Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Late Start

Today is the first day in a week that I was willing to get up at 5:45 a.m. to write. The other mornings were filled with anxiety and dread over what's been happening in St. Louis, snuggles with my family (which overcomes the anxiety and are therefore worth skipping the writing), opportunities to sleep in (thank you, Thanksgiving), other obligations (Scout Mass, 5-mile walk) and an ice storm. That last one was yesterday, which is a story in and of itself.

When we went to bed Sunday night, I had no idea that there was the potential for ice. No clue that there was a chance school would be called off. I set my alarm for 5:45 and went to sleep. The alarm went off at precisely the same moment that the automated call came in from Zoe's school, letting parents know that due to icy road conditions there would be a late start of 9:15. So, when I swiped the phone screen to turn off the alarm, I answered the call before it ever had a chance to ring. As I came to consciousness, I realized my phone was talking to me, only I couldn't totally understand what it was saying because a.) it was sitting on my nightstand a foot and a half away, b.) I was still mostly asleep, and c.) my phone never talks to me after I turn off the alarm. It finally dawned on me that I needed to pick the damn thing up and listen, so I scrambled to get the phone unplugged and over to my ear, while still laying down and in utter confusion. Icy road conditions? Late start? What in the hell is going on? I couldn't comprehend at all. At this point, my machinations mean that M has figured out something is happening, causing him to ask repeatedly, "Aim? What is going on? Aim? Aim? What is it? What's going on?" I had to snap at him to shut up so I could try like hell to get a handle on everything. Thankfully the automated message had an option to hit any button to repeat the principal's message, so I was able to do that and hear it again, this time at about 80% consciousness. I told M that Zoe's school had a delayed start due to ice, which caused him to get up and hop/slide with his bad leg over to the window to look out.

At this point, I was slightly less confused and still trying to figure out how the hell I answered a call without the phone ringing, how I went to bed with no idea that a late start/cancelation was even possible, and what the late start meant for my morning. It meant this: Zoe would come in and we could snuggle longer before having to get up. I made a mental note to alert people at my work that I'd be late, and wondered why I hadn't received a call from them postponing the start of our school.

Which happened a few minutes later. Thank goodness, as by this time I had finally gotten my act together and could answer the phone without a trace of confusion in my voice. "Amy? We have decided to do a late start of 9:45 a.m. Are you prepared to get the word out? Can you take it from here?" Yup. I climbed out of bed, threw on a robe, and got to work.

First, I fetched my packet of information from local media, letting me know what the login and password is for each site that posts school closings. I fired up the iPad and typed out my script for the automated call. I launched the app on my iPhone and carefully went through the prompts, recorded my message, and hit "Launch." Then I methodically went through the sites for KSDK, KMOV, and ABC30 to register our school's late start. Finally, I called KMOX's school closing line (they don't have a site-based system) and went through the voice prompts to register.

I checked the websites to ensure our late start was posted, and our own school's website to ensure that my assistant had dragged his own butt out of bed with my automated call and posted the late start in the announcements section on the home page (he had).

I have a new appreciation for snow days. No longer am I in the position of receiving an automated call, only to turn off my alarm and roll over and go back to sleep. A snow day now, for me, means that I need to get to work immediately, right here in my own great room. I don't mind it at all…it's just a different perspective. I have a new appreciation for school administrators who are up even earlier than I am, assessing the situation and making the decision to postpone or cancel school altogether. And, given that I received feedback from several colleagues that my call came five to 10 minutes too late ("I was already in the shower!" "I was already scraping the ice off my car!") I now appreciate that administrators usually never make everyone happy. They have a rough job that I don't envy. They have to make the call before I make the call, and I'm good with my position.

We're supposed to have a rough winter. We'll see how many times I get to do this…and hopefully I'll be more alert when that first call comes in, whether it's from Zoe's school or my own.


Post a Comment

<< Home