Wednesday, January 8, 2014

When Weather Isn't Just Weather

I was sitting at my desk at work when the snow started to fall.

I'm usually a big fan of winter in general, and snow specifically, but when I saw those first flakes drift over midtown Manhattan I dropped my head in my hand and muttered, "what else?"

I had never really been one of those people who focused on the weather. I had preferences, to be sure, but I never complained much when the weather was crappy. When it rained I opened my umbrella, when it snowed I pulled on my boots, and I mostly took it all in stride.

But overnight, or, more accurately, over the course of nine days, I had become an entirely different person because of a hurricane and because of a house.

I had recently become a homeowner but I hadn't moved in yet. So I spent Hurricane Sandy away from my house and passed the time worrying and wondering. I worried about my new car in the driveway and wondered what would happen when the debris started flying. I worried that our basement was flooded and that our power was out. I worried that our roof was leaking or that a tree had fallen. I worried that after the storm our house would just be a pile of rubble, and then I hated myself a little for thinking that maybe if that happened we could just stay in Manhattan forever.

All of a sudden I felt vulnerable and exposed. The night of the storm it occurred to me that I didn't have a landlord to call if my power went out or something even more terrible happened. Weather was no longer just weather. Instead, it was an insidious beast sent from above to mess up my house and empty my bank account.

So when the snow started to fall a mere eight days after Sandy and only four days after we moved into the house I just piled new anxiety on top of old until I was a quivering mess.

By the time I got home that night half a foot had fallen. The roads were hideous and I found myself dreaming of underground subways and sidewalks that were someone else's responsibility to shovel.

When I pulled into my driveway I saw David in the garage, building our kitchen cabinets and practically oblivious to the fact that the apocalypse had clearly arrived. I was desperately jealous of him and his homeowner confidence when I was approximately five minutes away from staking a "for sale" sign in the front yard and fleeing back to the world of landlords and apartment living.

I didn't really want to go into the house alone, but I was freezing, so I reluctantly left David to his tools and trudged up the unshoveled driveway, one eye warily on the roof, and one on the tree with the branches bending under the weight of the snow, leaning precariously close to the power lines attached to my house.

And I wondered if weather would ever just be weather again.

After a huge snowstorm and days of subzero temps, I can honestly
say that a little more than a year later, weather is just weather once again.
And I love a good snowstorm, even if it might drop a tree straight onto my house


  1. After 10 years of home ownership, no. Weather is never just weather again. Honestly, I really miss renting sometimes.

    1. I was so reluctant to become a homeowner again for these reasons.

  2. Quit worrying and enjoy your house. If a tree falls, David will get out his tools and together you will make it right. I hope you are safe and snug right now... I enjoyed your story.

  3. Weather is not weather for me anymore after living through all of these weird storms on the East Coast. And now Polar Vertex? Ugh!

  4. Argh I just commented and it disappeared. I think. Anyway the moral of the comment was to congratulate you on your new home. The grass won't be greener whether you rent to buy, but at least now you are investing in something!

  5. Weather will never be "just" weather again. We moved into our house two years ago, and it has been one anxiety attack after another. Like you, I have sometimes fantasized about throwing up a for sale sign and running for the hills. I enjoy the space and the freedom, but I despise the responsibility. Our backyard is woods -- this seemed really nice when we bought the house. It would be quiet and private. Then Superstorm Sandy happened and I had several heart attacks just waiting for one of those lovely trees to plummet right onto my house and destroy it/kill us. Fun times!

  6. I miss renting. The stakes are so much higher as a homeowner, even though I'm mostly just lazy about home maintenance...