Wow, it's cold in Buffalo this week. Scary cold. The kind of cold that makes you wonder just what kind of drugs or liquor the Inuits drink to voluntarily live in cold like this. Some observations:
:: Granted, my sample size isn't huge, but I'm noticing a lot less overtly crappy driving over the last few days. I've only had one of those situations where I was driving down a road that's usually four-lanes, but due to snow was down to effectively two lanes, only to be passed on my right -- and fairly closely, too -- by some guy driving a big pickup truck. That usually happens during these storms a lot more.
:: Six weeks or so ago I took my car into one of those Quick Lube joints for an oil change, which they did very nicely, thank you. I even let them run that Engine Cleaning stuff through my engine for twenty bucks (yes, you can tell me how dumb that was in comments, because I suspect I got fleeced a little bit there). But I did not let them replace my battery, even though when they hooked it up to their Magical Battery Scanner, my battery was rated as "marginal" and therefore stood an excellent chance of failing in the cold weather.
Well, we've just come through three of the coldest days I can remember, and each morning, my car started up just fine. Sure, there was a little grinding as the battery basically said, "Geez, do I gotta?" But each time, the engine caught just fine within five seconds of me turning the key.
Some "marginal" battery, eh?
:: TV News stations have got to stop this business of sending reporters outside to report on the weather. I have a window. I don't need to see some schlub reporter bundled up in a parka standing outside in the dark to tell me that it's really cold and snowing.
:: Rant time: The Daughter has missed the last two days of school, since her district closed due to the snow and cold. Fair enough. However, yesterday morning the decision to close the school was not made until 6:45 a.m., which was well after the usual time when the word can be disseminated effectively. How bad was it? Well, on a morning when the wind chill was double digits below zero, The Wife and The Daughter didn't find out that school had been canceled until they'd been standing outside for ten minutes waiting for the bus. They weren't alone, either; not even all the bus drivers got the word, so they ended up picking up all their kids and then being told to bring them all to the district's bus garage to wait for their parents to come get them.
And then the Superintendent went on TV to defend her actions, insisting that concern for "the safety of the students" had forced her hand. Well, having kids on buses on their way to school, with others standing outside on horribly cold days waiting for buses which aren't coming, doesn't strike me as being terribly "safe for kids". It's not as if the snow happened with no warning; the forecasts were known to be for large amounts of lake effect snow and abnormally bitter cold, and in fact, a number of school districts decided on Monday to cancel Tuesday not because of snow but because of the cold.
:: This blast of cold brings back memories of winters in Iowa during my college years. I don't know how you Minnesotans do this (minus the lake effect snow, of course). I'll take our hundred inches of snow a year with temperatures that are usually around 20 degrees, over twenty inches of snow a year with winter temps down around -20. Yeesh.