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As a lazy, overcompensated, glorified babysitter suckling at the taxpayer's teat, I must say that I love a 3 day weekend that arrives unexpectedly. People on the right have been warning against people like me for a long time, and a major part of their complaint against the profession is our calendar. Teachers, they say, get a lot of time off and that makes them lazy.
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It is true, we do get a lot of time off. Unless you are doing Summer School, teachers average about 2 ½ months of vacation during summer recess. Then there's a week off for Thanksgiving, with another two and a half weeks around the corner for the winter break. Another week in the spring coupled with Federal holidays sprinkled throughout the year and the calendar is looking pretty good for being lazy. Add in some bad weather days and teachers are effectively being fronted days off, to be made up at the end of the year when any make up day is pretty much a wash. It's like free money!

Here in Texas we rarely get bad weather day. It does happens, but not like in other places where snow and ice are constant features of the winter months. When it does happen, teachers are even more happy about it than are students. A surprise three day weekend is like divine approval for our sloth. It's like God telling us to take a break. Such was the case this Friday when schools across Texas shuttered due to the arctic blast of ice and snow.

As a kid in rural Massachusetts winter was my favorite season. Skating, snow forts and mammoth icicles were my cold weather loves and as an adult that love remains. So on Thursday afternoon when the temps went from mid 60's down to high 30's in the course of an hour I was already making plans for a Friday snow day outing. Wake up at the usual 5:30, get outside, don't come back until the end of the day. The perfect antidote to the grind of two four-day weeks in a row right on the heels of winter vacation. Doesn't sound like much of an effing problem, does it?

And my day began just that way. I woke up at 5:30, checked my email to confirm that school was cancelled, and got myself dressed. It was perfect. All my plans were falling into place for a day hike in the icy greenbelt.

Outside was about a ¼ inch of ice and lots of black ice on the roads and sidewalks. I learned to drive in these conditions so after scraping the car down I drove very carefully to get a big ass coffee from Starbucks. I'm not crazy. You have to be careful in this stuff.

Not surprisingly, Starbucks was open right at 6. The barista told me her 15 min commute took her 45 min and she saw at least a dozen wrecks on the way in. There were over 250 across Austin since the night before. The roads were bad enough but in a city full of drivers who don't understand how to drive on ice they were that much worse.

I thought I was doing pretty good by making it the half mile from my home to my coffee on super slick asphalt, so I turned it around to head for home. Driving slowly behind the building toward my exit, coffee in hand, at about 5mph my car his an ice patch that I could not see and I slid ever so slowly into the curb. The impact was surprisingly hard, bending my rim and jolting my body in a way that I could not have anticipated. Fortunately my tire didn't pop, but the ride home was bumpy and I suspected there may be unseen damage.

Well, that's pretty minor and I was lucky it wasn't a real accident like so many others, so I went home and woke the kids to play outdoors. After a quick breakfast out we went, two boys and one overgrown boy making snowballs and enjoying the surprise.

And then I bent down to take a picture of our pile of snowballs and *snap: my back went out. Bad. I used to have back problems but haven't had for 5 or 6 years. It was excruciating. I sneezed? It hurt. Made the mistake of laying down on the bed? Took me 15 min to get out. Luckily I was able to get an appointment with my doctor later in the day. So here I sit on muscle relaxers and pain medication wondering what monday will look like in school, unable to bend over, stoop down, sit or stand for any length of time.

So much for my paid three day weekend.

SO, what is your effing problem, anyway?

Originally posted to bastrop on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 05:03 PM PST.

Also republished by WYFP?.

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