• Life

    Yeah, It’s Cold

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    It’s the 22nd of January, 2019

    And it’s cold.

    In fact, it’s been cold for days. The night-time and early morning lows have been well under -20 with, I think, this morning has been the coldest yet at about -26. My car is not enjoying it. And not enjoying it to the point where it actually completely refused to start yesterday, and required no less than four attempts at jumpstarting, before we elected to take it to the garage and have the battery checked. That battery had not given me a lot of issues, or really any, so far this winter, but it has not been nearly this cold.

    The battery that came out is probably about six years old, which is probably about how old the first one was. Talking to Paul, the guy who runs the garage, Honda batteries typically tend to be on the rather small side and not really built for winter as Canada understands it. Most of southern Asia doesn’t really have winter per se, and Japanese winter, even the extreme north of the main island, is actually quite tame compared to what we’re used to here.

    But that means we put a battery in both cars in the last week. The Pathfinder, which is a Nissan and therefore also a Japanese car, was purchased by us at the very end of 2013. So that battery lasted on five years and a couple of weeks, plus however long it sat on the lot for test drives. Apparently, most the time, five years is that what you can expect a battery. Less if all of your driving is extremely short distance, and more if it’s all highway. My driving is mostly highway, so I’ll get a little more, but although I didn’t remember having the battery done, I certainly didn’t get 12 years in. It wasn’t a Honda battery people that. It’s not a Honda battery that came out of the car. And, at -26, even with a fresh battery, my little old car that’s done so well still needed three attempts to start and stay running for more than a minute as I tried to warm it up this morning.

    What’s that you say? Climate change, global warming? Yep, that’s still a thing. And it will continue to be a thing. More energy in the system means that the extremes get more extreme. We will continue to have cold snaps like this, and when they happen, they will be brutal. Sometimes, they’ll go on for a long time. This one I think is going to lift within the next couple of days and we’ll be back to what we consider a normal winter in recent decades. Which doesn’t mean it won’t get cold again.

    And it’s pretty damn cold the last few days.

    Be well, everyone.

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  • Life

    A Little Weather

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    The morning after snowfall is almost always an irritating one. I’m not really talking about the roads, because you expect that, and all the people who don’t remember how to drive with a little snow on the ground. But somehow, that extra chore of clearing off the front steps and your driveway throws off the entire morning. Little things start to annoy you about the day, things that would ordinarily be ignored or just part of the background.

    There’s a snow brush in your car, probably in the backseat, but the back door is locked.

    You turn your car on to warm up while you’re brushing the snow off, and when you get back in the gas light is on.

    Fewer people than normal are in front of you at the convenience store buying lottery tickets, and yet, because you’re already a little bit behind due to the snow shoveling, the moments drag and it annoys you twice as much as usual that people are wasting their retirement plans on scratch tickets.

    And don’t forget you have more snow shoveling to do when you get home tonight.

    That little bit of extra whether colors the entire day that follows.

    You’re later than you want to be for work. So are other people, but that doesn’t matter, does it?

    Your email seems to load slowly. Or the cash register boots up slowly. Or the elevator takes forever. Or you have to park farther away from the front doors than usual.

    The phone rings and the person on the other hand is needier than they should be.

    People are more demanding of your time than they are normally are on this day of the week.

    You put more items on your to do list than you cross off. That’s probably not unusual, but today you resent every single thing you have to add to it.

    The day is a grind, the whole day. Every task, every job, everything you have to do.

    And you still have to drive home on roads that have not gotten much better and probably won’t until tomorrow. When you get there, you know you’re better off to finish the shoveling before you get too comfortable being inside, before you make dinner, before you try to get anything done of your evening chores or relaxation or to do list or whatever. And you resent that.

    Almost without realizing it, you’ve had a crappy day, just because of a little snow. Or maybe a lot of snow.

    Samuel Clements, Mark Twain (or maybe Charles Dudley Warner): everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.

    But we sure let it do stuff to us, don’t we?

    And it can get a lot worse than just having a crappy day. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a thing. In countries where there’s not a lot daylight in winter, suicide rates go up. Any kind of pre-existing depression or anxiety is certainly not your friend when the weather is bad ever for a little while.

    And it’s not just winter, we can find reasons to dislike every season, and the major weather that comes with it. We’ve made things worse with the last couple of centuries of industrialization. Climate change is thing, a major thing, and it’s going to cause a lot more issues. Soon. Too much, too soon, too fast.

    Be well, everyone.

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