Self Sufficient

Right. All in total we had 27 inches in northeast Baltimore city. Three days of two and three hour shoveling. We even shoveled out our own street since we knew plows weren’t getting to us. My arms and upper back are going to be A-mazing.  But, I’m now wearing cock-up braces on both hands because of my tendinitis and it just hurts too much to sew. Like wake up in the middle of the night wrists throbbing hurts too bad. That being said, they are calling for another 10 to 12 inches starting today into Wednesday afternoon. There is truly nowhere for us to put any more new snow.

I did have to go into work yesterday evening (and tonight too). A friend’s stepson with a four wheel drive picked me up. On the way home, we stopped at the grocery store. I now understand a little what it was like to live in Eastern Europe during Soviet times:


The only red meat there was like beef tongue

Not a single piece of chicken. Just one big fat frozen turkey that was probably too heavy to walk back home.

Baked goods were demolished

And not one freaking slice of white bread.

Now, let me say this. Only the crappy food was gone. Plenty of skim milk, tea, yogurt, fresh veggies. But, white bread, whole milk, butter, oil, processed, sliced, anything that is best served fried was cleaned out of my Giant. Make of that what you will.

Oh, I won’t even talk about the guys smoking a Black and Mild carrying three and four chicken boxes walking along 33rd street in snow drifts pants dragging on the ground.



  1. My husband had to drive our daughter back to DC because the trains and Metro weren’t running and she had to go to work. They stopped at the store to get some food for her apartment and it was mighty slim pickings in Alexandria too! They did find some chicken and salad stuff, plus cheese and yogurt for her. No skim milk left in Northern VA, we have to drink whole milk in our coffee. But it’s an emergency, right?

  2. Those shelves bring back memories…I too went yesterday to my local Giant and was able to buy fresh veggies and lots of yogurt, but I was better off than you I got chicken and decent bread. Today I’m cooking in case we lose power again I’ll be able to heat cooked food on my outdoor gas grill. I’ll have a natural refrigerator for all the food I make 😉
    Hope your wrists feel better soon!

    • The cereal aisle is INSANE. There is only like Fiber One left. No cheerios, fruit loops or lucky charms!

  3. I’m here to vouch for you I just KNEW I was about to grab a chicken to cut up & throw into the slow cooker. Got to Giant at 7am this morning and… except for the prime cuts of steak, $10 organic whole chickens and smoked meats. Needless to day I will be throwing lentils in the slowcooker instead. We drink soy because of allergies so we were good on milk, but there was no cereal….

    • Exactly! I’m doing frozen short ribs from my freezer in the crockpot. I should have gotten some beans! I may have black beans though….

  4. That is too much! Being in South Texas, we have no idea, snow only occurs every few years and may last for the day, if we’re lucky, which is for the best. We don’t know how to drive in snow 🙂

  5. Coming from Eastern Europe (Serbia), I used to be familiar with this kind of sight – empty shelves and no food in the supermarket.
    I hope the storm will go away soon and hope your wrists’ll recover quickly.

    • I dated a Ukranian guy who told me he cried the first time he went to an American grocery store. He had never seen so much food in his life and had never had an actual choice. Like OJ was just OJ. No brand choices.

      • This happens here too! It’s so disconcerting to see no eggs, or no chicken, etc… It’ll pass soon, I promise, and then the snow will disappear, the cereal will be back, and it will all make for great Survivor stories. PS-a bit of rum helps with the shoveling:-)

  6. I’m not surprised. If you have small children…do they want veggies or do they want milk and fruit loops? Think about it! *LOL* I feel for you guys I really do. I only have 8″ and can’t imagine 12 more inches on top of it. Thank God I’m getting out before the snow starts! Will be back after they’ve dug everything out. Hang in there…spring has to come soon…but when this stuff starts to melt…I don’t even want to think about it! Okay so hang in there! 🙂

  7. Those are amazing pictures! I’m thanking my lucky stars that we don’t live on the East coast. Although, we eat the healthy food so we might have been okay! LOL! It definitely makes me appreciate my fully stocked store. (sorry, I’m not trying to rub it in or anything). I hope your wrists feel better soon, too.

  8. Well, you could always bake a loaf of bread. I doubt the flour was sold out. We are expecting snow this time too, but not on top of anything thank god. Good luck with the next storm.

  9. Girl, this is too funny! I work for a county government and they gave us “liberal leave” today. It was totally shut down yesterday. On this side of MD, they’re calling for 10-20 inches by mid-afternoon today through Wednesday. I can’t take that chance. I go through 4 counties to get to work. My brother shoveled everyday so we wouldn’t have the mess of doing it all at once as it has been freezing up. Sorry to hear about your hand. I know all about that, too. 🙂 Looks like I’ll only be working 2, maybe 3 days this week.

  10. I bet the toilet paper aisle was empty, too. 😉 Can’t run out of necessities!!!

    Take care of those muscle aches – Aleve has worked well for me and lasts longer than Advil.

  11. Cidell, these photos are absolutely amazing. I live in Minnesota, where the levels of snow you have are common place (and no, you never get used to it, only prepared for it).
    I cannot imagine grocery stores that empty. Do people usually shop every day and pick up what they need for the night? Where do people store all this food they have bought for the storm?
    Do you have plows that have cleared out the streets? Are cars moving? Businesses open?

  12. Cidell, great photos and I can report that we are having similar issues down here in Rockville. Celeste, the stores are empty because trucks can’t get in to make their deliveries. I have a Giant one mile from me, and a small independent ‘health food’ store 2 miles from me. It would not be possible for me to walk to either one because the roads are too busy and they are down to one lane in most places. So- no room for human beings in the piles of snow that are 3 feet and taller.

    I made to the Giant where I was warned not to go in- the checkout lines were all the way to the back of the store. (they had gotten food delivered and people swarmed). So I went to the health food store and got one of those little $10 chickens that narcissaqtiepie mentioned 🙂
    The roads are ridiculous, but I got my chicken!

  13. Oh wow, I’ve never seen anything like that. Even though we’re used to snow storms like these here in New England, the sight of those empty shelves is just too shocking! How much food were people stocking??? I guess you have to go the vegetarian route for a few days now 🙂 Too bad about the arms and I can’t even imagine shoveling that much snow myself. I have like no upper body strength and I still don’t learn. Need to make use of that gym membership someday. Sigh!!!

  14. Wow, this has gotta be freaky for you, I’ve never experienced empty shelves at the grocery store, not even during the ‘legendary’ Toronto snowstorm of ’98. I feel for you, but can’t help confessing that all us Canadians are probably sniggering – just a little. Having, ahem, ‘enjoyed’ 5 Edmonton, Alberta winters you get pretty familiar with that much snow, in similarly short periods of time – AND it stays put for 3+ months – but it’s expected, and the city is mostly prepared for it.

    I hope it gets cleared up for you soon, but it sure makes talking about the weather a lot more interesting, doesn’t it!?

  15. Great pictures. I hope you have everything that you need. I live in Adelphi, MD (suburb of DC) and the snow totals for the next storm keep going up! But, what can you do? Stay warm!

  16. I live in England and we’ve had our share of snow this winter too, which is also very unusual. Let’s just say they have very few if any snow plows here and cars only have summer tires. Oh ya, no one seems to own a shovel either.

    I was a child in the eighties living in Bosnia & Herzegovina and I used to go grocery shopping with my mother quite often. I can’t say i remember ever seeing empty shelves. Sure we didn’t have huge grocery stores in those days but I don’t ever recall not being able to get food or supplies. We even had little “mobile stores” selling fresh produce directly to our house (I used to live in the country).
    I’m digressing now a bit but sometimes people have misconceptions about life in Eastern Europe. My English husband even asked me once if I was born in a hospital (implying he thought we didn’t even have hospitals there).
    All the political stuff aside, many people were better off financially then.

    • Ana, I meant no offense simply a tongue-in-cheek comparison. I work with a young woman from Ukraine and she made the same statement as I. I simply meant that food is unreliable right now. Something I’ve heard before from others in eastern Europe. I’m sure not everyone’s experience is the same and I don’ mean it as blanket statement. Baltimore is not how it appears on the Wire but I get tired of people assuming that every corner is drug corner.

  17. If I told you I was jealous of all that snow, I think you might just hike up here and beat me with your shovel. So I won’t (but I am!) When I was 10, I was stranded in my elementary school for three days because of a snow storm. The military had to come and bring us blankets and crackers. And reporters! It was fun! Three days of curling up and reading all the books in the library.
    Hope your wrists feel better soon! And send that snow up here to Canada where it belongs!

  18. Holy crap! I knew we had our Apocalypse Food Store in the hold for a reason. And that bread machine… :/

    Good luck for the next snowfall. My mom in PA sent me a despairing email this morning about the forecast.

  19. Cidell…
    My mother (a child of the depression) saved and filled her freezer to prepare for times of emergency like you’ve documented. If she were alive today, she would be smiling and reciting how many chickens and canned goods she had squired away to outlast the storm. We could never dissuade her obsession, in spite of the fact that we lived in California! I’m still throwing out stale-dated canned goods and tossing items covered with freezer burn! (lol)

    As a single woman, I also sympathize with your efforts to deal with the snow on the ground. I lived in New Jersey for 6+ years and will forever swear it aged me twice as many physically…like in dog years!

    Be glad you can cook and bake from scratch as well as entertain yourself with creative endeavors. Call your mother and thank her.

    Take care and thanks for sharing….

  20. Wow, I live in Phoenix and I’m ashamed to tell you the temps today. Hang in there and hope the storm has passed and life will get back to normal soon.

  21. I have a phone pic of the potato/onion isle from last Friday in Arlington at Harris Teeter (goofy name, nice store). Not even a yam. The closest thing to chicken was some turkey sausage. Zero milk (that actually came from a mammal. You can’t milk a soy bean, stop calling it milk. It’s JUICE!). I did find some bread and yogurt. And free-range brown eggs that I bought and some pasturzied Kosher eggs that I left because I couldn’t tell if they were cooked or not. And beets, lots of beets. Guess people won’t eat those even in a blizzard. Fortunately, I still have some of this stuff as here it comes again. I’m movin’ to Buffalo. The weather’s nicer.

  22. Wow, can’t even imagine it. Hopefully the weather will warm up a bit soon! Meanwhile, I’m sweltering here and would give anything (well almost) to have a good night’s sleep without tossing and turning from the heat.

  23. That is insane! I’m soooo glad it’s sunny and beautiful in SW Washington today (tho the rain will be back very soon I’m sure).

  24. Wow, this reminds me of Eastern Europe after the Berlin Wall fell. In Bulgaria we had couple of years with groceries looking like that.

  25. Well, a snow storm of that size usually happens at least once a year here and often more than once, but we’ve had zip. I’d gladly take it from you. It has been many many years since we had so much snow that they couldn’t get it cleared and the delivery trucks couldn’t get to the stores but when it happened, that is what they looked like. Sorry you are getting another storm. I wish it was me, I miss the snow.

    Even here though, when snow is exepected the hordes hit the stores. What is do you think disappears? Beer, chips, cookies, cereal and milk. I knew you wanted to know that.

  26. For your wrists:

    If you have a CVS near you, they have flexible ice packs with velcro strips attached designed for wrists. They last about half an hour at a time. I love them (I have the wrist, knee, and back ones–at home *and* work).

    Aleeve works better for me than ibuprofen–if you haven’t tried it…try it. 🙂

    You can try icy/hot patches too. For me they tend to stay icy, which is a nice feeling.

    Mainly you need to let your wrists rest now. No shoveling, no matter how much pressure you feel from your neighbors.

  27. I sent DH to Superfresh this morning and he was happy that I had a short list while I was at work. He did have to go to Giant to get bread. They didn’t have any shoppping carts or hand baskets. This would be a good time to have stock in Giant.

    He got stuck coming home because some fool got stuck and abandoned his car on a one way street. It took 4 hours, 5 people and 40 bucks for him to get his truck out. People are working together to dig themselves out. After work, we had to back up down our street to get home. Such is life in Baltimore with our little one way streets.

    I laughed when I read about the guy with the black and mild. It is amazing how enterprising some people can be.

    I recommend Aleeve or Excedrin for pain relief and the thermal heat wraps.

  28. I am south of you in VA. I went to the grocery store last Wednesday night thinking I was going to get there ahead of all the other folks. Boy was I wrong! There was no whole milk left at that time — NONE! In our house, we go through an entire gallon of whole milk each day. There was no bread, very little meat, no fresh fruit, etc. It was unreal – just like in your pictures! (We only have one grocery store in our town.) The next day the boys and I had to stop by another grocer store in a nearby city to find milk. They were down to their last few gallons of whole milk. We got a hodge podge of brands, but we did get five gallons. Now it is snowing again . . .

  29. Those pictures scare me on two levels. The most obvious is the tragic state of the average American diet. The stats say 1 in 3 born after 2000 will be diabetic. And secondly, it scares me to think that we are not very prepared to survive a large scale disaster when a snow storm empties the grocery shelves.

  30. I feel your pain. I live in the laurel which is not that far from you. My husband and myself put in 5 hours of shoveling the drive way and the deck that wraps around the house. My body had turned against me, it was not my friend after that. Laugh. My neighborhood shoppers wasn’t that bad. I will say that everyone in Laurel must be eating beef for the next couple of days because I could not find beef anything to save my life. Laugh

  31. My local Giant was the same, but even vegetables were barely available. I am thinking of trying again in about an hour. We have been doing well. I hate to think about the people who have lost power in all of this mess. BTW I live in Waldorf, MD. Southern MD

  32. were the eggs all gone too? I have no idea why, but when it snows everyone has to rush out and get bread, milk and eggs. They get a burning desire to make French Toast I guess. LOL

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