Saturday, February 23, 2013

Riding Out The Blizzard Wasn't All That Easy

This column originally appeared in The Sun Chronicle on Friday, February 22, 2013

By Bill Gouveia

When we were preparing for the recent blizzard at the Gouveia household (population now down to two) we were readying ourselves for the worst.  What we got was far from that, but still enough for me to complain about.

With as much as three feet of snow expected, we grudgingly engaged in the "storm preparation" process.  My wife was much more loath to do so, not believing we needed very much.  I was far more concerned about having sufficient food in the house, and kept insisting we needed to make a visit to the grocery store. 

I may have expressed this concern verbally once or twice to my Beloved (or it could possibly have been 10-15 times, I'm not really sure).  We were driving home together when she finally saw the wisdom of my words and pulled the car into the supermarket parking lot.  When I then told her I was missing the Bruins game, she expressed a few things to me - and did so pretty directly.

When the hurricane struck last year, my wife went out and brought a generator.  It served us well for the four days we went without power that summer, and we were determined to be ready with it during the blizzard.  We filled it with gas and made sure we had extra containers in case of any lengthy outage.

Of course, we then forgot to move it from under our deck to a place where it could be operational before the snow came.  We were very fortunate to not lose power during this storm, because moving a heavy generator after two feet of snow has fallen is not as easy as you might think.  It was not one of our finest moments in planning.

While we did not lose power, we did lose internet and cable.  This was a catastrophe for me, as it prevented me from doing two of my favorite things:  Browsing the net and watching television. 

I read most newspapers online, along with many different webpages.  It helps me stay up with current events, as well as providing me with information for my twice-weekly conversations with you good readers.  My computer was still working, but I could not use it as my portal beyond the snow and ice.

Fortunately my iPhone was still operational, and through my wife’s phone we were able to set up an internet “hotspot” which gave us access.  So I was able to get my column to the newspaper office despite not having my usual internet connection – which may have pleased some of you and disappointed others.

As far as keeping ourselves entertained, we did have some shows taped on our DVR.  However, we went through those quickly the very first night.  Then we turned to our seldom-used collection of DVDs in an effort to pass the time, but discovered our DVD player was not working properly and kept freezing up every ten minutes.  Frustration levels were high in the Gouveia household.

This left us few options, and in fact forced us into the unthinkable:  We had to actually talk to each other at length with very little going on in the background.  We were almost forced to look at each other while we spoke, and provide our undivided attention.  While my wife claims this was not a new experience for her, I have to admit that for me it was venturing into waters uncharted for quite some time.

I will cop to doing a bit of reckless law-breaking over that weekend.  Against the expressed directive of our honorable governor, my Beloved and I ventured out for a ride on Saturday morning to see what it looked like around town.  We were in awe at what Mother Nature had done to our small community, and it was an adventure getting back up our 300-foot driveway upon our return.  It’s a good thing we have a reliable plow person who eventually showed up and cleared the way.

Did I learn anything from this experience?  You’re darned right I did.  As soon as the driving ban was lifted, I went out and bought a new DVD player.  After all, I can’t be letting this happen again anytime soon.

Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and can be emailed at and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.

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