Monday, February 13, 2006

In Case of Exhaustion, Break Glass 

If you are reading this, I must have broken the glass. As you scan this sentence, I am probably sleeping or watching a movie with most of my higher order brain functions shut down, completely unable to type out another single snarky word.

Keeping my blog up to date, on top of work and raising a family, is hard work for me. I generally only manage it because I'm willing to burn the candle at both ends with a flamethrower. After a while that takes a toll. So I'm writing this post and caching it in my drafts folder for a day, somewhere down the road, when I'm just too pooped to post. Sadly, I'm commonly close to that condition, explaining why I've too often posted poop. Hopefully having this little puppy in reserve will give me the fortitude to establish a modicum of quality control around here.

Today is February 10, 2006. We'll see how long it takes before I break the glass -- you already know, obviously, but as of this writing, it's still a mystery to me. Oh, and note to myself: now that you've broken the glass, when your brain comes back, write up a replacement post for the next exhaustion emergency.

Anyway, here is the payoff: a story culled from my old Diaryland site. I sometimes forget that I was actually blogging all the way back at the end of 2000, I just didn't know it was called that. I also didn't know anything about links or carnivals or aggregators, so no one read what I wrote. But really, that's great news, because it means I have a treasure trove of stale stories to recycle on this blog. Lucky you.

Here is one from January 30, 2001. I've edited it a little bit from the original, but not too much.

Car Pool Blues
The last week or so has been dominated by car pool trouble. I had been leaving work two days a week at lunch time to drive Rachel and two friends home from their 'gan' (preschool). That, plus a couple morning drives, was my contribution to the carpool. Unfortunately, since I work full time, my job couldn't support this in the long run, so we had to somehow rearrange the car pool.

We first tried to hire someone who would handle my two afternoon carpool assignments by taking all the kids in a taxi, but it turned out she didn't realize that kids could be strapped into seatbelts, let alone car seats. It was at that point that the other members of the car pool decided they no longer wanted to be associated with us, so we were now left with no car pool, and unless we could find a solution, I would be driving every morning AND every afternoon. This was not the improvement my employer was looking for.

So we tried harder to spend money to solve the problem. We got a referral to a lady who was going to pick up Rachel every afternoon. She is paid to drive a number of kids, and Rachel would just join her group. Unfortunately, her first day on the job, the teachers in the gan called me at work telling me to drive to the gan right away and pick Rachel up. It turned out that the new driver had shown up, but didn't have room in her car for the car seat. She apparently was driving kids around like they were chickens in the back of an overfilled poultry truck. So I was back to driving Rachel every day.

At one point, my boss suggested the corporate taxi driver might solve the problem (he may have even leaned on him a little, drawing a connection between company business and his helping me out, I'm not sure). So I agreed to meet him at the gan to show him where to take Rachel and to introduce him to the teachers (so they wouldn't release Rachel to a stranger) and he would start driving from then on. Unfortunately, he never showed up and never called and didn't answer his cell phone. When I finally reached him, he was in Bnei Brak (about an hour away) with another fare, and confessed that he might have a problem doing the job. His problem was my problem too, so we were back to square one.

The height of the struggle to find a driver was the day when we got a recommendation for a young man who needed the money and had a car. Sharon was very clear with him, detailing the use of car seats and seat belts. She clarified "Do you have any problem with any of this?" No, he didn't have any problem. Great! So I showed up at gan to meet him, show him the ropes, watch how he handled Rachel and the car seats, and show him where Rachel was to be dropped off. I watched him strap Rachel in and talk to her. He was a little nervous, but he was doing fine and seemed nice enough.

So I told him to follow me with Rachel in his car as I led him to the destination in my car. It was going just fine, until he rear-ended me. Now I'm sure he's a wonderful driver under normal circumstances, but he told me that Rachel had started talking to him (she does that a lot) and it had distracted him, and before he knew it, he hit me. We were all fine, and there was no damage, but I couldn't hire him at that point.
I still remember, even five years later, how that driver who rear-ended me still seemed to think that telling me "he was sorry" and that "that kind of thing didn't usually happen to him" should somehow have convinced me to give him the job anyway. I'm sorry, even in Israel, that isn't going to cut it.

If you really, really liked this -- or even really, really hated it -- there's lots more: