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It's Time To Prepare For Next Winter (in the U.S.A.)
In Less Than Four Months It Will Be Winter
Right now in the month of August, in most of the United States it is hot, humid, and muggy, unbearable to those without central air conditioning or those who cannot tolerate it due to health ,age, or certain conditions. The demands for physical comfort in the heat are tremendous. Because it is summer, finding relief is pretty easy, although ways of staying cool are only temporary. Some will enjoy the access to flowing water, such as swimming pools, sprinklers, spray water toys, and access to cold and frozen beverages and treats. At the Snow ball stand where my son works in the summer months, there is always a line of all kinds of people who are waiting to savor that cold sweet treat. While many are enjoying their summer vacations, cookout barbecues, and celebrations out doors, not many are really thinking about the winter months when they will be confined inside, with snow piled up outside causing possible difficulty to enjoy choices of activity once experienced in the summer.
I think that the end of summer months should be the time to plan for stocking up for those cold blustery months. There are many things to plan for, and it takes a good organized mind to gather what is needed to make an easy transition in this seasonal change..
Working on a budget is fair, because nothing is really discounted much any more. Even in the stores that are deemed as "family budget" the sale prices have gone up. Making sure that everyone in the family is to fully participate in the preparations for winter will assure peace of mind during those sudden unexpected weather changes.
Paper products, bathing items, such as soap, shampoo, and deodorant , and toothpaste, kitchen needs such as trash bags, wax paper, foil, disposable cups, plates, flatware: these are good suggestions for nonfood items to start collecting in order to be prepared for a confined winter day. Make sure that someone in the household keeps tract of how fast these items may run out. Don't wait until the last roll of toilet tissue is hanging next to the commode to replace it.
The best food items that are stockable before winter time are cans of vegetables, beans, tuna, or any kind of prepared potted foods, such as soup or pasta or stews.It is good to stock up on bottled spring water too. Most expiration dates on canned goods are up to two years. Items like peanut butter and ground coffee are best used within a year and fast snack foods have expiration dates that are up to six months. Dry goods such as breakfast cereals have expiration dates up to one year, pasta up to six months, dry beans and uncooked rice up to a year. It is important that your local grocer keeps an eye on expiration dates on the shelves before the consumer gets to the store.
A friend of mine went to the store, and after she had purchased some crackers she discovered they were stale. When she went back to the store, she examined the entire shelf of that same item and found that the majority of packages on the shelf had expired dates on them. So in order to stock up on nonperishable foods for the winter, make a gradual trips to the store so not to buy foods too soon.
Plastic containers with lids that tightly seal are great to use for items after they have been opened up. So make sure that you stock up on these. Making a list to keep track on those items bought is good to do. The heavyweight plastic tubs with resealable lids are good to store your supplies in. Making sure to label these containers with dates that you filled them will help keep track of your stock as well.
Other non food items to have around the house in the winter are batteries, flashlights, light bulbs, extra ice scrapers and snow shovels. And the rock salt or calcium carbonate pellets to melt the ice or snow. Kitty litter, too, is effective to create traction on a ice covered concrete surface.
BE PREPARED FOR AN EMERGENCY
No one wants to get sick during a snow storm. Get your flu shots early. Elderly, children, and pregnant moms in the third trimester, and individuals with disabilities are usually the most important to get immunized. If a person does not get the flu shot ( for any reason) it is good to have things on hand to be prepared. Vitamin C, Throat lozenges ( I think that the Fisherman's Friend is the best, next to Hall's Eucalyptus), sore throat spray, and sinus decongestants like Coricidin HBP . Guaiafenisen is good to have for coughs. It is good to have generic ibuprofen or acetaminophen in tab and in liquid form.(Never give any kind of aspirin to children due to a complication called Reyes Syndrome) Don't forget the Ginger Ale ( the least expensive way to get rid of nausea) and over the counter anti-diarrheals such as Pepto Bismol or Imodium. It is also good to have Gator-ade or pedialyte products available to replace the electrolytes during an episode of the stomach virus.
I always say that prevention is the best cure, so stock up on hand sanitizers, hand soaps, or even baby wipes to keep the germs off the hands. To prevent germs in the home, bleach-alternative cleansing wipes to keep the doorknobs, light switches and the flush handles or flush buttons and faucet handles clean.
OTHER WAYS TO BE PREPARED FOR THE WINTER
Besides stocking up for the winter different things needed in the home, make provisions to keep the lines of communication open. Being stranded on the highway, not being able to get hold of loved ones can cause difficulty. Make a list of everyone's phone number. Writing down the numbers is useful, especially if cell phone signals go out or electricity fails. Get a spare phone- as you go just in case you lose the use of the one you have. Have a transister radio ready with fresh batteries in it. Talk to your loved ones not in the home with you and decide on how to handle emergencies.
Car maintenance is another issue in being prepared for the winter. So get that routine maintenance done before it gets cold. Having spare bottles of oil, window wash fluid, gas line treatment, and rotating, and/or replacing your tires in the fall months are all good ways to prepare the car for the winter.
LAYERED CLOTHING IS BEST
When my daughter was in New Hampshire a few years ago, she called me right before the first big snow storm of that season, and she said, " Mom, can you send me some socks?" It cost me $20 in the store, and $40 by Federal Express to get them to her before the weekend storm hit. It was the last week of October of that year. So, depending on where you live, in the U.S., preparing your clothing supply is going to be based on the individual areas that you live in. But always remember that layering your clothes is best. And moisturizing those areas of the body exposed to the cold is best to stay comfortable.
My Aunt who lives in Alaska says that fleece is the best to wear to keep warm in. I think that hood sweat shirts, and jackets are very popular too. I had a negative experience living in a shared home where the landlady kept her windows cracked open even in the winter time, and the best thing that kept me warm at night was the hood jacket. I guess she liked to be frigid, but then I remember that it was her golden retriever that kept her warm at night.
Now this is the time to go to the discount department stores to buy the winter gear . School shopping for the whole family is practical. For a tight budget, buy each layer gradually. Even shopping in the second hand clothing stores proves to be economical.
TRACKING THE WEATHER STORMS
Be sensitive like the squirrel, bird or deer. They seem to always know when the weather changes. Learning how to follow a satelite map that is used in the news or on the internet can help plan ahead. If there is a lot of moisture on the west coast and the winds are picking up in the mid west, it shows how likely the storms will move toward the east coast. West coast residence should listen to the international weather pattern in the pacific regions in order to predict their weather. Again, let me say that there is a plus to having a transister radio in your possession.
BE KIND TO YOUR NEIGHBORS
The last thing I wish to suggest you do to be prepared in the winter harsh weather is to be kind to your neighbors. Someone out there may not be as prepared as you, or may have been compromised in some ways to depend on others. Any good neighbor will pitch in and that exercises the "Golden Rule". To love thy neighbor as thyself is the action best to bring harmony in the face of seasonal adversity.