Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Weather...

When you don't know what to talk about... you always talk about the weather..

That is one of the funnest parts of winter. One time, a couple of years ago, on a day where there was a pending storm (something like today, actually) I conscientiously kept track of how many people I spoke to, either in person or by phone, and I kept track of how many of those people mentioned the weather. It sort of got funnier as the day went on, and the snow came down. After a morning of snowfall, and threatening freezing rain... I spoke to 41 people... can you guess how many brought up the weather.. unprompted. ... did you guess.....

31... that is 75%.......not sure what that means.. and why I did it, but it is fun to be aware of it.. while its happening.

Let me tell you about my day today... well, as usual, I have to give you a little history first.
On the rarest of occasions, school is cancelled during the day and we send kids home unexpectedly. The board gives us 2 hours notice usually, and in that time we need to contact each parent to let them know that there little 5 to 10 year olds are arriving home 3 hours early. This is not an easy feat. Each classroom usually has a phone tree created with all kinds of contact numbers on it for each parent. Then we have staff from the school call the top caller on each list to start the tree.. its a 2 hour marathon of phone calls, messages, worried kids, stressed parents and usually a raging snow storm going on outside... We have strings of parents driving in the crap weather to pick up their kids so they won't have to come home in big heavy safer buses!!! geesh.. ok.... that's the "norm" of these occasions..

TODAY.... pending snow storm, ice pellets, freezing rain mixture. Its been coming for 2 days. BUT, not suppose to hit our area until afternoon... OK, this is NOON CANCELLATION written all over it... On any other similar occasion, I get stressed.. ... I don't sleep... I pull the phone tree's out of the file, and line up staff members and give them the pep talk on what we have to do before it actually happens.. BUT NOT TODAY..... you know why..............Ha ha hahahahhhhhaaaa
We have a SCHEDULED noon dismissal all planned so we can do an inservice this afternoon. If the cancellation happened, we wouldn't have to call all those parents, and take and pass on a million messages to the children about where they should go instead. The lightness of my body today was almost boastful!! Oh, man, I think I even bragged last night at curling that I didn't have to worry about a noon cancellation because we were going home anyway!!
so.. Today..... the TIME is 10:20am.... the call comes in.. hee hee... I already knew it was going to happen.... cancellation... students will be released 2 hours earlier than normal... WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT.... 2 wait, is always 3 hours... 3 hours means noon..... 2 hours means 1:00pm. We stood in the office, just Stacy and I.... looking at each other. I think I felt someone bite me right in the butt.... it started to become clear... and then we called the Principal in to the picture... and we explained.
Our noon dismissal for the inservice had now been cancelled. The buses were needed for the other schools.. who were released before us... and we now had to have our students go home at 1:00pm. And guess what, not one student has a lunch. We were sending them home before lunch, and now, they are staying until after lunch. And some of these kids wouldn't get home until 2pm. And, 500 families are expecting their kids home for lunch, not an hour later... so what does this mean, ................WE MAKE ALL THOSE FLIPPIN PHONE CALLS ...and....we have to feed those kids. We have not cafeteria staff on today due to the dismissal... and we have no student supervisors on today either....AHHHHHHH

What did we do.... we had a blast, really. The phone calls began, and we as a group started a plan. Someone went to the grocery store, while someone else put large pots of water on the stove... We passed along messages to the teachers about the change in plans, and called as many staff who were at home (supervisors, etc) for the playground and cafeteria.
Then, we (not me, I was on phone detail, but our school staff) proceeded to prepare hot dogs on white bread, with ketchup for a "snack" for every child in the school. The kids thought it was truly a special day, to get a free hot dog lunch and extra long recess outside. After the kids ate, they got to play outside until the bell rang to go to the buses... The storm really didn't hit until well after all the kids had safely gotten home and we had plenty of time to call all the parents and if we couldn't reach them, it wasn't a big deal, since the parents were expecting them home for noon anyway.
All in all... I went to work stress free, and left stress free.... in between, there was some tense moments.. and a bit of panic, but once we all pulled together, it went off with out a hitch!!! and we didn't lose anyone.


GailM. said...

Oh, that's funny. Free hot dogs.. What fun.

I wonder if I should put my name in at the local school which is right across the street. There must be times when they could use a good hot-dog cooking grammie at times...

cpm said...

even though I was there for the craziness of it all (but in the safety of my classroom not the mayhem of the office) it was still so fun to read about! hilarious!
Hot dogs with white bread...completely disgusting! BUT the kids loved it. My little Austin said "this is the best day of school hot dogs and a long recess! cool!" good grief!
Thanks for organizing US all. We appreciate all your hard work. NOT volunteer to cook hot can't imagine what 500 boiled hot dogs smells like...GAG!

Jill said...

Oh...My...God! What an exciting day!

Poor Chantal doesn't like the smell of Subway either.
I'd have been all over those boiled hotdogs and white bread!

Miss You!

Anonymous said...

OMG!!!!! I never ever would have thought about your early dismissal being cancelled - the hightmare just doesn't stop does it?!! And I was worried about your afternoon inservice when your school certainly had bigger things to worry about!
Not surprised to read about the quick thinkers and the amazing way the crisis of lunch was avoided! What fun for the kids!

donnadee said...

Like the hotdog idea. Our kids go home at lunch so wouldn't have the same problem. We did have a morning cancellation. The buses never made it til the regular bus time and we had the kids waiting for about an hour. We are the last run for the buses after the other 4 schools in town. Only 3 buses not like Kingston. Bus time usually is very quick!