Oh Canada. Summers are short and toasty but the winters, well, they’re something special aren’t they?
One day we’re gearing up for the holidays in our cozy nooks and crannies and then the next morning the entire neighbourhood/city looks like a Batman film set after a Mr. Freeze ice attack on Gotham city. Trees stuck in downward dog yoga poses would be an impossible feat but then again this is Canada. Our winters defy the laws of physics.
Southern Ontario is still trying to dig its way out of the ice storm that froze us all in our tracks. There are some areas that still do not have their power back. So it would be safe to say that Icemagedon of ’13 was pretty bad but we got through it. In the land of nine months of winter we should be used to this by now. Right?
So, what were some of the things learned during the power outage that left us all with dying cell phones and no internet? Here are fifteen tips and tricks that saw me through those long cold nights when the furnace is caput and I could see my breath by the light of my computer screen.
1. DON’T PANIC!
2. If the roads don’t look bad because of the weather then don’t get into a car. Do what deer do in this situation. Bunker down where you are until the worst is over. Stay put, stay snug, and stay safe.
3. The battery life on a cell phone does not last forever so use it sparingly.
4. Start up an information texting tree with people closest to you (geographically).
5. Avoid using candles and open flame if possible. Storm lanterns, flashlights, LED (flameless) candles, and any other battery operated light source should be your go to items.
6. Laptops can be used as phone chargers. With the internet down they’re not much good for anything else.
7. Keep a small battery operated or solar powered radio stored some place that is easily accessible. Make sure to pass along any important information you pick up via the texting tree.
8. Once the storm has past check in on your neighbours and take a shovel with you. Those walkways are probably icy enough to skate on.
9. Always have a bag of road salt by your door and in the trunk of your car.
10. Canned baked beans, tuna, and a loaf of bread can go a long way when the stove doesn’t work. Make sure to have a can opener on hand. Also a few gallon jugs of fresh water stashed in a cupboard are also a must. Pipelines can freeze in the winter and you can be without water for a while.
11. If the temperature inside gets close to matching what is outside open your taps (just a bit). Running water won’t freeze in the pipes.
12. Do not open your freezer/fridge unless necessary. When the power first goes out take out anything that can sit on a counter for a few days (Like bread, jam, fruit, water etc). After that keep the fridge closed.
13. Cat litter makes for great traction if your car is stranded in ice. Dump a decent amount behind your tires in order to give your car something to grip when trying to back out.
14. If you have pets put them in your bed with you because even with all the fur they can get cold and body heat is extra warmth for everyone. I had to tie my snake up in a pillow case and keep him under my shirt for the better part of 9 hours in order to keep him from turning into a snakesicle. It was weird but it is better to have to deal with a sneezing snake than a dead one.
15. Dress warmly, grab your shovel, and go outside. Everyone else will be chipping away at their cars and driveways so say hello and join right in. Working together cuts down on the workload and you get to swap stories and have a good laugh at winter’s expense.
So I hope everyone made it through the holidays in one piece and that you didn’t let the ice storm put a damper on things. The upside to all this is that snow shoveling is a great workout and today is the perfect day for a photo-op. It’s not every winter that the pine trees look like they belong in Whoville.