Friday, February 7, 2014

Snow Day

The little town we live in prides itself on being rough and ready. Nearly 250 years ago, our fishermen not only fought the British for independence, but they were the ones who rowed General Washington across the frigid Delaware, effectively changing the course of the American Revolution. 

Historically, this is not a town that's afraid of a little weather.

Talk to my husband or anyone from his generation, and they'll tell you that in the 1960s and 70s, "snow days" were virtually unheard of. Kids were made of tougher mettle. They trudged through blizzards to get to school, uphill, both ways. Yada yada yada.

Well, not so much anymore, I guess.

These days, our district (like all the towns around us) seems very quick to cancel school. Granted, we've had some extreme weather this winter. And, there are probably cost and liability issues. But, it seems like some of the cancellations we've had were unnecessary.

The night before a potential snow day, my daughter and her friends use all of the social media at their disposal to buzz about it. They text and tweet and tumble and twitter. They check the school district website incessantly and tune in to the WBZ Storm Center to watch the crawl of schools that have already announced their plans. In some tribute to its hardy past, perhaps, our town is typically the last in the area to make the call. The high school students rejoice. And then the phone calls start.

Our automated system accommodates multiple numbers for each family. First the home phone rings, then my office phone upstairs, then my husband's mobile, then mine. And while I may complain that the district is a little too quick sometimes, it's even worse when they wait until the last minute.

This week, the phones rang at 5:00 a.m. Say what?

Thanks so much for the wake-up calls. NOT!

When my daughter was little, a snow day was a special treat. At that point, I was still working for an ad agency in Boston, an hour's commute away. No school meant that I would be "WFH," working from home. (These days, with my office on the third floor of our house, that little acronym has lost its allure.) We would bake cookies, do art projects, play games, maybe pop some corn and watch a movie. 

Now? Well ... first of all, my daughter, like teenagers everywhere, never seems to get enough sleep. So, as soon as the snow day was officially called, my husband snuck in and turned off her alarms. Both of them. When she finally did appear a few hours later, a little bleary-eyed in her flannel "Phineas & Ferb" pajama pants, she curled up on the couch with her phone. And that's pretty much where she stayed.

Let's see. She watched several episodes of "How I Met Your Mother" on Netflix. Then, she switched over to syndicated reruns of "Dance Moms." (I can't really criticize this; it's a guilty pleasure of mine too.) She was bored, but not bored enough to get up. Any suggestions I made ("Clean your room," "Read a book") were met with lackluster eye rolls. When I bothered to observe aloud that maybe, compared to long boring hours on the couch, there was something to be said for going to school, she looked at me with an expression bordering on the pity one might feel for the mentally deficient. I left her alone.

Despite my best efforts — I recently bought some SAT prep flash cards on Amazon — I'm no Tiger Mother. If I were, my daughter could have used the snow day to practice her violin. Or study calculus. Or read Proust. In French. 

Instead, we used the snow day to prove the second half of the theory of inertia:

A body at rest remains ... a body at rest.

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