On most work days I get up at 4:25AM. This gives me enough time to shower, get dressed, take the dog out, feed the cats, make coffee, eat a sensible breakfast, drink coffee and read the local newspaper before driving 40 or so minutes to school in order to arrive early enough to find a parking space on the street before school starts at 8:00.
It snowed a lot last night and this morning the wind is howling with 40mph gusts and blowing sharp, icy snow around in swirls that look like white dust storms. I set my alarm for this morning a half-hour earlier than usual so that I could take extra time driving to work. I knew the schools where I live would be closed today, but I expected NYC schools to be open. Just to be prudent, I checked the procedures for announcing delayed openings and school closings, and re-read the protocols on what to do if schools need to be closed early.
I don’t know if it some macho thing or just recognition of the NYC schools’ essential role as day-care center cum delinquency & teen crime prevention agency, but New York City public schools almost never close for snow. President Obama chides the District of Columbia schools for closing for a little ice, but the Chicago schools close more often than those in NYC. Okay, Chicago usually gets more snow, but NYC is still stingy when it comes to school closings.
In NYC, school closings, if they are to occur at all, are announced between 4:00 and 6:00 in the morning. I checked the Department of Educations homepage to see if an announcement had been made for the first time at 4:01. Nope. I checked again when I came out of the shower. Nope.
I went downstairs, fed the cat, started the coffee maker and let the dog out. I enjoyed watching my aging Lab-setter mix became a puppy again as he ran and played in the snow with a big smile on his face (anyone who says dogs can’t smile has never owned a Lab or setter). Back inside, 5:00 now, I checked again. Aha! There was now a notice on the DOE homepage that said “Any changes in school opening times or school closings will be announced here.” Those teases!
Quick poll: should I drink a cup of the coffee I’d made and commit to being awake, or should I abstain in order to quickly get back to sleep if the schools were eventually closed? What to do, what to do? As I dithered around trying to make this decision I checked the DOE website relentlessly and ate a bowl of Joe’s-Os (those product placement guys need to discover the power of blogs) with blackberries (the fruit). Finally, at 5:50AM, I poured myself a cup of coffee, took a sip and checked my email. At 5:55 I finished my first cup of coffee and gathered my materials for the workday, and checked again. Still no announcement. I filled my travel mug, put on my coat, and was just about to put on my gloves when I decided to check one more time.
Now its 6:30 and I really regret that first sip of coffee.