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Dan Conradt: A weekend storm is a welcome respite

December 2, 2018

Dan Conradt

The phone rang three times before the call was answered.

“Hi,” I said. “This is Dan. I’ve got an appointment on Saturday and I’d like to reschedule it. Yeah, sounds like a bad one. Next week? Same time? See you then.”

I hung up and drew a line through another item on my to-do list.

The overhead door creaked up and the car inched into the garage. I slipped into the snow boots I kept by the door and went out to help unload the groceries.

“Busy at the store?” I asked Carla as I lifted half a dozen plastic bags from the trunk.

“It was crazy!” she said. “I think everyone has the same idea!”

“If you don’t have to go anywhere, getting a snowstorm over the weekend is kind of fun,” I said.

I’ve got one of those weekday jobs where you go out into the middle of the storm to remind people how dangerous it is to go out into the middle of the storm, and from the time the weatherman started talking about a weekend storm, we’d been planning two days of cocooning.

I dropped the grocery bags on the kitchen counter and did a quick inventory: rocky road ice cream, Buffalo wings, Double Stuff Oreos — yep, pretty much everything on my list except for — salad? Seriously? Uh-uh! No way! I’m NOT wasting a weekend snowstorm eating salad!

“I stopped and got pizza,” Carla said, coming in from the garage with two take-and-bake pizzas. “And I stopped at the video store for a couple of movies. The shelves were pretty empty.”

“What did you get?”

She named the movies; one of them, according to the review I’d read, set a new Hollywood record for the number of fiery explosions in two hours. This weekend is getting better and better!

I pressed the weather radio’s “on” button and the mechanical voice sounded matter of fact with its prediction of heavy snow, high winds and white-out conditions. Like an exclamation point, a gust of wind blew a cloud of snow off the roof. It swirled for a moment and settled onto the front lawn. This could be the last time we see grass until April, I thought. Probably shoulda raked the leaves.

Steven heard the weather radio from his room and stepped into the kitchen, “We need to get a snow blower!” he announced. “Our old one broke four years ago, and we still haven’t bought a new one.”

“We don’t need one.” I said. “We have a shovel.”

“But if we get, like, a foot of snow, that’ll kill your back.”

“Oh, MY back will be just fine.” I said, waggling my eyebrows.

“Dad” became a three-syllable word.

Time to change the subject.

“I stopped at the library and got a couple of books,” I said, crossing another item off my to-do list. The stack on the counter was almost 2 feet tall — thousands of pages of John Grisham, David Baldacci and Stephen King, all the Harry Potter books, and a book by a well-known financial guru explaining how I could be a millionaire by the time I was 30.

Too late now.

“What if we lose internet?” Steven asked. I was starting to get the idea that he was missing the point of cocooning.

“We’ve lost internet before when the satellite dish fills with snow,” I said. “And it’s always back on in a day or two.” The concerned look on his face suggested he was equating “day or two” with “eternity.”

“So are we just going to sit inside for two days and eat and read and watch movies?”

“I hope so!”

“Well,” he said, like he’d worked me into a corner: “What if the electricity goes out and we can’t use the TV or the oven or the lights?”

I showed him the seventh item on my “to do” list:

TAKE NAP

“If we lose electricity,” he said, “you won’t be able to make coffee.”

“Don’t even joke about something like that!”

And since we were talking about doomsday scenarios: “What if I lose service on my phone?”

“You know what would be even worse?” I asked.

He looked at me blankly, like there WAS nothing worse: “What?”

“What if we DON’T lose service?!”

I pressed the power button until my phone chirped and went dark.

I crossed another item off my list.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

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