Thursday, October 30, 2008

Come Join the Joyride

We decided to try carpooling today. It's better for the environment, better for traffic, just better, right? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. At least in my case, it's just the wrongest wrong.

It usually takes me about 10 minutes to make it from the couch to the cube. I work about 3 miles from home. So, unless traffic has gone from bad to worse, my commute is gentle. But, all of our destinations are nearby, so we thought we'd do the carpool thing.

We made a quick plan the night before. We'd drop Spark at preschool, circle around to drop Buzz at work, I'd take Flower to my sister's house, and then I'd arrive at work. (I, the mom, would be last? Really?)

The optimum time to leave is 7:45. Leaving then gives a little breathing room to get Spark to school before he has to get a tardy slip. Nothing short of a miracle must occur to get everyone in my family ready and out the door by 7:45 a.m. Miracles do happen, but today was not the day for miracles.

We started out doing all right, but as 7:45 drew nearer, we realized we should have packed some things up the night before. Because I work from home a lot, I don't have a ready plan for taking Flower to my sister's house. I scrambled around grabbing some extra clothes, frozen food cubes, some toys, and the like while Buzz spread peanut butter on bread for Spark's lunch.

Then, I grabbed a bag and started stuffing it full of the kids' Halloween costumes and accessories. The whole reason we decided to carpool today was because we planned on attending a Halloween event in the afternoon, and Buzz's work schedule made it next to impossible for him to get there and back if I didn't pick him up for it. So, another bag stuffed full of items to take on our trek.

Meanwhile, Spark is standing in the middle of the living room wearing only his underwear and refusing to dress himself. I know we're supposed to wait on him and make him go ahead and dress himself. But, I just did it. Threw the clothes on, the socks on, the shoes on, brushed his teeth, combed his hair. Hey, I did it all in about 3 minutes, and it would have taken him much longer and many more yells than I'd care to admit to.

Also, my sister had to run an errand, so she had asked me to bring the spare car seat. So, I'm hollering at Buzz to not to forget to load it up, too, while he's carrying out the many bags: there's his two work bags, my work backpack, Spark's backpack, two bags for Flower (one with breast milk and food, the other with "dry" supplies), the Halloween bag, and my purse. So add the spare carseat and the Bumbo, and we're good to go for a weekend trip somewhere far away.

Buzz loads the kids up next while I throw some frozen fruit and orange juice in the blender. I race to the bathroom to brush my own teeth and put on a smidgen of powder so I look like I care to the coworkers I rarely see face-to-face. After grabbing a tube of lip balm and pouring my smoothie into a cup, I head out the door where Buzz has the car running, waiting on me. As I open the hatch to put one last item in, he smiles at me in the rearview mirror. "We're ready to go cross-country."

In reality, though, we were just going across town. As I buckle in, I notice the clock on the car says 7:57. Not the original "optimum" goal but not bad, and if we book it, we might not have to get a tardy slip at the front office.

We arrive at Spark's school with a couple minutes to spare, pull into the dropoff line, and we realize his backpack was packed in under a few things, so Buzz parks the car while I dig it out. I race Spark into the classroom, just beating the tardy cutoff.

Next in line is Buzz. I have the brilliant idea to try a new way to get there from Spark's school, which puts us smack dab in a bottleneck of interstate traffic. Southbound in the morning is a slow sludge at best, and we wait about 15 minutes through that. Though the traffic where I live is terrible, we don't really have any carpool lanes. So, there was no extra incentive for having four bobbing heads in my car rather than just my own. We just stuck it out with everyone else who was driving south.

The longest leg of the trip is from Buzz's school to my sister's house. Traffic is fine, though, so I make it there in record time, efficiently getting all of Flower's items out of the car and into my sister's house.

Away I go again. As I make my way to my cube, I notice it's 9:03. After just a little more than an hour of carpooling, here I am all of 3 miles from home.

No comments:

Parenting Blogs - Blog Top Sites