You never know when fate is gonna leave you out in the cold

February 5, 2014

No reason to be totally unprepared for the worst that Old Man Winter can throw at you

  POSTAGE  by Rob Stamp

My kids make fun of me upon my return from work when they see me all bundled up. Stocking cap, gloves, scarf and heavy winter coat must give the appearance that I apparently trudged home through the snow. My wife also doesn’t understand why I’d go through the trouble of putting all that on for a simple, five-minute drive home.

It’s all about preparedness. I can talk about it until I’m blue in the face — and sometimes it must seem to them like I do — but I know it’s not taken to heart when I see one of them heading out to run a few errands in sub-freezing temperatures wearing nothing more than a light jacket or vest. Truth is, I don’t expect a need for emergency supplies any more than they do for the short drives near home we’re all accustomed to taking. However, I spend my days counseling clients how best to prepare in advance for the unthinkable and I’d consider it rather hypocritical to have customers take precautionary measures that their insurance agent doesn’t. For me, it’s about practicing what you preach.

Yeah, I realize it’s unlikely that I’m going to find myself stranded for hours like those poor drivers in Georgia because of some misfortune I find along my 2.5-mile commute to work. That’s not to say there aren’t a couple spots along the way where I could slide off the roadway and end up in a ditch. There’s a particular stretch where I could lose control and easily end up in a creek. If that happened, and I couldn’t get myself out of the car, I don’t think it would take too long for someone else to notice and send help, but you never know. What if I learned the hard way that rescuers have trouble getting the jaws of life started when it gets so damned cold? I think I might be glad to have my cold-weather gear with me at that point, don’t you?

I’ve carried around a car blanket during the winter for years and, thankfully, never needed it. When you think about it, that car blanket isn’t a whole lot different than the car insurance or homeowners policies we sell people. You hope you never need any of it. But, if you did, you’ll be more than glad that you had it. Besides a blanket, a flash light, an ice scraper, a small shovel and jumper cables should be considered essentials. A small supply of sand or salt could also prove handy. That professor from the University of Farmers recommends kitty litter. That Professor from “Gilligan’s Island” probably kept a book in his hut detailing other ways to best be prepared. What he was doing with all those books on a three-hour tour is beyond me. This was the time of year when yet another Professor, Blues GM Ron Caron, proclaimed that the meat was on the burner, but we digress.

Face it: Cold weather blows. We all know how extremely painful it can be when your feet get cold and your toes are frozen. Imagine how unpleasant that would be if that was your entire body feeling that way. So let me suggest you do what you can in advance to hopefully avoid putting yourself in that incredibly uncomfortable position in the first place.

And, since being prepared is the point of this discussion, be sure your tires have adequate tread life remaining and that you keep plenty of gas in the tank and washer fluid in the reservoir during these brutal months. Former Cardinal pitcher Joaquin Andujar summed it up one word: youneverknow.