The Call

The call came late. Later than usual anyway. Historically the phone rings at 5:30 a.m. on the dot. Today was 5:56. This new administration is sloppy. And seriously, a two-hour delay? There’s a quarter inch of snow on the street. “You don’t know what it’s like in the mountains, Dad. It might be really dangerous.” This is Sophie, but not right now. Right now, she’s asleep. But she says this every other time I complain to her about school closures for a dusting of snow.  She’s right of course. The school district is huge. Most of it on a low-lying plane. Rolling hills, sure, but no real elevation. And one gerrymandering arm, extending to the top of South Mountain. School closes frequently.

When I was a senior in high school, we had a snowy evening. After a few inches fell, my friend Scott and I went out sledding. Four inches, five inches. It was getting late, or late for a school night anyway. Scott and I packed it in. We knew our alarms would ring early the next day. Now, schools often cancel the night before. Before any snow falls, sometimes with temperatures still in the high thirties. Worries over litigation? Or is it our new found coddling of children. Possibly the same set of fears that lead cops to pick up eight-year-olds walking home from the corner store. Free-ranging children, their parents called them. It’s telling how we now have a term for kids being self-sufficient.

My work, I think, follows the school district. If the kids get off, so do I. At least that’s my recollection from last year. Although I could easily make it to work—I can walk if the roads are slick—I decided to drink an extra cup of coffee and write. The weekend felt too short, holiday shopping, entertaining and the requisite cleaning that accompanies that, the high school Christmas concert, and a party Saturday night, seventy miles away. There was no down time. No chill in our weekend. Best to eke out a bit more.  Plus, few things in life feel so perfect as sitting on a couch, drinking coffee, and looking out over a snowy yard—even if the lawn is poking up through the snow.

Weather forecasting has come a long way since the seventies. The night Scott and I bailed on our sledding, we got three feet of snow. Forty years ago, we never knew when the snow would stop or how many inches would fall. Last night’s forecast was so accurate, it seems like it was made in hindsight. Does that take the fun away? My kids went to bed certain they would have a two-hour delay this morning. If the forecast says snow, it’s going to snow. And if it snows, no matter how little, there’s always a delay. They miss out on the experience of waking up at eight o’clock, confused. Wondering if their parents forgot to set an alarm.

Regardless. I’ll take the delay. We’ll all be in a better mood tonight. The kids got extra sleep, and I added two hours to my weekend.

17 thoughts on “The Call

  1. As a former teacher, I think 2-hour delays are the best. They don’t have to be made up like snow days! 🙂 Going into school at 9:00, rather than 7:00 was always a treat. I guess I am the “no one” who comments on a post like this!

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    • The 2 hour delay makes for a very relaxing morning in my house (well, not for Susan, because she was out the door by 6:45 but the rest of us enjoyed it. Per Sophie last night, early closure is best, then 2 hour delay and then full day off. And Eli this morning: “Based on the weather report, we’ll probably be off school this afternoon too.” Don’t think that’s going to happen though. It’s nice to see the two of them agreeing on something.

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  2. Teachers, even retired ones like myself, live for SNOW DAYS!! I still watch to see if my old school district is closing. Yep. They called it about 9:30 last night. Forecasters are not always so accurate here, depending on whether the band comes up the I-70 corridor or the I-44 corridor, there can be a big difference in the depth of snow across the metropolitan area. If the band slips an inch on the radar map, oops 2 inches instead of 2 feet feet of snow. Just like when I was teaching, my snow day routine is soup making. Since it began snowing Sunday, I considered it a snow weekend. I now have taco soup from Saturday, cheesy potato soup from yesterday, and will soon begin chicken rice soup. Stop by for lunch if you like soup. (I’m guessing we have about 6 inches of snow and it’s coming down hard. Just noon and will snow into the evening.)


  3. No snow days in SoCal. The only time school closed was during the fires when the air was full of ash.
    My ex was born in U.P. Michigan so he knew about “snow days” and every once in a while we’d keep the girls home and call it a “snow day”. It’s great for mental health!

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  4. We had freezing rain in the afternoon and they sent the kids home and hour early. Then it stopped. It’s now wet, but not icy out. I still can’t catch up. I feel like I have a list a mile long (and all I want is a good sit on the couch).

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  5. Glad you got a few hours to recuperate after your busy weekend, Jeff. I agree. There was something strangely charming about those unexpected Currier and Ive’s-ish snowstorms… a surprise white blanket when we opened the morning curtains.

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  6. Where I grew up outside Seattle we had occasional snow days, but I don’t remember a lot of them. What I do remember is my father letting us know when the temps were predicted to get below freezing at night (he was in aviation and had access to better weather forecasts than most). My brothers and I would hose down this large, concrete-covered space that was a play area with basketball hoop and posts for badminton and volleyball nets, turning it into a hockey rink! Or more accurately, an nighttime ice soccer field because we didn’t have hockey pucks or sticks or any clue how to play the game. Oh god, the bruises, especially to hips and elbows as we and most of the neighborhood kids slipped and fell trying to kick a soccer ball between goals until bedtime.

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