Thursday Things

1. I consider myself to be a pretty big sports fan, but I’ve honestly never been into pro sports. My allegiances to teams are almost always determined by my location. If pressed, I would have cheered for the Pistons, Lions, Red Wings, and Tigers growing up, but–with the exception of World Series Tigers games–I would never have described my feelings over any of their losses as “heartbroken,” or even “disappointed.” Since I’ve now been in Chicago for 11 months, my loyalties (if you can consider my passing interest as a “loyalty”) have switched over to the Bulls, Blackhawks, Bears, and Cubs (not the White Sox. Never the White Sox.).

Despite my lack of interest in the professional sports scene, I’ve found myself a bit conflicted over all this Blackhawks/Red Wings hockey business. As a native Michigander–a Michigander who distinctly remembers staying up far too late the night before she graduated from high school to watch the Red Wings lose in three overtimes to the Pens during Game Five of the Stanley Cup Finals–I feel like I’m supposed to cheer for the Red Wings. As a Chicagoan, however, I feel like I’m supposed to cheer for the Blackhawks. Truth be told, I really don’t particularly care about either team, because I’m in no way interested in hockey. My biggest problem with all of this comes from social media, I think. The vast majority of my Facebook friends are from Michigan, and therefore cheer for the Red Wings, while probably over half of the active people and brands I follow on Twitter are from Chicago and are all about the Blackhawks. Maybe I should just stay off social media around games.

2. My middle school is closing at the end of the school year, making me now 1/3 on “childhood schools that are still open.” My school system got slammed by the 2008 recession, which just so happened to coincide with their restructuring of the tuition rates, and enrollment plummeted (I graduated with 112 people in 2008; my brother, who will graduate in 2014, has something like 65 people in his class). They couldn’t justify keeping my elementary school open, so that closed and the building was sold back in 2009 or 2010, and they don’t need all the space in the current middle school, so they’re closing it down and adding on space to the elementary school to accommodate the middle school students.

The mom of one of my former classmates created a montage of photos from my middle school’s building’s history (it was a grade school before my school system restructured in 2000, when it became the middle school), and since I went to school with her daughter, there were plenty of pictures of my class, making it a nice little trip down memory lane for me.

Screen shot 2013-05-29 at 11.14.01 AM

Such a baller on my 7th grade basketball “B” team. Please note my wrapped hand — I sustained a sprained wrist in basketball practice. Also, I sat across from my middle school crush in language arts around the time this sprain happened, and when he saw the bandage he poked my hand and asked if it hurt. That was, arguably, the greatest moment of my 12-year-old existence.

It makes me so sad to see schools close. I am admittedly a bit sentimental about old buildings, but to me there are few things more upsetting than seeing an old school torn down to be replaced with a bright, shiny, sterile new building. Yeah, I’m sure the air conditioning is nice and all, but I think you lose a lot of intangibles with new construction. I walked the same halls and sat in the same classrooms as my mom, which is something my kids will never be able to say if I end up back in my hometown. I don’t like new. I don’t like neat and tidy. I like things to be a little rough around the edges, a little worn, a little broken in. It may not be as pretty, but I prefer stories to perfection.

3. As someone who has dealt with an oft-debilitating fear of thunderstorms for most of her life, I like to fancy myself pretty with it as far as meteorology goes. I know which forecasters to trust, who to go to for the most reliable information, and which websites have the best radar. As far as major weather companies go, I always default to Accuweather. They know what’s up (aside from their propensity to only give the “official” Chicago temperature. The official temperature comes from O’Hare. Totally bogus, because the weather can be SO much cooler/warmer downtown, which is really way more “Chicago” than O’Hare in my opinion, but whatever. Weather Underground is your go-to for reliable temperature reads, by the way. Weather Underground also powers Weather Puppy, aka the greatest app known to smartphones.).

However, despite Accuweather’s usually-good forecasting and easy-to-understand radar, I’ve got to say that I hate the stories on their website. No one fear-mongers on Accuweather’s level. For instance, quotes from an article about impending severe weather yesterday (emphasis is all mine):

“…over the Plains in such a way to produce an outbreak of powerful and dangerous thunderstorms.”
“…could be impacted by violent storms through late this week.”
“Some of these tornadoes could be particularly long-lived and intense…”

Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m all for giving people good and fair warning about the risk of severe weather. This kind of apocalyptic language in forecasting, however, really makes me mad. It’s throwing around terms like “powerful” and “dangerous” and “violent” in forecasts that makes people not believe them when they’re given out during warnings. Accuweather told me all throughout Tuesday that there would be strong thunderstorms all day, and you know when the first storm rolled into town? Like 8 p.m. That’s hardly all day. Weather models change, systems shift, and it can be tricky, especially in a place like the Midwest during the spring, to say definitively what the weather is going to do. But like the boy that cried wolf, it does way more harm than good to use frightening verbiage in forecasts, because once there really is something to be worried about, you’ve numbed everyone in your viewing area to the intense language.

(For those of you interested in my unsolicited but highly refined opinion on weather forecasting, the Storm Prediction Center is your best bet for real information on thunderstorm and severe weather predicting. That website is my JAM. So much nerdy information. These are also the people that determine whether or not you’re in a slight (or moderate) risk area for severe weather. Just please, for the love of dressing appropriately on your commute, DON’T trust The Weather Channel! They have no idea what they’re talking about, and it hurts my soul to see people taking what they say as gospel truth. They’re almost always wrong).

Are your childhood schools still around?
Where do you get your forecast?

15 thoughts on “Thursday Things

  1. I love that you remember your crush poking your hand.. oh, middle school. I only had 2 schools – my elementary school was K-8, and then high school. Both are still open, but they’ve expanded so much. My elementary school is now K-4 and a middle school was built. I substitute taught for a year and was in and out of all of the schools in my area – so strange being in there as a teacher instead of a student.

    • There was a teacher in my high school during my senior year who had graduated from that high school four or five years earlier. I couldn’t imagine going back and working where I went to school! It’d be such a strange shift having your former teachers become your coworkers!

      • It was only weird when they asked me to call them by their first names because I just couldn’t do that. The worst part of subbing was when I subbed at the high school – I was asked to show my ID because one of the teachers thought I was a high school student, not a teacher. That wasn’t awkward at all.

  2. Girl, i was pulling for your red wings last night and was very sad when they lost. Then i was pretty upset by the chicago fans reception of jimmy howard after such a long and lovely show of sportsmanship as that handshake (seriously, i’ve never seen one last that long or watched so many hugs/conversations between two opposing teams before)…i realize you might not be a huge fan of the other team’s goalie but booing him? Seriously? Not cool in my opinion, esp since chicago had just won. Ok rant over…sorry it took place on your wall…your first number just brought it all back!

    • Haha no worries! To be honest, I think I was pulling for the Blackhawks, since I am in Chicago and all right now. I didn’t actually watch any of the game so I don’t know how anything went down in the handshake department, though I do know that there is A LOT of animosity towards the Red Wings around here. Like, A LOT. Not that that excuses it or anything. Boo bad sportsmanship! I do love sports, but sometimes people take things waaaaaaaay too seriously.

  3. I’d be really upset if I found out my school was closing too. I have a lot of amazing memories growing up there- it was a time when I truly loved school. It would be sad to see that go away. I hate all of these new schools being built. Sure, they have some fancy features but they feel like hospitals. That’s what my high school felt like, at least.
    As a lifeguard, I make the weather. Kidding. Kind of. Although I have been known to go bang around the shed to try to create thunder sounds… No, I just really use the app on my phone and if it tells me thunder is coming, I spend more time looking at the clouds than I do at the water. Oops…

    • Ha, fun fact: my high school got new carpet I think my junior year of high school? Maybe my senior year? Anyway, it was legit from a hospital. So weird!

      Hahaha that’s the key! I need to become a lifeguard! Man, if I had known that was all it took to be in control of the weather, I would’ve taken that up a LONG time ago! 😛

  4. But did you have some of the same teachers as your parent’s? Because I did. And yes, my teachers were old.
    Accuweather is my go to for weather. I’m already looking at the weather for next weekend for Ragnar and praying for 70s.

    • I did, actually! Some of them at least. Sixth grade social studies, seventh grade math and seventh grade science, and freshman honors English. I think that’s it. Though my mom’s elementary school principal did substitute drive my bus sometimes. Haha.

  5. Bummed about your middle school closing! I actually went to middle school in the basement of the high school (true story AND I went to private school– where’d that money really go?) and like two years after I graduated from high school, they decided to build an entirely new middle school. Not fair! Like you, I prefer things a little rough around the edges BUT I would rather go to school in a new building than one where the only windows were shoebox size and had views of the gutters.

    • I don’t blame you! I’d choose a new building over a basement, too! Just missing out on new construction was seriously the story of my life growing up. Through all of fifth grade they were adding on a new gym to my elementary school (that I never got to use, because they finished it after I “graduated” from elementary school, and then during all of my senior year of high school they added on a whole new science wing, and I missed out on all of that, too (all of it except the construction, that is)! Lame.

  6. I was going to ask what you thought about They seem to be so off. Maybe I should check one of these others! has those awful articles too.

    • Hahaha yes, I have Opinions on 😛 It seriously irks me whenever someone’s like, “Let me check the forecast!” and then goes to No! They’re always wrong! Accuweather isn’t perfect, but it’s better than and has less ego, imo (after all, it wasn’t Accuweather who thought it’d be necessary to give winter storms names *rolls eyes*)

  7. Weather Underground and Accuweather are the two I check. Even still, I love that it’s supposed to rain all week this week and yet it really only rained one day. Sigh. Midwest.

    I was sad when my high school had to add those ugly trailers out front for extra space because it totally made the school look nasty. Thankfully they’re gone now. But I don’t feel any sentimental attachment to my other schools, probably because my parents moved to my hometown when I was 2 so they we don’t really have any history there anyway.

    • And really only rained late that day at that! I’m 100% okay with those forecasts being wrong. As someone who has to do a lot of walking outside, I’m all about forecasted rain not happening!

      We had one of those trailers tucked away at my high school, too. It was actually wonderful, because it was air conditioned while most of the high school was not! Or at least, wonderful on those few days where you really needed air conditioning. Not so wonderful during the winter, though, when you had to trudge through the snow and cold to class!

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