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Out and About – Week of January 6th

Welcome to the first Out and About column for 2014. If this is your first time reading this column, thank you for taking the time to do so. I’ll try my best to provide you with some useful information, and, of course, a bit of humor along the way. There’s so much depressing news out there these days, so I’d like to do what I can to remind you that everything out there is not all that bad, and that the community of Three Rivers is a pretty neat place to live.

My motto for over eight years has been, “Volunteer….the world is run by those who show up.” My wife is a constant source of quotes and memorable thoughts. Here’s one that is appropriate for this, the first of my columns for 2014: “Dare to live out loud in 2014! Life is waiting for you to show up.” In my mind, this quote is a keeper and one that should be read on a regular basis. I’ll try to remember to add a quote to this column from time to time.

My family gets together once a year at Christmas time. We keep in touch through e-mails, but physically seeing each other is really special. I always feel a bit out of place during these gatherings, because I’m the only one who doesn’t have a college degree, and I’m not as up-to-date as I should be when it comes to current events. I guess I’ve never really grown up. I was a bit nervous about our latest get together, which happened the weekend between Christmas and New Year. Everything turned out just fine, and as I mentioned in last week’s column, a good time was had by all. My brother thinks that I have a pretty good sense of humor and, along with my wife, feels that not having a college degree is nothing worth worrying about. I love spreading a little humor and making people laugh, so I guess that’s okay. There are a lot of college graduates out of work like me, but I’m retired, so I guess they should be the ones worrying.

I’ve been told by several people in the know that, during the winter months, it’s a good idea to not let your fuel tank drop below the halfway mark. It’s getting more and more difficult to know when to fill your tank or top it off. I like to do it when the gas prices are at a low, but even that is difficult to predict. I’ve heard that a bad time to get gasoline is when a tanker truck is delivering that precious commodity. The reason being is that the tanker drops the fuel into the tank, which stirs up the fuel already there. This also stirs up the dirty residue at the bottom of the storage tank. This residue finds its way into your car’s fuel system, and even though it is supposedly filtered, it is still not a good thing.

Periodically, I will slip in a couple of items that just seem to be the right thing to do. This is one of those times. Please keep these in mind as you travel along life’s highway:

If a street performer makes you stop while walking, you owe her/him a buck.

Never park in front of a bar.

All guns are loaded.

Now that 2013 is in the history books, it’s time to prepare yourself for the annual meeting with the tax man. It might be too late for this year, but it’s never too late to plan ahead for next year. Think about this and give it some serious thought. When you charge charitable donations to your credit card, the bank “swipe fee” may be three percent. Debit cards and PayPal take a smaller cut. You might be better off to just send a check.

You’ve heard it many times, but very few of us follow through on the suggestion. With the weather being a bit unpredictable, you never know when you might become stranded when you’re Out and About. Take a backpack and fill it with a container of water, clean socks, gloves, warning flares, and any other items that you think might come in handy should you become stranded. A blanket and a first aid kit are also recommended. Having a fully-charged cell phone is a given. Make sure your car’s “blue liquid” container is topped off. Most importantly, never leave your common sense at home.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman