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Posts Tagged ‘late’

The secret to punctuality is, apparently, ensuring you have plenty of time to complete your journey. 

For the record, last Friday we did set off on the school run with “plenty of time” up our sleeves. If, of course, by “plenty of time” you mean enough for a normal school run in which:

a) Mr Justice might get a last-minute life-threatening papercut requiring immediate medical attention; OR

b) The Pixie might suddenly announce a previously undeclared desire to ride her tricycle to school and then throw a “WHY??” tantrum, the length of which far exceeds the time it would have taken to find her helmet on and get the tricycle out of the garage; OR

c) I  have to break up a shit-fight between The Pixie and Tiddles “Hurricane” McGee Every. Five. Steps over who is sitting in the stroller.

Of course a normal school run might contain one of these types of incidents, maybe two… But all three? In this case, the concept of “plenty of time” might stretch into hours, maybe even days. In the words of one wise woman (me): you can’t plan for that shit. 

Glancing at my watch, I realised I had to make a decision: we could all make a run for it and arrive just in time with me red-faced and sweating, screaming at everyone like a crazy bitch OR we could just walk slowly but surely and take the late pass on the chin. For me, it was a no-brainer but for Mr Justice, conscientious to the last, it was an agonising decision. 

“Relax,” I said to him in my most soothing, maternal voice. “It’s just a piece of paper.” Which became my own little mantra during that long, long walk to school. Just a piece of paper, just a piece of paper, just a piece of paper…

As I entered the school office six minutes after the bell, I had a benign, almost saint-like smile on my face and asked for a late pass in the way that I might have asked for a double scoop of Butterscotch in a wafer cone on a sunny afternoon at the seaside. 

Of course, my mask of serenity slipped somewhat when the lady behind the desk asked me for my reason for being late. I like to think it was a little like that moment in The Lord of the Rings films when Cate Blanchett grows into the Dark Terrible Queen because the look I gave her said, in no equivocal terms, “WHERE DO I FUCKING START?”

However, I managed to reign that Dark Terrible Queen in and instead flash her a sunny smile.  

“Uh, maybe you could write ‘Walk To School Day turned into Brawl To School Day?'” I suggested, brightly. “Or even ‘Mother On The Edge’?”

After that, the lady behind the desk could not issue that Late Pass fast enough. As she handed it to me, I noticed that in the “Reason” box she had written “Running late”. 

“Running late?” I thought to myself as I walked home. “RUNNING LATE?” And instantly became consumed by the red mists of utter outrage. 

My internal monologue went something like this:

How can your reason for being late be ‘running late’? It doesn’t make sense. Doesn’t. Make. Sense. It’s like saying “I am sleepy because I am tired.” Or even “My reason for that particular homicide was because I was feeling distinctly murderous at the time, your honour.”

I mean, I may as well go round saying “I am late because I am late.” Which would be just about as meaningless and stupid as the piece of green paper it would inevitably be written on. 

Stupid late passes. 

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was my revised mantra all the way home. Stupid late passes, stupid late passes, stupid stupid STUPID LATE PASSES.

All together now…

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A lot of people say to me “Oh, NDM. I’m far too busy too busy having a life to read your blog! Whatever is it all about?”

And other people say to me “Oh, I read it for a while. And then I stopped. Now there is so much to catch up on, it feels far too overwhelming. Can you stop writing for a while so I can catch up?”

And even more people say “Listen, I’m not going to read your blog, okay? No matter how much you harass me about it – it just ain’t going to happen, lady. Now kindly get out of my way before I have to call the police again.”

So for all these people and their questions (including the police) I thought I would summarise my blog just so:

I am very often late but it is never EVER my fault. 

My house is a mess but my blogging has nothing to do with it. 

My husband is a long-suffering individual who is either always having shit hung on him by his wife OR is just hung over.

Pretty much every day in my household, someone hides their shoes and/or vomits. Or even vomits in their shoes and then hides them. 

I think all kinds of weird shit and then lose followers on twitter for thinking that weird shit out loud and then I turn it into a blog post and lose even more readers.

I suffer from frequent menstrual accidents and occasional loss of bladder control – which is a relatively polite way of saying that I often bleed and piss on stuff accidentally.

I once started a short-lived and yet international fashion trend of wearing a pilot’s hat on a jaunty angle. 

I’ve just been diagnosed with oste0-something and am currently searching for evidence of a Champagne Cure. 

Blah blah blah.

Yep, that pretty much sums the NDM experience up, don’t you think?

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It may or may not have come to your attention that my Late Pass Counter has not risen past 004 for a couple of months now. Some might think that finally the NDM has learnt to respect School Policy and is putting in 110% effort to be punctual, which is mathematically impossible, but whatever.

Others might harbour sneaking suspicions that the NDM is not reformed at all, but rather too embarrassed to return to the school office and thus the scene of her public meltdown (see “Sorry, It’s School Policy“).

Whatever the reason, just yesterday I found myself screaming “RUN! RUN! RUN!!!!” at my kids as we all sprinted, with me still in my ugg boots and with my hair distinctly uncombed, from the car to the school gates.

Now, one could argue that if wasn’t for the Late Pass Policy, we would have been walking in a calm, genial fashion, all holding hands, perhaps even singing a little ditty about going to school. Any casual passerby might have exclaimed “What a lovely school!” instead of “Eeeshhhh, that parent is clearly unwashed and unhinged!” before concluding “I’m not sending my child there and/or I’m not approving their grant for funding and/or I’m calling ‘Today Tonight’ to report a sighting of a bona fide ‘Suburban Menace’.”

Those same people may or may not have had similar negative feelings about seeing me and my children parked outside the school 30 minutes before the morning bell, eating our breakfast and listening to Razorlight at full volume. It was raining, okay? And I didn’t want to miss out on a parking spot again, alright?

Still, whatever way you look at it, we have had an unprecedented run of punctuality and I have the support of the community to partially thank for it. 

One dad, who we shall call “Mister A”, often meets me on his way back from the school run, while I’m still on my way. One morning, he kindly offered me a”Late Tip” that went something like “Wear headphones so you don’t stop to engage in conversation with Every Single Parent you see on your journey” which of course ignored the fact I had stopped to talk to him. He then signed off with a cheery “Same time, same place tomorrow, for another Late Tip!” and disappeared off into the distance, riding his six year old’s scooter.

The following day, I saw his wife on her return journey, and she told me that Mister A was thinking of standing on their street corner and issuing late passes of his own – to me, only me. “Well, he promised me a daily Late Tip service and he’s late!” was my retort. In truth, I had been interested to hear the next tip in the series, especially since some early experimentation wearing headphones while pushing the pram had almost resulted in me garrotting myself. 

Interestingly enough, in the school newsletter yesterday, Brett (the principal) expressed “safety concerns” because of the large number of parents double parking to let their children alight in the middle of the road. Ironically, Brett says that for those parents “being late for work is not an acceptable excuse” for such behaviour.

But what about “avoiding a late pass”, Brett? Let’s face facts: I have run screaming at my kids like a crazy bitch in public, eaten my cereal in the Tarago parked outside the school like some kind of breakfast-eating stalker, and dabbled with self-strangulation by ipod. All to avoid a late pass. 

At what price punctuality, Brett? At. What. Price.

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