Sunday, May 2, 2010

Transpo woe

In the midst of Matthew's homecoming, Luke and Will started their new County pre-school programs. This isn't the way we originally planned things - as Luke and Will were eligible for these programs on their birthday back in March. However there were some unexpected delays, and by the time we were ready to start the programs, the schools tracked out (for anyone unfamiliar with the term, "tracking out" is the term used when a year-round school has several weeks off every nine weeks throughout the year). The schools that the boys were assigned to tracked back in on April 26. Oy. Busy week, no?

We had some angst over the boys starting their programs, mostly because it would be a new experience for them on top of having their home life turned topsy turvy the week before with Matt's arrival. We had minimal angst over how they would get to their new schools, as we had been assured that the appropriate transportation would be provided.

The week before school was scheduled to start, we called transportation because we hadn't heard from them. They assured us they were working on it. On Tuesday, we had a baby. We called back on Wednesday, played phone tag all day. On Thursday we learned that the County was maxed out on their transportation budget and that they boys wouldn't be receiving transportation. We started to panic.

Transporting the boys to their programs is not an easy feat. They need to be on the road early to drive to Luke's school and drop him off, then over to Will's school for his drop off. By mid-morning, Luke's program is done and he needs to be transported from him County program to his day care center. Will needs to be picked up from his full day program at 3pm, and Luke needs to be picked up from his day care center after that. All in all, its about 100 miles of driving a day. Nevermind that the vehicle that they ride in needs to be large enough to handle transporting Will's equipment and be fit with appropriate car seats.

By the Friday before school started, our story had been escalated up the ranks at the transportation office. We were assured that something would be happening. But by Monday, we had no County transportation for the boys, so Nate spent the day jetting them around. Tuesday provided us with no progress, so Nate drove them again. He barely saw Matthew for the first couple of days he was home!

On Wednesday we learned that a company had been contracted to transport the boys and the driver would be stopping by that night. This meant that Nate had to drive the boys again on Wednesday, but they would have transportation from that point on. A very friendly driver (and former pre-school teacher!) showed up on Wednesday to meet us and show us the vehicle. We realized that Will's stander wouldn't fit in her SUV but figured we would at least give it a try on Thursday morning. Because she transports multiple children in her vehicle, the third row of seating needed to be used, leaving minimal storage space in the back.

On Thursday morning, we got the boys up and ready in time for their new ride to school. Luke was very excited and got into his new car seat willingly. Will's car seat really didn't fit him very well and was not installed properly. It was then that we realized that his Kid Kart (wheelchair) wouldn't fit in the vehicle either. This is an essential piece of equipment for him. We were upset and told the driver that we wouldn't be sending the boys with her today. Sweet Luke waved bye bye to the driver as we walked back inside, deflated. Nate drove them again on Thursday.

After dropping them off at school, he spent the next couple of hours between the contracted transportation company looking at their fleet of vehicles to see if they had anything large enough to transport the boys and Will's equipment (they didn't, with the current transportation plan and number of kids in the vehicle) and the County transportation office.

When all was said and done, the County was able to move one of the children to another route, so that the rear seat in our transportation SUV could be left down, thereby leaving enough storage room in the back for Will's Kid Kart and stander. The driver took the car seats to the local fire station and ensured that they were installed properly.

So FINALLY, on Friday - two weeks after the woes started - the driver beeped her horn from the driveway bright and early. The car seats didn't move when we put the boys in them (also, Nate had fashioned a head rest for Will to ensure that he sat properly in the seat). All of our equipment fit. And the boys went happily to school as two nervous parents stood in the doorway and waved. We felt sorry for the skinny kid who was stuck sitting in between Luke and Will's car seats!

We called the driver after the morning drop off to see how things had gone. Luke's drop off was wonderful, and Will started getting kind of antsy in the 10 minutes between Luke's drop off and his. So the driver sang 'Itsy Bitsy Spider' to him for the rest of the trip. I love pre-school teachers, they think of everything! The mid-morning Luke school shuffle went well, as did Will's return trip home that afternoon.

Whew! We're looking forward to a much less eventful week this coming week, as we settle into a routine at home. It will be great not to put 400+ miles on the van in a single week, too! The SuperDad medal of the week definitely goes to Nate for his butt-numbing travels, persistence, and patience!!

And for those of you wondering about the important stuff, both Luke and Will transitioned exceptionally well to their new County programs! Luke's vocabulary and word usage seems to have increased in the first week! And although Will gave his teachers a bit of a struggle with his eating during the day, he is having a fun time in his new program. He comes home in a great mood each day, it's wonderful! The class participated in Field Day on Friday and ran in a relay with some first graders!

No comments: