How I learned there’s no business like snow business

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. J.G. Buzanowski
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
I was so not ready for this.

I suppose the wakeup call should have been when we first moved here in April and it was still snowing into May. But this is our family's first winter in Washington State and we were totally taken by surprise.

Sure, when we lived back in Virginia we'd get the occasional snowfall and have to shovel our vehicles out. Heck, we even survived Snowmageddon 2010 when most of the National Capitol Region shut down. But we still weren't prepared for the Washington winters.

In fact, last month, Spokane actually broke its record for snowfall in the month of November - just shy of 26 inches!

I so was not ready for this. But things are getting better.

Even though we have a truck, I've still been caught off guard by black ice and found myself stuck in snow banks. Thankfully there were some really nice people with snow tires and tow straps who helped pull our truck out. Obviously, they were better prepared than I. Was there a memo and I just didn't get it?

Much like the reason for warnings on toiletries and hair care products, some people exist to be an example for others. And while I know it's a bad idea to drink shampoo, I find myself serving as the example for why it's important to prepare for the winter months.

Since our recent snow storm, I've bought plenty of deicing spray, a couple of snow shovels and brushes (with extras to keep in the truck), and other emergency supplies. Snow tires are this weekend's project.

But making sure your vehicle is ready isn't all you need to do for winter. I found that out when my sons began suffering from cabin fever while at school. Apparently, if they want to go outside during recess and make snow angels, build snowmen or have snowball fights, they are required to wear "snow pants."

What the heck are "snow pants?"

So it meant heading to the store for new boots, gloves, winter coats, scarves, a sled and, yes, snow pants. Not that we didn't have some of those things already, but kids outgrow stuff from year to year. This would be another memo I apparently didn't get.

Fortunately, getting ready for winter meant good things too, like shopping for hot chocolate, marshmallows, whipped cream and boxes of tea. Of course, it also meant buying extra bottles of water and nonperishable foods for storage. Having an extra flashlight with batteries and a first aid kit also seemed to be a like a good idea. We also bought a space heater and some extra blankets. Plus my wife has her Snuggie. So we should be all set.

I also learned another positive lesson. When the school on base closes for inclement weather, it means your oldest son volunteers to help shovel snow out from around the office. Once you can get him out of bed and inform him of his selfless offer, it makes for quality father-son bonding time and keeps people from falling down on their way to the parking lot.

So while Jack Frost caught us a bit off guard this year, it doesn't mean it's too late. Learn from my example and prepare your family properly for the rest of the winter months. And, by all means, if you have any tips on what else people can do to keep from being caught off guard this season, pass them along.