Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cranky old man alert

For people 30 and younger, today’s reaction to our “winter weather event” probably seemed normal. It snowed an inch, so schools across the area either had a two-hour delay, or more typically, canceled classes. For people my age (old), it’s a joke. We remember the days when 3 or 4 inches of snow wasn’t even a blip on the radar when it came to having school. We had it, and we never thought our lives were being endangered. Heck, we live in Western Pennsylvania, and it snows in the winter. Back in the '60s and '70s, when I was going to school, it seemed to snow a lot more, and if school was canceled then, kids knew there’d be enough of the white stuff to build a snow fort. We actually had someone write a letter to the editor recently complaining that their school district didn’t take action to protect the children when a storm hit. Maybe I’m suffering from short-term memory loss, but I don’t recall a single “weather event” this entire winter that should have required a cancellation, and very few that warranted any sort of delay. The letter writer said that “in the last two years, our kids have been sent out on snow- and ice-covered roads too many times.” Um, dude, grab yourself a map of the United States and check out where you are. There are going to be plenty of snowy days here between November and March. This winter, in particular, we seem to have had a lot of little snows. What are we supposed to do, shut down schools in these troubling weather times and have the kids go to school all summer? And how many hours of instruction are our children losing because of the extensive use (overuse) of two-hour delays? I have some advice for those who want to cower in fear every time we get a dusting of snow: Move to South Florida.



Blogger Murphy's Cats said...

I remember standing in snow up to my knees waiting for the bus that would be up to an hour late even with chains on, and a kind lady who lived across from the bus stop would bring all of us kids into her basement and give us hot chocolate. We still made it to school though.

This morning a candidate called 12 minutes after his interview was to have started to say he couldn't make it from Brownsville to California (PA) - a 5 mile drive at best, and it was 11:20 in the morning - long after the roads were cleared. On the plus side, good thing we found out before we hired him.

January 27, 2009 at 12:19 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

You definitely shouldn't hire that guy. He's the type who would probably call off for three days because he has the sniffles.

January 27, 2009 at 1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up in Perrysburg, Ohio, a suburb outside Toledo, and in the 1980s it always seemed like our school district was either the very last to cancel in the face of severe storms, or would be the one hold-out in the region.

My favorite school cancellation was in September 1983 -- fog seriously settled in on Perrysburg and hadn't lifted by mid-morning, and so a delay became a cancellation. By lunchtime, it was a perfect sunny day with not a cloud in the sky...

--Brad Hundt

January 27, 2009 at 2:40 PM  
Blogger Murphy's Cats said...

No, we're not even rescheduling his interview . . . if he can't get here from Brownsville with 2 inches of snow, how the hell will he be able to drive a fleet car (Neon) into the mountains for business trips? This is an extensive travel job. He really blew it.

January 27, 2009 at 3:15 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Murphy's Cats... what business are you in?

January 27, 2009 at 3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I went to school in the late 1950s and 1960s, only about 20 kids rode buses. The rest of us walked, whether 1 or 30 blocks. This was when kids still wore galoshes and snow suits. I don't recall freezing to death or even catching a cold because of being forced to walk.

These days, with some school districts covering the territory of a small nation, I know busing is a must. And I have to commend districts that don't want their buses out on slippery roads -- especially when the government is too stupid to require the use of seatbelts on them.

But back to my original point -- kids are sissies today.

January 27, 2009 at 4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tried to go to Citizen's Library today around 1 p.m. and was welcomed by a sign on the door that said "Closed due to weather." Hmmm... someone got there to put the sign on the door. I am baffled. I believe this is the same library that recently was worrying about funding cuts, etc. I recently attended a development meeting at the library where they were talking about ways to increase the library's use and visibility. Here is an idea... open the doors! There were several high school-age kids who arrived when i did to use the library. Hmm.. so, many of the library staff are salary... so I assume they get paid for snow days?
How much money does it really save to not open. Snow days ... unless there is a horrific blizzard.. are days when young people may want to use the library.
Seems like the library panics like everyone else. Or are they just looking for a good excuse to have a day off?

January 27, 2009 at 4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

its seems like everyone has jumped on the 'winter weather event' bandwagon, its pothetic - just another reason to get people all scared and glued to thier local news. I dont even consider my self that old (30) and my memory is that even in the nether-lands of the mcguffey school district we wouldnt get even a 1 hour delay until there was at least 6 inches on the ground. My favorite: I work in new york city, and at some point in Decmber, on a day it had snowed maybe 3 inches MAX..I walked a few blocks (it was a slushy walk but i seemed to make it uninjured) to a midtown Citibank to deposit some checks at 1PM, only to find a handwritten sign taped the window reading "closed early due to inclement weather" sorry but the only response to that is WTF???!!!??!

January 28, 2009 at 1:48 AM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

I completely agree that the kids in school now are a bunch of sissies. I'd like to throw another idea into the discussion...

Litigation. I have long thought that the main reason the schools close when flurries last more than an hour is that the school boards are terrified of lawsuits. My goodness, what would happen to Little Johnny or Susie if the big, bad bus slid into a ditch?

Even if no one was hurt and most of the kids thought the whole thing was cool, there inevitably would be a lawsuit from some litigious, overprotective parent based on the trauma the minor accident might have wrought on his or her precious progeny. Of course, then the schools would have to bring in counselors and "winter weather event therapists" to soothe the rattled nerves of these kids. It's sickening.

Between the greed and the overprotection of the children, we're all going to have to move to areas with 72-degree temperatures all the time, and it only rains at night.

January 28, 2009 at 11:34 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Stay Classy San Diego!

January 28, 2009 at 12:19 PM  
Blogger Richard Dirt said...

when did you write this? Before Satan angrily upturned his massive mahogany throne and sent it dashing against his proverbial "brick wall" in hell?

Today was NASTY. Nastier than I've seen it in a while.

And it was also super pretty, I hope you got some photogs out in this mess...I took a sludgy walk/slide just to enjoy it.

January 28, 2009 at 11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree we have become wussies, but I will also say this. The snow removal in Washington flat out sucks. Actually, it can't suck because something that is non-existent can't suck.

I was in Johnstown for a weekend last February and the town got 7 inches of snow overnight. The next morning, the snow was mounded on the side of the road, the sidewalks were clear. Everyone was out and about.

It's all in how you handle it.

January 30, 2009 at 5:19 PM  

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