Cabin Fever

It’s been a long week.

When I left work last Monday (1/26/15), the notice that school was cancelled for the next day had already been announced over the loudspeaker. This was expected. There was anywhere between twenty and thirty inches of snow about to be dropped on the area. Naturally, my students were ecstatic. Snow days are supposed to be good things, right? Forget the fact that they ultimately have to be made up in June when the weather is nice. The one unexpected day off in the middle of the winter—when it’s dark and cold in the morning, and you don’t want to get out of bed and drive to work—isn’t necessarily a bad thing. With that much snow predicted, it was safer for everyone to just stay home. One day off doesn’t amount to that much.

I’ll openly admit that I enjoyed sleeping late on Tuesday. I brought a stack of tests and lab write-ups home to grade since I’d have all that uninterrupted time. I was planning on getting some writing done. Grading had to come first because I was a little behind, but at about 1pm, I got the text message that school was cancelled for Wednesday, so I put off the grading since I’d have another day. I later heard from my ex-wife that my daughters were gathered around the television set that evening, reading (aloud) the school cancellations as they scrolled across the bottom of the screen. They rejoiced when their town was cancelled, and I was feeling happy that mine had. Besides, removal of all that snow was definitely taking some time. After shoveling out my car, I took the time to kick back and relax. Oh look, I can play Words with Friends…

I actually started grading on Wednesday afternoon. Had to because I totally expected there to be school on Thursday. The snow had stopped falling and main roads seemed clear, so clean-up would be focused on side roads. Granted, I had no real evidence since I had been cooped up in the house for 48 hours. But I was grading, and that was important. And then in the late afternoon, I got the text that school would be cancelled for Thursday. As soon as I finished the stack of papers I was on, I stopped because I could continue the next day. That night, I drove to the supermarket because I was low on snacks. I had made sure on Monday after school that I had necessary food for meals (gotta get the bread and milk), but I needed munchies for late night writing. Late night writing that didn’t happen, but I had another day. My car swerved a little on some snow left on the roads—the main roads—and I concluded that another day off was a good thing for safety.

Thursday. Did a little more grading. Played a little more Words with Friends and Song Pop. Watched some TV. I don’t really like Grey’s Anatomy, but there wasn’t much on in the early afternoon. But I think I now know the difference between McDreamy and McSteamy. Abandoned my grading when the notice that school was cancelled for Friday came. That night, after being cooped up in the house for over 72 hours now—barring an excursion to Stop and Shop—I decided I needed to get out. Went to Five Guys for a burger and too many more fries than I ordered or intended to eat. Didn’t get any writing done.

Friday was my birthday, so instead of writing or grading (I have the weekend ahead of me!), I spent the morning personally thanking everyone who posted Happy Birthday wishes to my Facebook timeline. I did get out of the house for several hours when I met my daughters after school—it was their second day back—so they could take me out for my birthday. Well, I drove, so I guess I’m the one who took us places. And I paid for bowling, so I guess I took myself out. While there, “Cosmic” bowling started with music and dance-club style lights. I learned that I bowl better in a darker, louder environment than in a normal bowling alley environment. Then we went to The 99 for supper where I opened the gift from them—a Gift Card to The 99! So maybe they really did take me out for dinner. Obviously, it was great spending time with my kids, but when I got home, I did what I had been doing for most of the snow days: not grading, not writing, not much of anything. Oh look, The Big Bang Theory is on…

Now it’s Saturday. I’ve relocated to my sister’s house. I could say I did this because I’m going to an annual Super Bowl party tomorrow night at some friends’ house and my sister lives closer to their place than I do. That would be factual, but it’s not the full, truthful reason. I have spent too much time in my house. I’m afraid I’ll turn into Jack Nicholson in The Shining. “No TV and no beer make Homer something something.” Wait, that’s The Simpsons. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” But I’ve done very little work and a lot of play. Hmmm. Maybe in this different location, I can get some writing done. But do you know one of the first things I’ve done since I’ve gotten here? Taken a 90-minute nap.

I can still do some writing tonight. Technically, I already have since I have this long, rambly blog post. But what’s on the horizon for tomorrow night after the big game? MORE SNOW! Another foot of snow is going to fall late Sunday night into Monday. Is it good or bad that I’m worried less about driving home after the Super Bowl party and worried more about the possibility of not having school on Monday?

Forget the fact that I have to reschedule lesson plans; that’s easy. Forget the fact that I missed two rehearsals for our festival play; my cast is strong and we’ll catch up. Forget the fact that I still have grading to finish; I’ll push it off to Monday’s probable snow day. I could have gotten so much writing done in these snow days. I’m lamenting all that lost time. Maybe I write better when I have structure in my life—and thus have to schedule a fleeting 30-60 minutes whenever I can fit it in. I’ve been doing half-hour word sprints and can get about 500 words down. Those add up.

But all these snow days have added up to is a bad case of cabin fever. And soon the snow will add up more.

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