I should have known that the universe has a way of balancing things out. We went to Disneyland Sunday night, full knowing the kids had school the next day. Being a “cool parent” doesn’t usually work out, I should know that by now.The kids got to bed before 10PM, but it was very hard to get up in the morning. Oh, and they didn’t really want to get up either My cold and accompanying cold sore were in full swing, and I was snotting and aching with the best of them.
I couldn’t get my youngest son up and ready in time, so I had to take the older kids then come back and get him (backtracking and wasting gas.) On my way home from dropping off my youngest son, my husband called and let me know he was going into the office for the day (up in Los Angeles.) Usually I relish the “alone” time (I always still have the baby) but I knew it was going to be a crazy busy day. He also, not so casually, asked if there was anywhere besides his drawer where he might find some of his underwear. I mentioned a few, not so polite, places he could look. I know I’m awful at doing laundry, but I’m sick darn it (plus we went to Disneyland instead of preparing for the week.)
I got home and realized that Justin had filled up his huge Stanley thermos and had taken all the coffee (that I had made right before my first round of playing school bus) to work with him. Instead of taking the time to make more, I packed up the baby back in the car and we headed off to the grocery store. Our pantry was looking incredibly shabby. Plus, there’s a drive-thru Starbucks next door I planned to reward myself with after completing my grocery mission. We got through the grocery store relatively unscathed, only having to add on to our order a $4 box of organic Cookie Monster frozen waffles that had been strategically placed at the baby’s eye level from her seat in the car shaped shopping cart. She saw them and screamed, “TOOKIE MONSER, TOOKIE MONSER, TOOKIE MONSER, MOMMY!” over and over until I acquiesced. She held them for the rest of the trip, and the checker gave me an odd look when I sheepishly handed over the mangled waffle box.
We moved on from the store to Starbucks and they forgot to give me whipped cream on my iced venti stirred caramel macchiato with extra caramel sauce (I had a free drink reward available.) While it was disappointing at the time, little did I know my day would get worse. After unloading all the groceries from the car by myself and getting the baby down for a nap, I had about 1 hour of calm (definitely the high point of my day.) I managed to pack water bottles, snacks, and some coloring pages that I knew we would need for the evening’s activities. Then it was time to get the girls.
At 1:45 I arrived at the girls’ school and suddenly had this flash of panic that my youngest son wasn’t put on the list for the 3:15 pickup. I call his preschool as I’m walking from my car to wait for the girls. The preschool director told me he was in fact NOT on the 3:15 list, but the 1:45 list. “Damnit!” I thought to myself, but actually said “I’ll be there in 10 minutes,” as sweetly as possible. “Don’t worry,” the director said nonchalantly, there was actually an opening in the later pick-up time, so we’ll just put him in that class until 3:15. “You damn straight will!” I thought, but actually said, “Oh bless your heart, you are so sweet.” This little miscommunication was NOT my fault. I stood there at the beginning of May while the director signed him up for his “Stay and Plays” for the rest of the year. Oh well, crisis averted. Thank goodness for my internal mommy radar though. So I got the girls without incident, swung by the house to pick up oldest son’s tennis racket (that he had forgotten to put in the car in the morning, and checked the mail for a letter I’d been awaiting.
When I saw the letter in the mailbox, my heart started pounding. I had turned in the “Intradistrict Transfer Form” to the Ocean View School District directly to the woman in charge on the very first day they accepted them. There was NO WAY I wanted the middle two going to our neighborhood school next year. Second daughter’s first grade teacher is fabulous, so caring and genuinely interested in the well-being of her students. But I have witnessed so many of the other teachers look the other way at behavior problems and just a small handful of them show up to the school events outside the normal school hours.
I opened the letter and my transfer requests were denied!!! Holy crap. I want to cry. I want to scream. Immediately I put on my calm voice and call the district (so nicely NOT included on the letter.) After a few robo-prompts I actually got a person on the phone. She told me that the schools were at capacity, there’s no room for transfers. I was told by parents time and time again that getting a transfer is not difficult. Later that night, my husband said maybe they don’t want kids that come from our neighborhood school. Gosh, it sucks. We can’t afford private school $1200 a month, and the transfer deadlines for neighboring districts have all passed too. When we moved into this house, I knew this school didn’t have the best test scores. But I was hoping that test scores wouldn’t tell the whole story.
So I moved on to the rest of my crazy day with this transfer issue not so far in the back of my mind. All 5 kids and I took oldest son to tennis. Daughters 1 and 3 were getting a little wild on the slide, and 3 had face-planted into the sand leaving a huge red burn-looking mark on the side of her face. We had 40 minutes until daugher 2’s club soccer practice started, so I thought we’d race home and I’d make grilled cheese sandwiches instead of eating fast food. What do I notice when I walk in the door? While I have a cold and am completely congested, the smell of dog pee overwhelms the house. Oh my lord, I don’t have time for this. I clean up the pee, start the washing machine so the pee soaked towels aren’t left to further perfume the house, and then have just 20 minutes to make dinner.
Of course I burn the sandwiches. We move onto soccer practice, black grilled cheese sandwiches in hand, where I’ve been suckered into being the team manager. I collected money, chatted a bit, but mostly yelled at my kids to stop fighting/running away/being general pains in the butt. Next, I had to bring them all over to my monthly soccer team manager meeting. They sat at the back coloring on the papers I brought and eating snacks, and came over to see me at least once a minute to tell on each other. Twenty minutes in, son 1 had to leave to walk half a mile to his boy scout meeting. I held my breath and let him go. He’s 13, he has a phone, the route couldn’t be simpler, and he said he’d text me when he got there.
Thirty minutes later, still no text from him. Forty five minutes later my meeting adjourned and we raced over to the meeting desperately hoping that he was there. I send daughter 1 out to look in the room for him, she comes back and says she can’t find him. Holy crap, this is awful. I yell at her to get in the car to watch the little kids, then I run in to the building myself. I can’t find him either. Freaking out on the inside, I decide to to check the yard, maybe they’re playing some dorky boy scout game. I spot him sitting on the bench, listening to a dorky looking teenager dressed in an ill-fitting boy scout uniform going over the rules for some game involving orange traffic cones. HUGE sigh of relief. Scowl on my face, I walk over to son 1 and promptly admonish him for not texting me upon his arrival. Sheepishly he apologizes, I tell him we’ll be in the car waiting for the meeting to end. I walk back over to the car, take note that it’s 7:40, and I can hang on for another 20 minutes until he’s done. By the time 8:15 rolls around, I realize that this meeting probably won’t be over until 8:30. For the love of all things holy! The little kids are climbing over the seats and sniping at each other. They’re exhausted, they’re probably hungry again, and they’re beyond bored. I know I’m all of those things.
Son 1 finally gets to the car at 8:33 and we make the 7 minute drive home. I walk in and hear our old dog whining. Oh lord, please not again. No avail, I smell it. Please just shoot me. Is this what I get for keeping the kids up past bedtime? Don’t worry, it won’t happen again.