Winter weather is on its way again,

have you made any additional preparation for it?

Time to fill that car tank with gas if its anywhere close to low. Grab a cheap 5 pound bag of kitty litter. If your car is a rear wheel drive, get a bit more weight over those back wheels. Clothing layers are important, and covering all extremities can be vital. Socks can double as mittens, so throw a couple of pairs of socks in the car just in case. Protein or nutrition bars are good to have on hand. Monday night will be too late, so get it together now.

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Prep for the next snowpocalypse

So, with so many people stranded in their cars on Tuesday night, people are realizing that bad stuff can happen and they need to be better prepared. The Alabama Emergency Management Agency has some good resources on its preparedness page, including a link to a basic list for a winter car kit.

My parents grew up in the midwest, and grew up driving on snow and in nasty wintry conditions. My dad remembers days with weather conditions going from a clear winter day to whiteout conditions with a 40F temperature drop in a time span of 2 to 3 hours. My husband was stationed in Germany for 3 years before we met. My parents and my husband have been insistent on making sure all the cars are ready for winter. I will say my car was pretty well prepared on Tuesday. Not perfectly prepared, but decently.

I keep a car maintenance kit with jumper cables in it at all times. In the winter I keep a reflective poncho liner in it as well. I also have a space blanket and several chemical hand warmers. I have several peanut butter crackers that rotate in the car. A 5pound bag of kitty litter is also a part of the winter kit. I have a car phone charger that stays in my car all the time. I have a water bottle in it too. I do have an ice scraper, and it stays in the car all the time.

Knowing that we were going into a multi-day stretch of below freezing weather, I chose to dress very warmly in layers. I also wore my good hiking boots that are waterproof.

In looking at the things that happened here, and the contents of my car, I need to add a couple of things to it. A number of people abandoned their cars to survive the cold. They had cell phones, but had no way to charge them after they left their cars. I need to get a travel charger that plugs into the wall for my phone to leave in the car. I also need to put some duct tape in the car, since I don’t think I have any in it. I need to add a bit more water. I probably need to get a change of clothes in the car as well. So it looks like I’m going to find a small bag here at the house to put those things in, as well as a travel toothbrush and toothpaste. I wear contact lenses, so a travel case and solution wouldn’t be a bad idea either.  What would you add?

Happy Snowmageddeon 2014

Welcome 2014, snowpocalyse style.

DH and I are safely home, and from what I’ve seen on twitter and facebook, most of my friends have made it home too; or are at least in a safe place, sheltered from the weather. Weather forecasting is an art, and the forecasters work very hard to get it right as much as possible. But ya gotta love it when a forecaster/multiple forecasters get it as wrong as they did on Tuesday. James Spann has apologized for missing the mark on this, as well as JP Dice. Honestly, as hard as forecasting the weather is, you expect there to be misses. And for all the folks casting aspersions on the forecasters, let the ones who’ve never been wrong in their predictions cast the first stone.

There’s plenty of blame to go around, and lots of local leaders share in it. And when the schools, businesses, and governments all chose to release people into the weather at the same time it tends to be a bit chaotic in the best situations. Add in the snow turning into ice on the roads very quickly and you get horribly snarled.

Here’s my relatively easy trip home for it. This is a novella, so let me put a cut in here.  Continue reading

Google groups throwing a monkeywrench

I manage a google group for a small committee. We use the files section to store different documents that are used by the committee members, since physically getting together to transfer paper can be difficult at times. Unfortunately google has decided that they are changing the groups, and disallowing new files to be uploaded to the groups. I’m trying to figure out if I can use google documents to store the files for the group. Everyone who has access to the group needs should be able to access the files. From reading the documentation, it looks like I should be able to do it, but I may end up having to walk some folks through retrieving the files a time or five in the future. And there doesn’t seem to be a way to transfer the files directly to google documents, I’m going to have to download each one (or the entire group) and then upload them separately to documents. 😦 Boo. That’s not particularly use friendly.
Thanks so much for the help.

Timmy visiting town

Well, while he’s been here, Timmy decided he wanted to see a bit more of Birmingham than just our house.

Since it was so nice this weekend, we took a bit of a ride with him! He stayed with me on my scooter.
Timmy getting ready to go

We had to fuel up the Ural first. Then we visited Matt at Magic City Motor Scooters. Timmy at MCMS Timmy got his picture made on the scooter frame that Matt puchased from the American Pickers guys when they came through last year. Timmy on Pickers scooter He tried on a few scooters for size while he was there. Timmy on scooter Timmy on scoot 2 Then he hung out with with us there for a while! Timmy hanging out at MCMS