Day 4

This is unprecedented. Tomorrow is the 4th day school has been closed due to cold weather. In the morning it’s supposed to be -21 and it’s quite windy. I don’t know what the wind chill is expected to be. But the other three days that we’ve been cancelled we haven’t had gusty winds like what’s swirling around right now.

Last Thursday was an unexpected closure. I was at school, working a gymnastics meet when I found out. You should have heard the excitement of those girls! Yes, they won their meet, but they were more excited about their day off. What’s different about tomorrow? Even though our contract has a clause in it that says we don’t have to report, the district is making teachers report to work. We’ve always interpreted this as when we’re closed due to bad weather.

“SECTION 4. QUARANTINE/CATASTROPHIC DISASTER LEAVE.  Teachers will be provided up to a maximum of ten(10) days paid leave of absence for quarantine by a health officer due to a contagious disease. The same will be provided for a catastrophic disaster that occurs in the teacher’s school and/or community which causes the closure of the District or the teacher’s school.”

Since there isn’t time to grieve/fight this, we’re going in. We’ve also been told on a robo-call that the district wants us to be productive. When are we not productive? We’re teachers for crying out loud. We’re productive in our sleep! I’m productive while I swim and think about how I’m going to resolve an issue or teach a lesson. I’m very productive while I’m at home too. I certainly don’t have to be in that building, at my desk to be productive.

Many teachers will have child care issues since most districts in the metro are calling school off tomorrow. I’m not sure what they’ll do. And guess what? It is dangerous to be out in this weather. So why do we have to come in? One word. Control.

Round 2

February 13th, 1984 was a significant date for me. I got my braces off. I was in 8th grade. I got them on when I was in 6th grade. I still remember how great it felt to run my tongue across my teeth and not have any metal obstructions. My teeth were so smooth. And now they were straight. I was one of those kids that had gaps between my upper front teeth. Afterwards, I had a removable retainer for the top, and a permanent retainer for the bottom. The bottom one was glued in and didn’t come out until I was about 26. Not too long after I got my braces off there was a little movement of a particular tooth on the bottom, in the front. My orthodontist at the time, did a little fix. That pesky tooth as gone out of alignment far enough that it’s bothersome and doesn’t have the structural support that it needs. Round two.

I will not be “sleeping in” on MLK day. I have an orthodontist appointment. I have my initial appointment to get Invisalign braces. They’re the clear kind that you remove when you eat, but most people can’t tell that you even have them. I’ve noticed a bit of movement/crowding for a few years. A colleague of mine got them in the fall, so I decided to look into it myself. I don’t think that I’ll be doing another 2+ year stint of braces again. I think my teeth can be fixed in under a year. When you’re done with the Invisalign process, your last set of liners become your retainers and you just sleep with them in. The interesting part of this will be the fact that you have to wear them for 20+ hours per day. I thought it was 22 hours per day. I guess I’ll find out for sure tomorrow. Every two weeks I’ll switch on the liners for the next set. I’ll get about five sets at a time.

My first orthodontist must be retired by now. Since I’ve had this issue brewing for a long time, I’ve had years to think about who I would go to if I had to get braces again. My next orthodontist is actually someone I’ve known for a long. His family went to my church. His mom is 93 now. I remember watching and observing this man through many stages of his life. I don’t think he became an orthodontist until after my 1st round. But since my round one was so long ago, he’s got a nice 25 years of experience now. And to make it an even smaller world story, a different colleague of mine is engaged to his son. The bottom line is that I feel very comfortable with my decision to do this again. Hopefully it will be a fairly easy and painless process.

Yes, it’s cold.

Is it unbearable? No. Is it dangerous? Yes.

I think it’s -10 right now. By morning it is supposed to be -23, or something like that. The current windchill is -33. How long does it take to get frostbite? Less than 5 minutes. So, if you’re not prepared for the weather, it is very dangerous. When it’s cold like this, there is a bit of unpredictability. Cars that are parked outside overnight may not start. Even after mine has been parked at school all day, there’s a bit of a protest from my engine when I turn the key. And mine isn’t that old! Because of this unpredictable and dangerous situation, the governor has cancelled school for the entire state for tomorrow. Am I excited about this? You betcha! But it really does make sense.

Whenever school is cancelled, due to a snow day or whatever, school districts are in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. People are mad that you cancelled because now they have to find daycare for their kids. People are mad if you don’t because it’s dangerous for their kids to be out in the poor weather conditions. So the governor calling it off for the whole state was a blessing. Superintendents across the state don’t have to make the hard call.

The other aspect of this that people don’t realize because they don’t see it, is what it’s like to be poor in this weather. Lots of my students don’t have adequate winter coats, hats or gloves. As I drive to school, I see numerous kids at bus stops wearing hoodies. No jacket, no gloves. Just a hoodie and jeans. I do understand that some kids just don’t want to wear a coat because it’s too bulky or not fashionable. But when it’s this cold, I think even those kids would give in to bundling up.

It was very nice to know on Friday that we had a 3-day weekend. My district did go back to school for 2 days last week. So it actually worked out rather nicely. Many districts weren’t going to be back in school from winter break until tomorrow anyway. So everyone is getting a bonus day. What will I do with my day? I’ll probably go swim. Yeah, -20 and I’m thinking of swimming. It will be a nice extra day to catch up on stuff around my house.

And if you need a little inspiration about the cold… Here’s an article about a guy from my church. He’s 90 and this cold weather isn’t going to stop him!

What to do with Smoked Salmon

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A few weeks back I bought some smoked salmon on a whim at Costco. The sample of it tasted good and I justified the purchase as being healthy. I thought about doing something with it over the holidays, but it didn’t quite happen. My cousin happened to post a photo on Facebook of an appetizer that she made with salmon. She got it from Cooking Light. I’m sure the recipe can be found in a magazine or online. But it’s basically the salmon with plain yogurt, wasabi mayo, capers and green onions. I didn’t find wasabi mayo and used something called “wasabi sauce” that I found by the flavored mustards. It’s served on slices of English cucumber. However, I’m guessing you could put it on a variety of things. The flavors are quite good together. I’m glad I tried it!