Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Long Winter

Beatrix is sick of us. At the same time, she doesn't really remember what a full week of school is like (the last time she had a full week in a row was before Christmas), and she is decidedly lukewarm on school, as well.

And tomorrow is another day off.

It's been a long weekend of waiting for the shoe to drop with the robo-call from SPPS announcing school would be closed tomorrow. Now I suppose we are waiting on Tuesday.

I'm mixed as to how I feel. The Saint Paul school district does not traditionally close school without a lot of thought. They are all-too-aware that they leaves thousands of families without childcare, many of whom can't bring their kids to work or flex their schedules so that those kids are at home all day alone. They know that, in many cases, that school lunch may be the only hot meal that many children get that day.

But they also know that their bussing contracts are — shall we say — less than ideal? And that many parents have to leave before their children in the morning, and those kids get themselves out the door with maybe no hats or mittens or adequate clothing, and that those busses will likely be late or not show up at all. And let's not kid ourselves; it sounds like deepest Siberia out there right now, and tomorrow is going to be pretty bad.

I spent two hours out in the field last Friday, on a relatively warm day, when we didn't leave the car as we drove around and surveyed neighborhoods. And I still came back with frostbitten feet (due to an old frostbite situation, I do succumb more easily. But still…). And that's when I decided that I think the school district is likely doing the right thing.

That first "Polar Vortex" day was a kind of fun day of bundling up and staying at home and "we're all in this together." But now we are all sick of it, and sick of the snow that happens when it does warm up just a few degrees, and sick of the relentlessness of this. And sick of staying at home; we can't even pretend we are Laura Ingalls Wilder anymore.

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