There's nothing like an impending snowstorm to fill the grocery store with a mix of desperation-induced shoppers and adrenaline-rush junkies. Add in a bunch of last minute Superbowl snack supply runners, and they might as well hang the “abandon hope, all ye who enter here” sign over the entrance.
So there I was filling my cart with cat food (which I desperately needed), fruit (my contribution to the Superbowl party), and level two storm-survival foods: chips, dip, soda, cookies and wine. This last group looks a lot like Superbowl party foods, so I pretended that I wasn't getting a secret little thrill from preparing for the latest snow-pocalypse threat.
We Iowans are of hardy storm-preparation stock. We're not much prone to pantry-filling panic, or to believing a mid-week, long-range forecast calling for six to eight inches of snow over the weekend. We don't necessarily scoff at the forecast, but we certainly do consider it with a jaundiced eye. The weatherperson has cried snow-mageddon just a few too many times lately for blind trust.
Oh sure, we might pick up an extra gallon of milk on Friday, but that's only because we know we're running low anyway. And if worst comes to worst, at least that will keep us away from the grocery store when the Nervous Nellys decide they're short of... everything.
After all, what's six to eight inches of snow accumulation spread out over two days? A good excuse to try out the four-wheel drive, that's what.
It's hard to imagine being covered in a deep, fluffy blanket of snow when the sun is shining, it's a relatively balmy 40 degrees out, and you're standing ankle deep in the melted remains of last weekend's snowfall (which didn't live up to anyone's definition of a-snow-hilation).
We shop for storm supplies, not out of a sense of any real emergency, but because our Iowa-bred common sense calls for us to always be prepared. We still plan on getting out and driving through the worst of a snow-tastrophe if we have to/need to/want to or just to check on the crops.
But the clouds were taking on that creepy gray-green tinge and my knee was getting that twitchy feeling it gets whenever a low pressure system develops.
And we were almost out of cat food.
It's one thing to get caught without milk, or bread, or even salsa, but it's quite another to be running low on kitty kibble. I couldn't stand to be trapped in the house with a whiny cat for two days.
I fully intended to sneer in a very un-Iowan “I told you so” fashion as the “total inch accumulation” prediction plummeted.
But when the weatherperson said “beginning with freezing rain” and the “total inch accumulation” prediction actually increased, I started to see chinks in my larder.
Like cat food.
Even though the odds of this becoming the snow-taclysm they were predicting were slim to none, even though I felt foolish for giving in to the hype, I knew it would be worse to be caught unprepared.
The only thing better than the smug satisfaction I feel when the snow-vestation misses us, is the smug satisfaction I feel seeing our school on the list of cancellations as I sit with a full wine glass in my hand and a full snack bowl by my side.
And a warm, sleepy kitty with a full tummy on my lap.