Tag Archives: kids

Honey, I Forgot the Kids

Because we both work, we have a routine for school drops-offs and pick-ups. Having five school days a week makes this routine unnecessarily complex, and I implore the schools to cut back to a four-day school week to allow us a somewhat less complicated routine. Our routine is this: Kelly handles drop-offs and pick-ups on Mondays and Wednesday and I take Tuesdays and Thursdays. For Friday, we alternative each of us taking every other Friday.

The school is 4 minutes from the house by car, and drop-off/pick-up doesn’t take very long, so it is not a burden in anyway. In the six years the Little Man has been attending the school, I estimate I’ve made 570 drop-offs and pick-ups, and I never forgot to it even once.

Until last week, that is.

It started with a trade. I was supposed to go to L.A. for work last week. It would have been my sixth trip to L.A. this year, and I was worn out from the travel. Instead, I decided to run the meetings remotely. It means I needed to be on video calls on Tuesday and Thursday at the times I would normally be picking up the kids. To resolve this, Kelly and I traded days, as we sometimes do. As part of this exchange, I took Wednesday.

I almost never do pick-ups on Mondays or Wednesdays. The problem with Wednesday is exacerbated because the kids get out of school an hour early. On Wednesday afternoon this week, I had everything under control, and felt good about it. I got my youngest down for a nap, attended a meeting, and around 2:30, not long before we’d leave to pick up the kids, I warmed up the car so that it would not be freezing when we got in there.

Five minutes after warming up the car, my phone rang, and I saw that it was our friend, Raquel calling. My first thought was that she was calling to ask me to pick up her kids, and I was a little worried because I had a 3:30 meeting and picking up her kids in addition to mine would mean I’d cut things very close.

Then I saw a text from Raquel that said, “I am bringing the kids home.” Kelly hadn’t told me that I didn’t need to pick up the kids, that they were going to Raquel’s house, but okay. That made things easier for me. Then my phone rang again. This time it was Kelly, and as soon as I saw her name on the display, I knew what I’d done wrong.

“Honey,” I said, “I forgot the kids got out early today. Raquel has them and is bringing them home now.” Everyone thought it was funny. The kids were nonplussed about it. It was the first time in 570 pick-ups that I’d forgotten, a 99.8% success rate.

The whole incident reminded me of the importance of checklists, something ingrained in me when I got my pilot’s license 20 years ago. The value of a checklist is to make sure you follow all of the steps even when the routine changes. The problem in this case is that I’m not sure a checklist would have prevented me from forgetting the kids, unless the list explicitly said that ON WEDNESDAYS, THE KIDS GET OUT AN HOUR EARLY.

I am often making fun of Kelly for forgetting things: keys, phone. I tease our friend Raquel about little things as well. It’s all in good fun. Now, they both have something to tease me about. I wish I could guarantee this would never happen again, but given my past history, I expect to forget picking up the kids in another 570 pick-ups from now, right around the time the Little Man is a senior in high school.

If you pee standing up…?

Those of you with little kids will probably get an extra special kick out of the logic behind Ken Jenning’s son’s question that Ken posted on his blog today. It’s very Michael Scott-esque.

Lakeside reading

I went up to the lake this morning to do some reading and the ducks were out in force which made me thing of Trevor and thepopeswife and their stories about ducks. Perfect weather today with a few puffy white clouds in the sky. It was very peaceful at the lake, no sounds except the ducks and the buzzing of bees and other critters. At least at first.

After I’d been reading for a short time, some kids showed up somewhere nearby. I think they were fishing, but that quickly devolved into what can only be described as the discovery of the interesting properties of sound: they discovered their echoes. The discovery of your shadow is quiet. The discovery of your echo, is by its very nature noisy. These kids started out by screaming out nonsense words: “Bub!” “Wub!” Then they moved on to the “hello world” version of echo construction: “Hello! [Hello!]” This went on for a while with more and more elaborate phrase until finally (and I imagine, quite naturally), they ended up shouting out obscene phrases. Really obscene! If it wasn’t so funny, it would have been annoying. About this time, I decided to head to the other side of the lake, where there is a bit more shade, and as I walked past these kids, their mom had returned and was berating them for how embarassing they were, shouting out those things. That was even funnier.

On the other side of the lake, there is a bench built out of an old, fallen tree, and the plaque on the bench reads:

In memory of George Stern 1899-1993. He sat here enjoying the view. May you do so too.

I got comfortable on the bench (still hearing the echoes of the beligerantly angry mother yelling at the kids) and proceeded to do some more reading in the shade. Here I am sitting comfortably on the bench:

And here is how things look from my vantage point on the bench. (Ah, isn’t that a great view, the bright white pages of the book softly turning! Oh, yeah, the scenery in the background is pretty nice too.):

I stayed by the lake until noon and then headed home so that I could cut the grass.