Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Snow Day

Snow days. They're a fact of life here in New England. Each year, when we receive the official calendar for our school district, it includes multiple "Last Day" dates. "Last Day with no snow days," "Last Day with 1 snow day," "Last day with 2 ..." All the way to five potential snow days. At that point, we would be well into July and they stop counting.

Long gone are the days when you watched the local news and followed the crawl along the bottom of your screen to see if your school was closed. Instead, we have automated telephony broadcasts. With our contact numbers in the system, we get prerecorded calls alerting us to any schedule changes.

This week, with "snowmageddon" on the way, we received not one or two or even three calls, but exponentially more. It was entertaining actually. First the house phone would ring, then my office phone, then my husband's cell, then mine. And this happened multiple times. With the storm pending, they cancelled after-school activities Monday. Then school itself Tuesday. Then school, again, Wednesday. Meanwhile, the town called, using the same effective if rather redundant system to tell us that there was a parking ban and a driving ban, that we needed to keep the roads clear so plows could plow and emergency vehicles could get through.

Well, duh.

Sure enough, the snow came down overnight and we woke to a winter wonderland. Although we had slightly fewer inches than predicted (a mere 22 at last count), the winds had been tremendous, creating massive drifts around our house, up on our porch and completely covering our cars.

Since I work from a home office and — miracle of miracles — there was no power of WiFi outage, it was pretty much business as usual for me. 

For my teen daughter? Well, she did what teens do best. She slept in.

Once she was up and about, the day progressed fairly quietly. The storm continued. I had some ad copy due and some conference calls ("How much did you get?"). My husband shoveled, carving narrow paths through piles of snow so we could reach the street. My daughter watched back-to-back Gossip Girls while staying in constant contact with her BFFs via her iPhone. We all had leftover Chinese. 

Mid-afternoon, feeling more than a little cabin feverish, we ventured forth, my daughter taking a sled and a couple of friends to the hill behind a nearby elementary school, my husband and I walking down to the harbor. Thirty-foot waves broke over one of the harborside restaurants, which nevertheless stayed open serving "chowdah," "lobstah," rum and beer to stalwart locals.

Nice to know that the town has its priorities straight.

Back home, with a fire roaring, we eventually settled in and watched Downton Abbey. It occurred to me, as we sat under an enormous fleece blanket, that this is what New England families have been doing for centuries. Weathering storms together. 

Except, of course, for the wide screen TV and the on-demand entertainment, the WiFi, the mobile phones and iPad, the microwave popcorn and the Keurig coffee machine.

Otherwise, it's exactly the same.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks to the advancement of technology, you don’t have to wait long to find out if your school is closed or not. Hopefully, there will come a time when all schools will be equipped with those automated telephony broadcast systems, so that no student would have to wait for the TV broadcast, or risk going out on snowy roads. Instead of going out, they get to stay cozy and wait safely for the announcement at home. Cheers!

    Matt Wynan @ Innovative Defense Technologies