By Hannah Reich Berman

Questions and answers! Those seem to be what life is made up of. At this time of year, when winter should be drawing to a close, let’s hope that there will be no more major snowstorms. Dealing with snow and ice is enough of a challenge, but having to endure frequently repeated weather updates about an upcoming storm is frustrating.

My question is, why did I need to hear an update of the blizzard known as Nemo every 15 minutes? Admittedly, my memory is not what it once was, but it hasn’t yet regressed to the point that I am unable to retain information for longer than a quarter of an hour. It’s a question to which I have received no answer, but then I probably haven’t asked the right people for an explanation.

Worse was that, in the case of Nemo, its major impact was predicted to be in New England, not in the New York area. In our neck of the woods, the amount of snow that was expected was known to be considerably less. But that didn’t stop the media hype.

Personally, I think there’s a good chance that the meteorologists are in cahoots with supermarket owners. Anyone who happened into a food store the Thursday before the storm would have thought we were facing a two-week siege at the very least. Finding the store’s parking lot totally full was my first clue that I was sure to find a frenzied atmosphere once I got inside the store–if I could get inside.

Ten frustrating minutes later, after driving through the lot several times, I finally landed a slot, fed the hungry meter, and ventured inside. As soon as I entered that supermarket, I discovered that the hoopla and fanfare that had been created by the meteorologists and reporters had the desired effect. To the delight of store owners and managers, the place was a madhouse. Food was being grabbed off shelves and tossed into the shopping carts with unprecedented speed. Actually, it wasn’t quite unprecedented; the same thing happens every time a major snowfall is predicted. Don’t these people have food in their house? Are their cupboards bare and their refrigerators empty?

But my biggest question came from an even more practical thought: since there was a good chance that, with the predicted heavy snowfall and strong winds, many power lines would come down, why in the world were people stocking up on milk, butter, and eggs? I didn’t have the nerve to ask anyone why she wasn’t stockpiling groceries that needed no refrigeration. Didn’t anyone learn a lesson on October 29, or am I the only one who lost power and ended up tossing out everything from my fridge and freezer?

Another question that came to mind was why someone at The Weather Channel felt it necessary to name a storm after a Disney character. Presumably there is a reasonable explanation for that. Or perhaps it was just a whim. But why “Nemo”? At my age, the Disney names that come to mind are Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. But, as this was predicted to be a dangerous storm, neither one of those would have been any more appropriate than Nemo. I would have gone with the name of a real person–someone substantial, such as a philosopher or a poet. Plato and Homer come to mind. They were serious people, and what was coming was thought to be a serious storm. But the fact is that Disney characters are more familiar to the masses than philosophers and poets. So it was no contest.

Another possibility is that whoever did the naming felt that a cute cartoon fish would lighten the mood of those living in the path of the storm. On the other hand, one might find it surprising that anyone who might lose power or have to deal with several feet of snow would be in the mood for amusement. Someone should have given that name, Nemo, to the October hurricane, since that caused flooding and poured several feet of ocean water into basements. As Nemo is a fish, that would have been more appropriate. In fact, he may have been the fish that I found in my basement, along with the three eels and two water snakes down there. But, no! No such name was given to the hurricane and the floodwaters. Instead, someone decided to give the name Nemo to a blizzard. Ahh, the mysteries of life!

But all is not lost. Every now and then I am able to answer a question on my own and find a solution to some of the problems that dance around in my rapidly aging mind. The most recent example of this was a most welcome solution. For years I’ve wondered how to enhance my appearance by taking off unnecessary pounds and then keeping them off. It hasn’t yet happened–mainly because, as the queen of quick fixes, I am looking for a miracle and seeking an answer other than the usual diet and exercise. I don’t want to do it that way! The way I see it, anyone can do it that way (anyone but me, that is).

Just as I was ready to give up, I spotted an online blurb about a certain type of dress that, when worn, literally shaves ten pounds from a woman’s appearance. Eureka! I thought. There is my solution. If I buy two of those dresses and wear them both at once, bingo, I will appear twenty pounds thinner. It makes perfect sense to me. See how easy that was! Some questions do have answers.

And it appears that now and then some things come full circle and just fall into place. Another of my questions is being answered, albeit a little late. Two days after I originally wrote this piece, I learned that the newest storm slated to hit New England is being called Plato. How about that! Maybe someone is listening to my queries after all. That’s the way it is. v

Hannah Berman lives in Woodmere and is a licensed real-estate broker associated with Marjorie Hausman Realty. She can be reached at or 516-902-3733.

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