By Jessica Chardoulias
Despite the very best efforts of all of us to avoid the unavoidable, winter has indeed arrived. Halter tops, flip-flops and shorts must be packed away to make room for foxy furs, long johns and woolly scarves.
Although many of us desperately cling to summertime apparel, the dismal drear of wintertime has begun to forcefully change our clothing choices. No longer can a mere jacket be worn to keep warm; no longer are days cool and crisp. Pedestrians are seen scurrying along, pink-faced with runny noses. The cold has taken over.
Not only has winter affected our apparel, it has most definitely affected our transportation. We try and try to push our rollerblades through the snow — to no avail, of course.
Car windows are sealed tight and the air conditioner has been forced into retirement. Thus, heat must prevail.
Car windows steam over but this can be helped. Go to the closest general store and pick up a little Rain-X Anti-fog for windows. Yes, indeed, it eliminates and prevents fog and condensation on interior glass and mirrors — surely a critical issue when it comes to safe driving during those pesky Midwestern winters.
Also, a handy item is plain old Rain-X, which kindly repels rain, sleet and snow, offering increased visibility and driving safety.
Another more general thing to consider — most auto retailers recommend everyone get their cars checked out by a place such as Grease Monkey for a pre-winter oil change, among other things. While there, it might not be a bad idea to get the radiator flushed to allow for effective heating and cooling of the car all winter long.
Along with that, have the technician make sure the car has all-weather tires. If it isn’t a four-wheel drive vehicle, all-weather tires are a must to navigate through the streets of Nebraska on those snow-filled mornings.
Finally, fortify the car with things such as an ice scraper, some extra mittens or gloves, a jacket, a blanket, a flashlight and maybe a few Power Bars just in case it happens to stall on some deserted highway late at night. Better safe than sorry.
After the car is ready for winter, many things must be done to prepare a house. Apartment dwellers are in luck, for most of these tedious pre-winter chores won’t apply.
First, one must install storm windows to provide for more proficient heating. Without such windows, the heat tends to escape, making the bills more costly and the house more cool.
Weather stripping the doors is also a necessity for the very same reason. We don’t want that heat escaping.
Energy companies recommend changing the furnace filter monthly during the heating season to increase fuel efficiency and lower heating bills.
On the exterior of the house, much has to be done. The yard must be raked, hoses must be removed so the faucets don’t freeze, window wells must be cleaned out and covered so snow and ice don’t build up and the eves must be thoroughly cleaned so run-off can easily drain off the roof. For the gardener at heart, this is the time to put down fall fertilizer.
So while winterizing is a pain, it’s almost one of those annual celebrations to ring in this time of year. It foreshadows snow fights and hot chocolate, sledding and holidays and brings out a more giving, jovial spirit. So take heed and prepare for ice storms and slow-moving traffic, knowing that in it all, we all love winter to some extent.