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The One with all the Waiting

Yesterday afternoon, I went to an orientation for my new job. For those of you who don’t know, I’m going to be working at a middle school here. I’ll be working with the lowest performing kids, helping them to develop good study habits, and giving them support so they don’t slip through the cracks. I’m looking forward to it! So I had an informational meeting yesterday. Actually, let me back up a bit.

I got my last two kids registered for school yesterday morning. It’s taken me forever to gather all the information needed to register them. I needed proof of residency. Not just a license or a water bill either. Nooo, it had to be closing documents. Since I did my closing remotely from Chicago, I didn’t have signed copies of all the documents. I had to call the title company and wait for the papers to be sent to me. I needed my license, 50,000 forms filled out, birth certificates, the doctor who delivered them had to swear under penalty of perjury that my kids were, in fact, who I claimed them to be. 

When I finally had all my documents in order, I went to the schools to register my kids. However, Florida requires you have a record of all immunizations on a special blue card.  “We can’t register your children until you have their immunizations transferred to a blue card.”

“Oh, okay. Do you have blue cards here? I’ll just copy them onto the card,” I offered. You would’ve thought I’d said, “Oh okay. I’m just going to kick some puppies and leave a baby in a hot car,” with the way she reacted.

“You can’t do that!” she shrieked, appalled at the mere suggestion of such atrocities.

“Okay then,” I stammered. “Where can I get this done?”

“At your doctor’s office,” she answered.

“Well, you see, I just moved here and I don’t have a doctor yet and I won’t have insurance until next month. And if you need these cards in order to get the kids registered, I need to do it now. Do you have any resources for me? Is there any place I can go now?” I begged.

She was less than helpful. Thankfully, my friend Cheri is more than helpful! She told me I could go to the health department. So I did. We waited more than SIX hours there. My kids were more patient than I was that day! Although I did have a nice conversation with a security guard who warned me about hurricanes and told me how he lost his house a couple years ago because of hurricane damage. Ummm, thank you, sir?

Florida requires different immunizations than Illinois does so Jackson had to get three shots, Lexi got one, and poor little Brooklyn got five. But finally, I had everything I needed to register them for school.

I registered Jackson at the middle school. I registered Lexi, Clay, and Brooklyn at the grade school. Then I went to the high school to register Austin and Savannah. After a four hour wait (I’ve done an awful lot of waiting since moving to Florida), we left, confused and unsure of the classes they’d selected.  Neither Italian, nor Japanese are offered.  I know how much it upset Austin and Savannah even though they didn’t complain.  They’re going to have to start all over with another language now.  It breaks my heart because they loved Italian and Japanese and they were both very good at them. 

The way the high schools work, well, let’s just say it’s a different world down here. The whole time we were waiting, I was looking at the clock, worrying that I’d be late for my orientation. We finally sat down with a couselor when I realized I absolutely had to leave in order to have enough time to drop all the kids off at home and get to work on time. If I up and left, I’d just have to come back another day with all six kids and wait another four+ hours. Still, I needed to get to my orientation.  I inquired about making an appointment for next week and was told that they were booked up until school started. Seriously? I can’t meet with a counselor to get them signed up until after school starts??? I sighed and tried not to stress while impatiently waiting for the counselor to get back from lunch. Long story short (or not quite as long), we met with the counselor, then ran home as fast as possible. I slowed the car down while I booted the kids out, then sped off. I arrived fifteen minutes late. Way to make an impression, no?

I don’t know how single parents who work outside the home do it. It can be difficult to work from home and juggle everything. But working outside? Oy! And working outside AND from home? Oy oy! And working outside and from home and not getting a break one or two nights a week or every other weekend or ever? Oy oy oy! I don’t know how I’ll manage. The guilt of dividing my time and knowing that everyone’s going to be shorted is unbearable.  Meet-the-teacher night is the same for the grade school, the middle school, and the school where I’ll be working.  How am I going to figure that one out?

But, on the bright side, I believe I’m now known as the freak of the district. While waiting to pee in a cup for my drug test, I joked, “Maybe I shouldn’t have had that poppy seed roll.” What can I say, I had a Seinfeld moment. They didn’t appreciate the humor. They looked at me like I was a derelict.  I just laughed to myself.  Despite all the waiting and the stress and the uncertainty, I haven’t lost the ability to laugh.  Yet.

Buy my book! Please buy my book! Please! My air conditioning bill is insane now that I live in hell’s living room.

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