Friday, February 4, 2011

BRRRRRR............................It's Been Rather Cold Outside!!

The weather all over the country has been very cold, but it seems to be the norm in places other than Arizona. Winters in Douglas are always much colder than in Gilbert. I had forgotten how cold it can get here. Daytime temperatures are usually great, but once the sun goes down, it can get rather chilly!

Earlier this week, the weather forecast was calling for extremely low temperatures all over Arizona. And was this forecast ever accurate!!

Thursday morning when my alarm went off at 5:00, I could tell it was very cold. I am so glad to have my electric blanket and the new gas heater upstairs. But even with the heater, it was still cold.

I got up to get ready for work and went to take a shower--NO HOT WATER! Not only was there no hot water, there was no water coming out of the faucet when I turned it to hot. There was plenty of cold water, but with the temperature around 14 degrees, I wasn't quite ready for a COLD SHOWER! So I brought everything downstairs hoping that the downstairs bathroom would have hot water. Too much to hope for I guess..............

So as I was trying to figure out how to wash my hair or at least wet it down enough so that it wasn't sticking straight up all over, I got a call from Edna at the district. Power was out in different parts of Douglas and water pipes were frozen. She didn't have any water either. So I told her I would be at the office in about 10 minutes so we could figure out what to do.

I got to the office about 6:00 a.m. and it was bitter cold. Edna and Bonnie came soon after. Bonnie brought her curling iron with her. At least there was some hope for her!!!

After talking to our maintenance and transportation guys, I made the decision to call off school for the day. We actually have two "snow" days so we were okay with our mandatory days. We then started the process to notify everyone--calling the principals, sending an email to parents, putting it on the website and calling the Governing Board Members. I called the three Tucson television stations and asked them to announce it. When I called Channel 9, the young lady who answered is from Douglas and is a graduate of DHS.

Everything went smoothly considering that we had over 4,000 students and their families to notify. Five of our buses wouldn't start because the batteries were frozen. There was no water in the cafeteria at the high school so no meals could be prepared or served, and various other issues at the other schools.

After listening to the news and all of the power, gas and water outages and the forecast that it wouldn't even be above freezing on Thursday, we made the decision to cancel classes on Friday also. The concern was for when it did go above freezing and what might happen with pipes at our schools. All of our school buildings for the most part are old buildings.

As the day wore on, I was glad to hear that many other districts in southeastern Arizona and in Tucson were also canceling school. This is a big decision that impacts so many people and it came down to me being the one to make that call......

Around 11:30, I got an email from a reporter from Channel 9. She was heading down to Bisbee and Douglas to do a story on our school closures and the weather. She wanted me to be available to be interviewed. I told her that I would love to be interviewed (lie-lie), but I had not had the "opportunity" to take a shower that morning and didn't feel that I should be a representative for Douglas Unified School District under those conditions. She laughed and asked if I could get someone else. In the meantime, I tried to figure out how I could be "presentable." I even tried to call my hair dresser to see if I could get a shampoo, etc. No one answered. I can only assume that they had no hot water either!! So I called our Assistant Superintendent, Bonnie, and told her that she "had to take one for the district." She did an awesome job when it was shown on the 6 o'clock news!!!!

This morning it was a whopping ONE DEGREE!!! I do not think that I have ever been anywhere when it was this cold!!! Right now it is a very warm 48 degrees outside and it actually feels like a heat wave!! It is suppose to get down to 12 or 13 overnight, but the forecast after this looks much better.

The sad thing is that there are broken pipes all over our district. As the day warmed up, the water in many of the pipes broke. It would have been a disaster if we had students at our schools today. Our maintenance guys will be working all weekend and probably longer to fix things. I am hoping that insurance will help as I imagine it is going to be costly.

As for me, still no hot water; still now shower; I actually have been heating water on the stove for various reasons. I am hoping that I will be able to wash some clothes for work next week, but the thing I am most worried about is NO SHOWER!

As I have said before, moving to Douglas has been quite the adventure!!!