Well has it been cold enough for you? A real Wisconsin winter appears to be upon us, and some of the younger folks find Wisconsin a place to get out of. Heck, some older folks agree with that assessment also. Remember last summer when we were complaining that it was too hot for us? Well that’s gone for a while. The days are getting longer, and remember “global warming” is not the same as “climate change,” so in the face of winter’s fun and games some “atta boys” to a few people.
First comes the folks at Waste Management, Advanced Disposal or Boxx Sanitation. Climbing in and out of those trucks time and again on routes is no picnic. When I worked for the City of Marshfield, I rode the garbage truck on “double run days.” In the summer, that was bad enough, but in the winter, even with new equipment, someone has to jump in and out to load the containers onto the lifts. Add in several layers of clothes, and life is no fun at minus 10, 12, or 14 degrees
Our next round of kudos goes to the local municipal plow/sanding truck operators. When we have but a dusting of 2 to 3 inches of snow, it appears that people lose their minds — rollovers, slide-ins, spinouts, you name it we do it. Passing snowplows is always a great idea because if you roll over, spin out or slide in, the snow plow/sanding truck driver gets to practice their defensive driving skills and be the first one on scene at your accident. They don’t get paid enough to be a party to winter driving nonsense.
Third a well-deserved round of applause to the mail carriers and route drivers of the United States Postal Service. I am sure you would not be happy driving around on icy roads, slipping and sliding, trying to reach into people’s mailboxes, all with your window open most of the time.
In June 1788, the ninth state ratified the Constitution, which gave Congress the power “To establish Post Offices and post roads” in Article I, Section 8, and despite Congress’ micro managing, the United States Post Office still carries on a proud tradition.
Local fire departments have been busy of late. Fighting a fire in below-zero temperatures is a difficult business. Breathing apparatuses freezes up, roads are or become slippery. Everything gets coated with ice. What you are using to put the fire out, water of course, adds to the misery. False alarms go up because as water moves in fire sprinkler systems, it sets off flow alarms. The coldest fire I ever fought was a barn fire in Bloomer in January 1983 at -40. That was plenty of fun — not.
Another “atta boy” goes out to septic system pumpers, fuel truck and LP gas truck drivers. It is pretty cold to be dragging hoses around people’s yards plus having to pump out or pump into tanks, liquids all while a brisk northwest breeze flies by you. For the septic system pumpers, perhaps there is a bit less smell, but for LP gas delivery people LP gas is a very cold liquid. For the fuel oil delivery people, you have to make sure that you don’t overflow a tank into someone’s basement. Yes there are rules and codes to prevent that, but you still can’t leave what you are doing and sit in a warm truck.
I know I have missed several trades and professions, but before I leave, one big thank-you to the tow truck operators. When you find yourself in the ditch, even with four-wheel drives those folks are the ones that come rescue your posterior.
Please, please remember that “move over and slow down” applies to emergency vehicles, which includes tow trucks. 10 years ago, Chippewa County lost Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Zunker in a traffic accident on Highway 53 near Bloomer. We can honor his memory by remembering to “move over and slow down.”
This column is written in advance so hopefully things have warmed up this week. Stay warm and be safe.