Sunday, August 18, 2013
Back to School Lockdown
As a Floridian, I have lived through quite a few hurricane seasons. It is rare that a year goes by without at least one scare or another. For those of you unfamiliar, there are different levels of scares: there are "watches" (keep an eye out cause sucky weather might be coming) and "warnings" (get ready cause the sucky weather is coming real soon). There are "tropical storms" (sucky weather) and "hurricanes" (really sucky weather). These watches and warnings are intended to help people get prepared. When they are issued, you are supposed to go out and buy any supplies you did not already theoretically purchase back when the season started: batteries, canned food, a million water jugs. You are supposed to dig around in your closets and drawers and find all your flashlights and check that they are working. You are supposed to fill your bathtubs with water (in case you drink the million water jugs). You are supposed to put important documents and irreplaceable photos in Ziploc bags or other water-proof containers. You are supposed to close up your hurricane shutters or run out to the Home Depot and buy wood to nail over your windows.
In short, all hell is supposed to break loose, in preparation for the storm that will probably not hit, but could.
But of course, few of us down here ever do any of that in a timely manner. Unless...
...a hurricane warning is issued.
Then, all hell does actually break loose.
Traffic comes to a complete halt (as opposed to the stop-and-go we usually have). People come to blows over the last jug of water at the grocery store. Everyone sits around the TV, watching the endlessly repetitive and overly dramatized media coverage of the coming storm.
You are on lockdown, doing nothing else but waiting.
Waiting to see what will happen: will it veer off and we will be spared? Will it come in for a direct hit? Will it be as bad as they say? Waiting...waiting to see what's left standing at the end of the storm.
That, my friends, pretty much describes how it is around here the weekend before back to school.
Ain't time for no measly "watches" around here...We have been placed under an official Night-Before-School-Warning.
I swear, we hunker down more for the first day of school than an actual hurricane.
As most of you know, we are an active family. We can barely stay still. We rarely have a day at home just hanging out. We are always doing Something. But the weekend before the first day of school? Nope. Don't ask me to get together. Don't try to arrange a play date. I want no part of any barbecues, and I sure as hell am not going out dancing all night and leaving my kids with the grandparents.
'Twas the weekend before school...we've got stuff to do.
Instead of batteries and canned foods and boarding up windows, it was labeling folders, lunchboxes, and journals. My boys sharpened every pencil in the house to a potentially-fatal point. My 5-year-old practiced writing his first, middle, and last name 5 times in row (okay, I admit it: I bribed him with a buck). My 7-year-old practiced his lunch number until he memorized it (sorry, but seeing as he knew it last year, remembering it wasn't worth a dollar). We read books about starting kindergarten and practiced what we could say to a new friend ("Hi, my name is Aidan Kai. What's yours?"). We laid out two sets of yellow and blue uniforms. My little one practiced buckling and unbuckling his new Shaun White belt. My older one folded and stored his new surfer hoodie jacket in the back compartment of his new backpack. Even I got in on the action: trying on and picking out my first day teacher ensemble, right down to the accessories.
I felt like I was in training all day. Or participating in some sort of religious retreat. Or meditating. This must be what it feels like to be a ninja in training: We are preparing.
And this isn't just me and my usual slightly-manic craziness. Even Hubby, Mr. Super Laid Back himself gets in on the action. He set the alarm so we would all wake up at a "reasonable" time today: not too early that we would all be too tired, but not too late that it would throw off our recently reestablished sleeping routines. He was the one who sent them outside to the pool for a little while to "burn off some energy" so they wouldn't be too nervous and they could sleep better. Even he spent time online preparing lesson plans and looking over the curriculum.
You see, when you are a family of 2 teachers and 2 students, you take Back To School to a whole new level.
I would assume it's sorta like if you are a meteorologist who is married to a meteorologist and you have two little kids who are going to weather camp (just go with it, will ya?): the minute they issue that first watch, even if it's just a tropical storm, you're gonna go out and buy those canned goods, and your flashlights are probably already sitting with brand new batteries in them, right next to the jugs of water. No need to panic, but you're going to be ready if that storm hits.
Well, that's just like us. No need to panic, but we're ready. Now let's hope that this school year is filled with sunny skies and calm winds.