Thursday, February 25, 2016

Is this still El Nino? If so, that kid needs a time-out, for sure...

Today began much like any other--cooofffeee (I know that goes without saying, but whatever), prepping for work, wishing the kids a good day at the Salt Mines--I mean, "school". Aaand, then it promptly started slipping off the rails. When I settled into the office with another cuppa joe (hey, don't judge) to check email, I was intrigued to see one from our building's management company...alerting us about the "impending weather" (with a helpful link to the local forecast--you know, in case we didn't believe them, or something)...and providing an attachment with advice about what to do in case of a tornado

Well...good morning, everybody! My coworkers and I had a little chuckle about this in the hallway...although they did get serious for a moment to inquire of the Safety Coordinator (yep, that would be Yours Truly) where we should take cover in the unlikely event of a twister. On that note, the impromptu 9:15 Meeting ended, and we all went our separate ways to buckle down to business...and whatnot.

Shortly thereafter, the director popped her head in to announce that at least one county in our vicinity
had made the call to cut their academic day short by a few hours, since the brunt of the storm system was scheduled to arrive right around dismissal time. I checked, but there was nothing related to the boys' schools--and while there were intermittent showers all day, nothing appeared particularly severe or worrisome. I checked some things off my To Do List; I tidied up my desk; I headed home; and everything continued humming along smoothly. 

Then, at 3:08--or just about exactly when Riley would have been set free, I read this email: 
Good afternoon. In the course of monitoring the current weather patterns, we were able to get our elementary schools dismissed on time, however, we will hold off on dismissing our middle and high schools until we feel it is safe. Parents feeling a need to pick up their children are welcome to do so, however we would suggest the school is a safe place to stay until the storm passes. We will be in touch once a specific release time is determined or when new information is available. 

Oh, here we go...on an amusing side note: in case we didn't fully get the picture, the wind picked up to gale force around that time, and a ferocious rumble of thunder rolled through the heavens. (Okay, okay, point taken, already!) Husband came bustling upstairs to report that Riley had texted him from his classroom, asking to be retrieved. Being the responsible parent that he is, Dad dutifully called the secretary to inform her that he'd be coming, and obtained permission for Riley's release. He then drove over to the school....where he got drenched at the front door waiting in vain for someone to answer the buzzer. After 15 minutes, he gave up and left--returning home to grouse about the fact that Riley wasn't responding to either a phone call or text, and educational personnel had suddenly gone all incommunicado on us.

But wait! Having been on Facebook a few minutes prior to that, I was aware that Chapel Hill had just recently been issued an official Tornado Warning. (And by the way, how the HECK did people get their information before the Internet? I mean really, I'd be completely in the dark without it...) Therefore I speculated that the schools were following shelter-in-place procedures, and Riley probably wasn't allowed to use his phone anyway. Sure enough, at 4:08, this arrived: 
Greetings. We are currently in a tornado warning and have all students and parents who were in the area taking cover.  Once the warning is lifted, we will release students and parents.  Buses have NOT yet loaded and will not do so until it is safe.  Please do not call this school at this moment as we are all in cover mode.

Ay yi yi. Meanwhile, a somewhat spectacular torrent of waterfall-like precipitation had begun to pound down from the sky, accompanied by impressive gusts of wind, buffeting the tall trees the fill our neighborhood in a manner that I found quite...unsettling. Although frankly, here in the security of the house, I was less concerned about the weather, and more nervous that Derek, who normally consumes about, oh, let's say 1,000 calories in his daily after-school binge, was wasting away to a grouchy, (even) skinny(er than usual) teenager while stuck at school.
FI-NAL-LY, at 5:02, the prisoners were paroled: Thank you to everyone for your patience today. We are beginning the dismissal process now. Middle school buses will depart first. However, there may be trees and power lines down that make rerouting necessary in some cases along with consequent delays. Once the middle school buses complete their runs, they will pick up the high school students. That typically takes about 45 minutes.
Sure... that's progress and overall good news...however, we were still in the middle of a deluge, so I set off in the car to see if I could intercept Riley on his walk home and at least drive him part of the way. I spotted one of his regular pedestrian buddies nearing the house...but no Riley. Making the turn toward his school's parking lot, I spied a kid in the distance that looked could have been my child...but when I approached the site, he had mysteriously...disappeared
To sum up: yep, that WAS the rare, elusive green-jacketed Riley...who had ducked into the woods to try and escape the downpour...and therefore inadvertently thwarted his mother's search mission. I continued driving around in circles seeking to rescue him...until he texted me that he was home, and sorry he'd missed me. Siiiiighhhhhh. (At least of the two parents who attempted unsuccessfully to apprehend one slippery 7th grader...I was the lucky individual who didn't come back "soaked to my underwear" as Husband so colorfully described it. Yaaayyy, me?)
In a decidedly more pleasant turn of events, Derek arrived home before I expected him, and in a remarkably cheerful mood after his...well, I guess it wasn't much of an ordeal if he wasn't even bothered by it."Oh, yeah, I Snap-Chatted with my friends for an hour, then one of their moms showed up and gave us all a ride home!" he breezily explained--in between bites of that aforementioned ginormous post-learning snack he was busy consuming. 
Approximately 5 minutes later, he asked, "Can I go outside?" Yes, the meteorological mayhem had abruptly ceased--in fact, the sun had broken through the angry clouds, revealing patches of blue sky. It was N-U-T-S, I tell ya. I allowed him to venture into the Great Outdoors and meet his pals...after issuing a stern warning to "Stay. Away. From. The. CREEK!" (You know, the one that ate his glasses in December? Here's what it looked like after today's buckets 'o rain:
I know, right: yikes! And yet...then, for our...I don't know...patience and fortitude and blah blah blah, we were rewarded with this:
Ahhhh, that's definitely more like it. But I must say, Wednesday was certainly a WEE bit more... exciting than it ever truly needs to be. So how about it: let's hear it for...Totally Boring Thursday! Whoo Hoo!

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