Staff Columnist

Caught in a vortex of snow days

Kris Hartgrave, director of transportation for College Community School District scouts rural roads south of Cedar Rapids on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019. Hartgrave and others who scout the roads look for drifting snow that could make it difficult for cars and buses to pass through when weighing whether to delay or cancel school. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Kris Hartgrave, director of transportation for College Community School District scouts rural roads south of Cedar Rapids on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019. Hartgrave and others who scout the roads look for drifting snow that could make it difficult for cars and buses to pass through when weighing whether to delay or cancel school. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

“Snow day” was once so charming and nostalgic.

As someone who grew up on the frozen tundra of Northern Iowa, its mention evoked memories of sitting in dawn’s early dark, listening to the radio and hoping for pay dirt somewhere between “Alison-Bristow” and “CAL Latimer.” It was snow forts and sledding and cocoa.

Now, not so much. Snow days arrive by cold, impersonal texts. In bunches. Cocoa’s running low.

This relentless winter, this frozen White New Deal, has canceled my kids’ classes nine times. I’ve lost count of the two-hour delays. Compulsory public education has become a suggestion, thanks to all the vortexes, snowmakers and wintry mixes. Postponements are being postponed. Low pressure is leading to high anxiety for the planners and schedulers.

My wife, too, has been forced to work from home more often than she’d like. Our Valentine’s Day evening will be spent at a postponed band event. Not exactly a dream date, but we’re all making sacrifices to the ice gods, or that tipsy groundhog.

When our school district pulled the plug on classes Monday night, ahead of our latest ticket to a marshmallow world, my kids’ cheers were muted, maybe even a little disoriented. They’re supposed to be happy about no school. It’s in the rules. And yet, they sense something is very wrong.

The Gazette reports our forecast for the rest of February is “grim.” Forecasters are predicting below normal temperatures and above normal precipitation. Here’s to hoping they’re wrong. Otherwise, more snow days ahead.

Don’t hate the messenger.

I’ve prepared a list of fun snow day activities, based on data collected at our north Marion polar research station.

Dodge the chore — Kids see if they can disappear into their rooms before a parent finishes asking them to do a load of laundry or load the dishwasher. Pretend you can’t hear for bonus points.

There’s nothing to eat — Look into a refrigerator full of food and explain how it’s all inedible.

Phone stare — See how long you can stare at your phone screen. Eight hours? Amateur.

Guess the snowblower — Guess which neighbor is blowing snow by distinctive engine sounds.

Plow pool — Place bets on what time the city plows will come by and erect an icy concrete mountain at the end of the drive. Winner gets to stay indoors while others heroically throw shovels, snowblowers, dynamite and flamethrowers at the monster.

Baritone blowout — Baritone practice for the band event. And there is no escape!

Surly girl bingo — Eye roll, hiding in room, won’t get off couch, complains about a lack of snacks … Bingo!

Quietly listen to blowing wind chimes as you slowly go insane — pretty self-explanatory.

Where should we live next? — Gather ‘round the weather app and start hunting for regions where the current temperature is well above 70 degrees.

I hope these are helpful. In a month or so, we’ll all look back at this and laugh, as our ragtag caravan makes its way toward Mexico.

l Comments: (319) 398-8262; todd.dorman@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.