Saturday, January 19, 2013

Adventures With Food, A Car, and Frigid Temperatures

The Minnesota winter is about to hit me full force.

On Sunday, the high temperature will be five degrees with a low of -16, according to  The real feel?  -7 high/-32 low.


Last year, I was lucky.  It was a great time to move, because Minnesota was having a mild winter.  Of course, being from the desert, I did not consider temperatures between 0 and 30 every day to be mild.

I now understand, however.

I've known about this for the past two days, and so I've been trying to plan accordingly.  Ensuring you have your food staples is important.  Sure, you can go out into frigid, below freezing  temperatures to gather these things, but why would anyone actually want to do that?

Of course, I ran into issues.  

Finding the time to gather necessities so that you don't have to go out into weather that makes your face hurt the moment you step out the door can be difficult.  I found the time, though, so everything should have gone well.

Of course, what should happen and what does happen are generally two entirely different things.

Stick figure saying, "Well... hello, Murphy."

After chasing my daughter around the house, getting her into her car seat, and then turning the key in the ignition, my car laughed.  Well actually, it kind of sputtered.  Weakly.

I don't use my car often, preferring to walk whenever I can.  Other times, I bundle my trips together so that my car uses less energy.  This ensures that I only get gas once per month, even though my gas tank is pretty small.  It's a great plan.

Until Winter comes around.

I opened the hood, and looked at my battery.  The positive terminal was corroded.  Not just a little corroded, either, but overwhelmingly, oh-my-gosh-where-did-the-terminal-go corroded.

Under the hood of a car, looking down at a battery.  The positive terminal is so corroded that you can't see it... as well as a good portion of the battery itself.

Not knowing anything at all about cars, mainly because I don't often care to use them, I ran for a toothbrush to clean the corrosion and checked that the connections were tight enough.

"This will fix everything!" I thought.

Well, those of you that know anything about cars know how well that turned out.  Turning the key caused a mere sputter, yet again.  I elected to wait until my husband came home, then send him off to check out the battery.

My battery was dead.  

Not just dead, but really, hopelessly and completely dead.  Not only that, but it was an old battery at the very end of its lifespan.

These two problems combined meant that using a battery charger would be a very bad idea.  I'd be having to go out and use that charger every day during the winter, especially in below freezing temperatures, and I'd end up using more energy trying to revive it than I would if I just bought a new one.

So I gave in and bought a new one.

Ok.  That's not entirely truthful.  

My husband ran off to buy a new one, knowing I'd spend ages researching ways to make my battery attain near immortality so that I wouldn't have to worry about the amount of lead that would be sitting somewhere, contaminating the earth in some way.

Blond haired stick figure wearing a steampunk ocular device and holding up jumper cables, smiling widely, shouting "It's Alive!  ALIVE!!!"

It was probably a wise decision.

The first time I got into my car after the new battery was installed, I jumped so high I nearly put a hole in the roof of my car.

That thing was loud!!!

It turns out that my battery was draining so slowly over time that I never even noticed that it wasn't working as it should until the weather turned so cold this year.

Fortunately, this became a learning experience, both about my car and about the weather in Minnesota.

1)  Ensure your battery is in good condition.  Cold weather reduces its efficiency.

2)  Run your car for a bit every day during the winter if your battery is getting old.  It'll help keep it from going dead.  More than once a day if the temperature is significantly below freezing.

3)  Always make sure you have a few days worth of food in your cabinets and fridge.  This ensures that if weather problems and car problems occur at the same time, you won't go through panic.

Now to figure out a few inside projects that I can do to keep myself ( and you) entertained.  

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