Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Carpool Tunnel Vision

Warning: deep chasm of self-pity ahead. Proceed at your own risk.

There, I warned you. For anyone who's still reading, here's my rant.

When The Man came home on Friday with (finally!) the school's list of parents who want to carpool, I was overjoyed because it was about 11 pages long. Surely, someone on that list must live within 10 minutes of our house and have fewer than 3 children. Surely. Someone must.

It turned out that 3 families had listed the same neighborhood school we did. (If you'll recall, this is the ultra super-duper classical/Core Knowledge charter school in the next town; it has a waiting list a mile long and then you only get in by lottery.) Well, 3 wasn't many, but it was something, so we called. The first number had been disconnected. The second turned out to belong to a business. The third, we got an answering machine, and I don't think the people ever called back.

So we branched out a little. We had already talked to some families we knew in town, but they already had carpools worked out. We started calling families from other areas of town, randomly-- somehow there just weren't that many. Saturday morning, we managed to get hold of one (yes, exactly one) family with 2 kids who didn't already have a carpool arranged. We set up a meeting with them for Monday, and everything seemed to be working out fine. Yes, they lived on the other side of town and their older kid had to be at school earlier than everyone else, but it was worth it to know that our boys would be able to get home from school.

This morning, The Man drove over to their place, picked up their kids, and got everyone to school on time (I think). The other kids' mom was scheduled to collect the kids after school and bring them home. Our place is on their way back to their house, so it shouldn't be a problem, and I was anxiously looking forward to seeing the boys after their big "first day of school" this afternoon.

Well, I waited. And I waited. And the longer I waited, the more anxious I got. School ended at 2:45; I figured they might not get away until 3:00. So 3:30 would be a reasonable time to see them home. But 3:45 came and went. And 4:00 came... Nobody had called, so I was sure everything was fine. I mean, this isn't your standard kidnapping method, certainly. It was just... odd.

When the boys finally walked in the door, I was so relieved I almost didn't notice the two plastic bags in Pirate Boy's hand. The car that had dropped them off had already left, and I didn't ask any question about the ride. We spent several minutes going over the excitements of the day, including not making too big a deal about the fact that my shy little boy had apparently had trouble getting permission to go to the bathroom (twice-- sigh) during class. First day of school is so overwhelming.

Well, we were all sorted and I managed to keep everything under control and even fix dinner before The Man got home. (I haven't even mentioned how cranky Punkin Boy was after getting up at 6 a.m. and having no nap-- or how cranky I was about it either.) Just as we were sitting down to dinner, the phone rang. It was our carpool people saying that they just couldn't take the stress of driving our boys around or the inconvenience of having to drive the extra, what, 5 minutes total out of their way, and did we know that our Pirate Boy had peed his pants? They hated to be a bother, but they thought we should start looking for a new carpool. I wanted to reach through the phone and strangle someone.

The Man, ever calm, took it in stride and after dinner took up the carpool list again. There was one number we hadn't tried yet, so he called it. The number had been disconnected, so he tried the new one. Had to leave a message, then he had to leave. (On Tuesday/Thursday, he gets to come home long enough to eat dinner with the family for about a half hour during his 14-hour school day.) On his way out, he mentioned that he will be home late (as compared to the usual 9:30 p.m.) because he has to go get some help from the study group at the dorm. Absolutely must. Tonight. I wouldn't want to be here, either.

Fortunately, I'm not a suspicious or jealous wife. Just desperately upset and hormonal. So I shuffled the boys through baths and jammies and "what-did-you-think-you-were-doing-soaking-the-entire-bathroom?!" and so on. During this process, our last best hope for transportation returned TM's call and said, "No, sorry, we live in YZ Town now." Sigh.

I had managed to get the little punkins into bed and we were just doing our nightly ritual of prayers and songs when the phone rang again. It was the Carpool Poopers. The husband said his wife would kill him if he didn't just come out and say they wouldn't be driving with us again, ever. Sorry for the inconvenience and all. Sure.

So I end up sitting on the end of the boys' bed just sobbing for all I'm worth. After all we've gone through to get these kids into the best school possible, after the fights with Satan, after all these years of juggling schooling for The Man, after the confusion that almost left Pirate Boy without a school to go to this year... (I didn't mention that, did I? I thought "all's well that end's well"; ha!) After all the sacrifices for our family's well-being, we're being beaten down yet again. I hate that.

Sniffle. Thanks for listening. I feel better now. Carpool-less, but better.


Dorothy said...

Can the man take the bus in the morning and just not come home till you come get him? Is there a college commuter shuttle? Have him check the ride board, post a ride request or ask the people in his first class if any of them live in his town. You need the car. What if one of the kids gets sick or has an accident?
How about any $500 or under POS cars? That'll get him to and from so you don't have to worry about how to get the babies from A-B

His Worship said...

Y'know, being engaged in our own battle with the big red scaly fellow, I can sympathize entirely today. Dorothy, my DW has made the real suggestions here, I'm just saying that today, I know how you feel!

Scone said...

Sorry to hear about that, HW. You know we're always thinking of you, too.

Thanks, Dorothy. I worried that I hadn't put in enough info, and then that I'd put in too much. I did think I had mentioned that (mostly) because my medication makes me comatose, I can no longer drive; a second car wouldn't quite be worth even the insurance money, at this point. Your "what if" questions are quite valid, though, and I worry about them. I needed to get hold of TM today and couldn't, so we're losing out on some money we should be getting on Friday. Dangit.

Did that clarify anything? My brain being non-functional, I can't always tell.

Slap-Happy said...

The need for a cell phone rears its ugly head. Ah, well.

While this hasn't been completely resolved, I currently only need to skip 1 class in order to pick up the kids, and it's the easy one (Human Wellness or somesuch). This only effects two days of the week. As long as we aren't covering sex, I even feel secure bringing the kids into class.

Everything's coming up roses.