As winter settles in on the east coast, everyone’s question is: “Are you ready for the snow?” We have bundled up in sweaters, gloves, hats as we continue exploring Delaware, our new home state. We thought we were prepared. But as the snow has begun falling, the adventures have started….
Snowblowers, Shovels, and Brine: Oh My!
When we moved into our house, it was empty. Except for the snowblower the former owners left behind with a welcome note before moving to Northern California. It seemed so thoughtful. Now we know better. I have no doubt they didn’t stop laughing until they reached the Rockies, while we are still looking for the instruction manual.
Last week the roads were covered with clear ribbons of – something – glistening in the morning sun. After a little investigating, I learned that de-icing with rock salt only helps in temperatures over 15 degrees. But a salt water brine applied before it snows works immediately and is more effective. I am now practically a de-icing expert. Did you know, for example, that alternate sources of brine, including agricultural by-products such as beet juice, are also being used in certain states?
And when the first snow arrived, my husband purchased a snow shovel and asked our teenager to clear the driveway. The look we got was something between “Whaaat?” and “Huh?” But to be fair, it’s not just him. I have been barraged with helpful lists of things to carry in my car, and have responded with that same, glazed-over look. Snow scrapers, packable shovels, flashlights, first-aid kits, tool kits, cat litter… What? Cat litter?! Apparently this is a real thing. Traction.
And speaking of traction….
About Car Shaming, Traction, and Snow
You may recall that we brought not one, but two, all-electric Fiat 500e’s to Delaware with us. They are adorable, environmentally friendly, and fun to drive along windy, sun kissed California roads.
As we pull up in front of St. Mark’s every morning, flanked by Jeeps and Subarus in various shades of black and grey, our jellybean-colored electric vehicles are… distinctive. We have shrugged off Spencer’s tales of car shaming, however, as parents do. “Character building!” we say. But after running into another St. Mark’s parent this week and watching a light bulb go off – “Oh, you’re the parents of the California kid, the one who comes to school every morning in that weird little car all the kids tease him about!” – perhaps he has a point.
Anyway. After driving home in the snow last week, I have to finally admit that my cute little Fiat may not be the most weather appropriate vehicle for Delaware. To put it in perspective, the 500e weighs in at 2,900 pounds, delivers 111 horsepower, and comes with virtually traction-free tires designed to minimize friction and maximize range. The Jeep Wrangler, in contrast, weighs in at around 5,000 pounds, has 285 horsepower, and comes in all-wheel drive with optional extreme terrain tires. As I skied my way home along the snow covered Delawarean back roads, my little Fiat performed, well, precisely as you would expect. My tips for driving it in the snow? Don’t.
Arctic Blasts v. Fire Storms: Snow Is the Clear Winner
Even as the occasional arctic blast shakes our house while we research snow tires, this year’s fire storms keep things in perspective. Having experienced the increasing heat, drought, and fire threats in Southern California, I will gladly choose arctic blasts over fire storms. To put it in perspective, picture a Category 1 hurricane barreling up the coast. Now replace rain with fire. More on that later this week.
Meanwhile, let it snow!