Friday, August 14, 2009


I'm trying to set up a carpool for school. The family we carpooled with last year moved, which is probably for the best, but it left me carpool-less for this year. So earlier this week, I did what any enterprising wannabe carpooler would do--I went through the school directory and wrote down the name and address of every kid who lives in our neighborhood. There's not a ton of them, since most of our neighbors are retired university professors, their children long grown and gone. But there are some. I went to the school's online parent directory and found e-mail addresses, and then I e-mailed the neighborhood parents of Our Fine School.

The only parent I actually knew, a sane and funny woman, replied that she didn't want to carpool, as mornings are a good bonding time for her and her daughter. Rats! One woman replied that she would love to carpool, but she could only drive in the afternoons. Two other women replied that they were interested in carpooling, but since their kids are in aftercare, they only wanted to drive in the morning.

Sigh. Within twenty-four hours, the logistics were already strangling me.

There are two families I haven't heard back from. Maybe they're out of town, or maybe they're too smart to get tangled up in carpool dynamics. Because last night I got an e-mail from one of the "Morning Only" drivers saying, oh, by the by, she's going to have surgery in the fall and won't be able to drive for three weeks, but hopefully someone else wouldn't mind driving and she'll make it up to us later.

Then I got an e-mail from the other MO driver. She's not actually committed to the idea of carpooling (she keeps writing carpooling in quotes, as if what we trying to organize isn't actually a carpool, but a fascimile of a carpool or a so-called carpool), and even if she does commit, sometimes she travels for work and leaves her car at the airport, and her husband drives a two-seater ...

And suddenly it strikes me: They're the family on Forrest Street with the invisible fence in the front yard and an obnoxious Irish Setter, the family that never smiles when they pass you on the street. I should have known.

Last night, when I tell the Man about my carpool planning woes, he starts going on in a manlike way about how it would really be simpler not to carpool, and I get really mad at him, but later it occurs to me that he might be right.

So I've just e-mailed the carpool group. It was a "let's make sure we're on the same page" e-mail, with a veiled agenda of getting the Obnoxious Irish Setter neighbor to drop out of the negotiations. I can deal with Afternoon Only Lady and I can deal with Can't Drive for Three Weeks Lady, but I have a feeling "carpooling" with Obnoxious Irish Setter Lady may be more than I can handle.


An update on my mom: She had bone marrow extracted on Tuesday, a process made if not pleasant, then bearable, by the presences of morphine in her bloodstream. She also hat a CAT scan, which came out clear. Her doctor still thinks her cancer is at stage zero, but she'll know more on Tuesday. Thanks for all your prayers and good wishes. Keep 'em coming!


Susan said...

Glad to hear that there is a bit of good news about your mom. Prayers shall continue to pour from here.

Carpooling can be such a hassle. The Man being right an even bigger pain in the psyche.

Love the qoutation mark mom. I can see it all so clearly. You drop your kids off and she replies, "So it's 'my turn' to pick up right?" You get to answer, "You got it. It's 'not mine'". Endless smiles about the possiblities of the misuse of a punctuation mark. We editors love this stuff!

Pom Pom said...

Glad to hear the news about your mama. I'll keep praying.
I had bad experiences with carpooling, too. Personally, I hated it when I was a five year old. I felt completely alone in the back of the car, scared of the moms that I didn't really know and I was carsick most of the time. Our youngest was horrible at carpooling. She ALWAYS complained when she had to ride to soccer with ANYONE else and made such a fuss that I desperately tried to make her stop bugging me . . . and opted out of the carpool. It NEVER worked - four kids! NEVER worked. Maybe our kids (and their mother) were just weird. Oh, and we took our kids to school every day. We never made them ride the bus. Now, I'm not quite sure why.
Thank you for your status update. Isn't it a weird time of year for a mom? We seem to take on our kids worries and make some up of our own. Give yourself at least a week to adjust. Treat yourself, sing to yourself, take that lovely dog for lots of walks. You are so great, Frances.

Sara Padrusch said...

First of all, I have your mom in my thoughts. I hope that the rest of her tests are easy and painless.

Secondly, I love you. Because your carpooling story is exactly why I don't carpool. It makes me insane to have to jump through all sorts of crazy hoops. I also find that because I am one of the few stay at home moms left, people tend to assume that i am always available. Plus I have a minivan. I don't mind helping out, but I end up being everyones babysitter.

Love you babe!

Tracy said...

Good to hear some positive news about your Mum.

Ahhh carpooling. That word is fraught with nightmare memories for me. I'm afraid I'm with The Man on that one! I've tried and decided I'm too independent. Besides I like being there to pick up my kids and have those incidental conversations with other parents.

Angela said...

We all lived near enough to walk the kids to school -but somehow I ended up doing the bulk of the after school childcare for friends whose 'regular paid arrangements' kept going wrong. Bob came home one evening to find me serving about twenty children with tea, and thought he'd blundered into a Victorian orphanage!! Carpooling [with or without " "] sounds a nightmare!!
Praying for your Mum xx

Gumbo Lily said...

Carpooling sounds like too much drama to me. I'd rather drive the kids myself and enjoy that bonding time with them.

More prayers for Mom.


Danielle said...

Ahh... "bonding" in the car. For me, that means my first-born son pukes up all the day's "indignities" which I will not bore you with, but which his younger sister and I must endure as our cross to bear. The only reason it is tolerated is because we are blood kin. So carpooling has never happened in our family.

As for me, I walked to school from elementary thru high school, both ways uphill, carrying my saxaphone and loaded down with my bookbag, through 4 very real seasons in OH, the longest being winter. Shouldn't that have bought me a pass to this suffering?

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Susan, Yes, you're right, the biggest pain in this whole ordeal is The Man's intrusion of common sense. So frustrating! So uncalled for!

Pom Pom, I probably would have hated carpooling as a child, too. I hated mornings in general, and sort of got carsick ... really, it would have been the worst part of my day. Now I'm feeling bad for even considering it for my own children!

And, yes, it is a weird time of year for a mom. Lots of anxiety for all sorts of different reasons. But transitions are always nervous-making, I guess, even good ones.

Sara, Thanks for your love, and same back at you. I read your blog and wonder if we were separated at birth. And, yes, I feel like I'm getting a crash course in why not carpooling is so much easier than carpooling. Yikes!

Tracy, A lot of my friends who don't carpool don't do it for the exact reasons you don't. And showing up at school (especially in the afternoons) is a great way to stay connected to other parents.

Angela, The "victorian orphanage" story is a hoot. I'm assuming being a pastor's wife also added to your aura of availability.

Jody, I'm starting to agree with you--the bonding time may be more worth it than the so-called convenience of carpooling.

Danielle, I walked to school through third grade, then rode a school bus through 11th. In 12th grade, I bummed rides off friends. My parents got off scott-free. Sigh. It seems not at all fair ...

Thanks to everyone for your prayers!