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A dummy’s guide to blizzard preparation

As of my writing, the mayor of NYC (and quite frankly every mayor across seven states) is bracing for Juno.

Unless you have been living under a rock, Juno, though it shares its name with with the brilliant 2007 movie written by Diablo Cody, is in fact a blizzard. The first blizzard of 2015 for folks in the Northeast. That we, as the general public, are now referring to snowstorms by name is a different conversation for a different time.*

Now, I’ve not only lived through blizzards (A gnarly one in 1983 brought the city to a halt. The only snow day I remember having as a kid in the Bronx), I’ve covered them as a weather anchor/correspondent for Good Morning America. Sometimes we got it right as forecasters. Most times we were off by a few inches of snow here, a coating of frozen ice there. A blizzard I covered in Washington D.C. was the equivalent of a nice day in Chicago, Illinois. And yet, I was always prepared for the worst. (Including, but not limited to, admonishment by producers for not finding a street with enough snow to “make it look devastating!”) The usual suspects for blizzard coverage: hand and foot warmers, snacks like a granola bar and water, fingerless gloves so I could bang away at my phone to text producers, a zip-top bag to cover any notes that I tried jotting down in vain, snow boots, ski pants, a hat cute enough to wear on live television, lip stuff and… that’s about it. With any luck, there was always a warm crew car or live truck I could jump into after my live shot.

Now as just plain Mami Mari, no longer a weather anchor, dealing with blizzards is something entirely different. You see, I came to depend on my crew for things I had taken for granted: gas in the car, jumper cables, cases of water, flashlights, a working radio. As a single mom, the stakes are much higher. Hell hath no fury like the Breaking News banner flashing across every screen in every American household when a blizzard is approaching. Watching the bright red banner from the sofa instead of tracking it from the fancy computers in the Weather Center is different. Shocking, I know. The truth is, it’s harder.

I go through the mental checklist: salt for the driveway, shovels for the walkway, boys’ blizzard ensembles, scraper for my car, gas for my car, do I have all-weather tires and who the heck plows my driveway this year and do I have an outstanding balance because I can’t right now, OK?

Image: Tiffany Hagler-Geard/SheKnows

Those are but paltry details when I consider the bigger beast: the grocery store. Juno is not the first blizzard to hit America and it certainly won’t be the last. Yet we, as humans of consumption, feel the need to storm the nearest Stop ‘n’ Shop as though the end of days is nigh for fear we might perish. Or even worse, we may not get our hands on that perfectly roasted precooked rotisserie chicken. Armed with my grocery list, a quick look at the clock means I have one hour to shop and pick up the boys because it’s a shortened day. And tomorrow will be a Snow Day. Capital S, capital D.

I strategize on the drive to the grocery store. I have to keep those jokers busy while Juno bears down on us. I’ll need cake batter and frosting to make cupcakes, crescent rolls for easy do-it-yourself pigs-in-a-blanket, hot dogs for said pigs-in-a-blanket, same deal for easy do-it-yourself pizza (it will also eat up time to keep these people busy), OJ, milk, eggs, chicken drumsticks, pork tenderloin and salt for the driveway. I may or may not pick up something green from the produce section and I will definitely run next door to the wine store for a bottle (or three) of Cabernet. I mean, you never know how bad this storm might be.

After scooping up the boys (and marveling at how people forget how to drive… it hasn’t even started snowing yet, mind you) I look at that mental checklist again: cable bill paid, DVDs in the drawer, iPad and laptop charged, random crafty stuff out of the closet. My job here is done.

Juno is now making itself known. I realize I have no idea where my flashlight is but I did just buy a yummy-smelling, overpriced candle at Anthropologie so that will have to do. The boys and I are ready.

*The Weather Channel started naming snowstorms in 2011 after a series of snowstorms wrought havoc in October of that year. My friend Sam Champion must be having a ball with this one.

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