White Out

Living in southern California, if someone mentions “white out,” you pass that little jar of sticky white paste that  covers up  misspelled words in the crossword puzzle; not so on the east coast where I once lived for a short time. It was the early 80’s and my then husband took a job in Stamford, Connecticut. Having spent my whole life in soCal, I found the weather exciting for its unpredictability and certainly its wide variance. Sun in the morning, rain in the afternoon; blustering billowing clouds, sometimes angry and at other times meandering with time to spare and no particular destination; snow, sleet, slush, blizzard, hurricane. Not boring. But as it turns out, it was a mild winter the year I lived in Greenwich, and I wasn’t at all familiar with the term “white out.” Yes it snowed, and I remember one morning finding an animal at the front stoop of my carriage house. It looked like a mole and was standing near the welcome mat completely frozen. Yes, standing, as if getting ready to knock on the door. But there was no blizzard. No “white out.”

I began wondering, if in the storm, what I would do if I had battened down the hatches, shopped for necessary supplies like food, batteries, water, malomars, Hendrick’s and was now ensconced in my home. And then I began to wonder about my friends. It didn’t take long for me to become concerned about my east coast buddies because the news knows how to scare us, right? So here are some ideas for the next “white out.”

1. Watch 62 episodes of “Breaking Bad” since you never got around to it and have to blindly listen to interminable banter about something of which you know nothing.

eda yard

(Purchase, NY)


2. Frequently check the anenometer to gage the wind velocity, knowing that it’ll conk out when the wind reaches 45 MPH. Take the snowplow/truck to visit your nearby relatives as it’s impossible to get the car out. Plow snow for your neighbors. Dig plow out when it becomes stuck. Take a hot bath as darkness falls, its 15 degrees outside and you wrenched your back digging out the friggin plow. Plug up the leak in the window where snow is drifting in. Go to bed listening to the howling wind and picturing all the whirligigs in the neighborhood “going crazy.” (Little Deer Isle, ME)

3. Eat scallop chowder your daughter-in-law kindly brought over before the onset of the storm. Maybe drink gin which you’ve decided could be akin to anti-freeze. Continually light pilot of propane stove that the swirling wind continually blows out; it’s your only source of heat if the power goes out. Take pictures on your front porch to show your grandchildren and your friends in California.


lou's photo

(Little Deer Isle, ME)


4. Light the fire in your fireplace and then engage in a new sexual maneuver known as “the toboggan.”  It was not described but suggested that I use my imagination. (Manhattan, NY)



  1. P D Mrshall says:


    Ha ha very good. I kept forgetting to read writersbalk. But just ran into Lou scraping ice off his car and he reminded me – again! Yay for neighbors. I will send you a picture or two. This is a true “winter wonderland”. Ennis has shoveled out the neighborhood and Kimball has the plow fixed and all are plowed! The Prius wouldn’t start so we just came back from Stonington with a brandy new battery….So, all’s good!

    • Cheryl says:

      I love your description “winter wonderland.” There are complainers, and then there are those able to see beauty in a smashing storm. All is right with the world–for a moment anyway.

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