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Editorial: The chill and the charge

Peter Shokeir | editor@fitzhugh.ca

We all have our share of deep-freeze stories, and I’m sure plenty of Jasperites can top the one I’m about to describe. But for me, this one was a doozy.

Back two winters ago in Grande Prairie, the temperature had dipped to -40 C over the course of a weekend. My own car was among the first to go kaputz that Saturday as I had forgotten to plug it in the other night.

For a reporter in rural Alberta, a working vehicle was a necessity and literally a written requirement, so I quickly called a tow truck to boost my battery.

The driver arrived and tried to give my battery a few good jolts. Turned out it had frozen solid.

I then made the mistake of not asking the driver to retrieve a new battery for me, and when I tried to call back, there was a day-long waitlist.

With few other options other than calling a taxi, which I was too cheap to do, I bundled up as if about to go deep-sea diving and trudged my way to a car dealership about two kilometers away, enduring the deep cold and a most unwelcomed wind chill.

Upon arrival, I bought my new battery and went for the high-end, sturdier model against my cheap nature. Having just spent hundreds of dollars, I figured the dealership would show mercy on me and provide me with a shuttle.

Nope. That’s for repairs only. I had to trudge back to my place while dragging along a battery that must have weighed 40 pounds. Of course, a wet cell battery also sloshes around, so it was less like carrying a solid brick and more like tangoing with a basin full of water.

How tough was this? Well, I somehow managed to sweat in the extreme cold.

After completing this endurance test and earning another hair on my chin, I figured out how to install the battery myself.

A later vehicle inspection revealed that I did a shoddy job, but seeing as I had no prior experience as a mechanic, I still gave myself a pat on the back, for when I went to work on Monday, I was one of the few in the office who had a working vehicle.

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