We spent Monday hibernating at home, finishing up work on the new shelves in our living room (post on that to follow eventually), and organizing the basement (exhausting work, but it is much improved).
Tuesday (The Yesterday of the title) was time for things like showering and leaving the house. It's hard being a grown-up. But we got up early and got ourselves ready to go early since it's not like any of the snow was melting and we wanted to allow plenty of time.
My class started at 9am. David needed to be at a principals' meeting at 9:30am. We both left the house at 7:30am, feeling good about that cushion. Zuzu was with David so he headed to daycare to drop her off, giving me a bit of a head start. My commute normally takes 30 minutes (not counting daycare drop-off time) so I was confident that even with icy roads and slow-going, I'd get to campus at least early enough to make a cup of tea, make my photo copies, and collect myself before showing up for class to
About twenty or twenty-five minutes into my drive, traffic on the highway was crawling. My phone rang. It was Zuzu's daycare teacher. I put it on speaker, white-knuckling the steering wheel even though the center lane of the highway was clear of ice. She was calling to let me know the daycare had to close today because they had a water main break.
We then proceeded to have a very confusing conversation because she thought I was on my way to the center with Zuzu, but I was assuming by this time David had already dropped off Zuzu at the center. I said something like, "Oh, no! I'll have to send my husband back to pick her up!" (because First Day of Class trumps Principals' Meeting in order of importance) and the teacher said, "No, Caroline's not here..." Then it clicked into place--David hadn't made it there yet! So I explained to her teacher that David was dropping her off but must not have made it there yet, so I'd call him.
It turned out the side roads were so bad, the normally 10 minute drive to daycare was taking him much longer. He was mildly frustrated when he answered the phone, and then I dropped the bomb that Zuzu would be accompanying him to his meeting unless he felt comfortable leaving her with Cooper.
Honestly, I'm so glad she wasn't with me that morning because she seriously would have had to accompany me to class (I wouldn't have had time to turn around and take her home at that point, even if David had been there), and I can only imagine how well she would have done in a 3-hour J-term class on essay writing (it's more fun than it sounds, I promise, but still not quite suited to the toddler set).
I hung up the phone, leaving David to call his assistant principal and figure things out. (In the end, the meeting got canceled anyway, so David and Zuzu just worked from home.) Meanwhile, the highways on my drive were relatively clear--not crazy terrible, but not great. Still, traffic was just CRAWLING. I was only going 10-20 mph. The drive that normally takes 15 minutes stretched out until I realized that I hadn't even made it to the bridge and I'd left my house AN HOUR AGO.
As I crept into downtown at a snail's pace, the good news was that I was able to finish my audio book that was due back at the library. The bad news was that it go be 8:45am and I was still stuck at the point in my commute where I was 15-20 minutes from work on a normal day.
I finally discovered that the one lane to get onto the bridge that I needed to cross had been blocked at the entrance to the bridge by a semi that had stalled out or gotten stuck in the snow. Everyone in that lane had to merge back into the incredibly dense and slow moving traffic, and then move back over, one car at a time, to get on the bridge. The space between the semi and the entrance ramp was uncomfortably small, and downtown traffic was not moving, so it basically took FOREVER.
Finally I had to admit that I was not going to make it to campus by 9am. There was no way. I was totally going to be late for class on the first day. So, I called my friend and fellow-English professor and asked her to go to my classroom and tell my students they had to stay there and wait for me (none of this "professor is 10 minutes late, we're out of here!" B.S. Thankfully, she was also kind enough to give them a sheet of "Personal Info" to fill out in regard to the class, and she made up a brainstorming exercise for them to do until I got there. YES! Almost as though I'd planned it that way.
Once I (FINALLY) got on the bridge, I was liberated! The roads, but for the on-ramps and exits, which were scary as hell, were ice-free. But I still got to campus twenty minutes AFTER classes had started.
I hurried inside, breathless and flustered. Now, I have had plenty of experience feeling flustered and discombobulated and scattered and off my game. But usually when I feel that way, it's my own fault. These were circumstances entirely out of my control! So I put my game face on and went into the classroom, trying to embody that friendly-and-fun-but-also-serious-and-authoritative persona of Professor on the First Day.
About ten minutes into my discussion of the syllabus (including a classroom etiquette section featuring "I find texting unacceptably rude"), I realized that my students were wearing gloves and hats. In fact, in spite of being rather frantic, I was also cold. A quick check of the thermostat on the wall informed me that it was 58 degrees in my classroom. Excellent.
We took a short break after the syllabus discussion and reconvened in the computer lab for essay drafting work. The lab was marginally warmer than the classroom, but due to various glitches with computers, five of my students didn't have a computer to use. So I made a desperate call to IT and got someone down there to fix that problem. Once they all had a working computer, the IT guy left just in time for me to discover the printer wasn't working. The idea was that they'd print their first drafts so we could spend the last section of class reviewing and revising their work, so this was problematic.
I left the IT two messages in which I tried to sound pleasant although I felt murderous. He never came back. So then I had to send the students across campus to the library to do their printing, admonishing them to "Hurry back." (Miraculously, they all actually returned. Thankfully it's a pretty small campus.) During that break, I tracked down a maintenance guy and asked what I could do to make it not 58 degrees in my classroom. Answer? Nothing. The heating system was freaking out and overworked and couldn't deal with the below zero temps so it was uneven and crazy all over campus. So we kept gloves and hats on and I promised my students I'd find us another (warmer) classroom the next day.
After class I was heading home to make it to our closing. Unbeknownst to me, while I had been dealing with computer tech issues and a cold classroom, David had gotten a call from our real estate agent telling us there was a problem with our buyer's loan paperwork and it looked like we were going to have to push back closing another week.
Say it with me:
Fortunately, David spared me this wrench in our plans, figuring I didn't need to get that phone call while driving home. So he called the utilities people to tell them the transfer/shut off should NOT happen after all while I drove home, blissfully ignorant that ONCE AGAIN everything seemed to be falling apart.
But THEN--before I got home--our agent texted him to let him know that we were BACK ON. (Evidently the issue was that the buyer wanted a 20 year loan, but due to some mix-up with her bank/lender, the paperwork she got was for a 30 year loan. She wanted it redone, but when she found out that would take a full week and she would have no where to go with all the stuff she had loaded up in the moving truck, she accepted the 30 year loan.)
So by the time I got there (the drive home was a cinch compare to my morning commute), David was able to tell me that closing was back on, although he sounded slightly less than absolutely confident.
We loaded up Zuzu and headed out to the title company, braving some truly terrible side roads.
Everything went smoothly at the title company. Zuzu was enchanted by a sweet dog named Chewy and David and I marveled at her fearlessness. Some little kids would cling to their parents in an unfamiliar place. Zuzu made herself right at home, greeting the employees with a cheerful "Hi!" and cackling in delight when she threw the tennis ball and Chewy actually fetched it. (Chewy soon became a little suspicious of her high-pitched squealing and tendency to throw the ball directly at him, and started avoiding her, much to her distress. Fortunately, he and the employees there were very patient when she followed him under desks, patted his back, and hugged him like she does Cooper.)
With David, myself, and our realtor taking turns chasing Zuzu down and signing paperwork, we finally got everything taken care of and possession of the house was transferred to the new owner!
It was less of a giddy celebration and more of a sigh of relief, but it was still a really good feeling.
We got take out for dinner, read some books with Zuzu, put her to bed on time, and truly relaxed with that weight off our shoulders.
Today's Update: David's school was canceled AGAIN today (water main breaks) but daycare was back in session so he could head into work. Roads were clear, and the second day of my class went much smoother than the first day, and the heat was on in my classroom. I'd like to think it will be easy-going from here, but if our past experience is any indication, there's going to be something else that will come along and surprise us.
That's okay, though. Bring it, 2014. We've totally got this.