It falls, taunting you, flake after flake, coating everything you see with white wet and cold crystals. It piles up in the corners, and in its complete blinding whiteness, all you can do is fork over your wallet. It’s a beautiful thief.
You must turn on your heat. The blanket of whiteness is on your roof, and the wind blows between the flakes against your windowpane and chills the air just inside of the glass. Snow is cold, since it is a result of the temperature of the air it fell from, and the earth it lands on. Precipitation starts as snow, at or below freezing temperature in the clouds, and if the air above the earth is also at or below freezing, it will remain snow until it lands. If the surface temperature is at or below freezing, the snow will build up. When it snows, you must run the heater in your house, or the freezing temperatures will engulf you. Snow makes you send money to the gas or electric company, or in wood or pellets.
You must warm up your car. Since your car does not get the same special treatment as people and get to stay in a toasty warm environment, you must warm it up, defrost it, and run the heat to defog the windows. Engineered into the engine is an operating temperature. That’s why you have a coolant (and antifreeze) system. Undue wear can be caused by operating the vehicle cold. In a fuel-injection motor, the mixture is more appropriately balanced when the air and fuel are closer to combustion temperatures. Speaking of antifreeze, it is important for optimum performance for that mixture to be close to 50/50. Taking your car in for a tune-up and letting it burn gas while it idles costs money and it is all the snow’s fault.
You have to schedule more drive time. It takes more time to get places, because you have to drive more carefully. Most people do, as researcher Daniel Eisenberg discovered in “The mixed effects of precipitation on traffic crashes” Accident Analysis & Prevention, V36, I4, July 2004, Pgs 637-647. His findings, as outlined at drivers.com suggest that most people will adapt to the weather changes and more accidents will be non-fatal. In any case, you will have to take more time when driving. How does this cost you? We know time is money. Either you get up early, losing sleep, or you make it to work late. You lose time with your family, or time on the job. Snow makes you spend your time.
You must buy snow management equipment. When the snow builds up, walk and driveways must be scraped off so that people may pass through un-soaked. Whether you buy a snow blower, shovel, or someone’s services, snow buildup sends you shopping. Since the ground remains below freezing and the surface air temperature can fluctuate to above and to below freezing, snow can melt and freeze, causing dangerous ice patches. For the safety of those people, you must season to taste. The cost of deicing salt is not reimbursed by the white stuff.
You have to bundle up. Hats, gloves, scarves, boots, snow pants, down coats. For adults, good quality will last, and good quality isn’t cheap. For children, quality may be nice, but the demand for a particular size won’t last, and you’ll be buying the next size up while sending away something that looks nearly new. Hats and gloves love to go rogue, so replacement is inevitable. Protection from the snow is a necessary cost.
You prefer indoor entertainment. With the cold, you will stay inside. At first it will be in your home, but eventually you will get cabin fever and you will seek other indoor entertainment. You will hunt down movie theatres, shopping malls, bookstores, restaurants. You will spend money at these places. It will rattle out of your wallet, and you will enjoy the noise. Snow will have numbed you to your extravagances.
While you smile at the snow day, remember that it isn’t a free day. It doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to keep your expenditures lower, but it’s good to know how your costs may change.
Image courtesy of CaptPiper