Fighting Nemo: The Blizzard of 2013 — Part II Just Keep Shoveling, Just Keep Shoveling

Friday 2/08/13 4:30pm Home from work now. only a couple inches on the ground so far. Nothing really stuck until the sun went down. the roads were slick but passable. Karin made brownies! I’m glad we went food shopping yesterday and we have plenty to eat. Getting to work tomorrow morning is really going to suck but that’s alright, at least I get to ride out the storm’s impact at home with Karin and Liam. It’s moving faster than they said it was going to. The snow now is supposed to stop before I have to leave to get to work. I’m glad I left work early enough to get home this early though. Karin already got everything together though so all I have to worry about right now is keeping the ramp and the driveway clear. Who knows if we’ll have to call an ambulance for him. last thing we need then is to have to shovel two feet of snow before they can get a stretcher in here. Better safe than sorry.

6:30pm The Mac & cheese Karin made for dinner is delicious and the best kind of comfort food for an incoming blizzard. The local TV news coverage is equal parts stressful [THE WORST IS YET TO COME!!!!!] and hilarious [and remember folks, it is NOT recommended to use our gas grill indoors.] After dinner I’ll go get the first round of shoveling done.

6:50pm Karin had a great idea and so we moved the coffee table out of the living room and put our mattress into the angle of our corner couch. We’re having a snowed in sleepover. It’s like making a couch cushion fort. We’ll watch movies and it’s perfect for Liam to stretch out on the couch or come down to the floor with us. This is going to be fun.

7:25pm Almost 4 inches already! heavy wet stuff that sticks to and ices everything up. starting to come down really fast too. By the time I had the ramp and driveway clear I could have started all over again. I better get out here every 2 hours If I’m going to keep the place accessible, for someone to come get us or for us to bug out.

8:30pm Couple of flickers here and there but power is fine. The snow is getting lighter and dryer. not really sticking but blowing around. Second shoveling session was much easier. Driveway is clear again but it’s getting deep enough in the street that I’m not sure we will be able to get anywhere soon. Wind is gusty but Sandy was worse.

8:45pm That’s it, I can’t watch anymore news coverage. All we can do now is hunker down for the next 4-8 hours. Time to watch some West Wing on Netflix, the local news team’s banter is hardly Sorkin-esque.

9:00pm Still have power. At this point we have plenty of battery backups to get to the morning anyway. If we don’t have power by then at least Nan or Mom and Dad will. Karin’s got the supplies ready. Wind is whipping that snow pretty good, we aren’t going anywhere until the morning no matter what. If that damn fuse on the utility pole across the street, that always used to go out, hasn’t gone out by know I don’t think it will. The ice isn’t getting bigger or heavier anymore.

9:11pm Damn. Spoke too soon.


9:30pm The 6 D Cell Mag-light I bought for Boy Scout camp as a kid pays off again. By sticking it between the couch cushions pointed up, it lights the whole living room. The whole neighborhood is out. Liam’s vent is on our oldest lithium battery. It was taken out of daily rotation almost a year ago because it was so old but I figure it will give us three hours. At least we fully discharged his marine battery last week. 11.5 hours there we know for sure. The day-to-day lithium has always given us 8 so we’re looking pretty good there. Feeding pump battery is charged so he’ll eat. I have to go shovel.

10:00pm The wind and the warmth of my breath is starting to build a layer of ice and snow on my beard whenever I go out there. looks like it had to be 4 inches just in the last 2 hours but it is still dry and easy to move off the ramp. Keeping enough room in the driveway for the ramp to extend from his van for us to get out of here is harder. The wind wants to put it all right where I’d like it not to be. We’re thinking about how late we should wait before starting a DVD in the laptop. The big battery/flashlight/radio/thing that Mom gave us can’t charge a vent but at least we can charge our cell phones and the laptop if we have to. No wifi though. Oh well, kidd-o is warm and we’ve got plenty of blankets.

10:15pm Belush lost power too and he’s in Seekonk! Mom and Dad lost it and they all say they lost it at the same time we did. It’s a huge outage. That’s good news. A downed power line knocking out a few blocks is hardly a priority but two or three whole towns? This will get back up soon. It’s a substation or something. Has to be.

11:30pm Just remembered that even though we put in a HME, Liam’s line has still been hooked into the humidifier. Ugh, I hate missing things like that. The water hadn’t cooled down much at all. Glad I caught it now. bypassed that so the moisture in the line doesn’t cool him off more. No movies yet. I can’t get the damn Battery/Radio/flashlight/thingy to pick up any radio station. Radio part being an afterthought the tiny dial just can’t dial in to anything. Wondering how widespread the power loss is. Taking turns charging cell phones but also not using them at all to preserve the batteries for morning. I have some shoveling to do.

11:50am The Pulse Oximeter battery is always a little wonky and I’d like it to get us to morning so we’re shutting it off and only doing spot checks. Turned on a whiff of oxygen just in case.

Saturday 02/09/13 12:10am I’ve never seen it pile up this fast. Drifts are starting to put more and more on the top platform of the ramp right at our door. Driveway is clear but what’s the point? The snow in the street is halfway to my knees.

12:30am All of the shoveling is keeping me warm but Karin says it’s getting cold in here. Liam is still asleep but she had to add another layer of pants and socks and put another blanket on him. He does look adorable in his hat though. His cheeks are getting cold.

1:00am She’s right. It’s getting cold. But under the blankets we’re doing ok. Lying down to try to get a little sleep. Hoping that by the time I open my eyes it’ll be 4 or 5 in the morning and we can find out who has power and get going. Don’t want to wake him and move him to between us on the mattress but we can if we need to keep Liam warm. Getting a little concerned that if we totally cover him in more blankets that the cats will see him as a comfy bed.

1:30am Get some sleep. Ha, that’s funny. Time to shovel.

2:00am I can’t wear the my coat anymore because the sleeves are frozen shut. My gloves also froze into blocks so I found a few more sweatshirts and a lighter but more waterproof jacket. Karin’s mittens were on the kitchen table. knit mittens in a Blizzard.

2:18am Lithium battery just ran out of juice. That’s like 5 hours out of it when I only expected 3. hooking up the marine battery now which will give us 11.5. We better not need that much. I’m realizing now that ventilator power was never the real issue. The suction rig power is much less reliable. Once he wakes up he’s going to get juicy for sure. I’m a little worried about that now. I don’t expect the power back until the morning, but still hoping it won’t be days like they are predicting on the local news cell-phone app. I hope Liam stays warm enough and asleep until they get it on.

3:00am I’m getting scared now. Liam’s feet and hands are nice and toasty under the 9 blankets we have on him now but what about when we have to change him? How are we going to keep him from catching a chill? There’s no way we can get out now. They better get the power back up.

4:15am What the hell am I going to do? I stopped shoveling around the van. I have a path to the ramp wide enough for the stretcher when the Rescue comes. Karin hasn’t slept either. It’s getting really cold. Liam still hasn’t woken up. How am I going to keep him warm when he does? My hands hurt. What if no one can get to us?

4:45am The sun won’t be up for a couple more hours. Shoveling doesn’t warm me anymore. All of my jackets sweatshirts freeze between sessions outside. We’re waiting for daylight. It’s still too dark to see anything. There’s a light on a little more than a block away. I’m not sure if it’s a house with a generator or the school department building emergency flood light. At daylight I’ll walk up and find out. Maybe if it’s a house they’ll let us come inside and warm up. We’ll have to wrap him in all the blankets and walk or something. It’s up to my knees in the street right now. When the sun comes up I’ll try to walk up there.

6:00am I can’t believe that Liam is still asleep. Not exactly sunrise but the sky is getting brighter. We can’t stay here much longer. I guess we could get the van running and put him in there for some heat but I don’t want to give him a chill bringing him out in this wind. I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m going out to shovel again.

6:35am The sun must be up by now but the clouds and wind haven’t let up yet. The snow is much finer making my beard and face hurt more now. I’m not sure that the Ambulance will drop us off at my hospital and we can plug-in at my office or they’ll make us get admitted to the CHildren’s Hospital. If they bring us there what if they make us stay for a week after taking cultures or something?

At this point it doesn’t matter.

Either one is safer than staying here.

6:48am It’s time to call 911



Part II will come tomorrow (hopefully).

Throughout this whole ordeal, Karin kept trying to calm me by saying things like “This! This is where you’ll leave the cliffhanger when you write the blog about this mess.” It was adorable and actually it did calm me down. So I guess you can all blame her for dragging this story out. They won’t all be this long and they won’t be in this style anymore. I’ve got other tricks up my sleeve. I Just thought this would be a fun way to tell the first part.

One comment

  1. Gee whiz! At least seeing this posted tells me that you guys didn’t actually die out there. Bl**dy terrifying. Very glad you’re OK, and that Liam has such strong and resourceful parents to keep him safe.

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