Jane Haddam’s WordPress weblog

Warning Signs

with 5 comments

So here it is, late October.

Tomorrow evening will mark one year to the day since the freak snow storm since the freak snow storm that knocked out the power to most of Connecticut for the following seven to nine days.

This was, to put it simply, Not Fun. 

It was, in fact, barely bearable.  The people next to us one down on this road had a generator.  It burned out and became inoperable on Day 5.

A friend e mailed to tell me that people in his area are stripping the local Target bare, and that when this is all over and turns out to be nothing, they’ll bring everything back.  Most of it will be tossed and wasted.

The bring it all back thing isn’t usual where I am, at least not that I’ve ever seen, but of course everybody is indeed buying out all the grocery stores. 

Most of the people who live around me are rural New England working class, and the people who live around my friend are mostly educated upper middle class, but I don’t think it has anything to do with class.

The strip the grocery stores bare thing is traditional in New England with just about everybody.  All we need is the news that a nor’easter is coming, and there we are, hitting the grocery stores and buying them out of…

Potato chips.

I am not making this up.

What New Englanders buy when a storm is coming is potato chips.  Some people buy standard Lays and Wise and Utz.  Some people buy fancy organic wholly natural artisan whatever. 

One way or the other, we all buy potato chips.

I have no idea why this is so.  New England is the region of the US that buys the most potato chips overall, even without a storm.  It’s also the region of the US that buys the most chocolate. 

It’s an interesting menu choice, if you think about it.

I’ve got bottled water, but of the kind I usually like to take to class, so if this is a bust–and, please, let this be a bust–I’ll just use it over time. 

But this post is about the possibility that there will indeed be a storm, and a storm whose effects are just as bad as last time.

 That was the storm that derailed my long series on education when it was only about half done, and it isn’t done yet.

For all I know, this one will derail something else.

I hope not–but  I can’t tell.

In the meantime, I’m trying to get as much done on this computer as I can.

If I suddenly disappear for a while, you’ll know why.



Written by janeh

October 28th, 2012 at 10:08 am

Posted in Uncategorized

5 Responses to 'Warning Signs'

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  1. Geography makes a difference. You might go a week or more without power. Here three days would be unprecedented–and the sort of people who don’t keep three days of food in the house as a minimum reserve are the people who prepare for a power outage by buying frozen food. We’ve got a lot of them here. (No, they don’t have generators. These are humanities majors living in apartments in a trendy DC suburb. It’s the high school graduates and technical degrees west of the Blue Ridge who do intelligent preparation.)

    Potato chips make sense: fat and carbohydrate for cold weather, and no preparation necessary. And maybe with a New England winter in the offing, the mood enhancing aspect of chocolate would be an especially good idea.

    But does anyone make a chocolate-covered potato chip?


    28 Oct 12 at 3:20 pm

  2. I think some people around here are beginning with the stockpiling mainly because the media says people in other places do it. Your normal old-time housewife had plenty of essentials in stock just out of normal practice.

    We don’t seem to get the prolonged outages like in the US although God knows we get the weather. The longest outage I ever personally experienced was only a few days, and I had enough water, bread and cheese to keep me going without needing to go looking for food. I’ve never lived anywhere that had a generator, unless you count visiting hospitals or sometimes cabins that were off the grid.

    I hope it works out OK for you. They say on CBC that they’re trying to evacuate NYC, which sounds like something no one would do lightly.


    28 Oct 12 at 5:00 pm

  3. The storm has actually made the Sydney newspaper today including an evacuation of low lying areas of NYC.

    I can understand chocolate but not potato chips! I’d stock up on spam and canned spaghetti that can be eaten cold from the can! And be sure I had a manual can opener.

    Let’s hope Jane doesn’t lose a roof.


    28 Oct 12 at 7:15 pm

  4. The first thing my mother always did when informed a storm was coming (either summer thunder/tornado weather or winter blizzard) was to fill the bathtub, all available buckets, and as many containers as she could with water. I remember that. Because you can flush a toilet with a bucket, even if the water goes out.

    We just did an enormous shop, not for emergency, but because we had an across-the-board 20% off coupon. So we’ve got enough toilet paper, cereal, canned goods and frozen food to get us to the new year. But we got plenty of other stuff, too. :) But we always have at least two weeks of food on hand. Perhaps not food you would go to first (who wants this can of chopped clams?) but food.

    I lived in Boston in the winter of 1978, during the huge blizzard that shut the city down for a week. Even then as fairly poor college students we managed without getting out. We were more worried about running out of cat food. We did scrape out the pantry to make a recipe out of a cookbook, and found out way too late there was a typo in it, calling for 1.5 CUPS of vegetable oil, instead of 1.5 tablespoons. Ruined, of course, the last few good-to-eat things in our larder. Later I wrote a scathing letter to the publisher, and got a weak “oh sorry but not really” letter. The next edition of that book contained the same typo!

    As to chocolate-covered potato chips, they’re as near as your local Trader joe’s. http://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-flyer/article.asp?article_id=211 Yum. Sweet, salt, chocolate, grease. What’s not to love?


    28 Oct 12 at 8:16 pm

  5. Good luck, everyone. Stay safe.


    29 Oct 12 at 3:45 am

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