, , ,

So far my kids have never experienced “snow days.” These types of days were not built into the calendar in California. At least not where we lived. Maybe the Tahoe school district has snow days.

California’s weather is pretty predictable. It’s either sunny or in winter you get some rain immediately followed by more sun. There is no reason to ever expect school to be canceled unless the Zombie Apocalypse is upon us. Even then, I’m sure people would assume the zombies were regular people dressed for Halloween, a running event, or a day in San Francisco!

A fear I had with moving to the great Northwest was snow days. Washington is not equipped to deal with snow. So they cancel everything in the event it does snow. Snow days are built into the school calendar. If they are used it’s fine. If not, the kids get them in the spring as extra vacation.

My fear had more to do with wondering how I would ever know if school was canceled. I have also heard of two hour delays for school. That’s where something is going on that makes going to school difficult but the administrators have good faith that it can be resolved soon so they declare school starts that day two hours later than normal. But how do people know this? I decided to get in the habit of watching the news.

I watch KOMO 4 news in the morning. Mostly for Bus Stop Benny. He’s a cartoon guy that they show dressed in the appropriate attire for the weather on any given weekday. Bus Stop Benny let me down this week. He was dressed in rain gear so I told my kids to dress accordingly. Gavin told me I was crazy for putting so much trust in the news. Sometimes they are wrong. Just to prove his point, the day was sunny and quite pleasant.

I knew yesterday was supposed to be rainy. Wally Weatherman said so and my phone’s weather app confirmed. Bus Stop Benny was in his rain gear again. The rain held off all the way until Gavin’s Cross Country Meet. It felt like Chinese Water Torture. Tiny little sprinkly raindrops would fall like shards of ice on my knees. The wind would gustily blow like stepping in front of an air conditioner blasting frost off a glacier. I know this is what I can expect at Cross Country meets but I was cold and feel entitled to whine about it!

The weather gods were predicting a nasty storm for last night. My meeting ended with nary a sprinkle in the sky, despite the downpour predicted. The sky did open up later. Rain mixed with howling winds. We were completely cozy in our beds with visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads.

Blissful silence was shattered by loud ringing bell tones and a hint of techno bird chirping. Heath and I startled awake. He went for his phone thinking it was the alarm. I wondered what was taking him so long to dismiss it. The alarm clock on my nightstand glowed 5:02 am.

“What is happening!” I exclaimed as I realized my phone was ringing.
Somebody better be dead.

It was a local number which means absolutely nothing to me since I haven’t programmed any names to go with the texts and phone calls I get on my cell phone. Remember when I wouldn’t even give out my number in order to avoid unwanted phone calls? I have given it out for texting purposes but people seem to have missed the texting memo. I get a lot of cell phone calls. I miss most of them. It’s like I don’t want to be called on my cell phone!

And here it was 5:00 in the morning and somebody was calling me. So not okay. The cacophony ended. A second later the text alert chimed.

“Text me before you call!” I growled.

Huffily I squeezed my eyes shut again hoping to recapture my fleeting dream. No such luck. I could hear the wind blowing hard outside. I reached out to see what the text was. You know, just in case somebody really did need my help in the middle of the night.

The text read that Gwen’s school was canceled today due to a power outage. That was it. Given that it was four hours before school even started I really wondered why anyone came to that conclusion. Power outages can last anywhere from a few minutes to hours to days. What happened at the school that they felt the need to wake up every student body parent hours before anyone needed to be alive, simply to say that the power was out so don’t bother sending your kid? I mean really!

Heath sounded like he was able to enjoy a few more minutes of sleep before his phone alarmed him awake at 6:00. I never did go back to sleep. He got up to go through his morning routine and I turned on the TV, which is my morning routine. They never said anything. It was in the crawler that the school had canceled classes for the day due to a power outage. That was as much as they ever said.

I finally listened to the voicemail and it was just as vague. The only extra detail was that Gwen’s school was the only school in the entire large school district that was canceled for the day.

The boys got off to school as usual and I let Gwen sleep as long as she wanted. I figured that was a nice thing to do. She woke up all in a panic at 7:40, upset that she had slept so long. We teased her a little and said that maybe she shouldn’t go to school since she overslept. Her expression was classic. She looked back and forth between us for several seconds and finally said, “I know you guys are joking …” She didn’t finish the thought. It was as if she couldn’t figure out why we would even suggest something as ludicrous as staying home when she clearly still had 45 minutes to get ready.

My phone started ringing. Again I had no idea who the local number belonged to. Heath suggested it was the school calling to say just kidding. The funny thing is he was right!

A cheerful pre-recorded message exulted over the good news. The power outage had been resolved and school would begin on time! Buses would all leave on time. If child care plans were already in place the absence would be excused.

Gwen’s face fell. She couldn’t believe it when we told her if she promised to take a bath and clean her room she could stay home. We had just admitted school was canceled when, speak of the devil, they called to take it all back. I think that is plain mean. I really do. They woke me up from a dead sleep to cancel school, made me rethink my plans for the day to include my kid, and then called to say just kidding. Oh but if you don’t want to send your kid we understand. Whatever!

Heath quickly went out for McDonald’s breakfast to smooth over the craziness of the situation. I made Gwen a lunch and got her all ready. We both decided to walk her to the bus stop. I haven’t been going with her to or from the bus stop for quite some time. She is old enough to walk there on her own. She even walks with a boy across the street. They leave at the same time but if she leaves one minute after him he will come to our house to wait and vice versa. Well, he lives down a lollipop street so she waits for him at the end of the long driveway.

We only went with her because first, I didn’t know about the deal she had with Carson. And second, I wasn’t sure how many kids would take advantage of the free absence. It felt weird so we went with her. There were a lot less kids at the bus stop than usual! What a crazy day.

I just want to know who made the decision to cancel school when they could have done the two hour delay instead and saved everyone a lot of grief. There was another school district on the news crawler that did that. It just seems to me that decisions regarding school closures should start at the bottom and work their way up in severity if needed. Not start at the top as if the sky is falling! My Halloween wreath blew off the door but the sky was certainly not falling.