Bullshitoween 2019

While the weather wasn’t as brutal as Whatthefuckoween in 2014, tonight featured a lovely fucking bastard of a snow and rain mix, and only a small handful of Trick or Treaters; my son, who has been talking about Halloween ceaselessly for weeks, tapped out after about ten houses. I kept my usual vigil in the driveway; while we no longer have the dogs to lose their damn minds every time someone rings the doorbell my anxiety issues are still juuuuust strong enough that I’m not interested in hearing the damn thing at random intervals all night long and I’d rather just brave the cold and be outside.

Total former student count: three. Level of joy at seeing the look on a kid’s face when you utter the words “you can take the rest of it” to them at 6:57 PM: infinite.

Here’s the thing, though: the last time we had shitty weather on Halloween it just snowed and left an inch or so of accumulation on everything. Today it has been raining steadily all day, it is going to continue raining for another three hours or so … and it’s then going to immediately dip below freezing and the temperature is forecast to be twenty-seven degrees at 7:00 in the morning tomorrow.

In other words, all of that water is going to freeze. And it’s going to stay frozen overnight. And the city of South Bend does not have salt trucks ready on October 31 or November 1. They are the same trucks that are currently kitted out for picking up leaves, and they aren’t going to be able to flip them all over overnight for one day of spreading salt on roads coated in black ice.

I would call even odds on whether we have school tomorrow, is what I’m saying. Because as slippery as the roads are looking to be, with no salting, it very well may be too dangerous for the buses to run. And as someone who has been advocating formally moving Halloween to the last Friday or Saturday in October for years, it would not bother me one tiny little bit to lose the day after Halloween to an ice day.

Three more days

…well, five, actually. But I’m not going to work tomorrow and day five is a teacher work day. So three more days, with the kids, for me, specifically.

I can do this.

In which I almost die because I’m stupid but then I don’t so it’s okay

I have made a number of very bad driveway-related decisions in the last 48-72 hours, guys.

BAD DECISION THE FIRST: I did not get up at five this morning to clear the driveway before going to work. This ensured that a day and night’s worth of wet, heavy snow was on my driveway– the type of snow that doesn’t basically disintegrate back into fluffy snow when the snowblower tosses it, but limply splats back onto your driveway a few feet away, ensuring that you just have to move the same snow over and over again and that the job gets harder and harder the closer you get to being done.

BAD DECISION THE SECOND: I did not clear the driveway of the relatively small amount of snow that had fallen in previous days either– basically I should have hit the driveway at least twice instead of zero times in the last four or five days– which ensured that under the wet, heavy snow is now a layer of hard-packed, days-old, repeatedly driven-on ice, meaning that at least twice I got a split-second holy shit I’m about to break my leg and die out here scare while clearing the driveway. Now, neither time did I fall and break my leg, but another inch or so of sliding either way and something really shitty woulda happened.

BAD DECISION THE THIRD: I had on my beastcoat. Understand that I have two articles of cold-weather outerwear: a “winter coat” and a Winter Coat. I wear my “winter coat” most of the time and I rarely button it. I am Of the North and the cold generally does not bother me very much, but all of the talk of fifty below wind chills over the next couple of days has somewhat thrown me off of my game. My Winter Coat is rated to sixty below zero, and I need you to understand that in the most literal sense possible my Winter Coat possesses no chill whatsoever. It’s a Carhartt, for those of who who will understand that. And I need to be careful when I wear it, because most of the time it’s way too goddamn much coat for what I need. For example, if I’m going to wear it in the car I cannot have the heat on. I’ll be sweaty by the time I get out of the car, even on a short drive. Opening the windows is actually not a bad idea.

Wearing this motherfucker outside, with a sweater on underneath, on what isn’t really that cold of a day (yet) while performing strenuous work– another disadvantage of the ice is that the wheels on the snowblower don’t work at all and I’m basically just ceaselessly shoving it through 6-8″ of, again, heavy wet snow– meant that I realized halfway through the job that I was feeling kind of woozy because of, no shit, impending Goddamn heatstroke.

Yeah. My wife wasn’t home yet and my son was inside by himself doing who knows what, so if I break a leg and then die in the driveway I’mma stay leg-broke and dead in the driveway until she gets home, because it ain’t like he can move me, or that he’d even look up from the iPad long enough to notice my dead ass out there. So I went inside for a few minutes, let my heart rate slow down, took off the sweater and the beastcoat, and swapped my soaked-in-sweat knit winter hat for a regular baseball cap. And then made …

BAD DECISION THE FOURTH, which was going back outside before mopping my stupid, covered-in-sweat body off. Because what with all of the sweating and dying from roasting myself alive inside my fucking Beastcoat I’d forgotten that, while not much by historical standards, it was actually fucking cold outside, and that you really do not want to be outside on even moderately cold days if you are soaking fucking wet. And while I can’t be trusted to say whether the temperature had actually dropped while I was inside– it’s not like I was feeling the actual air temperature anyway– I can sure as hell state with certainty that the wind picked up pretty substantially while I was inside, meaning that any residual body heat I had left was gone, gone gone within minutes of getting back outside, and I still had half the damn driveway to do. Eventually I had to come back inside and put a third hat on, and the first thing I had to do when I finally came back inside for good was mop off my beard, which is super fun.

On the plus side, now that I’ve survived all this stupid bullshit, warmed up and cooled off and dried off, I’m going to go take a shower and then change into sweatpants and a sweater and I am not going outside under any circumstances for the next three days, whether work calls off or not. Chicken soup time, motherfuckers.

Another thing I just realized

5104389f26c12.image_.jpgMy kid’s school is cancelled tomorrow– not because of the weather, which is supposed to be absolutely outstanding, but because nearly 40% of the students in some grade levels and a not-inconsiderable number of teachers and subs have been sick lately.  The email from the principal named no less than four different diseases that had been running rampant in the building lately, and apparently the janitorial staff will be boiling the building tomorrow.

It’s probably good that this happened, because the email also made reference to the “four-day weekend” that the kids were about to have, which made both my wife and I realize that he actually does have Monday off, which neither of us had really realized because we don’t have any idea how the hell to check a school calendar.

So here’s the cool part: I started the Current Occupation in June, right?  And it’s mid-February now, as insane as that might feel.  During all that time I have not missed a single day of work due to illness.  I’ve come home and died a couple of times, and had some less-than-fantastic days, but I haven’t really been sick in months.  And that’s after fifteen years of missing, usually, around a day a month every single year I was teaching.  I was rarely if ever able to carry sick days across from one year to the next and had to dip into the sick bank twice.  And not one illness worth any serious consideration since June, despite constant contact with the public throughout that time.

Add that to the pile of reasons I don’t miss teaching, I guess.

In which I used to like these

Snow day today, the kind where there’s no visible precipitation of any kind in the early-morning hours where school is cancelled, but it happens anyway because people look at the weather forecast and see this coming:

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 8.20.29 AM.pngThat’s heading northeast, so we’re getting the long axis of it.  Last night before I went to bed they were suggesting we’d get 12+ inches of snow during “Wednesday” and another 1-3 “Wednesday night,” but both of those estimates have been revised downward a bit since I went to bed.  Still all sorts of nasty coming, though; we’ll probably have a foot of snow by bedtime tonight.

At any rate, Hogwarts cancelled, so I’ve got the boy home with me, and it’s even less likely that I’ll get anything done today in what has already been a monumentally unproductive week.  My former district did not cancel, nor did any of the other big districts in the area, so they’ve decided to catch crap from getting the kids home inevitably late, because most of the bullshit today will be toward the end of the school day– there are some flakes falling right now but no accumulation, but it’s supposed to get genuinely nasty after noon.  It’s a no-win situation either way and I’m really glad I’m no longer required to either participate in or defend it.

(I’d have cancelled, if it were up to me.  Or at least started with a two-hour delay to get better information.)


Last night was a night heavy with politics; I watched (and live-tweeted) the entire Democratic town hall event and then went to bed once I discovered that the Nevada caucuses wouldn’t even start reporting results until after midnight.  It’s looking like the fascist has finally managed a clean win; this was the first contest where #2 and #3 combined didn’t blow him away, and in fact Rubio and Cruz together still lost, implying that either Nevada is stronger territory for him than most (which makes a lot of sense, given the number of casinos) or that Bush’s people mostly migrated toward him. I am beginning to come around to the idea that this racist hairpiece is going to win the nomination, if only because either Rubio or Cruz needs to drop out right now for someone to beat Trump and neither of their egos (Cruz’s in particular) will allow them to do that.

I continue to believe that whoever wins the Democratic nomination will beat this shitpile like a rented mule in the actual election.  Obama got the lowest percentage of the white vote of any winning candidate in history and still won resoundingly; white voters are a smaller portion of the electorate than they were in 2008 or 2012 and the asshole’s open, unapologetic, undeniable racism will get even fewer votes from people of color than Romney did.

This is the candidate you deserve, Republicans.  He’s what you’ve been working towards for 30 years.  If you’re horrified, maybe you ought to reconsider your affiliation, because courting the worst parts of American society has been the core mission of the Republican party for decades.  This is what happens.  You can’t pretend to not notice anymore.  This is the election where you either have to embrace the fact that your candidate is literally a fascist or work to burn your party to the ground and hope that you can build something that isn’t made of racism, ignorance and hatred from the ashes.