Susan Gelvin is a longtime resident of New Canaan who graduated New Canaan High School in 1992 and then earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Michigan. Currently, she is co-president of the Saxe Middle School PTC, a mother of two, and likes shiny things.
I am not a fan of putting labels on people. However, after watching all eight seasons of “Games of Thrones,” I see how some carry weight. I, Susan of House Gelvin, First of Her Name, Breaker of Appliances and Protector of Retail Shopping, could get used to this kind of name-calling. The label I particularly dislike is ‘nerd.’ Yet I am surrounded by many self-proclaimed nerds who wear the label as a badge of honor. To me, the term insults those who are dedicated to intellectual pursuits.
Our doorbell has been out of commission for months and it has not phased me one bit.
Fully embracing my inner shut-in, I am not at all anxious that I have missed any truly important visitors, like the angelic Girl Scout cookie peddlers or an unannounced Oprah ambush. I may have even avoided uncomfortable interactions with dreaded door-to-door salesfolk, wandering environmentalists and the occasional drive-by serial killer.
Weeks ago, Aquarion Water Company must have come a’calling—and since I am visitor-proof, they left an urgent notice on our doorknob. By the way, nothing says *urgent* like a white luggage tag on the front door. I was instructed to contact the company immediately regarding a water leak on our property.
Most people would have called Aquarion pronto to get to the bottom of the bad news. Instead, I decided to marinate in the information and torment myself with a visual loop of worst-case scenarios.
It’s official, the subtle art of dodging a phone call has been lost. Most New Canaanites simply avoid answering the phone anymore, unless of course, it is the Office of Emergency Management calling with timely, critical information. We have all been burned far too many times to think that the person on the end of the line is truly who Caller ID says they are—I am talking to you, Somali Pirate, who has been trying to lure me into a phone conversation for months. I remember the glorious moment when Caller ID first rolled out and became a standard operating feature. It was the dawn of a new day to gain the inside track on who had dialed.
On Valentine’s Day, many hearts simultaneously broke throughout New Canaan with a single widely distributed email.
As some swooned over loved ones or batted eyelashes at a crush, the much adored and longstanding principal of South School, Joanne Rocco, announced her retirement in an email to parents.
It was an email that launched a thousand forwarded messages, and reduced many to tears.
I received numerous frantic messages about the breaking news—or shall I say, heartbreaking news. Though I no longer have students at South, I felt a mix of immense sorrow for those families who will not know Ms. Rocco and absolute triumph that my kids attended “her” school. My family had six blissful years reaping the rewards of Joanne’s hard work and tenure. The thought of her absence is a big blow to our community.
And to pile on the hurt, it seems that our schools are getting hit hard this winter. Our Board of Education is fighting an uphill battle with town bodies to fully fund its proposed budget while in Hartford, the state government is flexing its muscular overreach, introducing bills that call for school regionalization.
I have officially exceeded my threshold and cannot take any more unexpected news regarding our schools.
My ability to sleep for lengthy durations is what legends are made of.
Not to sound cocky, but if the Sleep Olympics were to ever come to fruition, I would be its Michael Phelps. It’s been said, mainly by my husband, that I could rival hibernating bears, or possibly a famous groundhog. Last week’s two-hour ice-related school delay was just what this sleep-junky needed. New Canaan’s impassioned parent advocacy group that is promoting later, healthier school start times makes excellent points about student wellness and the pitfalls of chronic sleep loss.
What may be overlooked is that weary parents, like me, also could operate at a much higher level of competence, and caring, with a bit more time under the covers. With the two bonus hours awarded by our superintendent, I coached myself back into sleep endurance training mode.