Stocking the Storm Cellar

blogXcowXinXtheXsnow“How much did you get?” Is the question of the day around where I live. As I write this, the snow is still coming down, and tomorrow, New York will get its turn in the wintertime penalty box. Fortunately, most of us were prepared for this storm, and we’ve been through enough other storms to know what’s involved. 

We need safety, food, and warmth. Once those are taken care of, we often look to entertainment, because for several days, we won’t leave the house unless we have to do. Boredom can be a problem, and then there’s all the gear we’ll need to shovel, blow, and otherwise re-arrange the snow so we can get back to work, school, and play. 

blogXcardinalI’ve lately spent time at programs for people who have loved ones dealing with eating disorders. I was much relieved to learn that we have some pretty good ideas how to keep people from sliding back into those perilous, lonely ditches. While a lasting recovery is a complicated miracle, and will be different for each person, a common thread in the overwhelming majority of successes is connection–to people, to positive values, and to the honest self.. 

blogXblueXbirdSo… I got to thinking. Life often sends us storms that the weather forecasters don’t warn us about. Major illness, job loss, family troubles, financial problems… they are significant disruptors, they hurt,  and they knock us down emotionally. Scary business. 

But we’re savvy people, and just as we prepare for a two-foot snow fall, we can also keep some emergency supplies on hand for other kinds of bad weather. A few good friends have seen me through a lot. Books have been with me through every major upheaval in my life. A little good fiction every day, and I’m a kinder, calmer person. For other people, exercise can be a buffer against collapse, others keep a craft project going. 

sophie_244wIf you sniffed a patch of bad weather coming your way, what supplies could you lay in to help get you through the storm? Would strong connections be among them, and how can you stock up on those? If you’ve been through bad weather, what got you through it? Is there a resource you wish you’d had more of? 

To one commenter, I’ll send a signed copy of Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish… a story in which a winter storm symbolizes a lot of issues, but ultimately brings our protagonists together. 

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29 comments on “Stocking the Storm Cellar

  1. Oh, I’d stock up on the same things you have. I can remember back in the late 70s reading a book by the light of a candle when the electricity went out during an ice storm. Fortunately, it wasn’t out too long. That can be brutal in wintertime.

      • I’ve read by candlelight, and I’m impressed with how much light we need to read, as opposed to how our forebearers coped. One of the changes the Victorians effected was increased indoor lighting, and that had a radical effect on domestic architecture.

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  2. Stocking up before a weather related snowstorm or an emotional snowstorm is essential. Food, water, propane, wine, chocolate and plenty of dog cookies helps when a Northeaster is heading our way. We check in on friends and snowplow neighbor’s driveways the day after the storm. It’s hard to prepare for an emotional storm. Good friends and a sense of faith and positive attitude are helpful. Friends have helped me through several emotional roller coasters. I have few comfort reads and classic movies and of course a corgi or two to snuggle with until the storm passes.

  3. As far as meteorological storms, I stocked up on books from the library this weekend. (I tend to keep basic groceries stocked anyway.)

    But as for personal storms, I definitely rely on friends. When my father was given a terminal diagnosis last fall, I called on my two best friends for support. They regularly talked with me, took me out for long refreshing walks, and even fed me — kind of like a puppy 🙂 but in the best way.

    And once I started letting in other friends who weren’t as close, I was touched and amazed at the number of people offering support and help in meaningful ways. Every time I recognized a need for help in dealing with something, the right person stepped up and said, “Let me do that for you.”

    Without those people, losing my father would have been so much more difficult. So now I am trying to give a little more of my time and energy back to keeping those connections strong and loving, as well as building new ones.

    Aside from that, books, music, and long walks definitely helped me find some peace and some relief from the stress of paperwork and worries.

    • I’m sorry you lost your dad, but it sounds like your posse came forward to support you–at your invitation.

      I’m not very good about asking for help, or even recalling that people might want to help. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. We have to worry about hurricanes in the summer where I live, We stock the usual things like water, batteries and canned food. Katrina made landfall near here in 2005 so I have been through one of the worse. It’s amazing to see a neighborhood come together during a natural disaster, you quickly make friends with people that you may have even met yet and everyone helps out.

    • There is that. I’ve lived in the same house for more than 25 years. The only time neighbors came around and knocked on me door to ask if I was OK was when we’d had a three-foot snowfall.

      But then, when have I gone knocking on my neighbors’ doors?

  5. I saw the announcement that the first 3 Wyndham titles are going to be released on audio. Do you happen to know who will narrate?

    • I’ve asked for James Langton, the same guy who did the Scottish Victorians. He’s an actor born in York, raised in England, educated in Scotland, and one of very few narrators I’ve come across who Does Not Hurry.

      If you have suggestions, though, please pass them along. I’m always on the hunt for good voice talent, and so are my author buddies.

      • Alex Wyndham is a great newer narrator to romance that has done historicals. Another one I liked that did Miranda Neville’s Duke of Dark Desires for Tantor was Shaun Grindell.

  6. Blizzards are always looming here in the Midwest….we plan for it every winter. Some years (like this one, so far), we don’t have them but it’s always a possibility.

    Warm clothes……lined jeans, hats, scarves, gloves and mitten (and extras)need to be replenished every fall so we are ready for *Go Time*. I make extra chili or stew or pasta sauce and freeze as the fall and winter progresses for Snow Time. We have all sorts of battery operated candles and flashlights at the ready and firewood for the fireplace.

    We are a busy family and being stuck in the house is the time we re-connect. We play games or watch movies and we read in our family room together.

    We have a yearly block party in the fall and only connect with neighbors then EXCEPT when we lose power or have significant snow fall. Then everyone comes out to dig everyone out….and we have fun and even the occasional snowball fight….adults versus kids…FUN! Then it’s back to the house for chili and whatever adult beverage we have on hand!

    Hope you are safe and warm…I like the silence of the snow…the magic…the isolated feeling…at lease for a bit. After that, I wish the Snow Plow would come through, already!

    • In the middle of the 1996 Snowmaggedon my neighbors came by for a well check. We had something like four feet on the ground in a place that sometimes doesn’t get half that all winter. Fortunately, I have a woodstove, so even when the power goes off, I’m cozy.

      This time, the power has stayed on, thank ye gods and little fishes.

    • That’s a big priority! I thought I was OK because I have a stream on the property. If the power goes off and knocks my well out, I can top up the potty from the stream, water the animals from the stream…

      Then a tornado came through and knocked out the power for four days. My horses weren’t about to drink the muddy stuff I offered them from the stream… So yeah. Water, water, water… I now stockpile that too, and 5-gallon jugs.

  7. Looking back on the Storms of Life I’ve weathered, I have to say I’d take the meteorological ones over the emotional and financial ones in a heartbeat. And that’s even including heatwaves, which says a lot coming from me!

    I think what I need to stockpile for the next crisis heading my way is humor and energy. I tend toward stoicism in the face of calamity. This reaction seems to give the false impression that you neither need nor want help. Adding in my unfortunate tendency to pretty much hibernate once the acute phase of the situation has passed, my MO during tough times is very alienating.

    I really respect and envy people who can maintain a sense of humor and a sense of approachability when things are bad. And, honestly, I would really like to learn to deal with stress by using physical activity to burn off nervous energy! I have a friend going through a difficult divorce who took up competitive running in our late 40’s in TUSCON heat! I’m pretty sure a bad divorce for me would mean a 30 lb. weight gain as opposed to a loss.

    But I do want to thank you, Grace, for keeping your audio add-ons so reasonably priced. I surpass my distance goals while hiking frequently while enjoying a good book. Even if I’ve already read it.

    • More than one author has wondered: Why do our heroines go for chapters without eating, stop eating when they’re upset, and never gain weight?

      Yeah, why is that?

      As for the price of the audio books… because I’ve turned them over to Tantor, I no longer control the prices. I hope you got them while they were cheap, and I know Amazon will cut a deal if you’ve already bought the print or ebook version.

  8. Hmm… I guess I was fortunate it wasn’t too bad my way. I got home safely on Thursday and it didn’t hit until Friday. I had gas in my car, cash, food, my husband was kind enough to clear off the front steps and clear the driveway. I read The Fault in Our Stars by: John Green. I didn’t care for it, I think Will Grayson, Will Grayson is better.

    • The Fault in Our Stars wasn’t everybody’s favorite book, and some of the heaviest criticism came from the young people with cancer. Struck me as a sort of Love Story for the YA crowd, and me, I like that old, reliable HEA. Interesting book though, and like the Harry Potters, if it gets young people to put their noses in a book, I’m OK with it.

      You mention gas in the car, and I sometimes forget that. If the temperatures are going way, way down, always better to have at least half a tank of gas to up the odds of starting without a jump. I was in college before a gearhead friend taught me that.

      French, German, Latin, Medieval Music History… all very interesting. Starting the car on a cold morning… priceless.

  9. For figurative bad weather, I always rely on friends, certain family, books and chocolate to get through.

    When literal bad weather is on the horizon, I make sure: all my devices are completely charged – including my backup power chargers; my car is full of gas; and I stock up on the essentials including foods that can easily be prepared in case the power goes out and hardcopy books in case the power is out long enough that my devices and emergency power chargers are in danger of being drained. Sometimes I think it would be worse to run out of reading material than to run out of food. 😉

    Hope you are staying warm and safe, Grace!

  10. Hi Grace, I always make sure all my devices are charged, then that my chargers are charged. I need my book connections. As a back up I have my adult coloring books! But, I always forget to check my meds… I take ALOT everyday and it gets confusing on what I am low on. But, most important to me is that my dogs jackets are ready and that we have more than enough food for them! Sadly my sweetheart works for a generator accompany so most storms its just me and the dogs and if we loose power we do have a very old very heavy generator so with my disabilities I cannot move it plus it eats gas like we drink water so you can only use it for so long. But as long as I have my boys and my heap of blankets that the three of us can sleep under we are good. And we have a camping stove top. So warm tea and a book is all I need! It distracts me from worry about my honey, and it also helps me forget about my pain. And I truly need that! So, glad you are safe Grace! I hope the kittens stayed inside with you! I really loved the pics you put up. Did you take them? Really gorgeous.for some reason I haven’t been getting your emails…. I was so very happy to receive this one! Stay warm with a yummy cup of tea!

  11. We live in the country and try to be prepared for inclement weather, be it falling trees taking out the power lines or excessive rain flooding the road to our house to say nothing of blizzards. But we knew that when we moved here so it’s really not a surprise, it’s an inevitability. As far as emotional “bad weather” – we have a few neighbors we can rely on and they on us. I am close to my family (not physically – emotionally) and when we need help, we circle the wagons and provide what assistance we can. Just knowing that helps a lot.

    • Whenever I’m planning a project (like the tour of Scotland) the phrase, “managing expectations” always comes up. If you know what you’re getting into, you can plan…

      I love where I live–love the views, the peace and quiet, the privacy. I won’t always be able to live like this, so I’m enjoying it while I have it.

      Enjoying it a LOT.