7 11 2008

Winter has arrived. Last night, Winnipeg was slapped in the face with a ice-covered mitten (You know when you breath on your mitten-ed fingers to warm them up, except it quickly backfires because your breath freezes and your nice woolly mittens become crusty and icy and even colder than before? Imagine being slapped with a mitten like THAT). And by slapped in the face, I mean slapped on every available surface, with snow and ice and freezing slush, and blustery winds. After several hours of freezing rain yesterday evening, I woke up this morning to find this waiting for me outside.


Obviously, neither Bryan or I were prepared for such a Winter Wonderland, both of us wearing inappropriate shoes (Converse and man-dress shoes, respectively), and with no idea as to where to find our car brush and/or scraper. Which was mildly important, as the Civic was covered in a solid three inches of slush/ice/snow. Fingerless gloves were also a poor choice. 30 minutes later, we made it to Polo Park, which is normally a 10 minute drive, where I dropped Bryan off at work, picked up a cozy hat, some groceries (and some hot apple cider to thaw my hands), and slid across the street to Canadian Tire. Now, it must be mentioned that I have nothing but deep and undying hatred for C-Tire (employees, services, mechanics, bullshit pretend money…etc), so I was determined to be in and out as quickly as possible. I grabbed an industrial sized bottle of windshield washer fluid / de-icer (“Works up to -45!”) and the baddass-est snow brush/scraper I have ever seen, and got the hell out. The brush has a bright blue stainless steel handle with a reinforced scraper and a brush that is for SERIOUS snow removal, which, sadly, I foresee in my immediate future.

This winter is going to be an interesting one. In addition to this being our first Winnipeg Winter (Why do people always laugh and say “Ohhh you’ll see, YOU’LL SEE!” when I say that?), our car is going to put up a struggle in as many ways as it can. Instead of having rugged, heavilly treaded winter tires, we are using what may be the original summer or “all season” tires that came with the car, many moons ago (Craig will have to confirm or deny this..). All season tires are bullshit in a city that gets as much snow/sleet as Winnipeg does (or Thunder Bay, for that matter). But on the plus side, there aren’t any hills to spin out on. But on the negative side, there are feirce prairie winds that tear the skin from your bones. Practically.

Before moving to Winnipeg, I had the car air conditioning checked, because, well, it doesn’t work, and the very Bill Nye-esque mechanic informed me that I was incredibly lucky.

Bill Nye: Yes, quite lucky.

Emily: Really? Lucky? Great!

Bill Nye: Indeed! The problem with your AC is the one of the cheapest things to repair! You see, there are four main componants to each air conditioning system, all of which are connected with a series of tubes and hoses. These tubes and hoses enable you to have refreshing cold air in the summer, but also provide warm heat in the winter, and keep your car windows from fogging up.

Emily: Uh huh..

Bill Nye: Your tubes and hoses are in varying states of disrepair. Some are cracked, some are leaking, some are loose, some are just old and crappy. But out of the whole system, they’re the absolute cheapest to repair!

Emily: Super! How much!

Bill Nye: $500 after parts and labour

Emily: *is dead on the ground*

So, the Civic has bald summer tires, and an air-circulatory system that consistently fogs up the windows and takes FOREVER to warm up. Should I spend $500 on new kickass winter tires? Or should I spend $500 on heat and non-fogged windows, and AC for the summertime, if it ever returns? Decisions, decisions.

Also on my List of Things To Buy For The Car are a CAA Membership and jumper cables. Earlier this week, I got a phone call from Bryan, who said that he couldn’t come pick me up from work because the car battery was dead and he couldn’t find anyone with jumper cables. After throwing a minor temper tantrum, I wrangled Reed into giving me a ride to Polo, as well as the use of his slightly battered cables, only to discover that the car wouldn’t even turn over, and had started making a suspicious clicking sound from somewhere deep inside the dashboard. We sent Reed back to work, thanking him for his help, and went into Second Cup to think. I consulted with my dad, and Bryan consulted with his, and they agreed that the clicking sound “might be the starter, or the remote starter” but it “might be the alternator” too. This couldn’t have come at a worst time (but really, when does car trouble ever happen CONVENIENTLY), because it was the beginning of the month, and we were totally broke. After paying rent, and OSAP, and Visa payments, and car insurance, we seriously had less than $30 between the two of us. How the hell were we going to afford a tow truck, let alone the cost of the repairs? And even if we found money for a tow truck, where would we get it towed to? Neither of us had ANY idea of good/cheap/non-sketchbag mechanics in Winnipeg, and on top of that, had no idea what was wrong with the car, and had NO idea how much it was all going to cost us. All we knew was that the car wouldn’t start, and would have to be towed somewhere else, to someone who could fix it. I called a towing company, talked to a very helpful man who asked me a pile of questions about the car, and found out that it would be $65 for the tow, and if we wanted to try jumping it again, it would be an extra $45. I didn’t want to pay for the towing on the off chance that Reed’s cables were too battered to function, but I sure as hell didn’t want to pay fifty bucks for some tow truck driver to do something that I could do for free. SO I called the only other person in the city that I knew of with a car: Chad. Chad, my saviour, my favourite person on earth, found jumper cables, and came to the rescue. After a few unsuccessful tries, the headlights suddenly flickered and I was deafened by cries of “GO! GO START THE CAR. FUCKING GO RIGHT NOW!”. And, by some miracle of electricity, the car started. All of the panicking and stress and angst we had moments earlier disappeared. We didn’t have enormous repair bills to freak out about anymore. Thank. Fucking. God. I gave Chad a big hug, and proposed marriage, as a sign of my gratitude, and we went our separate ways. Bryan and I picked up Greg, and drove to a distant Safeways to give the battery a chance to recharge. All was well in the world. We had grocheries, a functioning car, and whistling hot water radiators to come home to. And plus – it hadn’t snowed yet! YET.




One response

8 11 2008

Converse are definitely not the best all weather shoe.

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