The weather reports are in and the snow is coming down. The Starks were right: Winter is coming… and Atlanta is about to suffer the consequences southern style.
Ask anyone about the havoc snow wreaks in the south, and you’ll hear some of the most horrifically amusing stories: from befriending truckers to get warmth, to watching high maintenance chicks take two hours to cross a parking lot in high heeled shoes.
And then there are those stories we don’t hear: like how Fido and Whiskers were worried sick at home, while their owners played sitting ducks on the highway.
If you’re like me, you have a pet or two and will probably be at work this Friday and maybe even over the weekend. So for those of us whose shows must go on in spite of the impending doom of southern snow, here’s how to ensure you, Fido, and Whiskers make it out alive.
Even if you and your loved ones won’t be home for the Snowpocalypse, someone else might be. To ensure uninvited guests don’t get in, secure the premises. That means ensuring all windows, doors, and hatches are locked. Don’t forget to set the alarm before you go.
This is even more important if you have small children and pets. Children, cats, dogs, and hamsters are escape artists. With the snow and ice threatening to cover Georgia, it’s neither the time for them to be lost and hurt outside, nor the time for you to be out in the cold trying to find them.
Heat up your home before you leave. If possible, you might want to consider leaving the heat on while you’re away.
If the lights go out and heat fails, then at least you know Whiskers and Fido got some warmth that might last until you get home. It can also spare you from beating the snow home, only to find yourself sitting in a freezing apartment.
Since the light can fail wherever you’re headed too, it’s a good idea to charge your devices before you leave, and bring some entertainment with you. This weekend, I brought my phones, my laptop, and a book to read.
Maintenance & Repairs
Winter is definitely not the season to skimp on car repairs, so hopefully you’ve been keeping up with your maintenance work. If not, all is not lost.
Do some routine checks before you head out. Check the oil, the brakes, and your tires to make sure what works is working at its best. If it’s not too late and you have a whole weekend of plans ahead of you, then consider dropping by a local mechanic.
If you have snow tires, now’s the time to put those bad boys on.
In the last Snowpocalypse a family member all but froze to death when her car ran out of gas on the highway. Without gas she was unable to heat her car and the cold was unforgiving.
Fill up on gas, not just for heat, but to keep you moving when the road clears. Take every possible measure to avoid abandoning your car. Leaving it on the highway during a snow storm comes with risks. It could be damaged in a pile up, and criminals might break in.
With highways blocked off, you may have to take the long way home. So even with a full tank of gas, remember to conserve. Until you’re walking distance from your house or another gas station, you’re not safe just yet.
My dad went to Kroger today and came home laughing. The shelves were empty and the store was packed. That’s a good thing. It means people are smart enough to stock up on food when they have no idea how long they’ll be stranded indoors.
We did all our shopping earlier in the week, which is the better way to go. Make sure you stock up on non-perishables, like canned food and dried goods. If the electricity goes, then eat the perishable goods first.
If you know you’ll be away for the weekend, then bring food with you. I prepared all my meals on Thursday and packed them up. When I got to work today, I stuck them in the fridge.
My coworkers shook their heads at me and sighed, but I’ll have the last laugh when they have rumbling tummies and I’m patting a full one. No one else brought food.
If you have young kids, it goes without saying that they shouldn’t be left at home alone – period. So this section is for those living things we do leave at home that can’t fend for themselves: our pets.
Heating up the home and securing the premises does cover some of the basics for their protection. Here are some additional tips to keep our furry friends safe.
Hire a Sitter
Some people will shake their heads at this, but if you have a dog and you might be away for more than 16 hours or so, you might come home to a ruined house.
Dogs do not take kindly to being left home alone for very long. They get bored and anxious… and destructive. Fido also has to be let out for bathroom breaks, and if he can’t go outside, then he’ll “go” inside. Goodbye safety deposit.
This is where cats and caged animals beat dogs. If your cat is litter box trained, you have nothing to worry about. Whiskers will use his box and patiently wait for you to come home. Cats generally do not engage in destructive behaviors when left alone.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to go looking for some kind of professional. The pet sitter can be your husband, your parents, or your best friend. Whether you choose to drop the pets off or have them come over, make sure they have everything your pet needs before you go.
Warm Hidey Holes
If the lights do go out and the heat fails, then the next best option for warmth is a good hidey hole. Make sure your pet has access to one, as their fur might not be enough to keep them warm. Covered hidey holes are the warmest, and incentives to go there instead of some other inappropriate spot is wise.
I made my cat’s hidey spot in the area he usually hangs out in. I put a cover over it to make it warmer and more secure. I then sprinkled some cat nip, and put his favourite toys at the entrance.
Make sure food and water isn’t too far from the hidey hole, or Fido and Whiskey may opt not to get out. Also remember to leave more than their usual ration of food and water, as you have no idea how long it may take you to get home.
Snowpocalyspe 2017 is bound to be an interesting start to the year. If nothing else, Atlantans will have quite a few stories to share with the world by Monday morning…
What other recommendations do you have for staying safe in a snow storm? Share your wisdom with us in the comments below.