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Things to puzzle about on winter walks

When I was a young parent, many times I would dress the kids and then we’d all go frolic in the snow and cold of northern Minnesota.
It was a time-consuming ritual involving snow pants, boots, sweaters, jackets, stocking caps and finally a scarf. About the only thing left exposed was a patch for the eyes.
And then I would hear from the muffled little face. “I’ve got to pee.”
Argh!
It was frustrating at the time. Now I chuckle at it.
Fast forward to now and not much has changed. Except I’m the one bundling up ready for the cold outdoors only to be stopped in my tracks by an overactive bladder. It is that same area of the brain that also whispers: “Did I lock the door when I left?” when you’re 50 miles down the road.
My mother, bless her heart, was the master of the “whispers” and nearly drove me crazy. Now I’m just like my mother.
So before I head out on my morning walks, I run through the mental check list: keys, hat, mitts, boots, fluorescent orange vest and, finally, one more trip to the bathroom.
Properly prepared, I’m on my way. The point of this column is what I see on my daily trips around town, like:
— Is there not a sump pump ordinance in this town? Some people did not shut off or redirect their sump hoses this fall and the results are predictable … icy sidewalks, curbs, roadways and  yards. Slippery in other words.
— And what is with all these roofing jobs being done in December? Don’t those asphalt shingles   need heat to properly bond to each other? Isn’t that why they are done in the heat of summer? Not much warmth when the temperatures are below freezing with howling winds.
— And who was the genius who invented the rubber mats used at the handicapped ramps on local sidewalks. You might as well have sprayed them with water and frozen them. They are slippery and dangerous, as are the rubber mats used along the railroad crossings. Walkers beware.
— Another puzzling sight is all vehicles driving without headlights before dawn and at dusk. I see it every morning as the dawn starts to lighten the sky, but it is still dark. I was walking along 14th Street near Pryor Avenue when I saw a blinking light at Union Avenue. It was so dark I couldn’t make out what it was, but I soon realized it was a car blinker but no headlights. I wanted to shout “Turn on your lights!”
The same thing happens at dusk. Not sure how these drivers can see without lights, but I know oncoming traffic has a tough time seeing them.
— Finally, I pass by the “Street to Nowhere” (Judd Avenue between 10th and 11th streets) each morning to check on progress. It remains the street to nowhere … now snow covered.
Maybe it will open up next spring.
Rich Glennie was the editor of The Chronicle for 23 years. He retired Aug. 1, 2014, but still plans to submit an occasional column.