T Plus One Week from Taiwan

Y and I returned from Taiwan a week ago, but it still seems like we were at her parents’ house only yesterday. We are still digging through Christmas cards, correspondence, bills, and a stack of other less important mail. We have almost caught up with our house cleaning after vacuuming all of the floors, washing a load of dishes, and generally cleaning up accumulated clutter. Miao Miao has been as helpful as any cat can: not so much, but at least she’s very cute with her attempts at cat help. Y is still battling jet lag, and I am to a lesser extent. Y did get back into her weekly routine reading the Sunday newspaper and going through the sales ads. I suspect that the cold weather and the slightly higher than outside yet still very cold temperature inside our house hasn’t accelerated our re-acclimation to EST and the routines of NE Ohio. If anything, the weather has probably impeded our progress. Nevertheless, we struggle on to get our work done so that we can leave Kent for our professional lives as soon as possible.

Amazing Snow Day, Albeit A Little Late for Early Arrivals at KSU

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.