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You Say Blizzhawd, I Say Blizzard

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My husband and I approach snowstorms differently.

It's not that we divide and conquer in the traditional ways you might expect, where he handles the outdoor work and I make sure the pantry is stocked. Economically speaking, my approach is laissez-faire, while his is more, well, active intervention. I like to stockpile all that we can before the storm and then enjoy our treats with abandon. What's that you say? We've got jumbo packs of Twizzlers? Break them out! We can curl up next to a cozy fire while the snow swirls outside? Get it going! Mike, on the other hand, frets like a father hen over whether we'll have enough supplies to last the duration of the storm. He worries about depleting our woodpile on the first day when we haven't yet lost power.

I suppose, as one friend pointed out, it's really that my approach to storms is a romantic one, while Mike's is practical. I like to imagine we live on the windswept plains, snug in our house with the snow tumbling outside, while he's out in the garage checking the gas level in the snow blower. Ever since I was a little girl, snowstorms meant the thrill of pulling out my emergency supply kit that was stuffed high with flashlights, batteries, candles and matches. I couldn't wait till the lights blinked out and my family huddled around the fireplace to tell stories.

But to be honest, I don't think we ever experienced more than a few hours of power outage. Certainly nothing that threatened heat loss for days.

My husband, on the other hand, remembers the blizzard of '78 like everyone else in Boston. He was 9. And while he wasn't one of the unlucky many to get caught unawares on the highway, forced to camp out in his car overnight, he still remembers it. You couldn't drive for a week; groceries were hard to come by. It made quite an impression.

Hence, when I open the refrigerator door after our power disappears, his immediate holler to "Close it before you let the cold out!" makes sense. When he teases me about not eating all our snacks on the first night, he's got a point; the storm could quite possibly last for days. I know he's right, and yet sometimes it's hard to be a flinty New Englander. Sometimes, I just want to turn on the battery-powered radio and dance around the living room with our 4-year-old in the cold.

The thing is, I know we'll make it through whatever comes. We've got sufficient food and water, and knock on wood, for the moment, electricity. We also have wonderful neighbors who have come to the rescue for each other time and again.

So, I watch while my husband and son play trains for hours and hours on the enormous track that they've laid out across the living room floor. And I can't help but smile at the ways in which our approaches, seemingly at odds, have complemented each other during this record blizzard. We have plenty of supplies, thank goodness, but we also have an abundance of fun and love chugging around those tracks in front of our hearth.

It's a blizzard that I hope our son will remember fondly, even if the radio batteries run out.

Read more about Wendy Francis at wendyefrancis.blogspot.com.