Rants With Alice: Morning School Drop-Offs From Hell

I am fortunate in that I now live only five minutes away from my workplace.  Unfortunately, it takes me roughly thirty minutes to get there every morning.  Why?  Because I have children, people, and these children go to school, and these schools are on opposite sides of town for maximum convenience.

My life is one big Little Billy trip from Family Circus

Now I’m grateful for school, mostly.  I mean you get people to take your kids everyday for free and occasionally they even learn something.  But getting them there really sucks.  I live in a moderately sized town.  Not so tiny that the only social outlet is a Dairy Queen, but too small to have anything open past 11 pm.  When I was growing up, there were three schools: an elementary school, a junior high, and a high school.

Since then there has been a yard ape population explosion and now there are multiple elementary schools, an intermediate school, a junior high, and a high school.  Intermediate and junior high (they totally demoted my high school, the jerks) only house two grades a piece but there are still roughly a million kids going to both schools.  This is better than the elementary school that houses like eleventy-billion.

And all of these children have parents and all of these parents have cars.  Most of them have SUVs, actually, with those charming little stickers on the back with the stick figure children.  I freaking hate those stickers.  Seriously, people, the reason there is so much traffic every morning is because you decided to have like eight children, all of whom have names that aren’t names and start with B – Barracks, Britain, Breyers, Bayer Aspirin, Bayleaf, Boo-boo, Bridge, and Beyonce.  Also a dog: Barfy.  (Please see Tracy’s post on these stickers that will make you laugh your butt off.)

Available on Amazon.com
Apparently I am not the only one somewhat annoyed by these stickers.

These people always pull in front of me and then stop, blocking traffic, and forcing me to block traffic, while they tearfully give lengthy goodbyes longer than the Gettysburg address to every single little brat (and yeah, all of them somehow go to the same elementary school, which shouldn’t even be possible biologically).

I reach this elementary school first, just a couple of blocks from my house.  At one time I could drop both children off there, but then Thing One had to get older and go to a charm school for adolescents.  Now I have to plan this strategically.  If I get there too late, I am never getting out of the parking lot before 8 A.M. when technically they expect me to be at work.  So I try to get there at 7:30, because the earliest you can drop your children off is 7:30 without them calling the cops.

This is rife with problems since Thing Two has the memory of a gerbil and never, ever, ever puts any of her stuff (like coat, shoes, backpack, etc) away.  I do not know where she gets that from, seriously.  Also, she must always have a stuffed animal with her because it’s like her familiar or something, and it’s always a different animal so no fairsies trying to keep one where you can find it.

Once I’ve deposited her, I get to go to the other side of town through early morning traffic.  Now they force people to drive 20 mph and not use their cell phones (this is, like, followed so religiously) in school zones so that they don’t run over any precious children.  That’s great, but it also makes it damn near impossible to get anywhere going at that speed.  Also, you must frequently sit at stop signs and watch as one car putts, putts, putts along just slowly enough that the car putting along from the opposite direction has enough time to prevent you from crossing.  Or some jerk who is much more important drives up beside you and blocks your view as well.  My children have learned so many new words on the way to school.

Rich parents simply jet their kids to school, thus avoiding pesky traffic.

I finally make it to the opposite side of town to the intermediate school, whose parking lot is somehow even worse than the elementary school, by which I mean 18th circle of hell worse.  I drop off Thing One, and wheeee, it is now time for me to go to work.  At this point, if I’m lucky, we’re operating at 7:45.  Now to go BACK across town to where I work, that also happens to be closer to the elementary school and my house.

Once I arrive, I am greeted by the awesome parking situation, by which I mean there is no parking except several blocks away from where I work.  In case you missed that post (No Parking) I also pay for this privilege.  Again, if I’m lucky, we’re now at 7:55 or so.  Then I just have to hoof it to the library and ta-da, I am there!  Well, I’m in the building, which flipping counts because I say so, and because I have to tromp across the library, up the stairs and across the second floor to get to my office.

Fortunately, I work till 5 PM so I am unable to pick my children up from school (SADFACED) although I do occasionally get calls at work wondering who IS going to pick up said children.  Maybe they could ask SUV stick figure mom.

42 responses

  1. I think we should lower the legal driving age to 10 so the kids can get themselves to school.

    1. Works for me. They’d probably be better drivers, not having the amount of hormones raging as your average sixteen year old.

  2. Thank you for this. I think people lose their minds when they arrive at an elementary school drop off…I’ve seen cars idling in the bus lane, going the wrong way into exits…awesome stuff.

    1. I know! I can’t tell you how many wrecks I have narrowly avoided – some that would have been my fault for saying “WTF???” at someone else and not seeing where I was going. Also, the drop offs for schools seemed designed to screw people up. There are three lanes at the elementary school and people will drive through all three and whip in and out and some will park to take junior into school in the drop-off lane and if you’re really stupid and late, you can be left sitting in the middle of the highway in a line of cars waiting to turn into the school (the school was brilliantly built right beside a highway). I’m sure it’s even more fun for you as a teacher.

  3. I have successfully fobbed this task off on The Man this semester.

  4. This is hilarious! However, it does lead me to one obvious question – are there no school buses in your town? Or do you not feel safe having them ride one? I completely understand if that’s the case.

    1. There are buses, but they’re used for the kids that live way outside of town mostly. The irritating thing is that I could walk Thing Two to school it’s so close. That is, if I didn’t want to be late for work and if my life wasn’t terribly valuable to me (crossing that highway can be interesting.)

      1. Would it be faster if you drove Thing One to school first across town and then came back? Or would that mean you wouldn’t get out of the elementary school parking lot until, like, 9?

        1. Pretty much. Also I’d have Thing Two longer, and the kid can chatter your ear completely off (but I LOVE her.)

          1. Haha! I’m sure you do – but everyone gets tired of chatty kids! So no judgement! ^.^

  5. Stick-figure-family bumper stickers elicit the same response in me as vanity license plates that say “MOMSCAR” or “MOMOF4,” which is “Really? Is that necessary?”

    1. Exactly! I’ve been meaning to tell you, I got the book! Isn’t it amazing to have your stuff in print you can touch bound with a glossy cover? I mean, the e-book was cool, but somehow holding it is even better. Also love the signature. Thing Two checked the mail and brought it in and both girls were very excited to see the book. YAY, Mommy got something for her that wasn’t a bill!

      1. So glad it arrived. Thanks for letting me know! I have my first book signing in New Hampshire tomorrow (I’m out here visiting family). Nervous and tense to say the least. 🙂

    2. That’s great! Good luck to you!

  6. A 20 mph is crazy. You could kill someone going too slow!

    1. I know, right? Like sometimes I want to kill the person going that slow – actually I swear there are some that are going like 10 mph and they aren’t even OLD and I’m going arghhhh.

  7. My mom used to get the phone call after school too – but she was a stay at home mom, so she just forgot me sometimes 😉 hahaha (I forgive her, she’d had my brother for 5 years longer than she’d had me, so sometimes she’d pick him up, drive home, get a phone call from me and be like, “Oh god! I have another child!”)

    1. I get that. Once I left Thing Two in Thing One’s kindergarten classroom. Whoops. At least I only go to the car before turning around and going OMGGG.

  8. LOL, you manage to make chaos sound so funny! Can your hubby not drive one of the kids? or is there a schedule conflict? or only one car in which case I understand. Either way sounds like you have a harried start to the day!

  9. My hubby has to be at work by 7 A.M. (but at least he gets off at 3:30 P.M.). We do have two cars (thank God) – well, actually three, but one is a perennial fixer-upper. And yeah, sometimes I get to work and it’s like, I’m already tired.

  10. This reminds me of our drop off situation at school. It’s a nightmare, too. The principle put up all kinds of signs, redrew lines, had all these memos, emails, all about drop off because it’s a zoo. Kind of a nightmare! It’s such a chore to start the day, huh?

    1. Yes! I’m just glad that now that I’m full time, I don’t have to pick them up anymore. That’s even worse. They would funnel cars into two lanes – older of the grades in one and younger in the other. I was like WTF, I have a 4rth grader and a 1st grader – I can’t split into two.

      1. Let’s make things as difficult as possible, right? Wow, I have a 1st and 4th grader, too.Boys, of course. How about that? Your pick up sounds a little more daunting than mine.Ours just makes little sense. After the drop off/pick up there’s a crosswalk with tons of people crossing that hold the line, clog it up. Just a pain, takes forever. Next year, my kids may walk!

        1. Well, it was a problem when they were 4th and 1st, but now they are 6th and 3rd – different schools even worse than different lanes. Yeah, we have that big crosswalk too. I wish I had that plane.

  11. I have (autistic) penguins on my car. I find it weird though, just how many things you can know about someone without even knowing them, which is why I draw the line at foursquare and stick figure families. Quite often the moms who have them are the super-competitive types, so there will be at least six kids and four pets. Because good parents always say yes, ya know… Plus, your life isn’t really complete until you have a pet parrot whining at you.

    Someone actually told me recently, when I said we had too many toys that we needed a bigger house (so there’d be more room for toy storage). Are you kidding me!!?? We are moving, but NOT for that reason at all. Oh, apparently, it’s rants day for me too.

    1. I’d much prefer the autistic penguins. Of course you should move for your children’s toys, sheesh. Or just sell one of the kids. That was my husband’s solution.

  12. I saw one of those car stickers once with a woman and about 15 cats. I almost bought it, but then I would have had to get 14 more cats.

    1. It would still be funny as hell. No one has to know you don’t have the cats. Hey, I wonder if those people really have all those kids.

  13. I’m so happy I don’t have kids. I couldn’t do this Monday-Friday.

    1. It should be part of sex ed for sure.

  14. I take it there are no friends of Things One & Two in the vincinity who are at their schools that they could cadge lifts with? That amount of traffic sucks and is also hideously bad for the environment as well as the cars doing the driving! But these days you can’t let your kids walk to school in case something horrible happens – like, maybe it rains, and then they’ll rust.

    1. I hate rusty kids. The oil is so expensive. Yeah, it’s tough finding someone to carpool with. I don’t know many other people with kids my kids’ ages. Maybe if I talked to more people . . . nah.

  15. I used to love reading the Family Circus documenting Billy’s romps across his yard in the process of completing taskings! One of my favorite aspects of this blog is how you convey that all of the things in your town were set up to inconvenience you, which is how I think everyday of my life. I love it.

    1. You get it! Yes, I’ve found many things are set up to inconvenience me. For instance work – they expect you to do it before you are paid. That’s crazy talk. Or people. You’re supposed to deal with people. Even irritating ones. No killing them. I just can’t handle the weird rules sometimes.

  16. Haha… This sounds like my life!
    ~ Lauren

  17. Disabled kid = school van funded by local council. I knew there were perks in there somewhere.

  18. You are so fun-neeeeee!!!

    1. Thanks! I wish the actual drop offs themselves were as funny. 😀

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