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What's so funny about snow?
What's so funny about snow?
Lyme School
Friday, March 30, 2018

Even though we are heading into spring and the five snow days may soon be forgotten, it's Mr. Valence's snow day humor that will stay with us! 

Here's a reminder of what kept us smiling through the winter:

Our First snow Day

Dear Parents,

Now that we have snow on the ground, it is a good time to discuss the snow process and what you, as a family, should prepare for, as snow can disrupt routines, frustrate parents and result a general morning kerfuffle.
1. This is New England and there will be snow (or the more common modern variation of a wintery mix).  Make general contingency plans for your kids — not that you will need to use them tomorrow, but eventually you will

2. If you have snow tires and a four wheel drive vehicle, you will be able to navigate most snow events (which, if you have invested in these, is why you did so). However, if you do not have snow tires or 4 wheel drive, or you are not confident in the condition of your road or driving skill in the snow, please use your own judgement and arrive to school safely (or remain at home, even if school is open).

3. Decisions concerning whether school is cancelled will be communicated via Email and Phone call at 6:30am.  You should have received a test message of both a few weeks ago, if you did not please contact the school (795-2125).  (When you receive a call, do not attempt to discuss the merits of the decision with me at this time, as this is a recorded message and you will find it less responsive than if I were actually calling in person)

4. The decision concerning whether school is cancelled is not a precise science, it is easy to retrospectively make the decision you feel is right, but often conditions are uncertain at the time when the decision needs to be made.  For example, tomorrow snow is predicted, which does not mean it will actually arrive, in fact it will may not even have started at 5am when a decision needs to be made.  My prediction: Plan on there being school AND ALSO plan what you will need to do if it is cancelled. (Seriously, think about it now.)

Here is what we know:
• Kids love snow days, parents have their own opinions. Principals know they will get little sleep and a lot of opinions… afterwards.

• We have a very capable and hardworking road crew who get up early and stay up late to make sure we have safe roads.  Thank them if you see them.

• The condition of your road/ driveway/ route to work,  is not the same as everyone else’s, so it is better to presume that there are others who may be worse off than you (This is a good perspective to take in life as a whole anyway).

• The decision to close school is not about being “right” or not being a “tough" New Englander,  it is about getting everyone to school safely including those who drive very long, large and yellow vehicles (busses) over often steep and narrow dirt roads.

• The decision may not be the one you would make, but can at least take solace that you don’t have to be the one who needs to make the decision.  As they say: You can’t please everyone all the time, and it may be your turn this time.  (This is also a perspective you can use throughout your life.)

• Please feel free to share any insider information concerning the probability of forecasted weather patterns, such as your “bookie” has heard from his cousin, that his friend has a coworker who heard that a fix is in. Otherwise I will have to rely on our awesome road crew, the bus company, the existing conditions at 5am and, of course, Chester McWeatherperson who has to make every storm into a "snow-a-palooza-a-geddon" to justify his loose grasp on his sanity and the profound regret he holds for his career choice.

If you are upset and need to share your anger please contact Chester McWeatherperson on his cell phone (you will need to google it), he is a good listener.  Otherwise any questions you have can be answered by contacting the school 795 2125.

Hope you are smiling.  Enjoy the snow -- if it comes — and the warmth of your family if it is cold.  I will update you if definative information becomes available.


2/7/18  Snow, Hold the Bacon

Dear Parents,

Yes, I did send this email…..

Just received call that Elton's bus had some mechanical  issues.  He is bacon the roadbed will be 15-20 minutes late.

So for those that were wondering, clearly I was dreaming of breakfast and practicing texting with my eyes closed.  (Mom, Mom… look at what I can do! )  For those who don’t speak Bacon, it translates to: "he is back on the road, but will be 15 - 20 minutes late”.  
It sounded much better the other way, even if you don’t prefer your breakfast served on asphalt.

Prior to this email I was on the phone with Steve, our awesome organic snow plow artisan (road crew supervisor), and it looks like we are going to get some snow tomorrow. 

Here are the details as of 24 hours before anything is actually happening:

1• Snow is forecasted (what the dart hit when the meteorologists threw it at the "weather-board 5000 accue-forcaster 2000”) to begin after the start of school-- which is really, REALLLY not helpful. (Please contact your congressman).

2• Your morning commute in will likely provide you a snow-free opportunity to complain about the incompetence of the decision to 1) Delay School, 2) Close School or 3) Not delay or close school.  Enjoy!  (You may also sprinkle in some comment of how, when you were young, schools never closed and often required you to walk to school in the snow shoeless - uphill - both ways.  We all agree you are wicked tough.)

3• Lyme, like other communities, is challenged by low salt supply.  Apparently, the roads need it despite the road's Doctor's putting them on a low salt diet -  (which is what tried to explain to my doctor - unsuccessfully).  This increases the likeliness of a snow day (the road's need for salt, not mine).

4• In my burgeoning education of the science of snow removal via Professor Steve, I have learned that it takes several hours of plowing for every inch of snow that falls.  By my calculations that means we will be done late 2025, well after the busses need to travel the roads (because bacon). 

In conclusion, while I will get final word later tonight.  This email is intended to provide families time to make arrangements as Professor Steve is giving it a 90% chance of a snow day tomorrow.

Here is what you can do:

If you agree: 
• Make tentative arrangements for childcare tomorrow

If you don’t agree: 
• Make tentative arrangements for childcare tomorrow
• Then complain to anyone who has the misfortune to encounter you.
• Notice that this habit does not result in anything constructive
• Reassess your life
• Become a more patient and tolerant human being
• Appreciate life and those around you

Talk to you soon!


2/7 School Tomorrow is Bacon

Short version:  School is Closed for Wednesday, February 7th.

"Fake News” version:
It is not snow, its just sky dandruff, because while climate change is not a thing, itchy sky scalp is a real crisis.

Version for those who want to understand the rationale and love logistical debate:
Timing of this storm may be as problematic as the anticipated accumulation (not that snow should be considered problematic in the winter).  The road crew is requesting that we close.  I have consulted with districts around us and their plans vary, with most leaning toward closure.   Closing early has historically presented significant logistical challenges for families which exceed the benefit of "getting in" a half day.   Closing early would also put the highest volume of vehicles on the road at a point when the storm is predicted to be heavy and would require multiple salt runs by the road crew (with salt being in short supply) in preparation for that time.  

Version for those that have read this far:
Wow, I wrote this and I stopped reading it a while ago.

Good Night,


3/13 All in Favor Say…. ICE

Have I mentioned how much I dislike sending these emails? 
….and can we please pass an Article that snow is not allowed on weekdays or town voting days, please! 

Each of these are true and correct and well thought out by the people making them:

There is strong agreement that tomorrow will see a fair amount of accumulation (8-12 inches), intensifying around noon, starting this evening and ending Wednesday. This has resulted in a number of area schools to close already. (It is also a forecast so it could also be completely wrong... or absolutely correct… or not)

I have just met with the town meeting representatives who have decided for a variety of sound reasons to hold town meeting tomorrow.  (See you there!)

The road crew for very good and sound reasons is recommending and requesting that school be closed.

Closing school will make it more difficult for some to participate in town meeting if they can’t find someone to watch their children. Waiting longer would give a higher degree of accuracy of the forecast, but would limit the time parents had to make plans for childcare.

If the school parking lot is full with teachers’ cars, it will force voters to park further distances along route 10 making it difficult for plows to keep the roads clear and force people to walk greater distance along a snow covered potentially slippery route 10 in order to get to the voting booths.

There is a type of dilemma know as a “Right versus Right" dilemma and this may be one of them which means … Hey, I can only be right!  Woot Woot!!!

School is closed tomorrow.  Now, go ahead and tell me I am wrong :)

Sorry if this creates any difficulty and inconvenience.  I hope to see you all at town meeting tomorrow having safely navigated your roads.  My vote is for no more snow. (Sorry, Evan).

Polls open at 7am.   Deliberative session of town meeting begins at 9am.  It will take place at, yes, the Lyme School... which is open for the town meeting… closed for school… open for complaints.  :)  I understand, no hard feelings.

See you in the snowbanks,