Sunday, January 6, 2008

Weather forecasters, climate control & emails

Unlike most schools, mine started back Wednesday, Jan. 2 on a day that was cold by Texas standards–I awoke a frosty 23 degrees with the high topping out at an official 43 degrees. The next day offered little relief with a chilly 46 degrees.

Now, just in case you’re wondering why I’m turning in to the educational version of meteorologist Kristine Kahanek, hang with me a moment. It’s important to understand that it was, well, cold outside. So when I parked my trusty blue mini-van into my parking spot, gathered up all the stuff I didn’t work on over the Christmas break and dashed (OK, maybe not dashed, but at least speed-walked) into the building, the expectation was for some semblance of warmth.

Silly me.

Baby, it was cold inside. I complained several times during the day, and when I left for the evening, all I could do was hope for the best the next day.

Silly me.

When I arrived Thursday, it was really cold inside–as in coat-wearing cold. Keep those mittens on cold. Rudolph-my-nose-is-red cold.

And, not only was it cold, the blower was blowing. And, it was blowing in cold air (You were expecting something different?).

Now, please understand, that I have an optimum productivity temperature window. It’s somewhere between 70 and 75. Anything else, well, makes me a bit grumpy. OK, maybe lots grumpity. After all, it’s really difficult to perform a variety of teacher tasks with gloves on. (You try it.) Typing doesn’t work well… so that pretty much eliminates taking roll and entering grades. Passing out papers becomes a monumental task.

Never one to suffer in silence, I did what any self-respecting journalism adviser would do. I tossed off the gloves, whipped out an e-mail and hit “send all.”

Here’s what I sent (and yes, it’s word-for-word)…

I’m really not sure what I’ve done or who I have offended, but I just wanted everyone to know that it shouldn’t have been a surprise that I showed up for work yesterday (it was on the district calendar after all), so I don’t really understand why the rooms in the 400 wing were so cold we had to wear coats and gloves. Didn’t Hal the computer brain not know that we were here?

Ok, so I complained yesterday. I arrive today. Room 420 has blowing air. And I do mean BLOWING–as in my hair actually is wind blown INSIDE. I wouldn’t really care except the air is COLD. It’s JANUARY. I was hoping for some heat. The air is also blowing in room 421. It’s COLD too. Room 424 seems OK. I’m not entirely sure about the art rooms. I’m stuck frozen to my seat so I’m hoping my buddies are OK there. At least they have chisels.

So, back to the problem at hand… If I have offended Hal the computer god, I am so sorry and will sacrifice whatever I need to. Although I am fond of them, just let me know how many students are required. I’m basically a good person. I show up for work on time, pay my taxes, I love animals and I’m a good cook. I’ve even made a few more friends this year. To my knowledge, there’s only about four–OK maybe five–grumpy pants here that hate me. And, as far as I know, they are not in cohoots with Hal.

Will someone save me?

*********

Of course, not much was done although someone somewhere did stop the blower from blowing about five hours after my email, but only after my not-so-coiffed hair resembled Medusa. I did, however, get quite a few responses from other teachers. Here’s a sampling…

From the Helpful advice category…
Hal is trying to flush you out of the airlock. That was not “blowing” air; it was air being sucked into the vacuum of space. Tie yourself to something and hope for the best.

From the We’re-Worse-Off-Than-You category…
Our thermometer in the BAC room is reading 54 degrees.

From the Let’s-Struggle-Through-This category…
The air is cold in the 400 wing and makes working with coats and gloves difficult…Does anyone have an extra pair of thick wool socks, and a blanket or two?

From the Nonny-Nonny-Boo-Boo category…
Crazy–right across the hall in the hidden computer lab it’s Hot, Hot, Hot–we are all wearing our fruit hats and dancing in a conga line! But the kids do seem quite relieved when they come in here to thaw out. Thank you, Hal! Guess he liked my Christmas present!

********
My students–ever the keen observationists–entered the room asking, “Are you cold?”

Which to my credit and in keeping with my New Year’s resolution, never once did I reply using the phrase, “you big fat stupid head.”

I can hardly wait until Monday. Temperatures are forecasted to be in the mid-70s.

But, you know what that means.

Yep, the heat will be fixed and blowing full-forced, and sadly, my make-up will be pooled on the floor (having melted off my face). And as I jump into the conga line, I will once again ponder how we can put a man on the moon or make a computer chip the size of a white blood cell, but can’t make thermostats work in old, new or gently used public schools anywhere in the country.

It’s not rocket science, but I know my thermostat stands about as much a chance of working as a snowball’s chance in…



Well, you get the picture.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

And I thought the original email was funny!! I did receive some relief from the cold about 2:30 Wednesday afternoon, but I did not figure you wanted to hear that on Thursday when the cold wind was blowing in your room.

KG

HAL said...

Good morning Richie...
What are you doing Richie?...
Richie, I don't think the thermostat needs to be blow-torched...
Will I dream, Richie?...
'Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do (EVERYBODY!)...'

Anonymous said...

Does this also beg the question, if we can put a man on the moon then why can large buildings have climate control consistently in multiple offices/rooms?

Were your readers old enough to know who Hal is?

Mister Teacher said...

Interestingly, when I got back to my room this past Monday, the thermostat had been cranked up to 85. The heater has been working fine in my room, but the AC doesn't work.