate (for I will never prefer dark chocolate, flavanoids or not!). It didn’t seem like such a big thing, this snowstorm, particularly because I live in a neighborhood within walking distance to several grocery stores.  There were some logistics we had to work out – S. had to leave Detroit a day early to make sure he could get home, for instance, but Friday night found us happily ensconced in one of the neighborhood bars, first, and then tipsily happily tripping our way to our neighbor’s house to continue watching the snow pile up while plying ourselves with more wine.

Saturday we awoke to a period of suspended animation that has not lifted, since.  Snow!

It seemed like plenty of time to dig out before the work week began. S. spent an inordinate number of hours shoveling to clear our walkway and freeing our car from the white stuff. Skylar joined him, joyfully:

We couldn’t go anywhere and nobody could come to us and so we worked in the snow and played in the snow and when we got cold we came in and cleaned, and napped. Saturday evening we joined our neighbors in what felt like a rather treacherous pilgrimage to a nearby Thai restaurant, where we were offered a table. I kept narrating the evening in my head because it seemed something right out of a novel – six friends wrapped from head to toe in scarves and mittens and boots skating across the ice slick of their neighborhood carrying bottles of wine and six packs of beer, ordering plates of spicy basil tofu, pad thai, tom kha.

I didn’t really for the city to be up and running Sunday, and it wasn’t, but by the time Monday morning rolled around I sort of expected a somewhat functioning city. As it turns out, though, the city of Pittsburgh is absolute crap at snow removal. Our street still hasn’t been plowed, which means we stil can’t get our car out. Fortunately I am able to walk to work but what normally takes me between ten and fifteen minutes is currently taking at least a half an hour because there are few cleared sidewalks and I find myself scaling drifts of snow and moving slowly across long stretches of ice.

I was raised in northern Michigan, where two feet of snow would be easily taken care of by now, groomed into cross country ski trails and molded into ice rinks. Not so, in Pittsburgh, where conditions are nearly as bad this Tuesday morning as they were Saturday, because as even the most snow-innocent person could tell you, the freezing and refreezing of the streets creates more hazardous conditions than the original.

And more snow, they say, is on the way. As far as I can tell we have a window of about eight hours today to get ourselves to the grocery store and the liquor store (because, let’s be honest here, I’m going to need some wine in the house if life is going to continue, interrupted) but I am not thoroughly sure how we are going to accomplish this, between work and the snow and all.

I actually don’t think I’ve ever experienced a time where life has come to such a glittery standstill. I am itchy to resume normal life – there are Oscar-nominated movies to see, and yoga classes to attend, and things to do! At the same time, I can recognize this situation as unusual, and understand it’s possibly even a once-in-a-decade situation. Still, though – next time there is a warning of a big winter storm, you can bet I can be found in line at the Giant Eagle, purchasing my milk and gluten-free bread. Which actually, will be today.

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11 Responses to Because we actually do need milk, and bread, and wine!

  1. laura says:

    LOL, that was my first thought too, do we have enough wine? I upgraded mine to a bottle of rum though – I’m snowed-in with a kid! 🙂

    Question #2 is do you have enough coffee??? We actually need some coffee cream, which I’m about to pop out to get more of before we get snowed-in again. We couldn’t even buy a snow shovel around here, they were all sold out! It’s madness!

  2. Andi says:

    Boy, do I hear you here!!! Cars are parked everywhere here in Baltimore, on the streets and willy nilly.

    But I must say that on some level I appreciate the forced stop in my life. I get some perspective, at least a little.

    Still I get it. I really do.

  3. auntjone says:

    I have a friend in a ‘burb of Pittsburgh who commented on the “yinzers” flocking to the “Gi’an Iggle” to stock up on bread and…chipchopped meat? I think that’s what he said. Anyhow, I got the Giant Eagle reference only because I work for a major food company and we ship to them, but the “yinzers” threw me for a loop. He explained, and I chuckled, and I’m DYING to visit your fair city both to see him and to see my beloved Steelers in person. I’m also chuckling at co-workers in Memphis who are “snowed in”. I think they got about 2 inches and the city is paralyzed. But when you have NO snow removal equipment whatsoever I suppose 2 inches would be daunting.

  4. Cam says:

    We’ve had just enough here to look pretty and to be a pain for driving. I was kinda hoping to be snowed in completely for at least a day. Even the predicted 6 – 8 MORE inches of snow didn’t materialize this evening. Instead, just enough so that when the drive was plowed, it packed and glazed the snow into ice. The car is still at the bottom of the hill, unable to make it to the garage. Would have been as useful if I paid someone to tackle the drive with a zambonie.

  5. Dorothy W. says:

    We completely missed the last storm, but the next one is hitting us tomorrow. I’m staying home from school no matter what. A day or so of this is fine, but I can definitely understand getting restless after that — and spring needs to get here soon!!

  6. litlove says:

    We’ve had snow on and off since mid-December and it’s very unusual in the UK to have so much. So yup, I hear you, we’ve been bored to death on the news with the crisis that there MAY not be enough salt for the roads, and people filling up emergency rooms falling over on slippery pavements, etc, etc. It’s fun if you have enough for a snowman (or twenty, as you clearly do), but when you keep having just enough to be a nuisance, well. Like Dorothy, I am getting very restless for the spring!

  7. Emily Barton says:

    It’s standing even more still here, really. I think Pittsburgh is a little better at snow removal than this part of the state, and the middle of nowhere is an interesting place when it snows this much. Of course, work still goes on for those of us who telecommute to a company based in Southern California. Luckily, we have plenty of wine and chocolate when the work day is done.

  8. Stefanie says:

    As long as I have lived in MN I have wished for a snow day or two but have never gotten one. Even in December when we got 16 inches of snow the city is so efficient at removing it there was no excuse not to go to work. I suppose though that I should be careful what I wish for. Enjoy the break in the routine and stay warm!

  9. shoreacres says:

    I’ve got a cousin in Fairfax, VA who managed to get to work on Monday – but only because he was raised in snow country and knew enough to park his car about a mile and a half from the house, near a major route he knew would be plowed quickly. Then, he had to make his way through all that SNOW, back and forth.

    The comment about two inches being a pain when you don’t have the equipment or experience is right on. Here is Houston, an inch is enough to turn everyone into a ten year old bad driver!

  10. A Free Man says:

    I’m sure it’s a pain in the ass, but having spent most of my life in snow-deprived places I’m a bit jealous!

  11. Courtney says:

    Laura – LOL – we had enough coffee, thank goodness! Coffee and wine (or rum) – the essentials of surviving a snowstorm!
    Andi – I enjoyed the first several days of the storm as well – it was the last two or three that sort of broke my spirit…but I am much more cheerful now. i actually didn’t mean to write such a dispiriting post!
    Aunt Jone – we currently have chairs saving parking spots all over the neighborhood! And it’s chip-chop ham – it’s a really fatty lunch meat type thing. I’ve had it once or twice but it’s definitely an acquired taste and one I doubt I will acquire.
    Cam – ice is so much worse than snow! It makes for much more dangerous conditions. I hope you are a bit thawed out, now, and able to move around a bit better.
    Dorothy – I love winter but I have NEVER been more ready for spring in my life. And that’s saying a lot, because I get the worst spring allergies…
    Litlove – I am more than ready for spring as well – and, as I told Dorothy above – it takes a lot for me to be ready for that!
    Emily – wine and chocolate are how I survived this last week. Seriously.
    Stef – you know, I grew up in Michigan and I think that’s why I was in such shock earlier this week – I am used to snow being taken care of immediately and moving on with life – it was definitely a surprise to find Pittsburgh quite this unprepared…
    Shoreacres – exactly. We adjust to the way our climates treat us, so when Mother Nature throws us a curve ball it can be really hard to knock it out of the park!
    A Free Man – well, we can trade envy – those beach pictures you posted had me dreaming of a vacation to Australia…

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