For those of us who don’t have garages for our vehicles, winter can bring challenges that people whose cars sit in garages don’t have to face. With that in mind, here’s a couple tips to make life a little easier on cold mornings.
- If possible, park your car so the engine faces the morning sun. Even in very cold weather the sun warms the engine, making it easier to start. This tip came from a co-worker of my mother.
- Many newer cars have a more aerodynamic design. For instance, the doors of my car are even with the body. There’s no overhang to protect the door seals from the elements. That presents a problem in winter when a storm hits: depending on the direction the snow or ice comes, the doors freeze shut even though unlocked. For awhile I sprayed cooking spray on the seals. That was a bad idea; a co-worker told me cooking spray deteriorates over time and draws moisture. He suggested buying a can of silicone spray from the auto parts store and applying that to the seals. While the silicone spray costs more than the cooking spray, it lubricates the seals better without breaking down. This is a case where spending a little bit more is worth it!
- This next tip isn’t so much for the car, but for animals that may be around the car: Before starting the vehicle, bang the hood with your hands–make some noise. Cats are known to climb up around the car’s engine, seeking warmth, bringing death to themselves and costly damage to the engine when the vehicle starts. Taking a few extra seconds to warn any cat will save the cat and your engine.
Author’s Note: Most of this is a repost from 2014.
Here are a couple ideas for anyone doing some last-minute Christmas shopping. While they are not original with me, I’ve used them, and they’ve been well received. They do cost you in time/money, but you can easily adapt them to your resources. (Please note: these ideas work best if you are familiar with the recipient’s age, circumstances, and likes/dislikes.)
1. Is the recipient someone who doesn’t drive or someone “who has everything” and you’re stumped on what to buy him or her? If you are close enough to the person to know what kinds of everyday products the person uses–facial soap, body washes, facial tissue, for example–buy some in bulk and wrap the items. Let your creativity come into play when you do the wrapping.
Some years ago I came upon this idea for gifts for my mother. It made such a hit with her that this is my “go-to” idea for Christmas and her birthday. I buy products she uses and put them in a basket. I hide gift certificates for restaurants or stores among the items. Depending on the time/energy I have, I either wrap each item or just wrap the basket. My mother enjoys opening her customized gift basket and finding each item hidden among the tissue paper.
True, “everyday stuff” isn’t glitzy. But you know the recipient will use it. If the person comes into a situation where money is tight, the person will appreciate having those everyday items to fall back on even more!
2. Give the gift of time. If the gift recipient needs a certain project done and you have the skill and the means to do it, consider scheduling a time to do whatever the person needs. Your time is worth as much or more than the money you would spend on a gift for the person. You may be surprised at how appreciative the person is!
There’s my gift-giving ideas. Nothing fancy, nothing particularly new about them, but they work. They are flexible and adaptable to your situation and the recipient’s.
Have fun giving gifts!