Six Years Later – The Snow Day

Through the magic of Facebook, I was reminded this week about some updates made in years gone by about snow days.  As near as I can tell I’ve written about them for six years.  Now six years later the snow day is a little different.

It’s been a while since I wrote here – not that there’s nothing going on.  Maybe its the opposite and too much is going on and getting to the end of the day and then writing just doesn’t happen.  Today wasn’t too different, except during this snow day – I took time to think about the changes in six years.

Flashback to when the girls were 10 and eight.  Snow days were much different.  The day was very hands on.  There was likely a trip to someone’s house (or having someone over), there was the juggle of trying to do work and keep the girls entertained and there was the sense that the day would never end.

Six years later the snow day is much different.  Today really started last night after 14.5 finished her tennis.  I dropped her at her friend’s house with a vague plan of how and when I would pick her up.  16.5 was home all day doing homework and working on prep for upcoming ACT and SAT tests.

I spent the day quietly working (I think I had eight calls and a constant email flow) and making a big pan of lasagna for the next couple of weeks.  Completely hands off to my kids for the day – other than cutting off some lasagna for dinner.

Six years later, the snow day is really another day – it would be nice if the girls were at school, but we all went about it.

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Four, 18, 16 – Back to the Grind

6a00d83452920069e20168e5b7589e970c-800wiSometimes timing is everything – for my kids the timing of winter storms wrapped around the weekend has meant a four-day weekend and extra sleep today.  So including today they will have four hours of education out of 18 possible since last thursday.  All because a grand total of 16 inches of snow has fallen over four days – but most of it during the height of the morning commute.  Today its back to the grind, sort of.

The nice side of the girls growing up is snow days aren’t the chore they once were.  The downside is now that the girls have gotten older, there are new challenges changes in schedule present.

For me, I still can’t get past the school being open just 22% of the allotted time over a three-day period.

You’d think running an institution in New York in the winter would prepare you the contingencies of snow without completely tossing the schedule out.

Before anyone jumps ugly, I get the safety issue.  But there is a broader issue about institutional awareness of the mission they signed up for.  Snow was falling and I was working.  Dig out the car the car and life goes on.

The girls are so immune to the whole thing, it’s just another day to sleep in for them.  There is no startled wake up at 8 or 9 thinking, “I’m late to school.”  Just lazily wander down the stairs and stare into the refrigerator and wonder what’s for breakfast – at the crack of noon.

Back to the grind we go.  Four hours of school out of 18, while 16 inches of snow (give or take) coats the grass.

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Cupid Undie Run Time Again

https://my.cupids.org/esd714

Please contribute:
https://my.cupids.org/esd714

Now that there is snow on the ground and temperatures have been closer to February like here in NYC – it must be time to strip down to my underwear and take to the streets of New York.  Yes it’s Cupid undie run time again.

If you’re new to my blog or to the run take a look at some of the pics on my Instagram (feel free to throw a like or a follow as well).  Then check back on February 13th as I’ll be adding more pics then.

The Cupid Underwear Run is a charity event raising money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation – so I am asking you to help and contribute.  Here is my personal page for contributions.  So you know I’ll also be matching the first $200 contributed this year through my company DTSG, LLC.

The logical question is why would I strip to my underwear and run around NYC?

As most of you know, Risa was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1997 and lived a productive life until her death in five years ago.  During that time, I saw first hand the damage a tumor can do to the human body and spirit.  As a parent, I can’t even begin to contemplate what it would be like to see my child suffering.  The nice thing about the underwear run is 100% of the money raised goes to CTF – there is no administration board to pay.
Look for pics on my Instagram next week – and please contribute.  It’s Cupid Underwear Run time once again.

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Blog Post About Nothing

Seinfeld MomentsMuch like Seinfeld back in the 90’s was a TV show about nothing, this will be a blog post about nothing.  Readers, you have been warned.

Over the weekend when we had the great Blizzard of 2016, I spent 9 hours or so live blogging the storm.  Just posting seemingly random updates to a single blog thread.  Looking back, some had some form of information in them, most did not.

For me, it was an exercise in writing.  For the first time in a really long time (perhaps every) I had achieved a near total case of writer’s block.  It’s been a few months since I’ve worked on my current book project.  It was weeks in between blog updates.  And I was struggling with the hybrid technical writing/presentation style I need to leverage for work.  I really can not recall an issue like that ever happening.

So, I went a little extreme and just set about writing sentences that loosely hung together.  The nice thing about doing during a large winter storm, with a leaning toward the “wussification” of at least New York State if not the country – I had a captive audience.  So thank you for bearing with me during this period where as Islander’s coach Jack Capuano would say, “he just has to work through it.”

Onto the “wussification” which I think is a pretty big issue.

First in my house – I realized last night as I was heading out to pick up a pizza, neither of my kids had ventured outside into the snow over the weekend.  We had more than two feet of snow at our house – and they were content to sit around and binge watch random stuff on Netflix.

Probably a sign of the times – but even at 15 and 13 there is no way I would sit out a storm when I was growing up.  Not that the good old days of drinking from garden hoses was so much better, but it didn’t have that “wussification” feel.

Then came the robo-call from the school district last night.  Two-hour delayed start to the school day.  I couldn’t believe it.  The snow had stopped in the wee-hours of Sunday morning.  I had been out a couple of times during the day (and I was at the gym at 6 this morning).  There were no issues.

The problem the district was trying to solve was “what if there is overnight freezing of melted snow.”  Guess what, for as long as it’s been snowing in NYS, there has been overnight re-freezing of melting snow.  I can’t recall EVER having a delayed start to school growing up  Another moment where “wussification” wins out over drinking from the garden hose.

That’s fine though – because it gives this blog post about nothing something of a payoff for those who didn’t heed the early warning.  Thanks.  A sneak peek – now that th e 70+ degree Christmas break is a distant memory and it feels like winter, I’m gearing up for the annual Cupid Undie Run in NYC.  you’ll see more here and get email from me, or you can get out in front and donate now here.

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January and Snow – Imagine That

StormTotalSnowFcstHere it is early on a Saturday morning.  As usual, the girls are asleep and I’ve been up for a bit.  Early Saturday is my prime time for getting things done.  Food shopping, dry cleaner and other errands generally fall to the time between 7:30 and 10 Saturday mornings.  Today, its January and snow – imagine that on a Saturday morning.

If you’re all geeked up about the weather, check out my friend and meteorologist Joe Cioffi’s weather page – it has all of the information you could ever want and presented in a usable way even to non-weather geeks like me.

I’ve decided to kind of live blog the snow storm today and all the twists and turns.

UPDATE 6:30 PM

I just realized I’m really hungry.  I did a bunch today (including the fire see?) and really have not eaten since around 11 this morning – outside sampling what I was making.  So it’s dinner time.

The pulled pork is done as are the plantains.

Took a quick peek outside, the snow is still ripping pretty good and the winds have picked up again.  The reality is, not making the trip to Brooklyn for the Islanders game is a good thing – so thanks to the NHL for preventing a mistake.  15.5 and I were just talking about all the games we saw at the Coliseum on blizzard nights – some of the best games.

The crowds were sparse (5000 tops), but loud and the home team always won which was amazing.  It made the slip and slide on the ice and snow home kind of enjoyable.  I guess those days are done and now if the LIRR is down so are the Islanders.  Such is progress I guess.

UPDATE 5:30 PM

fire placeDone with the cooking portion of this blizzard.  Made a banana bread with marshmallow icing (you work with what you have), roasted cauliflower, cauliflower burgers and a pork butt that is about to become pulled pork with plantains for dinner.

Since some things never change in my house, while cooking the smoke alarm went off, and true to form none of my kids even flinched.  It makes me feel good that nothing will ever happen.

On the upside of this snow day, the freezer has 10 cauliflower burgers in it for meals when I get hung up in an office somewhere and we’ll have a yummy pulled pork for dinner tonight – there is that.

I also have to get the fire going, once I do I’ll add a picture of that.

Otherwise, the Sick Day beers are really pretty good.

UPDATE 4:15 PM

Shoveling done – at least a path to my car.  As I was pushing through the snow drifts I wasA lot of snow wondering why I was doing all this.  Afterall, I have a Jeep and I’ll just drive over the snow at the end of the driveway.  Then I remembered.

There was a period of time when Risa was doing chemo over a weekend there was a better than 50/50 chance I’d have to get her to a hospital – either by driving her or by ambulance – so I would always have a path to the front door.  I guess old habits die hard sometimes, right?

On a brighter note, I almost forgot my purchase of a beer called Sick Day from Long Trail Brewing.  It’s pretty good.  Going to have a few of those, stoke a fire in the fireplace and work on some roasted cauliflower for the girls.

UPDATE 3:30 PM

Going to try to dig out at least a path from the front door to the car – just in case.  As I mentioned earlier, the snow drifts pretty high in the front of the house and it will take a bit to get through the piles.  It’s better now, than in case there is some kind of an emergency later tonight.  Out I go, back into the frozen tundra.

UPDATE 2:15 PM

road signWorkout done, and I feel better.  I’ve written about it in the past, I am one of those people who just feels better after working out, and I feel better during the day.  And I think I’m a better person.  I did the exercise routine I outlined at 11:15 – a nice 45 minute Tabata workout.

Even doing short intervals, working out gives me time to think, and given the “historic” designation this storm is getting – I thought back to hurricane Sandy.  So many of the issues we faced here were due to a crumbling infrastructure – that is largely the same.

Last night when 13.0 and I went out to dinner there we long lines at the gas stations.  On some of the Facebook groups there were reports of stations being out of gas.  There is only one reason for that – the lessons of Sandy and the reality that nothing is different so it’s on us to make sure our cars are filled, the generator cans (if you have one) are filled etc.

Then there is this gem of social media.  One of the variable message boards from either the Long Island Expressway or Northern State Parkway.  They are there in theory to convey important information.  How many times do you pass one that looks like the one in the picture though?  Yeah, its funny – but it’s no joke.  These are the problems that were here years ago and remain unchanged.

Enough of the soapbox.  Now back to your blizzard conditions.

UPDATE 12:15 PM

As is usually the case on the weekend, come the crack of noon both girls are up now. what-should-you-be-binge-watching-on-netflix-righ-1-22956-1374011179-42_big The usual weekend pattern has me coming home from the gym at this point, and 15.5 would be asking me for a ride to the gym (generally she does not like to be there when I am there).

Instead, I just took a banana bread out of the oven and I’m about to head downstairs to burn off some energy.

I’m looking over at the fireplace and I think after I take a shower it’s time to light that up.  I was just reading on Facebook a story about a family near our house that had a fire in their chimney last night, a solid reminder to get my chimney swept out.

At some point I’m going to put a pork shoulder in the oven for dinner tonight.  In the meantime, I’ve been watching Netflix for so long this morning it actually stopped to ask me if I wanted to continue watching.  That seems a little strange, but I guess bandwidth is bandwidth.

UPDATE 11:15 AM

6a00d83452920069e20168e5b7589e970c-800wiOne decision made – the NHL actually cancelled the Islanders’ game tonight, so 13.0 and I don’t have to venture out into the snow, and I don’t have to keep on top of the trains to make sure we don’t get stranded in Brooklyn.

In lieu of getting out and shoveling the drive way, I’ve decided sitting on the couch and binge watching Netflix is a better plan (for now).  I do have a banana bread in the oven, so there is that to look forward to I suppose.

At some point in the next hour or so, I’ll head downstairs and do this workout:

Set a timer for 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off
Go through this 6x:
1. push ups
2. dips
3. alternating t-rotations
4. supermans
5. glute bridge
6. flutter kicks
rest 1 min

To be honest, this is pretty much the plan I was going to use at the gym today, so not going isn’t the worst thing.  I find I’m more motivated when I trek out and go to the gym (or head out to a trail for a run) than when I workout in the basement.  But in these trying times of Snowmagedden ’16 we all do what we have to.

UPDATE 10:15 AM

So my plans to hit the gym are scuttled.  Just found out my gym closed (shortly after maxresdefaultopening) an hour ago.  I get it – it’s not safe on the roads and it’s not safe to keep employees in place.  But it is a service industry.

So, I’ll get a little workout shoveling snow today.  At our house in snows like this, we get a HUGE snow drift against the garage door.  It should be a solid workout knocking that down.

It will also give me time to think about a trip to Brooklyn to see the Islanders later.  As of now I’m thinking no, but that’s a decision that is still six hours or so away.

Despite the snow and the behest of many TV and radio reporters (who I did not even tune in to see or hear) I ventured out for my Saturday errands.   All in all its about 50 miles round trip to get produce, meat and staples from Trader Joe’s.

(As an aside, I never knew the mileage round trip until today, that seems like a lot for food shopping, gas and dry cleaning).

A couple of observations, as the morning wore on conditions definitely got worse.  Visibility went down considerably.

I also noticed there is a part of the population who clearly believes traffic laws become optional in the snow.  It wasn’t bad enough driving around on packed snow, dodging people running red lights in limited visibility was not so easy.

Also, for the part of the population who are already afraid to drive on a clear day – you’re the ones who need to stay off the road.  I get it’s snowing, but less than 15 MPH on a four lane state highway – even in the snow is just dangerous.

Once home (it took me more than 90 minutes round trip) I discovered my BBQ actually blew over in the winds.  So back out I went to re-right the grill and make sure there was not a propane leak.

Check back throughout the day I’ll add more as things unfold.

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The Two-Hour Delay

Two Hour DelaySo here I sit, in relative quiet in my house.  Morning TV news in the background is really the only thing breaking the silence.  For a Monday at seven that is not usual.  Today, we have another two-hour delay in our school district.  What to do with all that extra time?

As things have gone this winter, each snow event has been unique.  In this case, 12.5 and I were at the school because 14.5 is on the crew for the production of Grease when.  As the Sunday afternoon snow kept falling, I kept checking for word of a cancellation of the play.  But as they say on Broadway, the show must go on.

So, into a moderate snowfall we went to join 14.5 at the high school.  Sunday was a double performance.  14.5 had been there from noon, we were going to the 7PM showing.

As 12.5 and I got to our seats, my phone rang.  I answered it standing in the high school auditorium to hear our district superintendent share the word of a two-hour delay for today.  The irony was not lost on me.

The snow was picking up again outside, I was inside the school auditorium, the show would in fact go on – and tomorrow (today) would start with a two-hour delay – with a chance of cancellation.

So, I’m up actually earlier than my normal time checking emails and websites waiting to see if they actually cancel school.  My gym is opening late and morning group fitness classes are cancelled (there is a boot camp on Monday’s I like).  I did manage to take the garbage out to the curb.  I have a pumpkin bread baking in the oven.  I’ve achieved in box zero for my work email (first time in two months).  And it is relatively quiet.

Still, I could live without the two-hour delay (again).  But I’ll go get the girls going in a bit and we’ll get the day started at nine this morning – instead of the usual seven.  Just a two-hour delay.

 

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The Longest Winter Days

FireplaceFor the third time (already) this winter the girls are home from school due to weather.  That’s on top of one late start to the school day and two early dismissals (one of them was after just two-hours).  Making these the longest winter days.

Without passing judgement on the school district for making these decisions, these are the toughest days for a single parent.  Plans get changed on a dime.  For me meetings are canceled (or become calls) and the day becomes part entertainer, part line cook and part clean up behind the girls.

I suppose the silver lining to all of this is being able to sit in front of my fireplace and work the day away.

From the time Risa went to hospice through every decision I make in the house, I try to manage and sustain the routine.  It’s certainly not an easy thing to do, but I think worth the effort.

But it’s not easy.  The longest winter days are the ones like today.  Where its shoveling, working and heading out with the girls.

Of course it would be far better if 13.5 actually wore gloves when she went out to play in the snow.  And maybe 11.0 can grab a drink before heading out so we don’t get all bundled up only to pull everything off 10 minutes later to deal with thirst.

It also wouldn’t be bad if either girl picked up the shovel.

But that said, another snow day in the books – and based on what the meteorologists are saying there are more to come (this week).  So, dig out the car and dig in for the longest winter days.

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Winter Wonderland – The Early Dismissal

First snowman of the season from the winter wonderland that really wasn't.

First snowman of the season from the winter wonderland that really wasn’t.

In my fourth winter of being a single parent maybe, just maybe. I am starting to get a feel for this gig.  With snow in the forecast for today, I swapped my two in person meetings from today to tomorrow and planned a work from home day.  The forecast was for snow during the day, which in our district (and in our town) now means early dismissal.  So as the area became a sort of winter wonderland, the early dismissal was called.

The town we live in on Long Island is notorious for doing a bad to awful job in snow removal, and that factors heavily into the school open/closed equation since there is a four lane state highway that bi-sects the community.  One way or another kids are being bussed.

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Add to that the hilly topography and winding roads that head toward the beach, and you have some real concerns.

The final piece to the equation is a school board that is beholden to the bus company.  The company says close, they close.  The company says open late they open late.  The company says close early they close early.

So today, as the snow was tapering to flurry and I was wondering if I would even need to sand the drive way tomorrow morning before leaving I got the call.  Early dismissal.

At least this time (for the first time might I add) I was ready.  I worked out with the girls the plan when I brought them to the bus this afternoon, and there I was when their bus splashed through a slush puddle to drop them off.

First “storm” of the season and near flawless execution, even if I have to ask why.  There was no winter wonderland for the early dismissal.

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Smash the Schedule Softball is On

rainoutIn a society of schedules and commitments, one of the ones I make for my girls each spring is softball.  This year only one is playing, and today on the day of the first schedule we’ve already had to smash the schedule.  Softball (season) is on.

The casualty today is related to the snow from last night.  So the 2PM practice at one of the fields became a 4:30 indoor practice.  The ripple effect scrambles plans to go to a movie this afternoon and deeper into the schedule.

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And this will go on through the middle of June give or take by the time the season and playoffs are done.  Ah, the life of rainouts, make up games and the havoc they wreak on the schedules.

To keep perspective, it’s a three-month commitment and we have accepted rules built around it (homework first, Hebrew school takes precedence etc).  I can’t wait for the rush home from the train station to get to a game and all the rest of the fun.

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Another Day To Juggle

juggling the calendarThe day started out normal enough.  Alarm at 5:30, wake up 12.5 at 6.  By 6:10, all bets were off.  A two-hour delayed start for school and I’m left with another day to juggle things around.

The two-hour delay means 12.5’s 7AM bus is nine and 10.0’s 8AM bus is 10.  There goes my physical therapy at 7:30, likely out is my 9AM staff call (or at least it won’t be as easy to manage today).

I don’t think these kinds of juggling acts are unique to a single parent household, but for the single parent there is not a lot of flexibility to make changes and still keep appointments and other commitments.  There has to be sacrifice.

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So, out come the chain saws for today’s juggling act and up in the air goes a lot of the plans.  While the plows clear the streets I’ve already left a message at PT, an email sent out to folks about today’s call, texts to the folks involved with the morning plans to recalibrate.

Up next, it’s the weekend.

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