Wednesday, March 2, 2011

3-2-11 Weather . . and traffic . . . and letter jackets

By my car's ambient temp sensor (I've been doing warranty awhile now, can you tell?) it was a balmy 40°  when I drove Sammi to school this morning.

I've been driving her all this week because Nick, as a senior, is exempted from the CSAP (that the equivalent, both in time wasted and bureaucratic nonsense, of the TAKS for you Texas folks) and has been sleeping until 10:00 every morning in celebration.

Anyway, I've been exponentially spoiled by having Nick drive the two of them to school each morning this year. I can't complain about one week.

Wait. Yes, as it turns out, I can.

The designers of the traffic flow around the campus are about as popular in these parts as Colonel Gaddafi is around the streets of Libya these days. (Is it just me or were he and Carlos Santana separated at birth?)

Anyway . . . 

My house is within sight of the campus. You can stand at Samantha's window and see the back of the school. And it takes me 20 minutes to get her to school.

As soon as we turn the corner to Wildcat (the street the school faces) we are hit with the monster lines. You see, the junior high is right next door to the high school. And the district planners, in all their wisdom, changed the times last year so that both the junior high and the high school start at almost exactly the same time. And the line to get into the junior high (a one way circle) pushes back across the intersection that we need to turn onto to drive past the one school to get to the other.

So once we squeeze into the crawling junior high line, we have to get over another lane to get around them to the high school. But then, to get into the high school, we have to merge back into that one way loop, with all those parents trying to get into my lane, and everyone else trying to get into their lane.

Add to this the one way loop for the high school that backs up everyone at a light, sometimes only allowing one car to get turned thanks to waiting for all the crosswalk students to clear out, and you can see why everyone who doesn't have to be on Wildcat during that half hour of hell stays as far away as possible.

Most mornings, I get to be blissfully unaware of all this nonsense, but this week I've been reminded of how good I have it all the other weeks of the year. That's a good thing.

But the point of this when I started wasn't to enumerate the insanity of the traffic planning for two schools of 2800 students. . .

All this week, I've asked Sammi, "are you sure you're going to be warm enough?" because she's wearing capris and sandals to school. I usually get the smirk and the patented "yes, mom."

Getting to drive to school and sit in lines for long periods of time allows me to understand that response. I did not count one jacket in the hordes this morning. Remember, 40°. Mostly it was shorts and t-shirts, and lots of flip flops.

This, you see, is the inverted response to the one week of the year in Texas where it might get to 40° and we'd all layer on those sweaters that were too darn hot to wear any other day.

As soon as the sun comes out and the temps start out above freezing, Coloradoans break out the summer gear, at least until the next snowfall.

Really, it's very difficult to get any kid into a heavy coat except during blizzard conditions here. Lord help you if you say the "h" word (hat).  Just layer with underarmour, a shirt, and a hoody and you're all set. I knew this and still bought the boy his letter jacket, so I try to complain only once a winter that it's a very nice, very expensive, decoration for my coat rack. I did get to use it a few times for football games. That should be worth a couple of hundred bucks, right?

This makes me nostalgic for the days when we were handed both the impressive leather and wool jacket (for Texas, not so practical) AND the letters we'd earned every year. Now you get the letter, once, and little sergeant bars for successive years to pin on the one letter.  So it can hang on the coat rack, mocking you.


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