- Armored Car
- Sling Shot
- Ear Muffs
DefensiveOffensive Driving Handbook
- “I Brake for Crossing Guards” bumper sticker
When preparing for battle, one must have the necessary tools and a solid strategy. Elementary school drop-off is no less than war. The meek do not survive (or their kids are late). Here’s what you need to know:
- Know Your Allies - Some inexperienced soldiers think that the crossing guard is the enemy, since she can bring a group of over-caffeinated, sleep-deprived, stressed out parents to a grinding halt with her long-range stop sign. Wrong people! She keeps our kids safe at frequent risk to herself! Make friends with her, smile and wave every morning, give her extra space and give her an eye contact check before proceeding. The next thing you know, she will let you slide by, before she allows the 5 minute parade of scooters, bikes and strollers.
- Know Your Enemies – They are any parent who thinks their kid is more important than yours or that where they are headed next trumps your next destination. They park to close to the right hand turn into school, blocking traffic and requiring you to make crazy swerving maneuvers to get around them. Another enemy is anyone who disregards the crossing guard – shoot them dirty looks. If possible, use a bull horn to shame them publicly. In dire circumstances (or with the repeat offenders) do not be afraid to sling shot your cold Starbucks at their car***. Hey, your coffee wouldn’t be cold, if they followed the program.
- Practice Offensive Driving – I use my large SUV (or armored car as I call it from 7:40 – 7:55 am) as a child safety device. I purposely drive 25 mph (the speed limit in a school zone!!) to slow down the other speed demons who are a danger to the kids. If they tail gate me, I slow down to 23 mph. It’s “offensive” driving because I find their disregard for children’s safety offensive.
- Set The Example – My elementary school actually has quite a well-thought out drop-off plan that works when people respect it. Set the example, work with the program, not against us. Drop your kid and keep moving, don’t stop to chat while taking space for another little pumpkin trying to get out of the car safely. Take notice that the darling children who open your car door to let your kids out say ‘have a nice day’ every. single. time. Thank them! And tell those sweets kids to have a nice day too!
- Have a Back-Up Plan – There are days… oh there are days… when the enemy pushes you too far. What you normally refer to as ‘silly drivers’ in front of your children starts to sound more like an Ice-T album. Just use the ear muffs! Don’t let your child hear you lose it! If you forget the ear muffs, crank your radio and try to swear under your breath.
- Believe in Karma – I believe in karma and know that karma hangs out with the sheriff and CHP. One of those three musketeers will catch up with the insane drivers.
In a delightful twist of demon driving fate, I just opened the following email from our principal:
“Please remember to be courteous to students, parents, and staff when picking up your children. It is inevitable that you will have to sit in traffic during drop off or pick up. We ask for your kindness and patience during these times.”
I love our principal, she is a charming lady who carries herself with class and tact. Her message is perfect and reminds me why I am not the principal, because I would have sent the following:
“It is freaking alarming that some parents show such a blatant disregard for the safety of others. To those parents that think their time is more valuable than others, think again. If you have a legitimate time constraint, arrive at school earlier! Remember, the person you cut off today may turn out to be the one hosting your child for a playdate tomorrow or teaching your child to read in class while you’re causing mayhem on the road!
***Because the world is a ridiculously litigious place, I must inform you that this post is for entertainment purposes only. I do not encourage or condone any acts of violence or vandalism towards another motorist, even the stupid and selfish ones. Follow the law! Especially the one that tells you to drive 25 mph in a school zone and obey all traffic rules!
I have decided to introduce a new series within my blog – “A Busy Mom’s Guide to…” As a busy mom, I make daily trade-offs to get things done, keep my sanity and have a little fun amidst the chaos. Whether you’re a working mom or a stay at home mom (or a busy dad or just a busy person) you know perfection is not realistic, so I plan to celebrate my less than perfect moments through this series.
When you see a busy mom’s guide title pop up you can expect that I will share an “alternative view” on how every day tasks are accomplished, I will even provide a handy “necessary tools list” at the beginning of each post (consider it a warning of the insanity to follow). Let me know what you think…
My inaugural busy mom guide will be to pumping gas:
List of Tools for Pumping Gas
- A bra
- A willing stranger
Yesterday, for the first time ever, I took my son to school in my jammies, thinking who would see me… I don’t have to get out of the car and I can head straight home to get ready.
This plan was working fine, I dropped my son off, waved to friends and nobody was the wiser thanks to a big pair of sunglasses and being strapped into a car.
Then I got a text from my nanny, letting me know that she was running late. I realized that she might not have time to get gas in my car before taking my daughter to
gymnastics “jumping class” so I thought that I would go to Safeway and get gas. Again, who would see me…
As I am pushing buttons to get the pump going, a friend drives by on her way to Starbucks and texts me, “nice boxers”.
I set the pump up and jump back in the car to stay warm, but I am smart, I frequently open the window to make sure I hear the gas pumping.
I finally jump out to check my progress and have pumped six bucks worth of gas in a large SUV and realize that I was listening to the person’s pump across from me…
I panic, wondering why the pump didn’t keep going… did I accidentally use diesel? No, we’re good. Again, I am smart…
So I start to fill it manually and it still acts like I am topping off the tank. Being a responsible parent, with my daughter in the car, I put the pump back, end the transaction, start the car and check the gage – ¼ tank – WTF?
I start the whole process over again.
It still keeps shutting on and off. Damn! I am cold, I reek of gasoline and have been out in my pajamas entirely too long.
I see a guy at a nearby pump and ask him for help – he has seen me struggle and smiles.
He thinks my trouble is because Safeway doesn’t clean their valves very often, so he pumps my gas (that’s the guide advice – did you catch it – have strangers help you). He also comments on the pjs - ”nice shorts”, I blush and explain that I was dropping my son off at school. He tries to make me feel better by explaining that he did the same thing – yet he is in jeans and a t-shirt!
As I am chatting with him, I catch a glimpse of my reflection in my window. I still have the ponytail I fell asleep in the night before - aka a rat’s nest that resembles hair. Would carrying a brush in my car be so hard? The thought of the hairbrush makes me think about toothbrushes and I realize, I didn’t even brush my teeth! Not that I am trying to impress my gas pumping savior, but a little hygiene is simple common courtesy. How do I get a mint out of the car without leaving him to do my dirty work?
As we’re standing there, I get a chill, which reminds me I have no bra on! I am in a flimsy tank top and an old sweat shirt. Where is that killer bra my friend Lori has when I need it?! Knowing her she has an extra one in her pocket! I think to myself, “Great, I have a rat nest hairdo, bad breath and “headlights”, this poor guy will never buy gas here again!
At this point, I have developed such a complex that I am practically fidgeting. I feel bad that he was helping me and being subjected to my aforementioned issues, so I called it quits at ¾ of a tank.
It’s times like these that I miss full serve!