Cold weather kit: Bread, or beer & birth control

Friday - 1/17/2014, 2:00am EST

No matter how sophisticated, learned and important you are, weather, especially extreme weather, is often an interesting subject. A leveler.

If the head of the agency, or an SESer finds him (or her)-self sharing an elevator with the GS troops, they can find common ground talking about the heat. Or, this time of year, the extreme cold many parts of the nation have experienced. Hence...

Last week's "How Cold Was It?" column frosted a lot of people. The piece was in response to a rare, extended blast of Arctic air. It dipped down to parts of the U.S., including D.C., where a lot of us wouldn't know a snowshoe from a squash racquet.

Locally we got down to 6 and 8 degrees. That's swimming weather in some places. Like Thule, Greenland. But, for us, it was cold. How cold? Coldest in 20 years, at least.

Washington's TV weather types are good. But some tend to panic. News coverage of the cold as it approached got a tad hysterical from time to time. Even after it faded to 55 degrees, it only added to their hand-wringing. And to our angst. Fog followed cold. Oh, the humanity!

Some schools closed for one day and others had two-hour delays the next. This time we were not alone...

Federal offices in places that can usually take it, Detroit, Boston, New York, etc., shut down because of dangerously cold (as in freezing rain and black ice) weather. For once, they were like their colleagues here at headquarters where winter shutdowns are frequent events.

Washington is the nerve-center for civil defense, anti-terrorism, continuity-of-government not to mention the fount of all (we believe) political knowledge. But in Washington, when snow is predicted, we all head to the supermarket to stock up on the three essentials: White bread, milk and toilet paper.

Lately some health-conscious types have deserted Wonder Bread for gluten- free. But the other two, milk and TP, are going strong.

So with the worst of winter yet to come, how's it for you and yours?

Ron D., from Fargo, N.D., said "the kids in Fargo just had one day off, they went back the next day. My Chief had to take off one day to provide kid-sitting, otherwise on Monday, it was just another work day at our VA with the morning static air temp of 26 below when I ventured out the door. You East Coasters really should buck up more, the stores do sell winter clothing don't they?!?"

A fed based in often frigid Buffalo, N.Y., said she had read about D.C.'s survival kit and asked "what are you people thinking?" Up in the real world she said, the pre-storm stock-up items are more basic: Beer and birth control devices.

She urges us to get with the program before the next blizzard.

The unkindest comment of all came from one reader who, in response to the age-old how-cold-was-it question, replied:

"It was so cold, members of Congress had their hands in their own pockets!"

Now that's cold!


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

Compiled by Jack Moore

Babies are born with about 300 bones in their bodies. Adults only have about 206.

(Source: Discovery Facts)


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