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Journal Writing Project Winter tips

Fri, Dec 9th, 2011
Posted in Journal Student Writing Project

Winter is here once again. We all know what this means: icy, sloppy roads everywhere; starting up the car 15 minutes before work; shoveling sidewalks; snowblowing driveways; and scraping off the heavy snow from the roofs. Ah, gotta love it the most when the power goes out for a few hours, too.

Thankfully for those who are new at this or would just like a reminder of what winter really is, here are some good tips to follow.

Before the snow has even had a chance to fall, check up on the car! Ice and slush don't mix well with bald tires, and they sure don't help when the ditch becomes the road, or if someone else needs a tug out of a hole.

Lights and good brakes can save a trip for the tow truck as well. If the lights don't work, deer or other vehicles in the road can be hard to see before it's too late.

Brakes are always useful, but sometimes they can be a bad thing in the winter if not used correctly. Rule number one about using brakes in the winter time: never slam on the brakes! The brakes will lock up and earn you a one-way ticket into another car or the ditch.

Also, have the oil and engine checked regularly. Very cold weather can do nasty damage to an uncared-for car. If money and expenses are tied up, look up car services online. There are some good deals out there, believe it or not.

One more thing--always have a phone on you when you're on the road!

The next step to surviving winter is protecting your home. Fillmore County has had enough fires for this year, so let's try to prevent them.

Homeowners of an older home, or even a new home, should do this--have the electrical system checked, along with the breaker box and fuses. Make sure the electrical system is up-to-date with new safety regulations. Check the plug-ins as well, especially if small children are coming for the holidays.

Yes, the lights on the tree are so beautiful at night, but it is always a good idea to have them shut off at night or whenever no one's at home. There are some new lights that have timers on them--they will help. Even new light strands can cause horrible problems.

If the power does go out for a few hours, it is always a good idea to have a generator handy. With the generator, always have plenty of extra gas cans at the ready, and properly stored. No one likes a cold home. Candles and flashlights along with old-fashioned matches and batteries are more items to keep in supply and in an easy-to-reach place.

Oh, no! Not finished quite yet! Board games, eggnog, hot chocolate, cookies, Grandma's handmade quilts, smiles, laughs, and a whole lot of fun are also good things to have available in the winter.

When things get ugly and cold, don't get all grumpy and angry because the football game is turned off due to power failure, or the car won't start to take the kids to school, the roads get too bad to travel anywhere, or work and school are closed down. No, take it as a good thing, or even a blessing!

Take out the board games that have been collecting dust, and snuggle up under Grandma's quilts. Make some hot chocolate and cookies. Go out and build a snowman, go sledding, build snow forts, have a good ol' snowball fight! Don't forget to drag the parents out, too.

Winter can be very dangerous, but it is also a good time for family fun.

Katrina Schmidt is a student at Fillmore Central High School. She is one of 8 area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its thirteen year.

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