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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chinese Fire Drill or Fire Ants Distrubed!

By Jody Worsham
All rights reserved to purchase spare gasoline tank

A Fire Ant Chinese Fire Drill, that’s the best way I know to describe the first day of school. In years past the first day of school for my children was also my first day of school so I missed out on this first-day-automobile-mayhem. However, this second time around, I was right in there in the line of cars that stretched from here to eternity.

The nine-year-old started school four days before the five-year-old. I thought to myself “This is good. This will give me a time estimate on pick-up and delivery. That first day I tried to drive right into the front parking lot of the school. I got funny looks and honks. No cutting, even in traffic. So I snaked my way around to the back side of the parking lot on the other side of the football stadium and lined up…and waited.

That same afternoon, I again drove into the front parking lot but I thought I would time the pick-up line and when the last car pulls around I will hop right in behind it. It was thirty-five minutes from the time school was out until I picked her up. Ok, got that down. This is going to work out fine.

Then the five-year-old started school along with the rest of the entire world. We left the house an extra ten minutes early. First, the nine-year-old would be dropped off. I couldn’t figure out why her drop-off line wasn’t moving. Then I realized the doors to her school did not open until 7:30. Also I had not anticipated the other elementary school next door starting at the same time with its own never-ending-car-line.

I then headed out for the second nine mile drive to the next delivery point. When I got within two miles of his school, I thought there must have been an accident or something because traffic was backed up and bumper to bumper. Then I realized it was the rest of the entire world lined up to turn into his school. I drove past the school and came back to it in the opposite direction, found a parking place and walked him to his classroom.

On the way out I noticed there was no one in the drop-off lane. I thought to myself, “Oh, this will be a piece of cake this afternoon.” NOT! School is out at 3 p.m. and I arrived at the turn-off lane at 2:50. “My, they must be limited in parking. There’s cars all parked on the other side of the road… headed to the school… with their motors running…and not moving.

At 3:00, I had moved up one car length. I also noted the row of “parked cars” had also moved up one car length. I looked behind me and counted 60 cars. At 3:15, I had moved up six car lengths. At 3:20 (the nine-year-old had now been out of school twenty minutes) I saw that the double row of cars merged into one row as they headed for the five pick up spots. At 3:30 as I moved into spot #1 to pick up my hot, sweaty, thirsty five-year-old, I estimated 200 cars had been ahead of me and there was another 150 behind me.

I then went to pick up the nine-year-old. The school had already called home to see if somehow, she had been forgotten. I guess that was expected since I had taught the principal and she knew me.

Tomorrow will be day two of this hurry-up-and-wait marathon. Now, here are my choices. I take the nine-year-old at 7a.m. and am first in line to drop her off at 7:30, then race to the other school and hope the line is not as long so I can drop the five-year-old in time for lunch.

OR I leave at 7a.m., have the five-year-old dress in the car and eat breakfast on the way, drop him off first and have the night-watchman look after him until the teachers arrive and the lights are turned on, then drive the nine-year-old back into town and drop her off and hope we make it before her classes start at 7:45 a.m. In the afternoon, I can get in the pick-up line at 2p.m. to pick up the five-year-old at 3:00 p.m. in order to be on time to pick up the nine-year-old before 3:30, when they start their E.T. Phone Home routine.

OR I can trade in the suburban for a pick-up truck with a cab-over camper and just sleep in the parking lot. The latter may be the best choice as I will soon have to factor in ballet lessons, soccer practice, violin lessons, and girl scouts starting next month.

Why did I think life was going to be less complicated when they were both in school?


Wanda said...

I guess I was a bad Mom. I let mine ride the school buss. Both ways. Gave me a little more me time.

Anonymous said...

OMG!! What a mess! Perhaps it would be easier to sell your farm and move into a condo next to younger one's school so that one can walk. Let the older one ride the bus. Then you only have to drive to soccer, ballet, etc.

Unknown said...

Great piece Jody! I'm so glad all mine are out of school now!