27 December 2012

Thoughts For Thursday...
It sure as nice to see some REAL snow coming down yesterday.
Wifey's prediction of 3 inches was a tad shy of the amounts we received in Fort Wayne.
I took out a ruler and measured it on our patio table - 4 1/2 inches.
And when the news came on at 6, the numbers were...you guessed it...4 1/2 inches!
So, the "tale of the tape" (or the patio table) doesn't lie.
And, if you're thinking the snow will melt away...think again.
It's gonna be COLD for the next several days here in the Heartland - temps will top out JUST under the freezing mark with nightly lows in the TEENS, so dress and drive accordingly (and keep that hot chocolate handy).
Now on to...the rest of the story...
*** Time for the answer to yesterday's WHO SAID THAT? quote:
"The noble and courageous man is known by his patience in adversity."
This is attributed to the Inca Emperor Pachacutec (d. 1470), quoted in Garcilaso de la Vega, Royal Commentaries of the Incas, 1989
And here is his WIKI:
Interesting man, and a life that basically put Peru on the map.
Depending on what you read about him, he was not only considered a great warrior and emperor, but also a great administrator, planner, philosopher, observer of human psychology, and a charismatic general.
Meanwhile, back at the temple of the sun...
*** Listening to the police radio yesterday was not without it's copious share of fender-benders out there.
And considering they all but stopped MAKING bumpers (the REAL ones that is - ones that can actually PREVENT damage to most vehicles), that tends to make things even more "fun".
There was even one police cruiser that was tail-ended at a light.
Fortunately, it was a low-speed tap, so nothing to file a ream of reports on.
But there ARE those that "believe" that driving in snowy conditions, complete with blowing winds is EXACTLY the same as driving along the roads and streets in mid-July in the sunshine. And such mindsets were evident yesterday (and will continue into week's end, no doubt).
Extremely FEW were the times when I wound up being white-knuckled behind the wheel in bad weather, but when such times DID occur, it WAS really bad. Whenever whiteout conditions happen, driving becomes a whole other animal.
The first thing you notice, is that everything becomes the same shade, color and contrast, so what we call DEPTH-PERCEPTION goes bye-bye.
Next thing is something called TRACTION...as in you ain't got much any longer. You give the vehicle a little gas, and it wants to go in directions OTHER than the one you've chosen.
Braking becomes a test of wills...YOURS versus PHYSICS.
(BTW, Physics doesn't like to LOSE...EVER...just so's 'ya know)
A slow and steady application works most times, but there comes that time when you need to pump the pedal deliberately, but not so much, that you lock up the wheels and produce a skid.
Anti-lock brakes work to some degree there, but they can often be relied upon too much.
After all, the vehicle's computer MIGHT be making thousands of decisions and changes per second, but it's NOT holding the wheel and looking out the windshield.
That's YOUR job, and ONLY YOU can know what's coming and how best to react.
And for God's sake...clean off ALL the windows with a brush...you'd be surprised how many LAZY-ASSES are out there that ONLY do enough to see out of JUST the windshield...forgetting the REAR glass, side windows and even the mirrors.
All this is in addition to the fact that you've kept your vehicle in good running order, though.
The typical P.O.S. will react in the appropriate manner...like a P.O.S...LOL!
So your vehicle's ability to operate in a nominal state in bad weather is ALL ON YOU.
Let that be the (driving) lesson for today...or ANY day when weather is not our "friend", 'K?
*** Shoveling that snow from the sidewalk can also become a study in many things, such as one's health status.
You're not going to shovel the pavement like a 25 year old...when you're a sexagenarian...that's just life (catching up to you).
You learn to PACE yourself...use your LEGS to lift the shovel, rather than your back, and you're going to dress warmly enough so you don't suffer hypothermia, but not so much where you begin to perspire.
The vast number of sudden heart attacks (or God's way of saying "Take it slow, dummy") occur during winter months, and very often, it's due to over-exertion when shoveling snow.
Also, having the right shovel can help.
When you were younger, any old shovel would do, but as we get older, we develop aches, pains, and assorted other things that might impede our ability to keep bending over, and that's why we see shovels with LONGER handles, special grips, or ergonomic handles on them.
There's no shame in purchasing one, and you won't be tiring out as quickly.
 (or visiting the E.R. when that left arm starts hurting).
*** Casting down salt or "ice-melt" is ALWAYS a good plan, too. This is one of the few times you can be "liberal" with it...lol.
1- It gives you more traction under foot.
2- It gets rid of the snow you missed, and dries out the sidewalk and steps.
And who wants to slip off and fall DOWN the CONCRETE steps, hmm?
We've all been there, done that, and hopefully came out OK...but it STILL hurts like hell, doesn't it?
*** Now,when it comes to seeing a snowplow, we're USED to the city ignoring OUR part of town, so I've learned to NOT rely on them (or most parts of government).
That does NOT mean you can't have some "fun" during the wait.
Not to mention that in our ghettohood, we've way too much traffic for the number of houses, so that translates into whatever snow we DO get becoming PACKED DOWN along our streets, and that renders plowing marvelously ineffective.
It would be better if the city JUST dumped salt (or whatever efficacious compound they're using these days) to MELT this icy coating...and let vehicle tires do the rest by spreading it all about.
There was a time when the city dumped a good amount of salt at the INTERSECTIONS, and the passing cars took it all up, down, and across our streets. Now, they run (20MPH+) plows down the street (eventually), and that "rooster-tails" this crap BACK onto the sidewalks I just cleaned off.
And, if you allow THAT mix to refreeze on the pavement, THAT is some real work getting it off.
Naturally, your DRIVEWAY gets plowed back in as well, so you have to plan for that, but who can blame the city workers for NOT wanting to remain down here longer than they have to, right?
That doesn't happen in nice neighborhoods.
*** Lastly today, I hope I managed to provide some tips on how best to deal with winter weather, both on foot around the house, as well as behind the wheel of your vehicle.
It's just something I want to share after ALL those years of having to find out what works...and what does not.
Every one of you might have to "tweak" things a bit to suit your individual situations. But remember that i all comes down to YOU.
Hell, If I were independently wealthy, I'd send out my "snow-clearing staff" with snow blowers to tackle the job...LOL.
(yeah...NEXT life, hmm?)
Still, you CAN enjoy the winter weather, and remain relatively ALIVE AND WELL after fighting the idiots in traffic, poor road conditions, and even snow-covered steps.
And then maybe, you can find some time to take down that old Flexible Flyer you had hanging from the garage wall, sand off those runners, and feel like a kid again.
Be well, make a difference to someone, and...
Stay SAFE out there, America.


CWMartin said...

It wasn't too bad on I69 yesterday. Followed a variable-speed guy whom I was either right behind and braking or a quarter-mile behind, but he basically did the speed I wanted to go. Coulda done without the "check right rear tire pressure" light 3 miles from work, though.

Bob G. said...

I figured I-69 (and the "loop") would be cleared FIRST, considering ALL the mishaps that came over the radio...they were actually ADVISING people to NOT use "cruise control"...WTF???

Wow, your car tells you about TIRE PRESSURE?
Personally, I would tend to run my tires a bit on the LOW side (a couple pounds UNDER the recommended pressure), because is SNOW, you can get better traction that if the tires are maxxed out...hard tires slide, less hard tires grip.
Just be sure to raise the pressure when the streets and roads are DRY again.

And NEVER forget to change out the SUMMER air with WINTER air...(Dad always made sure of that...lol)

Thanks for stopping by today to comment.
Stay safe up there.

CWMartin said...

Yeah, it gives me a warning when you get under 24 lbs...and as for cruise control, I am EXTREMELY uncomfortable with it in wet conditions... like to have that foot on the gas feel. I tried it coming home, but the changes it makes for uphill/downhill fools my brain into thinking something's wrong.

Bob G. said...

Like you said...you prefer the "feel" of things...and in BAD weather, it's ALL about the feel of the road AND the car.

I also dislike the "surge" (down shift to accelerate) when going uphill.
Computers can't make that call as well as we can (yet).
Thank God.

Happy Motoring up there.