I was commissioned today to write a piece. My first grader wanted the world to know how she had spent her long morning, before school started.
I had hoped yesterday that I would write something about the Martin Luther King holiday and how it often passes just as a day of reflection. The inspiring sermon on Dr. King’s legacy that we had heard on Sunday was warming, spiritually. But, by Monday, we were so bitterly cold, physically, especially after we had decided to go on a little outdoor excursion to get the bodies moving, that we needed to reflect on the sense of venturing out in severe, sub-freezing temperatures.
Overnight, freezing rain had turned roads and sidewalks into skating rinks, and the glassy shimmer along the roadways was pretty but treacherous. Still, nothing told us that our morning routine was different: no message that school was due to start at any time other than the usual. We ate and dressed and left a little early. The roads were eerily quiet, but we knew that many public offices and schools were either closed or due to have a later start. We got to school a little early and saw crews of workers breaking up ice to make the walkways safer. But, most of the rooms were dark. After a 15 minute wait, we called the school office and found out that, rather than starting at 8am, school would start at 10. Oh, well.
Off we went to take the worker to the beehive, and gingerly negotiated Rock Creek Parkway, which seemed to have very few cars. In no time, we were in downtown, DC, and in no more time we were back up near Washington Cathedral. I had given the choice of going home and cooling out for an hour and a half or hanging out in the school library. The books won, and we curled up on a small love seat and read stories. Or more correctly, we each read parts of stories, a page at a time. The books were an interesting choice: one about Charlie and Lola and how Lola wanted to give a present so badly to her friend but wanted the present so badly herself; another was about the Egyptians (but it was long and had lots of hard words and we only managed two pages); and finally, a modern Disney version of The Princess and the Frog (set in New Orleans). That helped pass a good hour and more, by which time school was beginning to come to life. We were getting mightily cozy on that sofa and could have been there some time.
As we peered out into the corridors and explained what we had done, we were given a bit of sympathy but better still directions to the cafeteria for hot chocolate and bagels: just what would revive us and warm us up again. My first grader now wants school to start late every day so that she can have snack before class. We talked with another first grader and his mother who teaches at the school, and lamented that we had not checked that school was due to start later. That said, I really expected that we would have had a school-wide message sent: we get them for a bunch of things that are less critical than school start times. Maybe the message changed earlier, but checking the ‘inclement weather’ line moments ago, all I heard were messages about school sports this afternoon.
So, now, back home, and what to do with my much shortened day? I had been due to be at the dentist at 8am but had a nice call at 6.30 to tell me that my dentist was iced in. In anticipation of that appointment, I had already pared down what financial market activity I was due to have. Writing was on the agenda, and that’s nearly done. Cooking is on the docket, and that’s underway: my wife had seasoned the joint and all I have to do is put it in the oven and do some vegetables and make sure that it does not burn :-). Household chores are always there: funny how my first grader thinks that being asked to pick up her night-clothes turns her into a laundry machine.
I will have to see if my little task master likes how I have shaped the story and whether or not I will get more commissions.