Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Hey! You! Get Off of My Couch!

(post copyright 2015, Dawn Weber)

Cold outside? Too dang bad. Go to school.

You'll have to excuse me, folks, my inner Archie Bunker has reared his head. The kids have been off school since, oh, 1999 or so, thanks to a combination of Christmas break, snow and these newfangled "cold weather days," wherein school is canceled due to low temperatures.

It's not just my kids missing classes lately because of frigid temps; judging by posts from Facebook friends, the cold-weather cancel is now a statewide, nationwide thing. Still, I'm not sure quite when "It's cold outside" became a valid excuse to stay home. It wasn't when I was young.

In fact, NOTHING was an excuse to stay home when I was young.

"Twelve below zero? How about that. Bundle up and go to school."

"You threw up? Twice? Well, are you done? Then brush your teeth and go to school."

"There's a zombie apocalypse? The whole county is under siege? Here's an ax and a 12-gauge shotgun. Now go the hell to school."

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking That's a nice story, Archie Bunker.

And it's good, I suppose, for children to be warm and safe at home. On the couch.

For weeks on end.

Hey. It's not like my kids are bored or anything. No, they're engaged in several valuable, educational activities, such as snacking, Twittering, and dirtying every cup in the house. Also, they now have time to explore their many and various hobbies. My son in particular has a wide array of interests, ranging all the way from "Call of Duty: Black Ops" to "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare," and he maintains a bustling schedule that includes not only a PlayStation, but also an iPod and laptop. Not to be outdone, my daughter's busy snow-day regimen includes walking - all the way from the couch in the living room . . .

. . . to the couch in the sunroom.

Bah. I guess I'm just jealous. And annoyed. No one seems very concerned that I have to go out in this weather; there's no 5 a.m. robo-call telling me that the office is closed. Also, snow days are nothing but trouble: If I'm working, I have to find babysitting, and if I stay home with them, I have to keep my sanity. Nobody wins.

Except the children.

Oh yes. My kids' reaction to snow days?

"Snacks! Drinks! Video games!"
My reaction to snow days:

Well, I'd love to stay here with my afghan, laptop and coffee and continue grousing about school cancellations, but I have to work - of course I do - and anyway, it's about time for the kids to wake up.

And they'll really need this couch.


  1. We never cancelled snow when I was little for cold weather. I think they are too quick to jump the gun on cancellations these days :)

  2. Dawn, that is why I moved to Florida, snow days are easier to handle here. Bundling up means putting on a sweatshirt!

  3. Hilarious rant, Dawn! My favorite line was...um...the whole column!

  4. I am laughing so hard. We never had cold days off either, except the year that the pipes froze in the school and there was no heat for 2 days. Other than that, we went. My school district rarely even got snow days.....I'd be listening to the radio eagerly awaiting the news as the announcer read the entire list of closings for Cape Cod, and ended with, 'Sandwich schools are open.' And my dad chuckling and saying, 'go get ready, the bus will be here soon.'

  5. Love it. No-one but no-one gets snow days here. Or heat days. And indeed my family threw us outside with little regard to the weather. If it wasn't raining we were sent out. And some days (when we were particularly irritating) we were encouraged outside even when it was raining. 'You have water proof skin' we were told. And it seems we did...

  6. Optimist - I don't mind when it's cancelled because of snow or ice; I'm all for keeping kids off of icy roads. I guess it's the "cold-weather" cancel that's really got my goat.
    Ray - Yeah, you really need to bundle up when the temp sinks all the way to 50 degrees. I feel for ya! Not.
    Dave - Oh, I can rant with the worst of them!
    JoJo - That was pretty much my experience, too (blizzards of 77 and 78 aside - those were awful!) The occasional snow-day cancel, never a cold weather cancel. Never.
    Strayer - glad my ranting is good for something!
    Elephant - "when we were particularly irritating..." Love that line. I'm-a going to steal it! ;)

  7. LOL! Oh, my dear... I feel for you. I never got away with any of that snow day bullshit either. Of course, I grew up in California, but still -- you totally have my support

    Yet another reason I never had children. :)

  8. The wind chill has to be at least -35F for them to cancel school, but i do feel sorry for the parents. It does slow things down enough at work for it to be a catch up day, though.

    Why, when I was a kid we had to walk through raging blizzards at 100 below zero, uphill both ways. The teachers would break off icicles from the chalkboard and throw them at us if we weren't paying attention. Yep, that's what it took to get an education in those days!

  9. Jayne - "snow day bullshit." Love it. Stealing!
    Jono - The only good thing about snow days as an adult is that the ridiculous traffic that I normally have every day on the interstate is not as bad. That way, I can slide into the median without hitting anyone. Yay!

  10. We never had any snow days either. Our town was so small it was just assumed everyone could still walk to school. I mean, sure, the roads are undriveable, but you can totally still march through waist high snow. Uphill. Both ways. Bare foot.

  11. First time visiting/commenting on your blog. I smiled at this. We lived in Montana for 8 years; they never do snow days there. The secretary of my son's school just laughed when I asked her what number I called to see if school was on or not because prior we had lived in Santa Fe New Mexico where they close the school for anything and everything. The secretary told me in her 18 years as a secretary the schools were closed twice; once when Mt. Saint Helen's volcano sent ash their way and the second time when it was 20 below zero and the busses couldn't run. Otherwise, they always had school. Son hated it. Just once he wanted to have a snow day :)