What I Hate Most About Winter

I haven’t written anything in quite a while.  I’d love to blame work and overtime and having an active and fulfilling life, but for the most part, I’m really just a boring and sometimes very lazy person.  In the last few months, this has massively intensified and I just didn’t have the motivation to write something.

So when I sat down tonight and decided to actually write a blog post for once, I decided to go with the topic that is becoming more and more relevant to me lately: the things that I can’t stand about winter.

Now don’t get me wrong, I actually quite like winter.  I don’t mind the cold and I think the snow is beautiful.  I love my Snuggie and cups of warm tea while I watch movies and snow days are always awesome.  But like any person, there are always two sides to the same story and there are certainly things I can’t stand about winter.

1. Deceptively cold steering wheel: Frankenbob has a steering wheel that is so very innocent looking.  This is a lie.  In the cold weather, unsuspecting me will get into my car, put my seat belt on, turn my key and then, to my sudden shock and dismay, I’ll put my hands on the steering wheel and instantly feel as if they’ve frozen there, never to be removed again.  I HATE cold steering wheels.  Therefore, I have a very nice pair of red woolly mittens to keep this from happening.  The crappy thing is, sometimes I forget my mittens and I have to drive somewhere with hands that feel as if they’re numb all the way to the bones.

cold steering wheel

2. A Whiney Boyfriend: as soon as it starts to get cold, The Boyfriend immediately starts to protest this fact.  Out loud.  Constantly.  I know very well he doesn’t like the cold and that many people don’t.  I don’t like it when it’s especially cold out either, so I understand.  However, we live in freaking Canada and it gets cold here every year.  I don’t understand how it seems appropriate to whine about something that happens every year around the same time.  That’s why we have winter clothing and boots and coats.  To stay warm.  I find these items quite effective if they are adorned properly.

3. People who forget how to drive the instant snow hits the ground.  I grew up in a very small town.  This means I had to learn how to drive in a very small town and that included dirt roads with drifts of a foot or more of snow crossing the road at random intervals.  It means huge gusts of wind creating whiteout conditions on the roads where there was nothing to block the snow and it meant that winter driving was always a little bit of a trial.  Then I moved to the city and it was great.  The buildings block the wind so there aren’t any drifts across the road and whiteout conditions are pretty much non-existent.  However, it seems that people who learned to drive in the city think things are a little more dangerous than they actually are.  As soon is it snows here, people freak out.  They either drive twenty kilometers below the speed limit or twenty over it.  They’re hesitant when they shouldn’t be and way too ballsy when the weather is horrible.  It’s like driving through a gauntlet of morons who forget that it snows every year and yes, they have driving in this mystery substance before.

stupid drivers

4. Girls who wear mini skirts and tiny tank tops to the bar…and then bitch about it being so cold out: This is something I simply cannot stand.  I don’t go to the bar very often anymore (again, because I’m lazy and not often all that motivated) but it was one of the things I hated the most about it when I did go.  Standing in line or walking down the street and hearing tiny little girls whine and bitch about how cold it was.  Then I would turn and see them standing in the snow and sleet, in temperatures that were below zero and they were wearing extremely short skirts, shirts that left nothing to the imagination and tiny little shoes.  Now, I have no problem if people want to wear something so revealing, it’s none of my business.  However, they are either too stupid to be out and about on the streets without a guardian or too stubborn to realize that cold weather warrants warm clothes.  So either way, I have no sympathy for them and never let them cut in line when they asked.  Because they should have dressed more appropriately.

stupid girls with no clothes

Bob the Car is Now…FrankenBob!

So I’ve already conveyed the Woeful Tale of Bob the Car to you a while ago.  As an update to that, after the steering column was repaired, Bob the Car had been running absolutely perfectly with no problems at all.  In fact, I was starting to think that I was in the clear for any problems at all with my nice little car.

Boy was I wrong.

About two months ago, my sister called me and asked if I could watch my nephew while she ran out to get groceries.  She also asked if she could borrow my car because her boyfriend had to use theirs for something or other.  I of course said yes because I love to watch my nephew and I like to be helpful.  So I went there after work and chatted for a bit before she headed out in Bob the Car to get some food.  Her boyfriend was still there getting ready and I was playing in the living room with the baby when I heard his cell phone ring.  I then heard him say, “Are you okay?”

The first words that went through my mind were, “That’s so not good” and after I heard him ask, “What about the other girl?” my suspicions were confirmed.  My sister had been involved in an accident not even two blocks from her apartment.  He came out to tell me what was going on and asked me if I could stay with the baby while he went to go see what was going on.  I agreed and he left me to pace back and forth while carrying the baby, worrying about my sister and whomever else was in the accident.

About twenty minutes later my sister called me and I was relieved to find out that she was alright and so was the other girl.  After that it was a blur of having the car towed somewhere to store, talking to the insurance company, talking to the appraiser, deciding which body shop to send it to once it was decided it could be fixed, talking to the rental car people, renting a car and then waiting to see whether my sister was at fault or the other girl

Thankfully for us, the other girl admitted liability and her insurance company paid for everything including my rental and the $9000.00 it cost to fix my car.  It was in the shop for almost a month and I had to drive around the city in a freaking TWO-DOOR Hyundai Accent (it was lime green, which was awesome) with none of the awesome features that my own car had.

I went to get the stuff out of my car before they fixed it and this is what my poor car looked like:

1311024288157frankenbob

After waiting for what seemed like forever to get my car back and riding around in a stupid two-door (for the record, i HATE two-door cars because they SUCK), I finally got the call that my car was finished and I could pick it up.  I think they did a great job.

It looks perfect on both sides and it runs beautifully.  However, I just had to take it in to get the ignition coils 1313010433139replaces (thankfully under warranty) because they were misfiring and causing my engine to run rough.  So I have renamed my car to FrankenBob because there are hardly any original parts left on the car.

The Woeful Tale of Bob the Car

I purchased a new car in September 2010 because the one I was driving really old, had lots of problems, and I figured it would be better  to start off new with a fresh 5 year warranty, a fully functional gas tank, and lower mileage.

I named my new car Bob the Car and it was great to have new wheels.  My old one was the bare minimum and Bob has all the features.  Power windows, heated seats, a USB drive for listening to music, and heated side mirrors for those cold winter mornings.

Lately, however, I’ve mostly just been wishing that the earth would open up and swallow Bob the Car, leaving my insurance company to replace him with something else.

First of all, for some mystery reason, half of the fuses blew around the beginning of December.  So into the dealership we went to put that nice new warranty to work.  The fuse panel and busted fuses were replaced and all was covered.  At this time, I mentioned to the mechanic that the USB function of my radio had been malfunctioning and frying my flash drives.  So they ordered a new one of those as well and off I went, confident in my new fuse panel and ordered radio.

Then, 2 days after Christmas, I went to move my car for the boyfriend’s father so he could get out of the driveway and I was shocked and dismayed to discover that all the same fuses were blown again.

I had no panel lights, no automatic windows, no rear defrost, and no dinging sound to tell me my seat belt was not fastened.

I was livid.  I called the dealership and left a message (it being the holidays and all) and they called me back the next day and told me because the mechanic who had worked on my car the first time was on holidays until after New Years, they wanted to know if I could wait to bring it in.  So I agreed and waited a week to take Bob the Car in again.  This time, apparently, it was the modulator, which of course, was on back order.  So they did the same temporary fix as last time and on my not so merry way I went.

The fuses did eventually blow again a few days before the part came in, so I got to spend another few days avoiding night driving as I couldn’t see how fast I was going and not being able to do drive through Timmie’s in the morning because the window wouldn’t go down.

The good new was that the radio was in when they did the temporary fix (the second one) and they installed it for me.  The bad news was that they didn’t hook it up to the antenna and all it did was scroll through the radio stations, searching for some kind of a signal.  And so, back I went again to wait 20 minutes before work while they hooked the radio up to the antenna and Voila!  The radio picked the invisible signals from the air once more.

I will say, after all the problems with the radio and the eventually replaced modulator, Bob the Car has been working perfectly…until the other night.

Let me set the scene for you.  We had just returned home from an all you can eat wing night with The Games Day Podcast and friends, dropped off by IT Mike and his awesome girlfriend.  The boyfriend went upstairs to do some homework and I told him I would be back, as I had to return the movies we had rented for Valentine’s Day.  I grabbed them and headed out to Bob the Car.  I sat in the driver’s seat and went to insert the key into the ignition, frowning when it was a little difficult to do so.  I figured it was just a little frosty and shoved a little harder, the key finally going all the way in.

But this was not the end of my tale.  The key would not turn.  No matter what I did; wiggling the steering wheel, the gear shift, pressing the brake or swearing like a drunken sailor on leave…that key wasn’t going anywhere.  So I sat and cried in my little car, so angry and upset that I couldn’t do anything else.

Then I grabbed the information from the glove box, went inside and called the free roadside assistance that I got when I purchased my car (another bonus with buying the new car).  I called and the lady on the other end heard what I had to say and immediately said, “Oh, just wiggle the steering wheel, press the brake and turn the key at the same time.”  I sighed but humoured her, performing this task to no avail.  She then told me I would have to have a tow truck come and get it (thankfully covered by the roadside assistance).  So I waited for almost two hours for the tow truck to show up, try the same thing I already had, tell me that his flatbed tow wouldn’t work as I had front wheel drive, a long and narrow laneway, and a wrong way facing vehicle.  He then told me he’d cancel the order and that I should call again in the morning, request a tow truck with a dolly and have it towed to the dealership.  He was very nice and polite and I thanked him, went inside and called my boss to tell him I’d likely be late in the morning and working from home, and then I went to bed, cursing Bob the Car.

So in the morning, I did all the rigamaroll with calling roadside service again, getting the right tow truck and watching him come and take Bob the Car away.  I caught a cab to work and got down to business, ignoring the boiling anger inside me that my car wasn’t working yet again.  I received a call later that morning to tell me that the ignition column was shot and was on back order (shocking) and that they were setting me up with a rental car.

So now I’m driving a giant vehicle (as compared to my little hatch back) around with no idea when this new part will come in and reunite me with Bob the Car.  I kind of feel like I’ve gone from riding a tricycle to powering around in a monster truck.

 

From tiny to GIANT

 

 

The Worst Things to Do In a Snowstorm

Given that it is snowing again here in our lovely city and there is already talk of snow days tomorrow, I have decided to be as helpful as possible to certain people who will be out and about tomorrow and let them know what they should NOT be doing during this beautiful yet somewhat treacherous weather.

For all of those who will be driving tomorrow and first must relieve their vehicles of accumulated snow…finish the job.  I empathize with the feeling of laziness in the morning, I really do.  I do everything I can the night before to make sure I can sleep in as long as possible.  I shower the night before, I take portable food with me instead of making breakfast, and I generally just throw my very long hair back into a pony tail and forget about it but when it comes to clearing off my car, I will make the time.  When there is almost a foot of snow on top of a car, that needs to go.  Driving around with that kind of snow on top of your car is dangerous and stupid and when I see people who have only cleared the snow from their front and rear windshield and left it piled on the hood, roof, and trunk of their car, I always wish for the power to incapacitate their vehicles somehow and force them to pull over (safely of course) to the side of the road.  I hate being buffeted with gusts of snow from vehicles who’s owners were too lazy to clear it off and I always find it frustrating and unsafe to be in that situation.  So bite the bullet and clean off your damn car.

The amount of snow on my car during the recent snow storm - yes, I cleaned it ALL off

People who drive too slow really irritate me as well.  Guess what?  A half a foot of snow isn’t that bad.  You are more of a traffic risk going 30 Km in that than you would be if you were just driving at a normal speed in a cautious manner.  Grow a pair and realize that you have driven in snow before and, should you choose to remain living here, you will drive in it again next year.

People who drive too fast, in contrast, are insane.  There comes a point in the weather up here when you DO slow down and if you don’t, no matter what kind of tires or number or wheels that drive your car, you are an asshole.  Where other people are being cautious and courteous drivers, you’re risking us all because you have to get where you’re going ASAP.  As a Canadian, your impolite driving upsets me.  People here understand that there is snow and you might be a little late.  It happens, deal with it.  If need be, sacrifice a half an hour of sleep and get up a little earlier.  You’ll save yourself an accident or two.

But none of the three that precede this last one are even comparable.  What is the final on my list of annoying people in winter storms is the worst and most horrid offender of all.  Pedestrians who walk on the road.

What on earth is wrong with you?  Do you have any idea what kind of danger you’re in while you’re tromping along in the snow?  I’m sorry, but get the hell off the effing road.  I know that the sidewalks are usually the last things to be plowed and trudging along on them when the snow is up to your knees is annoying and cold; trust me, I’ve been there.  However, that’s where you are supposed to be.  Realize you live in a cold winter climate and buy some snowpants and appropriate footwear.  Wading through the snow is better than being hit by a car.  If it is snowing really badly, we can’t see you.  If the road is slippery, we can’t stop fast.  A fender bender isn’t so bad.  I can deal with a dent in my car.  You are not a car, you are a fragile human being and you’re going to get your dumb ass killed.

I know why you’re on the road.  At least, some of you.  I see the stupid Uggs you’re wearing and I would just like to say…GTFO.  Leave Canada with your stupid, inappropriate boots and don’t come back.  If you live somewhere with snow fall more than a couple of centimetres at a time, buy some damn boots that are insultated and have traction.  It’s a safety issue.  Uggs have no grip, no ankle support, and no warmth in the cold, wet snow.  Buy some snowmobile boots and stop being such a diva.  Uggs are fine in the fall and the spring or for wearing around inside.  Canada in the winter is not a fashion show…it’s wet and dangerous and you should have better boots.  Stop it!

Good advice for winter pedestrians

So, with the freezing rain falling down outside my window and the prospect of having to drive to work in the morning, please heed my advice and follow it appropriately and we’ll all get where we’re going on time and alive.

An Epic Journey Through a Frozen Wasteland (or My Trip Home From Work Today)

As some of you may know, we get a lot of snow where I’m from.  Southwestern Ontario gets dumped on pretty bad in the winter and we’re pretty much used to it.  I remember tonnes of snow days back when I was a kid, but I lived in town, so I’d get to go to school and play in the gym and watch movies all day because the country kids couldn’t make it in on the buses.

As I got older, snow days got further and further apart until, eventually, they really stopped occurring altogether.  No matter how many feet of snow there was outside in the morning, I always just got up, got dressed, dug myself out and headed into work; usually at a whopping 25-35 kilometers an hour down the city streets.  Today was no exception.  I got up, plowed my way through the foot or so of snow on my little side road until I got out the main road and headed on into work.  I was one of the few that bothered.  A great deal of people, mostly out of towners and some that were in town, didn’t make it in at all.  I was there until 11:00 am when the email went around that we were officially to be sent home.

SNOW DAY!!  It was like a nostalgic feeling, throwing me back to the days of being a kid when there was nothing to do but whatever I wanted because I didn’t have to go to school (in this case, work).

When you’re a child, however, you don’t take certain factors into account.  For example, when you’re a kid living in a very small town, bad driving conditions don’t even enter into the thought process.  You’re already outside wallowing in the joy of the snow.  Today, I learned, this is not the case for an adult, which I have sadly become.  Driving conditions are very much an important factor to those of us who drive a car or rely on public transportation to get us places in weather conditions such as this.  I will say I’m impressed with my little car’s ability to get through the snow.  It’s pretty impressive considering there’s not much to my wee hatchback.

So, upon hearing the news that we were set free, I offered to drive a coworker home as far as my place so she could walk (I wasn’t crazy enough to go gallavanting all over hell’s half acre) and we set to work cleaning off my car as it already had about a half a foot of snow on it since 8:45 that morning when I arrived at work.  When that mission was accomplished, we headed out onto the roads at the designated 25-35 km/hour.  This was effective all the way until I turned onto the side road that leads to my house.  Immediately, I was stuck.  We tried pushing, we tried rocking (I definitely tried a lot of swearing) but to no avail.  Us two tiny little people were not big enough to get my car out of it’s predicament.  However, a nice young man was trudging through the snow at that moment and he offered to help us out.  Thanks to him and my coworker doing the pushing and me nudging the gas pedal gently, we got Bob the Car unstuck.  I thanked him profusely (and choose this moment to do so again…thank you, Sir) and my coworker headed off home.

I then got as far as the very end of my own laneway and was once more stuck in the freezing mire of snow.  This wouldn’t have been a problem but I knew that I was blocking the side walk and I was probably going to be buried by a plow at any given time.  So I got out of my car, trudged inside and got the boyfriend who had not bothered to brave the weather and go to school.  We dressed in out warm coats, mittens, and boots and we got out the trusty old (and I do mean old, like…thirty years old) snow shovel and pathetic little bag of road salt and we literally dug Bob the Car out of the snow.  At some points, I was on my hands and knees scooping snow out from under the car because it was packed under there so tight.  I should send a revised list to Santa and add on a new, plastic, ergonomic snow shovel and save my back the pain.  Eventually, we were able to get the car into the driveway and now it sits there, slowly being buried under a barrage of snow squall that isn’t supposed to end until Wednesday (it is now Monday).

I came inside, cracked a beer and sat my butt down on the chair to watch some Netflix and that is where I now sit.  Occasionally I get up to check the height of the snow and I did managed to snap a few pictures of it as well.

Notice the fence and the snow that is halfway up it...that means it's up to about my thighs

My somewhat redneck type neighbours put a mattress and box spring out on the curb a couple of weeks ago and they’re still there, leaning up against either side of the light pole.  They are now half buried in the snow and I’m doubting will end up picked up by the garbage collection again this week.

You can just see them, leaning up on either side of the light post

There were people up and down the street digging themselves out of the mess.  The boyfriend and I have decided to wait until the snow is more likely to be over and then give it a shot, as the snowplow is going to go right by and bury the laneway again anyway.  We have a snowblower, I just don’t know now to start the damn thing.  We will be getting to that later when we feel motivated enough.

My poor neighbour is up to his waist in snow

Some kids down the street were enjoying themselves, however.  They were digging in the massive piles of snow at the side of the road and throwing snowballs at each other.  This took me back as well.  I used to do this with my sister and all the neighbour kids and it was great.

Fun in the snow...definitely more than the adults on the street

These last two pictures were my favourites that I managed to capture.  The first is of a view down the row of houses I live in.  You can see the snow coming down really well and you can also see the various places in which it has accumulated.  The second photograph is just of the top of our fence and the tree behind it with all the snow sitting on top.  When it stops actually coming down, I’ll be heading back outside to get more detailed pictures, but I don’t want to get my new camera wet, so it will have to wait until at least tomorrow.

I really love this picture, it's just so pretty.

The only time trees look pretty in the winter is when there's snow on them

The Vehicle I Dislike the Most Right Now

I see this stupid car everywhere right now.  I don’t know how many people have purchased it, I don’t care to do the research.  I’m not interested in it’s probable good gas mileage or special features or anything like that.  I simply cannot stand the way it looks.

There are various things that I encounter that bother me for no particular reason.  I hate it when there are things that crunch inside other food that I have decided should not crunch (we won’t get into my quirks regarding food and food preparation, you don’t have the time to read it and I don’t have the energy to write it).  I am absolutely bothered by the stack of envelopes in the printer at work if someone has knocked them askew and I feel the need to straighten them every time I walk by.  When driving my car, I HAVE to have a clean windshield.  If there are streaks, they have to go.  I spend a fortune on washer fluid and if there’s even a tiny dent in the wiper blade that makes a streak…time for a new wiper blade.

I especially don’t like things that aren’t symmetrical.  Some things can get away with it…I had a cat that had a white triangle over one eye and that wasn’t so bad.  But certain things should never be allowed to happen.  The following photograph is an example of one of them:

I can’t stand the Nissan Cube.  The whole thing looks wrong the back windshield drives me crazy.  It just throws everything off.  What kind of window wraps around one side and has the other blocked off with metal?  What is that???  An abomination, that’s what.  Just looking at that picture is making me crazy.  It makes me feel squidgy and wrong.  I don’t know why I posted this other than I’m hoping people will read it and stop buying these things so I don’t have to be all discombobulated on the road when I’m driving.