I ran a lot of errands today, thinking it was my last moments of free time before two days of work and then a long drive home to Michigan. I went to a notary public to get some papers for my car purchase notarized, then to Fed-Ex to send off said papers, then to the post-office to send off grandma and grandpa's Christmas presents (wanted to go on Saturday, but was the blizzard prevented me), then to the MVA to get a clear title (the Mondawmin MVA was actually a pleasure - quick and courteous), then to Target for some last minute shopping.
I figured for sure we'd be in school tomorrow, until I picked up my friend in the early afternoon. Going up the narrow driveway to her apartment complex was tough - I kept slip-sliding around. And trying to traverse down the hill when another car came up it was impossible - literally, the other guy had to back up and let me pass because of all the snow on the sides of the driveway. We also noticed quite a few cars that hadn't been dug out yet, and now the plows pushing more snow on them would make digging out even tougher. I even got stuck a couple of times today, once parking in front of the Fed-Ex and once moving to the side for a car to pass in my Bel-Air/Edison neighborhood.
We also noticed all day that the sidewalks still had a couple of feet of snow, and that kids couldn't be walking on those sidewalks to get to school. In fact, the people who walked today were walking in the street, creating safety hazards, and thousands of schoolchildren doing the same would create quite a problem for the city and put kids in danger. Add in the increasingly icy roads (the sun melts the snow, a little, and when the sun sets, that melting turns to ice), and I began to realize that having school would be doubtful.
When I arrived back home, Baltimore County had already announced closure, so I began the ritual of clicking around to wbal.com, baltimoresun.com, and wjz.com. I find the former is the quickest, but today BCPSS was quicker. All teachers received an email from Tisha Edwards, Chief of Staff, at 5:48, stating, "Due to emergency weather conditions, Baltimore City Public Schools are closed tomorrow, December 22, 2009. Administrative offices are open. Essential employees, including all central office staff, are required to report to work. ".
I posted the message on Facebook, to let my colleagues and students, with whom I am connected, know. For about an hour, it seemed I was the only one giving out that information, as well as a few other colleagues on there. I almost got scared after a while, because none of the media outlets seemed to be reporting it. Finally, at around 7, the Baltimore City Public Schools website announced the information. I kind of like this apparent new policy of letting the teachers know firs,t and personally, over email before media outlets.
Now we're two snow days into a week that was already going to be crazy. I wonder about Wednesday. If school is canceled, it will be nice to get on the road early and start my way back to Michigan before this new winter storm (this one featuring freezing rain instead of snow) approaches on Thursday. However, I'll be disappointed to miss the department potluck and book exchange, and especially the annual Holiday Assembly. In fact, at this point, it just wouldn't be Christmas without hearing our choir sing, "Come let us adore him.. Kneel down before him.. Worship and adore him... EMMANUEL, EMMANUEL, EMMANUEL!!!" It's not very secular but it sure is awe-inspiring and gives me goosebumps every year.
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