This last Saturday evening I stuck a yardstick in a flat area of snow in my backyard and was astonished to see that in south Salem we had accumulated 11 inches of snow. It was incredible. The city required that residents put chains on their cars. Barry built an igloo in his yard with his boys. In my lifetime, I can only think of two other occasions in which we got comparable snowfall. The first was in February 1989, and the other was in December 2009. In fact, according to salemhistory.com we have to go back to 1937 to find more snow, when on January 31, Salem received 27 inches.
What I also found astonishing was how quickly life here was slowed down. With the greatly diminished ability to drive freely, many people just stayed home and enjoyed the brief winter wonderland … and quietly hoped that the power didn’t go out.
Happily, we all knew that the storm would quickly pass and, as I write this late Monday afternoon, all I can see of the snow is some slush on the lesser traveled side streets and thin, wasting sheets of white on roof tops. And my phone says that it’s 45 degrees. The big weather event which came and went inside of 96 hours, that snarled regional traffic and gave rise to backyard igloos and ebullient neighborhood sledding, also briefly reminded us that we generally live quite comfortably within relatively narrow margins.
But what if it hadn’t left by Monday? We can’t, of course, plan adequately for every problematic thing that could come along. But we can, and should, at minimum plan and prepare for stretches of serious inclement weather and being housebound for a week or two. I’m not advocating for a doomsday prepping lifestyle, but making sure you always have some extra food reserves, emergency supplies, and that your automobile is properly outfitted seems perfectly reasonable.
Reasonable, but persistently not realistic. I’ll admit it: I took the snow tires off the car about 10 days before the snow started falling, and I didn’t put them back on.
It’s easy to put things off and pay attention to short-term stimuli and issues. The list of things that demand all our thought and energy is legion. Take this opportunity to review in your own mind, or with a loved one, what could have gone worse and what could have gone better with respect to the snowstorm. Then formulate a plan for next time, and assemble & organize what you will need, and periodically review it.
The same goes for financial planning of course. We all know it needs to be done, but many don’t follow through with it. Those who do are in much less danger of veering off the road.
– Chad Campbell