Driving in the Snow

Today is the first serious snow fall for this winter season. Now we aren’t getting anything to the proportions that Boston did a few days ago, but enough that being cautious while driving is actually warranted. What I want to convey here is that there is safe and unsafe ways to drive in the snow.

Normally driving the actual posted speed limit or right below would be the correct thing to do. (Approximately up to less than 5 mph under the posted limit.) I also suggest adding an extra half a car length than the normal distance you keep between you and the person in front of you. Slick road conditions do increase required stopping distances. There is a limit to how reduced your speed can be despite the not so Kosher driving conditions.

There is such a thing as driving too slow. A reasonable amount of speed does need to be maintained in order just to maintain forward momentum of one’s vehicle, but also to allow tires to do what they are supposed to do and push the snow out of the way which a lot of newer tread designs do thus increasing the contact footprint with the ground and increasing traction. Driving significantly slower will cause traffic to back up and a line of slow moving cars does pose a hazard in addition to an inconvenience.

While driving to have my truck inspected this morning I ran into said slow driver this morning. While traveling on the main avenue toward my destination I ended up at the back of the pack of slow moving cars. Everyone’s speed was reduced due to the fact that the plow trucks have not touched the roads in a few hours. Even though we were moving the speed was a snail’s pace for bad weather conditions. I was about 8 vehicles back from what I would find to be the head of the line. One by one motorists would pass the slow moving truck, but it required them to move into the lane of traffic not really traveled so there isn’t the travel track of other vehicles to follow. So people are struggling to pass the offending vehicle and it eventually becomes my turn. I figured there must be something wrong and sure enough there is.

I am fortunate enough to have four wheel drive and had been using it from the word go this morning so passing was no difficulty for me. While passing I took a quick look at the vehicle causing the issue and thought there might be some assistance I could offer, but concern quickly turned to anger. This person was driving a truck of comparable size and scope to that of mine, barley had cleaned the excess snow off of it, and the driver was talking on the cell phone.  For about a heartbeats worth of time I thought about pushing them into the breakdown lane, but decided the hit and run wasn’t worth it. People’s stupidity is mind boggling to me sometimes.

Advertisements

Thank You

Just using manners in general is always a plus in my book. However, you would be amazed at how much saying “thank you” can improve anyone’s day. For whatever reason when I use manners with people I don’t interact with on a daily basis it catches them off guard a little, but generally improves the interaction. This happens often enough that it saddens me a little bit when I realize the lack of manners used in general.

My ultimate point though is that manners help greatly in high pressure situations. When working in the pharmacy and every one is running at full tilt and the wheels of the wagon are about to spin off I say “Thank You”, as often as I can. I find that it kind of calms everyone down a bit because I am acknowledging even that smallest contribution everyone is making in what is probably a shitty situation. That way when sanity finally returns we need less time to decompress a bit and get back to kicking ass and taking names.

Shaving

In addition to a hot shower I also find a fresh shave very rejuvenating as well. I don’t get into it like some people do with the old school shave kits, but I do own a lather cup and a straight razor. One of those bad boys you see the barber stroking up and down the leather strap after sharpening to remove any burrs. It is one of the closet and best shaves I can give myself as long as I have the time to dedicate to it. Otherwise, I use one of the five blade razors. Although you truly only need one to get the job done I do find that it provides the next best shave.

Although you only need your face to be a little moist the best time to shave is directly after bathing. This way your skin is most pliable from the extra water and heat. Most of the dirt and grim has been removed as well. In addition to removing facial hair shaving also helps get rid of facial dirt and removes a lot of the dead skin on the face as well. I remember reading something many moons ago this is one of the reasons why men tend to look younger when were older.

You may be asking, “What about shaving cream/gel?” Just pick whatever doesn’t irritate your skin. Also, don’t spend an arm and a leg on any one brand either. Most contain similar ingredients. I do caution against anything scented on the chance it will irritate your skin.

Finally, electric shavers. I have tried them in the past and they just aren’t my cup of tea. If it happens to be your weapon of choice then shave on my friend. As long as it gets the job done that’s all that matters.

Medication: Ibuprofen

Ibuprofen better known by its trade of Motrin is a NSAID. Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug. Over the counter it is available as 200mg tablets and a liquid for children. As a prescription it is available as 400, 600, and 800mg. I can say with much certainty that the prescription strengths are a bunch of shenanigans. Most patients who need some sort of chronic anti-inflammatory medication do not use it because of how much it could beat up on the gastro intestinal system.

Lets circle back to the fact that it is available OTC in the 200mg dose. On several occasions I have taken 3 to 4 tablets at once for my aches and pains that. They are relatively small and easy to swallow. As you increase in strength the tablet size increases as well. This is a complaint I hear from patients on a weekly basis about not being able to swallow due to large tablet size. I guess it is convenient to only have to swallow one tablet, but to that I say suck it up and just swallow more of the smaller dose tablets.

If you look at the cash cost of just getting 15 tablets of the higher strength doses it is equal to or more expensive than a 500 count bottle of store brand ibuprofen. I’m all for filling prescriptions. Means more man hours in the budget, but honestly I think this is just another way to pad the bottom line. That and wasted money dolled out by the insurance companies.

What I am getting at here is just buy the bulk bottle of ibuprofen. Most manufacturers are good for about 2 years so the 12 bucks you are fronting will go a long way.

Vehicle Starter Kit

Since I talked about some things to have on your person at all times lets talk about things to have in your vehicle. When I finally got my first vehicle ( 91 Dodge Caravan) my father handed me a socket set and told me to keep it in my van at all times. You don’t need to be a gear head to be able to work on your vehicle just be able to tighten things up when they come loose or reattach if they come off. I suggest getting a set that also includes hex (alen) keys and a multi-tip screwdriver.

Duct tape is always key. Don’t buy some shitty store brand. Purchase a decent brand name roll of the stuff. Duct tape can fix a lot of things. Handyman’s secret weapon. (Google RedGreen)

Jumper cables are always a good item to have. I don’t have chronic issues with my battery. It’s to help others than anything else. For the love of peaches buy a good set. Do not buy the cheapos from Wal-Mart. If anything you’ll end up frying both of the vehicles. I am also aware of the charge and go kit, but remember that is essentially a battery itself and will eventually discharge the juice you put in it especially in cold weather. It’s easier to just carry cables and bum a jump off of someone.

I highly recommend a flashlight. Do not get one of the shake and charge flashlights. I have yet to come across a decent one. Throw a small Maglite and a pack of batteries in the glove box and you are good to go. Just remember to check it once in a while. Nothing worse than needing to shed light on something in a hurry and the damn flashlight is deader than Anna Nicole Smith. (Too soon?) There are also small flashlights that can be charged off of the cigarette lighter power adapter.

All vehicles come with some sort of manual jack stand to help change tires in the instance you get a flat. Ditch it and buy something more durable. Every single time I help change a tire those things buckle and give way like someone blowing on a house of cards.

Since were talking about tires there are few things I recommend to keep in your vehicles for your tires. Tire slime does work. Keep a can or two of it in your vehicle. Tire repair patches are always a good thing especially if the puncture isn’t that bad. The next few things are optional depending on funds and space available. Tire pressure gauge, I don’t really trust the ones at the do it yourself air units. Which is why I carry a air pump that runs off the cigarette power adaptor. If you vehicle of choice allows for it and you have the money to do it put a full size tire in place of the space saver spare.

In the instance you do run into vehicle issues and are on the side of the road you’ll want to make yourself visible to other drivers especially at night. If your vehicle still has power put your hazards on. Secondly you should have some sort of reflective hazard signs that you can place about 10 feet behind your vehicle. I really caution against road flares just because of the required fireproof box needed to store them in, but also because the first hazard they pose while in use.

A first aid kit is also a must. Even if you only ever use a band aid from it, it’s worth having.

Finally a container of some kind to keep all of this stuff in. I’m fairly certain you don’t want all of this stuff rolling around in the cargo area of your vehicle. A basic Rubbermaid container will do.

Some of you may say “I don’t need any of the stuff I have OnStar or AAA.” So what if you do. What happens if you are in an area that doesn’t have cell service. Then what? I consider having these items part of being a responsible vehicle owner.

Say It To My Face

Ladies and Gents,

If you have a problem with the way someone does something or with something they said have a conversation with them. Face to Face. Going behind their back or over their head is one of the worst things you can do.

Not being able to hold a candid conversation with the individual only perpetuates the problem and honestly makes you look like a “Nancy”. In the one rare instance where a person had an issue with the way I performed a task and just went right to my supervisor instead of talking to me about it first was an immediate voiding of all respect and trust I had for said individual.

I’m not really sure where peoples need for subterfuge comes into play with situations like this, but what is it to have a one on one like a normal mature human being. It baffles me.

Sincerely,

Everyone’s Favourite Canadian

P.S. This is not aimed at anyone in specific, but recently I have seen a rise in similar situations especially after hearing about a specific one today.

Hot Showers

If you are like me and normally end up working more than an 8 hour day on a normal basis then a hot shower at the end of the day is a better way to unwind than a beer or a tumbler full of bourbon. At least in my opinion anyway. Honestly just the feeling of being clean is an energy and moral booster in general. However, if you happen to be fortunate like myself and have a pulsating shower head it provides for a nice massage and combine that with the hot water helps take away the aches and pains of the day.

Even in the event that a hot shower is not an option just washing ones face and hands is normally enough to restore some energy and remove the dirt and grime from the daily grind.