The Basement Files

The final countdown?


OK folks, it’s been real. Less than 10 days remain until the end of the Mayan calendar and the “end of the world.” Or, if you are a little more optimistic, a little less than 10 days until Dec. 22, 2012, what I, and others, have call “National Hangover Day,” because if some people really think the end of the world is nigh, then why not get really, really hammered.

I won’t. Not because I’m better than anyone, but I would simply like to be able to function come the Dec. 22, should that day in fact come. Which I am 99.975 percent positive it will. So, other than that, what’s got me all riled up in a bundle this week? Take a wild guess.

Winter 2012

It snowed. A lot. In fact, as you probably heard by now, it was the worst single-storm snowfall we have had in nearly two years. And more might be on the way.

Personally, I can’t stand the thought of more snow. I like some snow, just enough so that people who rely on snow for their employment keep their jobs, if we are being specific. But no more snow. This whole “14-inches” thing is not for me. Especially when it seems that MnDOT wasn’t ready for it. It’s not like we didn’t know it was coming, but as I write this we are three days past the storm and there are some roads that are, for lack of a better term, complete “death traps.” The highways are fine, but if you go rural make sure you have that survival kit.

Yes, it was a bad snow. No, MnDOT didn’t do the best job ever. And yes, most of us drivers are absolutely awful when it comes to the first real winter driving test. We’ll get better, and I’m hoping so will the plows. Unless we get that “worst-case-scenario” ice-storm. Then we’re screwed. Everyone that is, except…

ISD 834: The iron fist of education.

Fourteen inches, the worst snow in two years, and the best Independent School District 834 can manage is a two-hour delay? Not to mention one that came rather late. We all know that when it comes to winter weather, the Stillwater school district has become a big joke. “Foot and a half of snow? No problem.” Except that they never, ever take into consideration how big this district is, and the students who live in places like Marine on the St. Croix, Grant and Withrow, a place I like to call “the land the plows forgot.”

I spent 11 years driving school buses for the district and drove in worse weather than we had on Monday. From blizzards to tornado warnings, I’ve driven in it all, even if common sense told me I shouldn’t. I had to, because as I’ve said before, this district doesn’t close schools for anything. It’s a joke, and not one the district should be proud of. The district is allotted a couple of days each year to close in the event of 14-inches of snow. Use them. It was far too dangerous for vehicle travel Monday morning, and just because you haven’t had a major wreck yet, doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. Stop tempting fate.

But I digress, I’m not in school anymore, and many of my teachers would argue that’s a good thing. But one thing is certain. No matter what happens at the end of the Mayan calendar, school in ISD 834 will go on.


            Chris Hamble is a freelance writer and humor columnist serving newspapers in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and is a lifelong Stillwater resident.