Saturday, January 19, 2008

Car Pool and Schools

Warning: Ranting Ahead!

Well, one of the moms doesn't want Andrew to drive car pool. More precisely, she wants me to tell her when Andrew is driving so that she can have her kids sit in the front office for over an hour and wait for their father to get off work. That, by the way, is the same thing they do when I have told the kids to take the bus.

I know that I would feel nervous if someone told me that their 18-year-old was picking up my kids, especially if my oldest kid was 14 and I had not had as much experience with the range 18-year-olds fall into. And if I did not know him or his mother very well. I never see this woman. I mean literally.

The email in which she told me that she wanted to be warned was annoying. She said that her kids told her that Andrew was listening to the radio loudly and talking on his cell phone. Brian informs me that Andrew turned down the radio when Brian tried to turn it up, and that Andrew got two cell phone calls, used the bluetooth device to answer them and quickly told the callers that he was driving and would call them back later.

I understand her anxiety about a teen driver. I am annoyed by her painting an image of my son being irresponsible. (In my imagination she pumps her children "Did he have the radio on? Was it loud?") And I am irritable because the car pool is a major pain in my a$$ and want for Andrew to be able to drive.

So I told her that I would certainly warn her when he would be driving. I did not tell her that it would probably once or twice every week.

So I whined about car pool to Roland for a while. Then I checked up on the plans for the school to move to a new building. It is still all "in progress," and the location and timing are all unclear. I had thought there was a good chance that the public bus would be was going to be more convenient for Brian if he continues at the charter school, but now I am not certain. It looks like car pool duty will remain part of my life.

I HATE car pool. If I just take Brian and come back to work, the trip takes about 45-50 minutes. If I have to do go by the other houses (i.e. do car pool) it takes 70-75 minutes. In the afternoons it means that I have to leave work at 2:20, which is really just too early to be doing on a regular basis.

So I was moaning and groaning to Roland about it. How much I hate it. How it isn't fair that I have to do all of our family's portion because he HAS to be at work and I just need to be. You know, he has to do things like take personal time and get someone to watch his classroom, and I just have to tell my students and colleagues that I am not available for meetings or appointments during times when I should be available.

The charter school has been good for Brian. I feel safe with him there. He has been making friends. Roland, whose informants tell him about all the worst things that happen at the high school, things that Andrew doesn't even see, wants for Brian to continue going to the charter school. Of course, Roland can't do car pool, but that is irrelevant, at least to him. It is important for Brian and I can do it so no problem right?

Anyway, I am rambling. The point is that Brian over-heard all this.

Brian said that maybe he would want to go to Our Small Town High School anyway. Though this will sound surprising to us, the Arts Charter School isn't that great of a place to go if you are interested in drama or even music. See, everyone has to take drama and most of the kids in the class don't really want to be there. Their facilities are terrible and they don't have any money for costumes. Most kids don't even learn their lines. When you go to the plays you can even hear the prompters whispering the lines! And the band is really small. Our Small Town High School band is great! They have a really good sound. He wants to be part of all that.

So we talked about it. I pulled Andrew in on it. Andrew told him that it is almost impossible to be in drama and marching band. The only way it can be done is if you do "pit." This, for the uninitiated, means that you play the large percussion instruments and therefore don't march, which in turn means you can get excused from after-school marching practice when you have drama practice. And then you can do it, but it is exhausting.

Andrew gently reminded Brian that he did not do well at Our Small Town Middle School, and High School would be all those same kids that he didn't get along with before.

Roland was irritated, calm as always, but irritated. Just last week we turned in the letter saying we would come back next year. Brian said he wanted to go back. He made his choice. The charter school is a good place for Brian. Why are we even talking about this if we already turned in the letter?

And I tried very, very hard not to think about how I wouldn't have to drive car pool any more.

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