By Chuck Mai, AAA
Motorists: time to get it together…the outrageous heat of summer is here! Time to prepare your vehicles for days and days of soaring temperatures. (Remember last year in Oklahoma?) Without preventive maintenance, summer’s heat increases the likelihood of vehicle failure, leaving you and your passengers unexpectedly, and dangerously, stranded on the side of the road.
Here are my best summer vehicle maintenance tips:
Before hitting the road:
• Make sure your vehicle is in top operating condition before leaving home.
• Most drivers think battery problems occur primarily in winter, but summer heat can negatively impact your car’s battery even more than the bitter cold of winter. Heat and vibration are a battery’s two worst enemies leading to internal breakdown and eventual failure. Rule of thumb: if your vehicle’s battery is more than two years old, have it checked.
• Check all fluids including the coolant level in the overflow tank and top off as needed with a 50-50 mix of antifreeze/coolant and water. If the engine is cool, check the level in the radiator as well. Never remove the radiator cap when the engine is hot, you can be seriously scalded.
• Have the cooling system flushed and new coolant installed when recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Depending on the type of coolant used, this is typically necessary every two to five years.
• Inspect your filters, belts and hoses.
• Keep tires at normal pressure. Soft tires generate heat, which can lead to a blowout. Inflate them to the pressure indicated on the sticker inside your glove compartment or on the door jamb. Do not go by the pressure molded into the sidewall of the tire – that is a maximum pressure. And don’t forget the spare.
• Even with proper preventive maintenance, summer breakdowns can still occur, so carry a well-stocked emergency kit in your vehicle. The kit should include water, non-perishable food items, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, road flares or an emergency beacon, basic hand tools, duct tape and a first aid kit.
Once on the road:
• Keep an eye on your gas, oil and engine temperature gauges.
• Should you overheat, pull off the road, shut the engine off immediately and allow the vehicle to cool.
• Make sure you keep a supply of replacement fluids in your vehicle to top off levels that may drop from the extreme use of your engine. Most important is having coolant and engine oil on hand, because those are the ones you are likely to run low on in the middle of nowhere, 100 miles from the nearest service station.
• If your vehicle does break down, stay with it and wait for help to arrive. This is a great time to have a cell phone with you along with a power cable you can plug into the car’s electrical system.
My dad used to tell me that there was a difference between fishing and catching. He said that he did more catching than fishing. I remember “sneaking up” on the fish at times, making no noise, watching where I stepped, holding sneezes, as if the fish were watching us.
My dad loved to fish, but what he didn’t love was making sure I was fishing properly. I can’t tell you how many times I got my lure snagged in a low hanging branch, right after my dad told me to “watch out for that branch there”. He would turn three shades of red as he tried to wade out to the branch and retrieve the lure.
I went fishing recently at Lake Texoma and had a wonderful time with friends catching our limit in under two hours. I was reminded about my dads’ frustration when I looked at our guide’s face a few times when he had to undo what some of us did to our lines and our bait. The familiar grimace and the face changing colors and the biting of the tongue.
It seems comical now, but back in the day, I’m sure my dad did not find anything funny about taking care of an amateur fisherman trying to do the right things.
I guess the important thing about fishing is making sure you do some catching.
Everything is better when catching, even the mistakes.
The extreme heat has set in and forecasters say it’s going to be around a while. So now is a good time to use caution and act appropriately with steps to battle heat-related situations.
EMSA officials have these words of advice:
* Remember, PRE-HYDRATION is key in preventing heat related illness. Drink plenty of water or electrolyte replacement drinks several hours prior to long exposure to the summer heat.
* Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and a wide-brimmed hat if working outdoors and take plenty of shade breaks.
Kids in Cars
There is no “safe” amount of time kids can be left in a hot car. How quickly a child becomes ill varies widely based on a number of conditions, including:
* The child’s hydration level to begin with the temperature in the car (which can vary based on car interior, temperature outdoors, whether there is shade, etc.)
* The child’s weight
* The child’s overall health (diabetes and other chronic medical conditions can make a child less able to tolerate the heat), and any medications the child may be taken.
The Centers for Disease Control presents these key points:
A heat advisory or warning has been issued. Now what do you do?
* Stay indoors and avoid extreme temperature changes. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to a shopping mall or public library — even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
* If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine.
* Keep your electric fans running.
* Drink cool liquids often, particularly water, even if you do not feel thirsty, to help your body stay cool.
* Avoid alcoholic beverages, which dehydrate the body.
* During heavy exercise in a hot environment, drink two to four glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour.
* Eat small, frequent meals. Avoid foods that are high in protein, which increase metabolic heat.
* Keep pets indoors; refill their water bowls frequently.
* If you must go out, wear lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect the sun’s energy.
* Slow down, avoid strenuous outdoor activity. If you must engage in strenuous activity, limit exposure during mid-day hours.
* Cover all exposed skin with a high SPF sunscreen, and wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face and head.
* Drink plenty of fluids.
* Never leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car.
* Continue drinking plenty of water.
* Never take a cool shower immediately after becoming overheated. You may cool too quickly and become ill, nauseous, or dizzy.
* Know the symptoms of heat disorders and overexposure to the sun, and be ready to give first aid treatment.
These are just some of the ways you can combat extreme heat. For more information, go to KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/SEVERE-WEATHER-OKLAHOMA and click on the INFORMATION area in the header.
By Chuck Mai, AAA
There’s a real art to traveling smart – not only in knowing where the best vacation spots are but also in buying travel at the cheapest price, leaving the house well-protected when you go … and in packing. Yes, packing.
Ellen Paderson is the founder of Smiles and Miles Travel based near Boston, Mass., and has more than 20 years in the travel business, In addition to ‘where to stay,’ clients often ask Ellen for packing tips, tricks and secrets. Here is her “Top 10”:
1. Roll your clothes. Tightly roll most items into compact pieces. Fold stiffer and dressy ones.
2. Use soft-side travel bags (such as Packing Cubes from Eagle Creek). They use every square inch of your travel bag. Plus, they compress when zipped, minimizing wrinkles and maximizing space.
3. Invest in inflatable hangers for hand laundry. Pack with individual packets of Woolite. The vinyl hangers fold small and inflate with a few breaths so you can drip-dry creaselessly.
4. Plane sheets. Aircraft seat covers make your seat more comfortable and germ free.
5. Silk travel blanket. They’re as warm as a regular blanket, yet take up much less space. The pocket at the bottom keeps feet toasty; the blanket rolls up and tucks into a 12” x 4″ pouch you can toss in your carry-on.
6. Carry wet wipes. To sanitize seats and trays on the plane, and for a million other uses in your travels.
7. Pack sealable plastic bags. Use different sizes to handily store snacks and small electronics and to keep them safe from the sand and sea.
8. Pack light. Take along as few clothes as possible. Pack a pair of black, beige or white pants and shirts or tops that will go with all three colors.
9. Collapsible cooler. Pack snacks when out on excursions (this one idea can pay for itself in one day).
10 Comfortable shoes. Try to limit each person to two really comfy pairs.
One of the most popular ways to commute for Norman residents is to drive on Interstate 35 to Oklahoma City and Edmond.
Having commuted from the northern part of Norman to The Oklahoman office at Britton Road and Broadway Extension three times a week for nearly the last month, I found this route to take an hour each way. This includes constant trains crossing Robinson Street in the morning, construction and rush hour traffic along I-35.
Recently, I found a quicker route by taking 12th Avenue NE until it becomes Sooner Road on E I-240 or E I-40, depending on the day. You’re not stuck for what seems like an endless amount of time due to people gawking at accidents on the side of the road or the craziness of rush hour traffic.
I managed to shave a good 20 minutes off my commute each way. Other than filling the gas tank $100 every week, the commute has become slightly more bearable.
Norman resident Jamie Powers emailed her daily commuting routine. Powers said she takes public transportation every day to work because it’s more affordable and to save time.
“I get a public transportation subsidy through work, which pays for my monthly bus passes, which cost $50 per month,” Powers said. “The route I ride, the Sooner Express, costs $2.25 each way, if you don’t have a pass.
“Parking at the Homeland bus stop at 24 NW Ave and W Robinson in Norman is free. The only real problem with the bus is I’m stuck with the 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. schedule, when sometimes I’d prefer to come in earlier so I can leave earlier.”
I’m curious to find what other Oklahoma City metro residents have to say about their daily commuting routine. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or share your daily experiences on this blog.
You can also read more about traveling Oklahoma streets and highways in Don Gammill’s Traffic Talk column each Monday in The Oklahoman and every day on NewsOK.com
Patty Gail Patten was guest speaker at our last Parents Helping Parents meeting (Edmond Chapter). Her topic of “Grieving the Loss of the Child of Your Dreams” was one that was well received by her audience.
Parents of a child who is addicted to alcohol or other drugs must deal with their loss in much the same way as parents whose child physically has been lost.
Unfortunately, with parents of an addicted child, the grieving is repeated over and over with every relapse the child has on his/her path to long-term recovery.
There are three stages of grief for parents:
The first is shock and denial. You just can’t believe something like this can happen to you or your child. This forces you into denial and you go on with your daily activities as if nothing as actually happened.
The next stage is anger, or depression. You may find yourself turning inward away from your usual activities and/or people.
The third stage is understanding and acceptance. You will sense a feeling of peace and serenity. In addition, you will regain your ability to find a new meaning in your life.
Patty Gail indicated that these stages can overlap one another and they may not be experienced in a specific order. Everyone heals in his/her own way and time.
There was one last critical, vital statement from Patty Gail. She said addiction is now accepted as a mental illness.
I feel one of the most critical issues parents face is understanding that addiction is a disease, a primary disease, a brain disease.
By Chuck Mai, AAA
Summer officially begins June 20 and with it: more heat and the not-so-infrequent stories of kids and animals being left alone in hot cars with sometimes deadly consequences.
Heat related fatalities were the second highest cause of death among all weather-related deaths, second only to tornadoes, according to the National Weather Service. And according to research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), heat stroke is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle deaths for children under the age of 14. NHTSA reports at least 27 documented deaths per year.
It’s important to remember that temperatures inside a car on a day with outside temperatures in the mid-to-high 90’s can quickly soar to nearly 200 degrees, which is hot enough to cook many foods and to kill most living things. Never leave children or pets in a parked car. If you do see a child or pet locked in a car and cannot find the owner of the vehicle, call 911 immediately.
Child passenger summer safety tips:
• Never leave a child alone in a car – even with the windows partially opened– as a vehicle’s interior can still heat up quickly to deadly temperatures.
• Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away. Children have died because they fell asleep in their car seats and their parents didn’t realize they were still in the car.
• If your spouse or a guardian is taking your children to day care, ask him or her to call you to make sure the drop-off went according to plan.
• Do things to remind you that a child is in the vehicle:
• Leave a written note in your vehicle where you will see it
• Place your purse, briefcase or something else in the back seat to remind you to check that area when you leave the vehicle.
• Keep an object in your child’s car seat, such as a stuffed toy, as a reminder that a child is in the back seat.
• Do not let your children play in an unattended vehicle – teach them that a car is not a play area; always lock your car doors and keep car keys out of children’s reach.
• If a child has spent a prolonged amount of time in a hot vehicle and appears to be showing signs of heat distress, call 911 immediately for medical assistance. Cool the child as quickly as possible by applying cool water to the skin and/or ice packs under the armpits and groin area while waiting for help.
My daughter was complaining yesterday about how hot it was in Midwest City. She apparently forgot how hot it was last summer, when you could boil an egg on the sidewalk every day of the summer.
She tells me that it just feels hotter this summer. I guess I can’t argue, I told her, the older you get, the more the heat affects you. At least from my perspective this is true, of course she is only 18, I tell her, when I was 18 I wasn’t bothered by the heat. This isn’t true of course, but she doesn’t know this.
Reminds me of the stories from my dad and grandpa, about walking through 6 miles of snow and ice to get to school, when a loaf of bread cost a nickel.
I guess each generation has their horror stories, I know this because when I told my daughters that when I was in school, when I wanted to find someone, I drove around until I found them. No cell phones. Their jaws dropped in amazement. The horror!
They asked me what I did as a child for entertainment. I told them I went outside and played. Again, shock and awe. They couldn’t believe kids actually went OUTSIDE to entertain themselves. True story.
So the next time my daughter tells me its too hot to go outside, I will tell her the story of when I used to walk half a mile to school, in the sun. Beads of sweat dripping off of my brow. Thinking how nice it would be to have a cell phone to call someone for a ride.
Only thing is, I had no idea what a cell phone was at the time.
She doesn’t need to know this.
I can see my dad and grandpa smiling now.
Oklahoma City has receiving more accolades for a recent addition. Here’s the news from Kristy Yager of the City of Oklahoma City:
“Oklahoma City SkyDance Bridge, a public artwork and pedestrian bridge commissioned by the City of Oklahoma City has been named as one of the 50 best public art projects by the 2012 Public Art Network Year in Review by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education,” she wrote in a news release.
“The annual Year in Review program recognizes the most exemplary, innovative, permanent or temporary public art works created or debuted in the past year. The 2012 Year in Review awardees were chosen from more than 393 works from 147 cities across 40 states and three countries.
“Three independent public art experts—Jean Greer, principal at The Public Art Collaborative; Daniel Mihalyo, architect/artist at Lead Pencil Studio; and Celia Munoz, artist—curated the 2012 Year in Review. Their selections were announced on June 7 at the Americans for the Arts Public Art Preconference in San Antonio. The artists and commissioning organizations involved in creating and supporting these public art works received letters of congratulations and certificates from Americans for the Arts.
“The 380-foot-long Oklahoma City SkyDance pedestrian bridge and sculpture spans Interstate 40 near Harvey Avenue. The bridge’s soaring architecture was inspired by Oklahoma’s state bird, the scissor-tailed flycatcher. The pedestrian walkway is 20 feet wide, bridge span: 380-feet long, with a height of 192-feet above the highway. It is located at the heart of the future MAPS 3 downtown park, which is expected to begin construction next year.
A member of the design team, Stan Carroll, had this to say:
“SkyDance Bridge exemplifies what public art should be for a community. It’s a great example of pride from the design professionals to the multi-disciplinary teams, to the contractors and the public.”
Other design team members are Hans Butzer, Laurent Massenat, Ken Fitzsimmons, Chris Ramseyer, David Wanzer, and Jeremy Gardner.
“By creating a sense of identity of places we inhabit, public art makes an enduring impact on our lives,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “We congratulate the artists and commissioning groups of the 12th annual Public Art Year in Review and look forward for honoring more great works in the coming years.”
Kristy adds: “Since 2000, the Public Art Network Year in Review has annually recognized outstanding public art projects through an open call submission and juror selection process. The Year in Review program is the only national award that specifically recognizes public art projects.
“Previous Oklahoma City Public Art Projects recognized by the Public Art Network include the Oklahoma City National Memorial by Hans Butzer, Torre Butzer and Sven Berg in 2000 and The History of Bricktown (mosaic murals outside Bricktown Ballpark) by Susan Morrison.”
So congratulations to all who helped SkyDance become a reality.
Read more about what’s happening in Oklahoma City at KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/OKLAHOMA-CITY.