Peace In A Tin Can

Peace In A Tin Can

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Where Is That Boy's Mother?

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It's been an unusually snowy and cold winter here.  We used to have winters like this when I was a kid,  and I remember my mom would make me wear a heavy coat, boots, hat, and mittens just to run errands with her.  I thought it was stupid since we would just be in the car, but there are two things about my mother you should know:  1) Never argue with my mother, and 2) My mother makes "Worst Case Scenario" look like a fairly tale compared to what she can imagine.  So I bundled up to sit in the car with the heat on high (because if we slid off the road AND ran out of gas, we would want the car to stay warm as long as possible), and the sweat would run down from my hairline sticking out beneath my wool hat while my hands turned wet inside my double-lined mittens.  My feet actually swelled from the warmth inside my boots, making them so tight I could no longer wiggle my toes.  Even though we
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never once got in an accident (which would have been hard, because my mom wouldn't drive over 20mph in winter) or ran out of gas or became trapped by falling ice-covered trees or got lost in the two miles between our driveway and the grocery store parking lot, we were prepared.

Some of the lessons I learned from my childhood stayed with me.  When the snow comes and the temperatures drop, I pack an emergency kit in my car.  Just a few basic things that would come in handy if I slid off the road.  I also keep an extra set of gloves, hat, and face shield in my car.  I prefer driving without being all bundled up, but I make sure my winter gear is close at hand.

As most women do, I follow some of the same habits my mother did; the very same habits that made me question her sanity as a child.  I've modified my rules a bit, but I insist my kids never get in their cars during the winter months without being prepared.  They call me the "worry-wart", or sometimes they say "Ok, grandma" to me, which they know I don't like so they say it again.

I think, though, that some of the most satisfying moments in a mom's life come when she gets the opportunity to say "See?  I told you so."  I don't really say it, and the kids won't ever admit it, but they know when I'm right.  Last week, I was driving with my youngest daughter, Bean, during a snow storm.  We passed a pizza place, and this teenaged boy was in the parking area just off the street, on his hands and knees, trying to dig out his car after the snowplow had buried it.  He was wearing jeans and a hoodie, tennis shoes, no hat, and no gloves.  I stopped at the red light and exclaimed to Bean,

"Look at that!  That boy is completely unprepared for winter!  Where is his mother?"  

I couldn't stand it.  I turned the car around, pulled in and parked right next to the boy, jumped out and opened the back of my Yukon.  Pulling out my emergency kit, I quickly assembled the shovel, turned, and held it out to the boy.  He stood and stared at me dumbly, and I said "It's called a shovel.  Use it".  He somewhat warily took the shovel from me and began digging his car out while I watched.  When he was finished, he remarked that the shovel was easier than using his bare hands, so I took the opportunity to lecture him.  I questioned where his hat and gloves were, why was he not wearing a coat and boots, and why did he not have anything in his car to help him out of this situation.  He said,

"Geez, you sound like my mother!"

Ah, so that's where he mother is.  She's sitting at home worrying because her teenaged son wouldn't listen to her and refused to believe he needed the things she begged him to take.  Been there, done that. Because the fact is, I have my car prepared for a winter emergency, but my two older kids don't.  They are in college, they don't listen to me, and they think nothing bad will ever happen to them.

I ordered two Justin Case kits from Sam's Club today.  When they arrive, I will add extra hats, mittens, and socks to the kit, and I WILL put them in their cars the next time they come home.  Nobody is going to look at my kid and say "Where is his mother?"  I am right here, being over-protective and proud of it, and if my kids slide off the road during a snow storm, they can dig themselves out.

These are the items I always have in my car during the winter months, in case you'd like to put together a kit for yourself or your kids:

Bag of Bargain-Brand Kitty Litter
Collapsible Shovel
Emergency Triangle
Tow Strap
Jumper Cable
Thermal Blanket
Basic First-Aid Kit
Gloves, Hat, Socks, and Face Shield
Flashlight and Extra Batteries
Snow Brush/Ice Scraper

The Justin Case from Sam's Club is under $20 and contains most of these items; just add the hat, mittens, socks, and face shield to the pocket on the outside of the case and throw a bag of litter in the trunk, and you are good to go.

It's inexpensive, easy, and will go a long way in helping a bad situation while winter driving.  Don't leave home without it, your mother told you so!