A crisp, snowy field, empty of people. Our floofy dog Kuma sits patiently in the near foreground.

This snowpocalypse had more -pocalypse than usual

Published 2021-02-17

A full week ago I thought to make the weekly grocery run a few days early. The annual Snowpocalypse was coming.

I also tried to set my kids up for disappointment:

“I don’t think it will snow snow. I think it will rain snow and be icy and gross.”

By Friday morning I was proven wrong.

My inner Nebraskan loves to see snow on palm trees

Saturday was Winter Wonderland in the way it almost never is in Portland. 3 to 4 inches of delightful fluffy stuff and temps just below freezing all day. Sledding and snow trail running and neighbors on skis (we don’t have skis) and I put zip ties on the MTB wheels & had some fine snow riding. (I regret now not riding up to Council Crest on Saturday).

The local sledding hill at Sellwood Park

Our local sledding hill on the best snow days is hard on sleds. This was even icier & faster than usual.

Broken sleds at Sellwood Park

My mountain bike on the Sellwood bridge, with zip-tied tires

The dog was loving it.

Jenny and Kuma at the park

Some people we already experiencing power outages but that wasn’t us.

It half-melted, half-froze on Sunday — the usual Portland winter stuff. The dog was still loving it.

Ada and Kuma in the snow at the park

Sunday evening was when our power outage hit. We have a gas range so we could get warm water bottles in the aquarium & lizard cage. After a bit of fiddling we figured out how to light the gas fireplace. Our phones were charged and we had some backup batteries. It was a pretty cozy catastrophe, except for the weird thing where cel data was nonexistent and cel service was spotty.

Monday morning; half-cloudy sun shining through ice in trees

Closeup of layer of ice on plants

I spent Monday patrolling the block, clearing storm drains, hauling deadfall off the street, and checking on elderly neighbors. Everyone was checking on elderly neighbors. Anti-urban types who think cities are heartless have no GD clue. Everyone was checking on everyone. The kids spent Monday with their neighborhood friends. More snow forts, more sledding, more snowball fights. Also playing board games in the garage?

Neighborhood ski/sleds. Sign reads “Dear neighbor(s) Feel free to use. Please return when done. Have fun!”

The dog was still loving it.

Kuma with a ball sitting next to my irrigation shovel and a drain I had recently cleared

Monday night we cooked up the most expensive things in the freezer (salmon, mostly). The house had warmed to the mid-60s; I spent the night near the fireplace in case something caught fire or the carbon monoxide alarm went off.

Tuesday…we were losing it a little. I made the neighborhood rounds but it was getting tired. I tried to cook up the less-expensive frozen foods (bacon, mostly), but this had the effect mainly of making the house smell like burnt bacon. We are almost all vegetarians in this house BTW. I don’t know why I did this; we had plenty of pasta, rice, oatmeal, and canned foods. And most of the refrigerated things were perfectly content to sit outside on the back porch in the snow. We could have fed ourselves for weeks on that. It was not necessary even once to open the freezer.

Our “refrigerator”: storage bins and cooler in the snow on our back porch

Despite being well stocked, in the afternoon we made some trips. Just for the sake of looking at something different. A trip to QFC which somehow retained power throughout. Then we bundled into the car — yes, including the dog — just to get gas and charge our phones.

Walking along Sellwood blvd in the slush, late Tuesday afternoon

The dog. Was still. Loving. It.

Last night we finally got power again. Cleaned out the fridge, cleaned up the greasy kitchen, laundry, hot showers, civilization. We ate the last edible thing in the freezer: pizza.