Thursday, December 10, 2009

UW Madison classes canceled, non-essential employees asked to stay home...

Wednesday, December 9th 2009 the University of Wisconsin – Madison had its first ever snow day. Ever. That’s kind of a big deal. You see the nice folk here at Madison take great pleasure in ensuring that all their students are as miserable during finals as humanly possible. Humanly, not humanely. Last year final exams were almost postponed due to a multi-day snowstorm that prevented students from being able to make their way to class without a.) falling on their bums multiple times and/or b.) accidently getting lost due to the near white out conditions/keeping their heads so low that they could not see and/or c.) simply freezing on the spot and coming down with a horrendous case of pneumonia. Not to mention the fact that it was negative bagillion degrees out.

This year, however, the Student Examination Discomfort Association (SEDA) seems to have had a change of heart. As the news advised the entire Midwest that the blizzard was rolling in, students of all ages, grades K-19 sat on edge twitching with anticipation as school after school made its way onto the “School Closings” bar at the bottom of the TV screen. Facebook status after Facebook status of high school peers were changing to express their happiness of having Hump Day as a day of rest. The tension grew. My computer actually froze as I tirelessly refreshed the UW Madison homepage hoping to see a change in the weather information given under the cute festive snowflake icon, thus proving that the members of SEDA had souls after all.

7:45 p.m. standard time, Tuesday December 8th 2009. The official announcement was heard by all regardless of whether or not they were trying to obtain the information. Screaming. Lots and lots of screaming. And jumping. Then things got crazy and there was simultaneous screaming and jumping. Our neighbors across the hall wandered into our apartment wondering who had been shot. Our neighbors upstairs sent us a friendly text kindly requesting that we “shut up!”. I called my mom. The screaming did not cease. We were part of history. Knowing that our legacy would be forever remembered was exhilarating.

Logically, any thoughts of “doing homework” or “studying for finals” were quickly thrown out the window. It was playtime. Playtime in a gorgeous and breathtaking winter wonderland that grew in beauty as each passing minute brought another inch of glistening snow. Now, I have an odd disorder in which whenever it snows I have approximately 48 seconds before I transform into a five-year-old. Once I am in this five-year-old state, it is very difficult to bring me out, and I generally remain this way for a good hour or so after I have been fully removed from the snow, incapable of doing anything productive or responsible. As I walked outside on Tuesday night, however, I noticed that this magical first significant snowfall was winding its way into the hearts and minds of everyone it touched. Even those whom I would have put money on never romping in the snow for no reason were rushing outside with wide smiles on their faces.

Geared with my favorite hat and knock-off-way-better-quality-and-actually-warm-with-no-foam-soles-and-won’t-make-you-slip-whenever-you-walk-on-anything-but-gravel-not-to-mention-about-a-tenth-of-the-ridiculous-price Ugg boots I headed to the infamous Liz Waters Hill. The crowds surpassed any that I had ever seen. Snowmen lined the bottom of the hill, aesthetically providing a soft landing to those whose cafeteria trays had been secretly waxed before their use. A full scale igloo proved the perfect spectator site for those watching slightly insane (and fun-loving) college kids catapult off a handmade jump. (Personally, the kid who rode his bike down was my favorite. If you read this, I hope you were able to fix your tire.) Surges of students rushed the hill in attempts to gain enough momentum to make it to the top without slipping. A surfboard emerged from the depths of one adventuresome student’s dorm room and quickly became the quickest and most powerful mode of transportation. There was much romping. There was much frolicking. There was much merry-making. If you closed your eyes and just listened to all the screams of excitement and yells of friends trying to keep track of each other in the mayhem it was easy to forget that you were standing in a foot of snow on a college lakeshore and not on a crowded spring break beach in Florida.

Walking home soaked through and dripping with snow the cold wasn’t even noticeable. The beauty was still growing. It hadn’t stopped while we were away. The impromptu neighborhood snowball fight that had commenced simply added to the beauty. It’s part of the wonderful whole that makes up winter. Plus, I’m really really good at throwing snowballs.

And what better way to end a Snow Day’s Eve than with hot chocolate. Made with milk. And mini marshmallows. Perfection.

Being all tuckered out from the festivities of Snow Day’s Eve, sleeping in was a must. As noon rolled around the powder and bitter wind once again began calling my name. All the libraries were closed. The Union was closed. But I needed to get out and walk somewhere. How can you just sit inside all day knowing that the second you set foot into the world of ice you’d be wide awake and ready to take on whatever came you way? Destination: Starbucks. A 20 minute walk, with potential study time, thus making it a responsible adventure. Apparently everyone else had the same idea I did, so Mission Starbucks was a failure. Never fear, the silver lining quickly emerged: The Annual UW Madison Snowball Battle. Rumor has it over 4000 students participated. Nowhere else can the ever-raging rivalry between Lakeshore and South East be settled fair and square. So, naturally, incumbent Lakeshore was once again victorious with no life-threatening injuries having been reported. Not to mention that we made national news….

the Badger Herald




I think the rest goes without saying. Snow day = success.

I apologize to all of you who are finishing this and thinking, "By golly that was awfully long." I promised myself a half hour study break. I had to fill the half hour.

Because the new episode of 'The Office' hasn't been put online yet.

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