On Monday my oldest daughter explains how a false fire alarm at her middle school caused students to be evacuated to the parking lot and relocated to the elementary school across the street.
On Tuesday she sends us a text from school: "There's an early dismissal today."
I arrange to leave campus immediately so I can be home for the girls' earlier arrival, and I respond to her text in jest, "Yesterday a fire dismissal, today a snow dismissal. What's tomorrow? A hurricane?"
My husband offers the briefest response and texts us both a volcano emoji, which certainly would warrant a day off from school. But since volcanoes aren't prevalent in central Pennsylvanian topography, I feel like we're safe. On a scale of 1 to 100, I'm 100 percent certain that school on Wednesday won't be cancelled because of a volcanic eruption.
I didn't think about ice, though.
But that's what did it. Ice was the culprit that led the school superintendent to leave us a cheerful message early this Wednesday morning about "being safe," and "staying warm" and "getting extra rest," which is code for "Parents, proceed to scramble and figure out the logistics of your now more complicated day."
I hadn't planned on having my three children with me today, you see. I had planned on teaching my morning classes and having the afternoon to write recommendation letters and review new student rosters. I had banked on having time to do First Week of Classes Stuff so I could navigate these opening days smoothly.
But ice storms can, and do, unsettle the best laid plans of mice, men, and college lecturers.
So today, instead of writing recommendation letters and planning ahead, I'm making Chex Mix, referring squabbles between children, folding laundry, and sweeping my kitchen floor. It's an unexpected way to spend a Wednesday afternoon, but ice storms happen.
At least it wasn't a volcano.