Saturday, February 27, 2010

School's Out

Yesterday morning, I awoke to a feeling of dread. I had gone to bed the night before knowing that big-time snow was arriving overnight, and before I even opened my eyes, my mind was racing. Would our kids' school be closed? Would I have to stay home? Would the snow impair my ability to take the kids out over the weekend to give Amy a much-needed break, in light of her not feeling well and having a midterm bearing in on her?

Even worse, what if the schools were open, but the amount of snow made using a car or a stroller prohibitively difficult? I could take Jada on the bus to her school, but then Amy would have to walk/carry Aaron through the snow to his school. I couldn't take both kids in the stroller if there was too much snow on the ground, and I didn't think I'd be able to take both of them by foot or transit, not with a heavy computer bag to lug as well. I resolved that if the schools were open and there was a lot of snow, I would pull them by sled, and hope that the front desk of the building where my office is would allow me to bring it into the building once I had dropped them both off.

Cautiously, I approached the window. A fair amount of snow, but not a total whitewash. I checked the ABC school closing website, which Aaron's school is pretty good about contacting. His school was not listed. I called Jada's school's main phone line, which they update if there is a closure or delay. I heard the usual voice mail message. So neither of our kids would have to stay home, I could go to work, and Amy could have some time to herself to recuperate and study.

Now if we could only get them to school. We decided it was barely OK to drive. We four piled in the car, Amy dropped Aaron and I off at his school, and then she drove off with Jada. I got Aaron set up in his classroom, trudged to my office, and breathed a sigh of relief. With a ton of work on my to-do list for the day, it was nice to be able to do it in the comfortable and solitary confines of my office.

My peace lasted 30 seconds. Amy called and told me that when she got to Jada's school, no one was there. She called their line and got the dreaded "we're closed today" message, which I guess they had added after I had called in earlier in the morning. I told her I would pack up my computer and files and head right back home to help her with Jada.

Jada was pretty good, even though I'm sure it was boring as heck to be stuck at home while both her parents were busy with their things. Amy was far less productive with us circulating around her than if she was home by herself. And let me tell you, I absolutely despise doing work at home, because it is a far less productive setting for me, especially when a little girl pops over to you every five minutes to show you her drawings or ask you to open something or launch into some story.

At one point, I moved myself and my computer into the TV room to provide Jada with some companionship as she was doing some crafts. A few minutes later, Amy came in, too, and a few minutes after that, she and Jada were playing Barbies. Let me just say for the record that I have not once, in almost four years at my current job and over 10 years at my previous job, had to concentrate on something work-related amidst a running conversation between Brat Barbie and her girlfriends.

Mercifully, I got a decent amount of work - though far less than I might have if I had been at work, it wasn't a total washout. At 5ish, I wrapped things up, grabbed the small stroller, and walked to Aaron's school to pick him up. Save for the very small side streets, driving didn't appear to be any problem; and even most of the sidewalks had been cleared. So maybe all of the school closings (all public and parochial schools had been closed yesterday AND the day before) was precautionary rather than necessary. Oh well. Yesterday's travails just mean I'll be extra thankful to get into the office Monday morning and be able to focus on my tasks at hand, without having to tune out Little Mermaid and Dora and Barbie.
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