Old Dogs, New Tricks

A blog for non-traditional students


Quick and dirty – it took me FOUR hours to get home from Clifton tonight, an hour just to get from Stratford Heights to I-75.  Thanks a lot to those who make the decisions on closing school at UC – I nearly peed my pants sitting in that nasty mess.  And forget about dinner – I’m getting ready to go nuke something right now.  Although I’m so hot right now, I might be able to cook my leftovers just by holding them in my hands.

*** Danielle


February 3, 2009 Posted by | Snow Days, Student Life | Leave a comment

Aftermath (Part II)

I’m exhausted so this will be brief, but chockful of visuals 🙂  My 58-year-old mother and I didn’t get out to the driveway until 3:00 p.m. so we got less done than I hoped, but when all is said and done, I think we did a bang-up job – my aching arms and back agree.  Here’s the results:




So I’m going to veg for an hour and watch American Idol – hopefully, I’ll be able to get up off the couch and get back to work 🙂

*** Danielle

January 28, 2009 Posted by | Snow Days, Student Life, University Policies | Leave a comment


So, after going through freezing rain, sleet and another mini-blizzard, the sun is out now at my house.  I took my first trip out to the front yard once the snow had trickled back to the barest of flurries and look what I found!


 We’ve gone through plenty of ice storms here, so the bent trees are nothing new – besides, we were without power for a week after the wind storm in September because some of the trees didn’t bend but broke.  What makes me feel completely defeated is that I know once the whole thing is over today, I’m going to have to go out and start trying to dig my way out. 

 As I watched the ice piling up on top of the three inches of snow we already had on the ground last night, I kept hoping that the freezing rain/sleet/whatever-it-was – can someone please explain the difference between all those words? – would let up.  I have had to shovel out this driveway more times than I care to remember, but the worst was last year after the horrendous snow/ice storm we had in February.  Multiple inches of snow are hard enough to shovel, but when you sandwich a layer of ice in between the snow, the job goes from an hour and a half to five or six hours of back-breaking labor. 

premilinary-measurementMy son wanted to know exactly how much snow we had gotten, so we tried to measure the depth of the snow on our back porch – but when I tried to stuff the ruler into the snow, we discovered that the ice layer was too thick to penetrate with his little wooden ruler.  So we just measured the snow above that rock-hard ice – three inches.  When I went out front to take those pictures, I grabbed our yardstick and managaed to stab through the ice – all told, it looks like a little over seven inches of precipitation.

Here’s my dilemma:  I have a ton of major projects due next week and at least one of them requires me to interview people in person.  That means I have to be able to get out of my driveway but in order to do that I’m going have to spend the rest of the day today and probably a couple of hours tomorrow (since sunset is only four hours away) to even think about getting my car out of the driveway.  I hate asking for special consideration from my professors, but I’m at the point where I either need a deadline push or a little flexibility in my interview format – accepting email or phone interviews instead of in-person ones.  And of course, other courses need my attention as well, so I’m going to have to carve out time for those as well – add on top of all of this that my son is sick – he had a fever last night of 103.5 degrees and that means he won’t be able to go to school tomorrow, even if they are open.  Oh, how I love winter quarter.  On the bright side, I got my email notification that I can register for spring classes on Friday – so, at least I have warmer weather to look forward to, lol.

Well, I’m off to grab a quick bite to eat before I start my herculean effort – wish me luck!  🙂

*** Danielle

January 28, 2009 Posted by | Snow Days, Student Life, University Policies | Leave a comment

Isn’t It Ironic?

Given what I’m working on right now – this commuting thing – today’s weather may provide plenty of fodder for my classmates to contribute.  I have to laugh at the ridiculousness of UC cancelling classes until 10:00 a.m.  It’s a little after 9:30 right now, and I just took these pictures of my driveway to give you a feel for the absurdity of the idea that I’ll be in class today.buried-drivewayburied-car


The best part is that it’s still snowing heavily enough to make shoveling a complete waste of time; by the time I got to the top of the driveway, the bottom would be re-covered already.  And of course there’s the predicted wintry mix that will make driving all the more exciting later today.  So, I apologize to my classmates and professors, but I’ll be staying home today – and maybe tomorrow if this precipitation doesn’t let up so I can dig my way out. 

Anyone else want to share photos of their snow-covered adventures in driving?  Email them to me and I’ll toss some up here – I’ve got the time today 🙂

*** Danielle

Just a little postscript:  Does it seem odd to anyone else that the city of Cincinnati declared a snow emergency and UC still opened at 10:00 am?  Or how about the fact that Xavier, Mt. St. Jo and NKU all closed today, but not our beloved institution?  As I’ve been fervently keeping abreast of the weather from the safety of my basement bedroom, I have stumbled across articles speculating that Nancy Zimpher might possibly be leaving us for the State University of New York’s vacant chancellor seat – I’m pretty tempted to say, “Hallelujah!” and call it an answer to prayer. 🙂

January 27, 2009 Posted by | Snow Days, Student Life, University Policies | 3 Comments

Snow Daze

From the top of the driveway to the garage and back up to the street

From the top of the driveway to the garage and back up to the street

This weather is driving me nuts – it waits to start snowing in earnest until I’m getting ready to leave for school, regardless of what time of day that is.  I spent two hours Monday morning and an hour and a half this morning cleaning off my ridiculously long driveway (see photo collage), just so I could get my little front-wheel drive Cavalier up to the street.  There is no time of the year worse for commuters than the winter.  And of course the university’s policies on cancelling classes reflect one more way we non-traditionals are discounted or ignored.  My normal 35-minute drive to campus has been as long as two hours when the weather was nasty; the stress of driving in that kind of mess makes it feel like days of white-knuckling my way across a frozen bumper-car course. 

It’s not that I expect classes to be cancelled every time a white flake hits the ground.  I understand that missing even one class meeting can lead to as much as 10 percent of expected material being passed over in a course – in the case of those classes that only meet once a week especially.  But I wonder if the professors and administration ever think about how dangerous – or potentially expensive – it is to expect students who live off campus to make it to Clifton in awful weather.  I’ve lived in Cincinnati most of my life so I’m not unfamiliar with driving in the kind of slop we get in winter but now that I’m a mom I find that it’s a lot more nerve-racking – all those grown-up worries like paying for damages to my car if I slide into someone or off the road into a tree, or what would happen to my son if I were seriously injured (or killed).

I’ve got to wrap this up so I can start preparing my dogsled for the trip to Clifton – I have one evening class today, just in time to drive in rush hour both ways if I’m really unlucky and traffic is bad.  For all the commuters out there, non-traditional or not, drive safely and good luck this winter – here’s hoping we won’t have to miss any classes this quarter, unlike like the three or four days classes were cancelled last winter (which only happened after I was either already in Clifton or done for the day 🙂 )

*** Danielle

— Postscript to the story:  It was snowing like it meant it when I left for class Wednesday afternoon, so I left early.  By the time I got to Northside, it had completely stopped – at least until it was time to head home.  Between the break I took at 5:15 p.m. and when class was dismissed at 6:45 p.m., it had snowed enough to cover the sidewalks and parking lots in Clifton, making for an exciting drive home.  Thankfully, the roads were well treated – for the most part – but none so nicely as my own, which is pretty far off the beaten path.  Today’s ridiculously cold temperatures will provide a different kind of challenge – how to stay warm outside without broiling in class.

January 15, 2009 Posted by | Snow Days, Student Life, University Policies | 2 Comments