Unlike yesterday, which was a 2x shovel and roof rake day, I only had to shovel and rake the roof once. However, I was busy indoors and away from the house.
I did more winterizing in the house, including the construction of a plastic partition in the back of the house to segment the less insulated rear from the front of the house. I layered 3 mil plastic sheeting and bound at the top and bottom with a wide piece of duct tape. Inside the bottom, I put two old socks to provide weight, and I looped the top and taped it so that I could run a curtain rod through it. I hung the whole assembly in the door way leading from the back area into the kitchen. It has been an amazing success. I can feel the difference and observe the change in the central heat despite it being 16 degrees outside. The cooler air in the back stays there and the central heat runs less often.
We built two fires today, one after I shoveled snow and the other immediately after that one died. I moved Miao’s chair close to the fire, which made her very happy and sleepy.
This evening, I put together a spare Ikea desk in the living room between the fire and the television. I did this so that I could begin a large photo scanning project that I had not had time to do until the semester was over. I brought a lot of photos from home that I wanted to digitize and keep. Getting started was rough for some technical reasons, but now scanning is zipping right along.
Y is busy with D’s books and her iPad and now she is talking with her Mom over Skype.
It is a chill night in both senses of the word.
Y calls today “snow attack,” because the windy white-out conditions outside appear to be assaulting everything. What’s worse about it all is that you see the swirls and hammering of a thousand white specks that also hide the object or person being attacked. It looks very bad outside.
Around 11:00am I began my first snow clearing of the day shortly after I received a text message from Kent State University saying that final exams AFTER 1:00pm were rescheduled for Monday, December 20. I am not giving my students a final exam, so this does not directly affect me. However, I am concerned that as bad as the snow was since I woke up at 8:30am, I cannot fathom why KSU’s administrators decided to wait so long to close campus. Earlier in the morning, they had advised students away from approaching campus on one of the major in-roads. By not following good sense much earlier in the morning, I suspect many commuter students were placed in a bad situation that got substantially worse: they had to brave the windy, heavy snow fall this morning only to have to drive back home in even worse windy, heavy snow fall conditions at lunchtime. I understand that it takes money to keep a university open, and it probably costs a lot to reschedule final exams in terms of expense to the university as well as students who may have already made travel plans that must now be changed. These things are unfortunate, but I wonder what personal costs there were this morning as students and faculty tried to make their way to campus.
After clearing my driveway, a 2 hour ordeal, I drove along Main Street to get our lunch at Burger King, and I was frankly scared to exceed 10mph. I have tires designed for snow and rain conditions, but my steering wheel still felt goofy on certain spots. I was surprised by the number of cars on the road, but I wasn’t that surprised by the number of tow trucks hauling cars. This is very bad weather, and the city of Kent or Portage County isn’t responding to the problem as quickly and effectively as I think that they should. Perhaps they are stretched thin with their resources right now. Perhaps they are waiting for more snow fall to clear it all at once. I don’t know what their rationale is, but I do know that based on this lack of infrastructural response to the snow, KSU should not have opened today. If commuters cannot reach campus or cannot do so safely, the school should make the responsible choice and remain closed. If this weather continues tomorrow, I can only open for the sake of those who have to venture outside that the school closes earlier rather than potentially trapping students and faculty in the middle of a terrible snow storm.