Well, it?s here once again. Although we have gotten off lucky with a tame winter before Monday, Mother Nature has finally decided to show us just how cold hearted she can be ? literally.
Sleet, snow, ice, freezing temperatures ? it has people like me wondering why in the world I have chosen to continue living in Iowa year after year and not sunny Florida. But since I am here, and I have 24 years of observations regarding Midwestern living under my belt, I thought I would take a moment to use this week?s Quips, Quotes and Other Notes column to point out a few of my winter living do?s and don?ts.
Don?t partake in unnecessary winter driving
So, let me preface this first rule by saying that sometimes winter driving is inevitable. Even the most cautious drivers can get themselves into unavoidable accidents from time to time. If this has happened to you, then you have permission to ignore this first rule. However, for everyone else, listen up.
I have a close friend who works as a salesman for a major cookie and cracker manufacturing chain. According to ?Alan?, it will never cease to dumbfound him how many people will scramble into the local grocery store to stock up on essentials before a big snowstorm, but will then turn right around the next morning mid-blizzard and drive to get their morning coffee at the same grocery store or at a nearby coffee shop.
I apologize, but I must ask the question. Is your morning cup of coffee really that fantastic that you would risk life and limb to obtain it? Coffee lovers, if you were just out the night before stocking up on food, do everyone a favor next time and pick up a bag of Starbucks instant coffee (and maybe throw in a donut or two if it helps) while you?re at it and call it a day. A car in the ditch isn?t worth that tall mocha latte and any town gossip you may pick up at the coffee bar. Besides, it?s kind of embarrassing to tell people you were sidelined on the highway because you just had to grab that tall cup of java, right?
And while we?re on the subject, if you don?t handle winter driving well (and be honest with yourself on this) just admit it. It really is okay to say you aren?t the most confident of drivers during winter conditions. Don?t be that one guy that makes the rest of the drivers around him feel extra on edge because you?re having a panic attack off Exit 27. I suggest you either ride shotgun, catch the bus or take a rain check on traveling all together.
Dress with sense
Guys, I am talking primarily to you on this one and I have my own father, whom I love dearly, to thank for this little nugget of truth.
Being a girl, I can?t exactly say what it is about men and wearing warm clothing. In my 24 years of existence, I can probably count on one hand the amount of times my father has worn a sensible outfit for freezing temperatures. I can only assume he attributes wearing warm clothing during wintertime to a slight to his masculinity. Whatever the reason, my dad will wear a light jacket and maybe a pair of gloves in even the most frigid temperatures.
To all the guys out there, do yourself a favor and please dress with common sense. Frostbite is not the least bit attractive and ladies will think you have a few screws loose if you insist on walking around in nothing but your Under Armour t-shirt and shorts when there?s ice frozen to the ground.
Ladies, because I don?t want to be discriminatory, I have one for you, too. Leave those ripped up Abercrombie and Fitch jeans in your dresser. Your legs don?t need to see the sun until spring. And if your legs are anything like mine, they shouldn?t be on display anyway as they are still likely the same color as the snow falling from the sky.
Power outages are not the end of the world
For those who reside in Mt. Pleasant, you probably had your first major power outage of the year Monday night. For some, I heard the power was only out for a few minutes. For others, it was out for around 45 minutes to an hour. And, if history has taught us anything, it?s that there is bound to be another ice storm coming our way before spring.
So the next time you find the ice storm has knocked out the juice, don?t stress out too much. It always makes me laugh when people decide to start hounding the power companies when their power hasn?t returned in 10 minutes after going out. Trust me, the power companies, who make their money off your energy use, want the power to come back on just as much as you do. They are working on it and it?ll come back on eventually. Take a leaf from Disney?s songbook and just let it go.
And for all you history buffs out there, look at it this way ? finally the world is giving you an excuse to live like it?s 1776 (or any other pre-electricity era that strikes your fancy). So, bust out those candles, bundle up in a warm blanket and read a book by candlelight like you?re Benjamin Franklin. If our forefathers could survive for their entire lives in a home free of electricity, proper insulation and cable T.V., we can do without for an hour or so.
With that, I say happy winter, Mt. Pleasant News readers. However, if you are reading this online from your condo in Florida (or if you are reading this in your car on your way to a southern destination), I wish you fun in the sun and ask that you send us Iowans a few warm thoughts...goodness knows we could use a few.