Family matters: Preparing for the worst in wintertime

This month I have a new editor for “Family Matters.” My best wishes go out to Zach for his years of making my gibberish organized and readable; thank you.

February holds one of my least favorite holidays: Valentine’s Day. It’s not because I don’t have a Valentine, between my wife and three kids I find myself blessed; what I don’t like is the importance that’s put on it.

If you don’t have a Valentine it’s viewed as a bad thing by some and also if you have too many you’re in the same boat; fortunately I have a storm to write about.

I find it interesting that in any other place in this country if 30 to 40 inches of snow dropped in a couple of days it would get named and federal relief; in the Copper Country we call it Tuesday, and the only aid we get is Gatorade after shoveling out our cars and making a path so that we can leave the house.

Again, in other parts of the country a storm of this size would shut down everything; we go to the store to shop because we know it will be less crowded. When the snow hits we pop in seasons of NCIS or look for a Criminal Minds marathon on Ion television.

Our preparation for disaster may consist of putting Heet in our gas tanks and making sure we know where our sleeping bags are just in case the power goes out. Our plow drivers need medals for risking everything to make sure that if an emergency does happen, the roads will be as clear as humanly possible; now let’s talk about those who shouldn’t be out during a storm.

Four wheel drive on your vehicle does not mean that you will stop any quicker than me and my Neon cruising along at 45 miles per hour or less depending on the level of whiteout. I gauge my speed on how many cars I see in the ditch, lowering it five miles per hour from 50 mph for every car I see in the ditch. One day on my way to work I saw three vehicles in the ditch from Hubbell to Hancock; each driver talking on their phones, hopefully they were calling a wrecker and not finishing their call that helped them into the ditch in the first place.

I do envy those who enjoy winter sports; mine is avoiding slipping on the ice and pressing my remote start on my car. This was the first winter where I didn’t plan on at least trying to enjoy the winter by building a snow cave or going snowshoeing; mostly because of my knee surgery in December that took me out of commission for six weeks. The upside to the storm for me was having a couple of days off from work; I’ll have to work hard to catch up but the timing was perfect as I polished off my final assignments in my own academic career.

Through this spring, summer, fall, and on through next winter I’ll be completing my dissertation, honing my skills, so that I can give back to this community that has supported me through the years, by using my PhD to help those who need it. Winter isn’t over just yet, we may still have one big storm to come; I’ll call that one Wednesday, take care and drive safely.

Brian Foreman can be reached at