Hurricane Ida

By choice, I’ve not gone back through my blog to see how many times I’ve written about the weather.  I know it’s been more than a few times, and, when I have, it’s rarely been about sunny days.  I’ll just add this post to the list

Today, thanks to Hurricane Ida, it’s a weather day for my district here in north Alabama.  We’re some 400 miles from the Gulf Coast, but the dangers are still real. 

Thus, the weather day.

The decision was made yesterday, well before the first drops of rain fell here in our area.  That’s a tough call to make, but it was a good one, says the teacher who’s sitting with a cup of coffee and a laptop in his living room watching the rain fall outside.  

Good or bad, though, I have to acknowledge the perils of the “durned if you do, durned if you don’t” nature of the decision faced by district leadership.

If the decision to cancel school is made and the weather hazard turns out to be less than expected, you’ve got upset parents.

If the decision to cancel school is made and the weather hazard turns out to be real BUT there’s anything less than widespread damage, you’ve still got upset parents.

If you don’t decide to cancel school and the weather hazard turns out to be less than expected, you were still gambling with student safety.  (That said, the majority of upset people are teachers and students.)

If you don’t decide to cancel school and the weather hazard comes to be, you should have listened to the experts and made a different choice.

Durned if you do, durned if you don’t.  I do appreciate the difficulty of the decision.

As for me?  I’ll watch the rain and hope for the best while grading some papers, writing some lesson plans, and reaching for another cup of coffee.  

It’s My Turn to Write About It

There are so many ways I’ve thought of to start this piece.  

I thought about taking the random fact angle:  Until recently, I’d heard the word “nasopharyngeal,” but didn’t really know what it meant.

 Or the poetry approach.  I decided against it because, despite the fact that it always comes to my mind when I find myself actually-really-truly sidelined with illness.  Unfortunately, though, Dickinson’s guest who stopped for her when she didn’t have time to stop herself hits too close to home for so many, so I’ll just mention it.

I considered the dialog I shared with the nurse on the phone, starting with the sinking feeling I had when the phone actually rang.  They only call for positive cases, or so I was informed by the sign taped to the plexiglass partition in the clinic.

Sub plans.  I could have written about sub plans, but I thought that tack might not resonate with my readers who aren’t teachers. (Okay, I’ve only got a few readers, and my mom’s the only one who’s not a teacher, but still, it’s best to be safe.)

Finally, the ten days at home came to mind as a way to introduce the story.  Ten days of living in my bedroom with my wife holding down the rest of the fort.  It wasn’t a bad time, once I had my nest built, but it’s not something I want to do again.

I’m hesitant (but not hesitant enough, apparently) to add another thought after the “Finally” paragraph, but I could start by mentioning how the emotions around the topic kinda kill the pleasure of even writing about it.  

Yes. I think I’ll go with that.

The Perfect Rain

It really was the perfect rain.

—–

I stood in the living room, feeling a bit disoriented, a bit relieved, a bit exhausted, and a bit excited all at the same time.  The second day of school had ended three or four hours earlier, but I’d left the building just 15 or 20 minutes before the present moment.

It was a long day.

“You know what I’d like to do Saturday morning?” I asked my wife who was sitting in a chair, waiting to see where my just-walked-in-the-door brain was going.

“What’s that?” 

“I’d like to go for a hike.  Get outside.”

“That sounds great.  I’ve been wanting to do that too.”

Lisa and I enjoy hiking and being outside.  For a number of reasons, with my month-plus-long trip to Ohio to be with my family and the beginning of the school year high on the list, it had been over two months since we were on a trail.  It was going to be nice to get back out there.

—–

It was early Saturday morning, just before we were ready to leave, and we both looked at the weather apps on our phones.  I interpreted mine to say dry skies, and she decided hers recommended a rain jacket.  We each grabbed one, coming down on the side of reluctant caution.  Wearing a rain jacket during an Alabama rain shower in August tends to leave the wearer wetter on the inside of the garment than on the outside.  Humidity — ugh.

—–

We’d hiked for 40 minutes or so, and the woods were glorious despite the lack of a breeze and overcast skies.  The temperatures weren’t too high, and the humidity wasn’t bad.  

I turned back toward Lisa and said, “It looks like we’re missing that rain.”  

I was feeling pretty good about that, as my rain jacket was sitting back in the car.  The look on her face, though, let me know I was clearly missing something.  I listened carefully, and heard the tap-tap-tap of raindrops on the leaves overhead.

Bummer.

To her credit, I don’t remember my wife saying a word until I acknowledged the precipitation.  

The rain was light, though, and we’d continued to walk another five minutes or so through the woods before we could actually feel the drops. Even then, we stayed relatively dry. 

And we walked on.

We were at the highest point on the trail and the furthest from the car when the rain picked up just a bit.  Drops bounced off our hats and started to pool on our day packs just before, well, the rain almost stopped.

The woods were even greener with the wetness, the air around us cooled dramatically, and our spirits were buoyed even higher.  We walked on, mindful of the newly-slick rocks, but with smiles on our faces.

It really was the perfect rain.

Words for $500

Palpable.

I used to see that word all the time in the news and magazine or website articles.  Adjectives and verbs have runs of popularity, I think; they come in, burn brightly, and then fade back into obscurity.  

Yesterday I thought about the word palpable.  I didn’t use it in a sentence, and I didn’t speak it aloud — I just thought about it.  

My school’s faculty was leaving a meeting, and half of us (the other half, I’m happy to say) were heading to our classrooms to prepare for the parent orientation that was imminent.

Imminent.  That’s another word that comes and goes.

Our individual feelings, which, while they were different for all of us, were some variation of anxiousness or excitement.  They were palpable. 

Depending on where one lives, the new school year is upon us.  Imminent, even.  I hope it’s a good one for everyone.

Note: This post was written a week before it was published. It was the beginning of the school year. I was distracted and didn’t post it. Things happen. {smile}