The NYC Public Schools are closed today, and city parents are expecting the rest of us to feel bad for them. Allow me to rub a little salt in their wounds. My kid went to school today. For once.
And the first thing I did this morning was get on Facebook to write out a thank-you to the snow gods. Happy dance! Listen, New York, I get it. You've been lucky. Today marks only the seventh time since 1978 that the NYC school system has been closed because of winter weather. Now let me explain what life is like for those of us out here in the real world.
The meteorologist starts warning that a storm is coming in. Our kids start war whooping and screaming SNOW DAY at the top of their longs. They refuse to do their homework because "Moooooom, I will have an extra day to do it."
Then comes the scrambling for the phone chain. Because now you have to figure out either: A. Someone to cover your shift at work so you can stay home with the little brats darlings or B. Someone to babysit. When both fail, you turn to your husband for the same conversation you always have:
"Honey, can you take a sick day tomorrow to stay home with the kids?"
"Sorry, honey, big project starts tomorrow. No can do. Why don't you stay home?"
"Because I called in sick LAST week when they were home. That's why. Can't they start that big project without you?"
Big sigh. "Can't your mother do it?"
You know what, forget it. That conversation is going nowhere. So you resort to the most logical and advanced method of solving this. Rock, paper, scissors. The loser goes to bed in a huff. No sex tonight, huh, honey?
Fast forward to the next morning. Your phone will ring at about, oh, 4:53 a.m., just as you finally hit your REM cycle after tossing and turning for four hours over the stress of calling the boss, yet again, for a day off because of snow. "Hello, this is an important message from Blah Blah Blah Central Schools. We're totally screwing you over cancelling school because someone threw an ice cube in the road. Have a nice day!"
Yes, I've heard "have a nice day" and "have a nice weekend." I know they're trying to be polite. I take it as a kick in the ribs (and I told the superintendent about that last week when I ran into him in town. He laughed).
Anyhoo. Half an hour later your actual alarm will go off. But it doesn't matter. You're already wide awake. And so are the kids. Because on a regular school day, they are a bear to pull out of bed. But on a snow day, they are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. And hungry!
"No cereal this morning Mom. You're home, can't you make the pancakes with the chocolate chips? What do you mean you haven't had your coffee yet? Coffee, can we have coffee?"
You will say no, but they will spend the remainder of the day bouncing off the walls as though they actually drank the whole pot on you (maybe that's why there was nothing in the carafe when you hit the bottom of the stairs?). They will alternate between demanding you allow them outside to play in the snow and whining that you actually asked them to carry the bag of ice melt out to the front steps and throw down one measly cup so the UPS man doesn't break his leg and sue you.
You will play every board game in the house and read every book on the top shelf. You will become intimate with the inner workings of every Phineas and Ferb project made this season. And you will collapse, exhausted on the couch.
At which point the phone will ring again. "Hello, this is an important message from Blah-bitty-blah Central School. We are cancelling school again tomorrow. To make up for it, your child will be GOING to school on that one Monday you actually took off from work because it was on the school calendar as a superintendent's conference day. You know, the one filled with all the kids' dentist appointments and sports physicals and trips to see great-granny at the nursing home. Have a nice day!"
So, parents of the NYC Public Schools, my apologies. I just don't give a rats patootie how hard you have it today. Do you?
Image by Jeanne Sager