Cold Weather Delay’s

So in my neck of the woods we are finally starting to get the much colder weather. With that comes the negative wind chill factor. With that also brings the inevitable school delays. This confuses this shit out of me.

For starters, when I was a kid negative wind chill factors would never result in a delay. In fact I am confident that it never crossed an administrators mind. Minimum of 2 inches of snow had to be on the ground to even consider the delay. Countless times I can remember standing at the bus stop with my friends freezing our asses off.

Other parts of the country and other nations must laugh at us when they hear about these delays. Now, before anyone gets on their high horse and starts touting the safety and well being of the children are paramount please just shut up. We have been surviving on this planet just fine for hundreds of years in all sorts of environmental conditions. A few minutes of cold  temperatures at the bus stop isn’t going to harm them. If it does it’s because you as a parental unit failed to prepare and educate them on proper cold weather attire.

Let me zero in here. The delays are unnecessary and a waste of time. This might be the beginnings of me acting like the cranky old man, but the youth need to toughen up a bit.

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Standard Operating Procedures: Shoveling Snow

A lot of the tasks that I do throughout the day whether teaching or in the pharmacy have some sort of standard operating procedure (SOP). The same could be said for a lot of my daily tasks as well. Since winter has final showed up and brought some snow as well shoveling said snow becomes a somewhat routine task.

For the first time in what has been a great while I grabbed the shovel and started removing the snow from sidewalks. I started with the two front steps and the short walkway to the main sidewalk as I always do and then completely blanked out on what I was going to do next. Now I’m sure everyone is thinking, “What’s the big deal just shovel the damn snow”.

Believe it or not there is right and a wrong way to shovel the snow. It’s not how I remove it from the sidewalks, but more so where I pile it. I have to account for two things. First and foremost, more snow. You can only pile it so high before it becomes unruly and won’t pile correctly. Secondly, the city plows. They are making quick runs and the snow is being thrown everywhere. The smaller the piles near the curb the less I have to re-clean from the sidewalks as the will eventually push more onto the tree lawns.

Driving In The Snow

We’ll after much delay some snow has finally returned to my corner of the world. With the return of the snow we also have the hundreds of drivers who forget how to drive safely in the snow. I am sure I have stood up here on my soap box and pontificated about it in the past, but here are the highlights again.

The most important thing to do is STAY in your lane and maintain a safe speed. You may not be able to maintain the speed limit depending on wind, visibility, and slick road conditions and it is acceptable to go below the speed limit. However, it is not acceptable to be at an almost negligible speed and still traveling. I don’t care if you have your hazard lights on you are now officially a road hazard.

At the same time don’t speed either. The only thing you are going to hurry up to is getting in an accident.

It’s common sense people. Don’t be on the road unless you have to and if you are drive safely.

Optimal Operating Temperature

Finally the cold weather has arrived with a vengeance. It is at this point that I am confident that most people have forgotten some basic things to do when venturing out into the cold. One of the first things that popped into my head other than pulling out more of my cold weather clothing was proper start up procedure for my truck.

Most people have no clue that you vehicle has an optimal running temperature for the engine. I don’t care what the mechanic told you, I don’t care what the dealership told you, and I don’t care what you found out about your cars engine oil from your research. You cannot just start you vehicles engine and start driving in cold weather. It is a sure fired way to cause damage.

Every vehicle is equipped with a temperature read out. If you don’t know how to read it break out the manual and start reading. At the minimum the temperature gauge should have some sort of reading on it before you even think about putting your vehicle in drive and going. Preferably you let the engine running long enough so that it is near normal running temperatures.

The reason I implore this is that despite the manufactures claim of the oil will stick to the engines critical parts it’s still needs to be at a specific temperature in order for it to function at its correct viscosity. Otherwise you might as well pour duck soup into the engine.

Before anyone bitches about how they don’t want to run outside in the cold to start their engine just shut your mouth now. They make remote starters for most makes and models and they run as cheap as $100. Bust out that credit card and get on it.

Old Man Winter’s Last Breath

Now is the time of year where I live where we start heading into consistent higher temperatures. However, there is always one last cold snap for a couple of days before I can officially warmer weather is here to stay.

Just to be clear I am a fan of colder weather. I like to be able to see my breath. I like the bite of frost. I enjoy the shit out of hoodies and jeans. I also find it easier to warm one self up and than to cool off. Also, if you should happen to have a significant other, or a really awesome friend, or a pet it’s totally cuddling time.

If I could figure out a way to move to Maine I would. I’m not knocking warmer weather and associated activities I’d just rather a parka over a wet suit.

Delivery Service

Many businesses have at home delivery anymore. This is great and fantastic for a variety of reasons, but is also promotes laziness to a certain extent. I’m not going to harp on that, but I do have a bone to pick with consumers.

If you are expecting a delivery of any kind make sure the sidewalk, walkway, path, etc… that leads to your home is in good order. To clarify that, I mean that it is clear of debris and can easily be navigated. This rings truer in the winter when snow and ice builds up.

Although we don’t currently offer delivery at my pharmacy I did a patient a solid and delivered a medication to them. However, when trying to reach the patients home the side walk and steps were covered in ice and the steps were broken for that matter. The porch was also in questionable shape. Had I slipped and fallen my guess is they wouldn’t have had homeowners insurance to cover themselves.

My final thought is about the mail carriers. I know these people have to slog it no matter what the conditions, but what the hell. I know businesses can refuse to deliver due to unsafe conditions, but from what I remember unless there is a direct threat to life they have to make the delivery. That’s some bullshit. I would like for our letter carriers to have the ability to identify lazy homeowners/landlords and have these people cited.

The Smell of Winter

This evening it is exceptionally cold outside. The sky is mostly clear and the moon is bright. The air also has a crisp fresh smell to air with the faint odor of a wood fire nearby. This normally occurs the evening after a days worth of fresh snow has fallen. It’s like a cleaning of the atmosphere. It is nights like these that allow me to further embrace my inner Canadian heritage. This is also why I enjoy the winter about other seasons.