Friday, January 9, 2015

Evolution of the Snow Day

Having spent the majority of my professional life in education, I’ve got some serious knowledge of  snow days. The only time I didn’t have snow days was when I taught in Turkey but there the school year was filled with so many unexpected Islamic and government holidays that I had no idea were coming down the pike, that they were basically like snow days without the ass numbing temperatures and forced agoraphobia. Good times.
Reg and KLG - nice perms

Over the years the anatomy of my snow days has changed drastically. Back in the day, as a frisky young teacher with no one to tie down my restless soul, a snow day was a miracle sent from above. If it was an extra special miracle, the call would come the night before, providing time to trudge out to the corner pub and tie one on safe in the knowledge there would not be 25 hormone-riddled seventh graders awaiting you at 8:00am. If the call came the morning of, it meant that the morning would be spent in jammies with Regis and Kathie Lee while the afternoon bottle of pino chilled in the fridge. After all, nothing makes a snow day more magical than afternoon wine.

Later, as the mother of only one small Turk not yet of school age, snow days took on a new look. Now there was a sassy Midget to entertain and snow to be shoveled. Major suckage. Fortunately, a lengthy afternoon nap was required of a spirited young Turk who’d spent the morning helping Mom shovel out a narrow Philadelphia parking space and three feet of sidewalk. And of course, what does a mother/teacher on a snow day do while her little one naps? Afternoon wine of course.

You take the good, you take the bad...
Then there was my time at a boarding school. You know what sucks about a boarding school? No snow days. There’s no need for a snow day when all the kids and most of the staff live in the same three buildings on campus. Fortunately, we were one of the few families living with the civilians in town so I did get to pull the commuter card once or twice but the thrill just wasn’t the same.

Fast forward to last year, not working and home with a new Nugget and quite happy to now have a full-day kindergartener. The Nugget and I had a groove. We had quality nap time. We had our outings with other crunchy hippy mamas. We had a daily appointment with Dr. Oz. We had a totally full day before that giant kindergartener came home.  We had our groove and we had no time for snow days. Then that bitch, Polar Vortex, came and ruined it all with a complete week of snow days following the two weeks of Christmas break and then even more snow days as a miserable winter lingered on. Suddenly the Nugget and I had a third wheel and that wheel didn’t take naps. Our groove was not busted, it was obliterated until April. Rest assured, there was afternoon wine for sure, but this time it was strictly medicinal.

This brings us to the present. The world of teaching is much like the mafia, just when you think you’re out, they drag you back in. Though I swore I was done with teaching and the entire education field, somehow I got sucked back in. Is it the hours? The kids? The challenge? Who’s to say. One thing is for sure, it’s not the pay but when you have a low paying, high demand job one thing that makes it worthwhile is the fact that occasionally, when it is ass-numbing cold, you get a magic phone call telling you that you are legitimately allowed to take the day off and still get paid. That’s a quality perk.  So now a snow day is not a bust in my groove, it’s a day off again. At least that is what I thought until spending a full snow day with a sassy first grader and a tyrannical  toddler.

Here’s how it played out:  

6:00 – A day off!  I’m filled with joy and hope. Awash in the possibilities.

7:00 - I’m sipping coffee with Elmo while being smeared in oatmeal by toddler hands. Ah, well at least I’m still in my jammies.

8:30 - With the first, “Mom, what do you mean I’m out of computer time already! That’s not fair!” I’m hoping things don’t head south before lunch.  
9:00 - When the Nugget forgoes his morning nap to play with his big brother the concern begins to mount.

11:00 - I’ve already run out of “entertaining projects” for the big one and the little one is cranking because he missed his nap, I’m beginning to wish I’d gone to work. 

1:30 - The Nugget is awakened by his brother’s meltdown over math homework. Since when do first graders do multiplication?   I’ve got a bitter 6 year old, a hostile toddler and I’m desperate to escape. How long could I survive sipping coffee on the deck in -30 weather? I’m about to find out.

2:00 – Scrabble Jr. is not exciting enough.  Now facing the third round of Wii basketball. I despise video games. Where in the hell is my snow day wine? 

3:00- Nearing the 23 hour mark since we’ve left the house. The natives are restless and the wrestling begins. The wrestling is followed by racing though the house until one or both of them crash headfirst into a wall. The Nugget still has stitches from the weekend, if we have to go again I’m sure Child Services will visit. 

4:00 – In a desperate attempt to burn out energy, I pull up Denise Austin on YouTube. We begin to sculpt our buns into steel.

5:00 – The harsh effects of inadequate nappage is taking over the Nugget. Screams. Whines. Tantrum. Sleepy ugliness. Meanwhile the Midget is finally resting his newly steeled buns. Time to make dinner.

6:00 – The Turk returns and has the good sense to not ask, “How was your day?” Still haven’t had wine. 

7:30 – Putting them to bed early. School tomorrow. God willing.  I will have my wine once they sleep.

10:30 – Woke up under a snuggled Nugget. Slept through my wine. Slept through my whole evening. It would’ve been easier just to go to school.

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