Friday, February 16, 2007

Insane Mom-sicles, Criminal Fugitives, and a Disconnected Brain-- Nothing Hot Chocolate Can't Fix

After this happened today I thought to myself, "Too, bad I don't have a blog. This would make a great blog entry." But then I remembered, "Oh, yeah. I DO have a blog. The one that I never write in." So, here I am, writing.

Today was pre-enrollment day at my son's pre-school. Out of the twenty-four kids currently enrolled in the three year old program, twenty-two of them were vying for the three-day-a-week class next year, for which there are only fifteen spots. So, of course, I did what any perfectly sane mom would do. I set my alarm for 4am and went to sit in a dark, frigid parking lot to make absolutely certain I wouldn't be that unlucky 16th person in line.

It's not as far fetched as it sounds really. Enrollment started at 9am this year and several of the moms had stated they planned to be there by 6:00. Which obviously means "I'm going to tell everyone 6:00 but then I'm going to be there at 5:30 to make sure I'm not too late." And I had every reason to believe they'd do this, too. When I enrolled my daughter in the same program a couple of years ago they held the registration at a much more reasonable 4:30-- in the afternoon! I was told at that time that most parents usually arrived four hours before registration, so I showed up four and a half hours early. And was the 9th one there. Numbers 10-15 arrived a few minutes after me. So, it's like they say, just 'cause you're paranoid that doesn't mean they're not after you.

I couldn't take any chances this year. I couldn't be five minutes too late and watch all the three-day-a-week spots get taken. Two days a week really isn't enough of a transition into kindergarten and my son is one of those kids who's going to need a transition. Going from two days a week at a cushy, lovey preschool to five days a week at a hard-core kindergarten would be a total shock to his system. And the five-day-a-week program is just too expensive, not to mention the fact that I wouldn't be ready for him to go full time even if HE was ready. Which he's not. So it HAD to be the three-day-a-week.

And so, being the dutiful, (needing to be) committed mom I am, I arrived in the empty parking lot at approximately ten minutes after 5:00 this morning. That's right. I was first in line. And quite honestly I'm not the competitive type. So, it's not like I "won" or anything. I didn't even really want to be first, I just didn't want to be sixteenth. I had really hoped to be 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th. Not enough people there that I had anything to worry about, but enough that I wasn't completely alone. In a dark, scary parking lot.

It turned out to not be that bad really. It was very cold (19 degrees to be exact) but I had on two pair of socks, and gloves, and a toboggan (one of those little knit cap thingies). Being the only one there, I didn't even have to get out and line up; I could stay in my van until someone else arrived. And as long as I cranked the van up whenever I started shivering (which was about every ten minutes) it stayed pleasant enough. Or at least tolerable.

It wasn't quite as scary as I thought it'd be either. I'd backed the van into the parking spot to have my back to the wall of the pre-school so no one could surprise me from behind.  I had a good view of everything around me, and I kept my cell phone ready in my hand. It turned out to be very peaceful to sit alone in the dark watching the world go by. The stars twinkled. A few joggers and one dedicated dog-walker ventured down the road.  Lights slowly flickered on in the college dorm across the street. Really not a bad deal.

Except that I really needed to go pee starting at about 5:30 which also just happened to be about the time the nice police officer at my window was suggesting I might be the Bonnie half of Bonnie and Clyde.

Because it also turns out that a person in a black toboggan, with black gloves, holding a black cell phone sitting in a van backed up to a closed place of business looks a wee bit suspicious. Who knew?!

Actually when I saw the officer pass by and then slam on his breaks and circle around with his headlights off, that's when I realized just how suspicious I looked. I quickly removed the toboggan and put my cell phone in the passenger seat beside me and placed both my hands on the steering wheel. I didn't want to give this guy any more reason to be nervous about me than he already was.

He put his flood light on me and cautiously got out of his patrol car. After he granted me permission to use one hand to slowly turn on the ignition and roll down my window, I very quickly launched into my explanation for why I was there which sounded crazier and crazier the more I explained it.

The nice officer then smiled at me slightly. He used a very pleasant voice as I'm sure he's been trained to do when dealing with a possibly mentally unstable perpetrator (or perp, as I like to think of myself) and said, "Yes ma'am. Not that I don't believe your story or anything, but I'm going to have to see your driver's license. Because for all I know you're Bonnie. And Clyde could be in the back somewhere."

To which I responded (and I kid you not), "No. Clyde is not in the back. Clyde is definitely at home asleep right now."

To which the officer responded, "Ma'am I'm going to need you to step out of the vehicle with both hands where I can see them." Except that he didn't actually say that. He actually started to laugh. Yet that is what my BRAIN was screaming at my mouth right along with, "WHY did you smart off to the nice man wearing a gun strapped to his hip?! Because, mouth, he very well could have pulled us out of this van and hauled us off to the big house and I would've told you all of this, mouth, had you bothered to consult with me before you opened."

Fortunately for my brain, my mouth, and all of the rest of me, the very VERY NICE officer had a good sense of humor. After running my license, he let me go with wishes of good luck in the whole pre-enrollment thing. And then he left me alone with my now desperate need to pee.

No one else even arrived until about 6:45. All those moms who'd claimed they too were desperate to get their kid in and claimed they'd be there at 6, failed to put their sleep, their time, their comfort, and quite possibly their freedom from jail where their mouths were. And that's just a shame. How many of them will be able to write in their child's baby book that they braved the dark and the below freezing temperatures and the possibility of arrest just to get their child into pre-school, huh? None of them, that's how many. Only me.

So anyway, as 7 am rolled around, other moms (and even a couple of dads) started to flood in. And at about 7:50 they opened the doors and allowed me to finally go pee. Once they'd served us hot chocolate in the lobby and we'd started to thaw out, we all stood around laughing at my story of what had happened. Or at least THEY all laughed while I tried desperately every time someone new showed up in line to avoid the topic of exactly what idiotic time I'd arrived.

At 9am we were finally allowed to register our children. I'm proud to say my son's name is in the #1 spot for next years three-day-a-week program. Yippee! And now I'm going to bed.

Current Mood: Cold!
Current Music: Looney Tunes Theme Song

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