It’s Winter, Fool

I had to run some errands this morning. OK, look,  I ran out of dog food and we needed some salt for our walkway.  I’m telling you this because we are all friends here, right? I want to be truthful with you, I didn’t remember to buy food for my BFF. My sweet baby angel lapdog. SHE COULD HAVE STARVED. No, she wouldn’t have. She’s actually pretty lucky when she runs out of food because I give her all kinds of little snacks for breakfast. But I digress, I’m telling you this because I’m about to spend an entire post explaining how you should get ready for winter BEFORE it snows. It is a post about preparedness, and so naturally it begins with a trip to the store because I was unprepared and forgot dog food.

Back to my errands. In the course of running errands I figured I’d stop and get gas at the place just barely out of town that consistently has gas cheaper than the places in town – AND they pump the gas for you. (Some of you won’t understand this. In Maine, unlike in other parts of the country, we pump our own gas most of the time. Unless, like me, you live near a place that will pump gas for you and you become a spoiled princess). Anyhow, the place was mobbed. I couldn’t figure out why it was so busy at first and then I remembered that it’s also a tire place, and tonight we are supposed to have our first significant snow of the year. Yes, it has already snowed. That is why I said significant. Significant means, oh, about 3-6″. Enough to make the roads slippery and enough so that they will probably call off school tomorrow.

The snow tire situation never fails to amuse me, mostly because I’m a jerk. My family used to own a car dealership, and every year, without fail, people would forget to buy snow tires, and the first snow storm would be predicted and people would freak out. Multiple people would come in and cry because they didn’t have their tires on, and/or we didn’t have their tires in stock. (You guys, tires come in a wide variety of sizes. It is highly likely your tire place doesn’t have your specific tires in stock. A lot of people don’t realize this, apparently). This is Maine. MAINE. It snows here every winter. All winter. It snows a lot. We are, in fact, known for our cold and snowy winters. So, it should be no surprise when you learn that snow is in the forecast.

Don’t be that guy. The one that is crying because winter has arrived and you don’t have your boots/tires/heat/plow guy/other winter things I’m forgetting – lined up. I get it. I used to do it too. I think it’s some weird psychological phenomenon by which we think that not preparing for winter will somehow delay it. It will not. Winter waits for noone.

Here’s what I suggest: get all your winter stuff lined up as early as possible. If possible get your heat situation figured out in the summer. Do you need wood? Order it and stack it. Are you able to arrange for pre-buy/auto delivery for your oil or gas? Do it. Don’t debate me about the auto-delivery thing. Maine winters are weird. It’s hard to predict how cold it’s going to be and when you might need a fill-up. Trust me, you don’t want to come home from your wedding in the Bahamas one snowy, winter December, to find out that your pipes are frozen and you are out of oil. Want to guess how I know this?

Do you need snow tires or replacement all-weathers? I think November 1st is the perfect time to schedule it. I’m old enough to remember plenty of nasty storms on Thanksgiving. If you have your tires on a couple of weeks early, no harm. If you get stuck without them and everyone in the state who also forgot their tires is trying to get theirs too, it sucks. 

Obviously, get all your other crap ready too. Find your shovels, figure out if your kids’ boots still fit before you try to cram their feet that grew two sizes over the summer into a pair of boots from last winter, and then have to rush to the store first thing in the morning and take them to school half an hour late because you had to buy new boots so they could play at recess in the new snow. Again, want to guess how I came up with that very specific analogy? 

I am just as guilty as anyone in forgetting about all the things that winter brings with it, but the past couple of years I’ve done my best to buy boots when I do regular school shopping, text my plow guy in October to make sure he hasn’t fled the state for a warmer climate, make sure my tires are winter ready by November 1, and the heat is sorted out pretty much on an ongoing basis. I’m sure I’ve probably forgotten to do something, and winter will kick me in the ass, like it always does, but in the mean time, I’m going to tease the people crying because they forgot their snow tires. 

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