Toast your buns

Mother and daughter in car
Grace and I fighting over the heated car seats

Minus 27 degrees Celcius. The deep freeze is finally here. The consensus on Facebook yesterday seemed to be the best way to beat the cold was to stay inside.

Not us. We spent three hours down at the lake yesterday, clearing off the rink, skating, skiing and even having a hot dog cookout. After warming up inside, we headed out again, this time in the car to Westport for a church spaghetti supper.

I don’t consider myself high maintenance. I don’t own a Coach purse or Gucci wallet. I drive a 10-year old Honda and I’m just as happy with a simple pasta supper at home or at the church in Westport than getting dressed up and going out to a fancy restaurant.

But there is one luxury I have come to appreciate, especially in the dead of winter–heated car seats.

Whenever we venture out on a cold day, the girls and I race to Dave’s car and fight over the front seat. The victor hops in the passenger side and cranks the dial to 24 or 25 and waits for the warmth of the seat to make their tush tingle. It’s luxury, pure luxury on a cold winter’s day.

Clare usually wins, because she “claims” she gets car sickness in the back seat of Dave’s car. Grace and I think it’s a sinister ruse. Trust me, it’s hard to be sympathetic when the little minx blurts out “My buttocks are burning!”

Happiness isn’t a warm puppy when it’s minus 27 outside. Happiness is a heated car seat.

This week’s #HappyAct is to fight for the front seat, or find something to keep your buns toasty warm. And if one of your kids claims they feel car sick, be heartless. Race as fast as you can to claim the front seat–no butts about it.

Rock out to your ultimate driving tune

When the weather gets warm, I like to cruise the country roads with the windows down and crank up the tunes.

I’m not sure what’s more intoxicating—the smell of the lilacs starting to bloom (our area is full of lilacs since farmers around here plant them as windbreaks), wondering what adventure lurks around the next curve, or the feeling of not having a care in the world as you sing at the top of your lungs to your favourite song.

Remember that scene in the movie Wayne’s World where Wayne and Garth rock out in their Gremlin to Bohemian Rhapsody? Party on, excellent. My friend Terry used to swear in our university days he could drive anywhere in Waterloo in the time it took to rock out to David Wilcox’s Hypnotizin’ Boogie.

This week’s #HappyAct is to crank up the tunes rock out to your ultimate driving tune. Who cares if someone sees you—chances are you’ll make them smile and make their day. What’s your ultimate driving tune?

Take the 90/110 challenge

road sign slow downNext weekend is the May long weekend, one of the deadliest on our roads and highways.

My daily commute includes twenty minutes on Highway 38, a regional highway with a speed limit of 80 kms and five minutes on the 401. Along 38, there are three fences on the side of the road where shrines have been erected in memory of people who were killed in accidents on this very busy two-lane highway.

There are many contributing factors to the high death toll on our roads: not driving for the conditions and distracted driving being two, but in my mind driving too slowly, or driving too fast are still the two main offences in making our roads unsafe. Daily I see people making dangerous passes because someone is poking along under the speed limit or people driving 30 kms over the speed limit (the ones passing recklessly). It’s a miracle there aren’t more shrines on my road.

Our roads have become busier and busier. Witness the carnage on the 401 this past winter and the swath of multi-vehicle collisions and tractor trailers mangled in the ditch. Let’s put a stop to this now.

This week’s Happy Act is to take the 90/110 challenge. Drive 90 kms on roads with a posted speed limit of 80 and 110 on the 400 series of highways. Reduce your stress, and make the roads safer for all of us. Save money and the environment too. Here is some US data on the cost savings and fuel savings of reducing your speed even 10 kms. At $1.39 per litre for gas, think about it.

From the US department of energy: The average car’s advertised MPG is 55 mph. Here is the drop in fuel efficiency as your speed increases:

  • 3% less efficient at 60 mph
/110 km
  • 8% less efficient at 65 mph/115 km
  • 17% less efficient at 70 mph/120 km

Bottom line for a 30 km highway commute: If you drive at 100 km instead of 120 km you could save $496.40 per year and your commute would only be four minutes longer.