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Wednesday, January 5, 2011


It's a new year, a time people often embrace with hope. We had a horrific snowstorm to close out the year that left me feeling a bit lost and not exactly hopeful. My life has always been about being as self-sufficient as I can be. I'm not the type to ask for directions and not the type to ask for help, even when I should. But nothing will bring you back to begging for help like the wallop of 36 inches of snow and 70mph winds that cause massive snow drifts, some more than seven feet high.

When I tell people we were trapped inside for more than 30 hours, other fellow storm survivors say "Yeah, we weren't plowed out until Tuesday." But no, I'm talking a five foot wall of snow pressed right up against my back door that made leaving that way impossible and a front door that's bolt was frozen shut.

Following the major snowfall on Sunday and early Monday, the day was so miserable and windy it's not like I wanted to go out anyway. From my front window, I could see a caterpillar going back and forth over the huge wall of snow that had formed across the street. The winds had created something I'd never seen before, a massive hill of snow stretching almost all the way down the block on one side of the street while on my side of the street, I could see the sidewalk. It looked like some kind of ominous wave. I'd never seen anything like it, the sight of that huge snow wave greeting me at 4am Monday morning still haunts me.

So with the caterpillar going back and forth, back and forth for several hours, on my block alone, I knew we weren't going anywhere no one was coming to us. But the hours ticked on by and still my front door wouldn't open. Trying to shovel down the wall of snow out the back door only succeeded in a huge pile of snow inside my house. The back porch and steps would have to be cleared from the outside but I couldn't get there.

I called my landlord who was in Florida, no real help. I spoke to the guy who'd been contracted to do snow removal, no real help. I saw some Mexicans walking down the street with shovels, I shouted out the window to them. They tried to pick at the block of ice that prevented my door from opening but they couldn't do it. I called the police who told me a lot of people were in my position and if the door was clear from snow, I could call them for help and they'd blast the door open. So I waited.

Around 7pm, the snow removal service arrived to clear a walkway in the building my landlord owns across the street. I hung a sign in the window for help, hoping they'd realize that even though my door looked clear, it wasn't. When I saw them packing up their truck to head home after probably a miserable day, I pounded on the window. They were able to pick through the ice and we were freed around 7:30pm. The business of freeing my car from a 10 foot wall of snow wouldn't happen until two days later. I used a sled to pull the two girls through town but with the mountains of snow on the corners, I often had to pull them onto the street. With Elena not exactly cooperative, just going two blocks was pretty scary.

Now more snow is looking this weekend and although the forecast so far is not severe, it could change on a dime. My parking space is still full of snow so I'm not sure where I'll park my car. My skylight in the bathroom and windows rattled so hard after the last snow, I'm not sure this apartment can really handle the winter that looms in front of us. I am responsible for driving my daughter to and from school on Friday. So I won't know where I can park until after I pick her up. I could decide to keep her home on Friday so I can park on one of the few slots on the street where the plows will hopefully leave me alone. The question of who will dig me out then hovers over my head.

It is all too much for a single woman with two young children. I am their sole provider. I have food and we won't starve. But if we lose power or there's an emergency, we really will be stuck inside. So I'm afraid. This is how 2011 starts for me. With fear.

1 comment:

Patty said...

Oh, my word!!!! Stay safe - I'd keep your daughter out of school on Friday - and I'd pack up and go stay with your mom!!!!Keep us posted.