January 7, 2014

My Own Private Polar Vortex

It's a blustery six degrees in the nation's capital. Admittedly I made a smooth transition from my warm house to my slightly-chilly car to my office's underground parking garage so my first-hand experience is somewhat limited. But I read it on the internet and I believe everything the internet tells me. Plus people walking the streets of Monkeytown this morning looked fucking miserable.

What's odd is not that I'm at work but that my kids are not at school. No, school was cancelled today. Because it's cold.

Now, I get that six degrees isn't normal around here unless you're inside the heart of a politician. And I understand that school administrators don't want kids going all hypothermic waiting for busses. Blue children rarely learn math well. But, come one, it's cold. It's not like those Game Of Thrones ice zombies have suddenly moved into the 'burbs and are snatching kids from bus stops.

When I was in elementary school and it was cold out, know what I did? I put on five jackets, strapped tennis rackets to my shoes with bungee cords, walked five miles uphill through snow and ice and got myself an education. Okay, I didn't because I lived in Texas, carpooled to school and received a very poor elementary school education at a vaguely racist private school. But still.

Posted by Chris at January 7, 2014 5:59 AM | TrackBack

Word! I'm a few hours north of you, so a tad bit colder....no delay, school is still in session (as of now). Kid is being dropped off at school as opposed to waiting for the bus, but that's because she has orchestra practice this morning! I'm thinking we are all a bunch of wimps...yeah it's cold and this doesn't happen much, but it happens. Get over it! Unless you don't have heat and have to be out in it, then YOU get to complain incessantly!

Posted by: Cyndy at January 7, 2014 6:28 AM

Its all based on what you are used to. I'm in Minneapolis, and the schools have been closed the past couple days, since you can't have the kids standing on bus stops when the windchill is -50 degrees (Wednesday will have a high of 3, so the schools will be open). I can deal with the cold with little problem, but put me in south Texas in August and I'll melt in temps that other people are out playing tennis in.

Posted by: J at January 7, 2014 8:34 AM

Winter 1978 - I was in 5th grade at Grissom AFB in Northern Indiana. It was a brutally cold and snowy winter, and there was that energy crisis thing happening. To do our part to conserve, the base turned off power to the residential part of base for most of the day. This included the school.

Dead of winter, in northern IN, and the school has no electricity from about 10 AM to 3 every day.

Total school days cancelled? Zero.

We bundled up in class and soldiered on. Also, no busses at that school. We all walked in the cold. Everybody survived.

Posted by: COD at January 7, 2014 8:35 AM

School was closed here in Georgia as well (and no snow, just cold). That was not a surprise. The amusing bit was the email we got to tell us about it:

In the weather we are expecting, children would need hats, gloves, coats, and even face coverings, as well as appropriate shoes and socks to protect those areas at greatest risk for damage from exposure: fingers, toes, earlobes, and the tip of the nose.

I get that kids might not have heavy coats (I'm thinking about kids waiting for the bus whose parents can't drive them in), and I'm ok with closing the schools. But implying kids in Georgia don't have shoes and socks? Seriously?

Posted by: SarraJK at January 7, 2014 8:46 AM

I can understand why there's no school here in southeastern Michigan. It was -14 degrees on my way into work this morning, with a wind chill of -35. I've lived here most of my life and it's never been this cold.

Posted by: Carolyn at January 7, 2014 8:48 AM

-8 baby! Yeah! (And that's actual temp. Wind chill makes it something too terrible to comprehend.)

Posted by: Erin at January 7, 2014 10:30 AM

This had me laughing out loud. Thanks, Chris!

Posted by: Mindy Lee at January 7, 2014 1:29 PM

It was more than minus 50 here (Saskatchewan) yesterday and school wasn't cancelled. It's never cancelled. Somehow we take pride in that :)

Posted by: Jodi at January 7, 2014 2:08 PM

yeah- I'm in Michigan, and no school for the kids here either. With the wind chill, it was -30 here. Colder than Fairbanks Alaska was today.
I'm really hoping the kids go back to school tomorrow tho... we had a snow day the friday before Christmas break, and two snow days this week so far. My kids need school NOW! (It is completely possible that I need them to leave for a while too...) Don't get me wrong, I love my kids, but you know that once you've spent three whole days in your pajamas, and only change clothes before bed so you can put on clean pajamas to sleep in, you need something to get you out of the house.

Posted by: Kim at January 7, 2014 10:14 PM

Hee, I never get tired of hearing about your fascinating elementary school experience. I think it's the ice rather than the cold they're worried about? And some areas of the country where it's normally warm just don't know how to handle this sort of weather (the ice, I mean). I think that's the real danger, although I am tired of hearing people who have nothing to worry about (read: where I live) freak out.

Also, I think "Polar Vortex" totally sounds like one of those shitty disaster movies Syfy makes now.

Posted by: Fraulein N at January 9, 2014 12:36 PM

Vaguely racist? Mine was pretty much full-on racist.

Posted by: dbs at January 11, 2014 12:05 PM
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