the IT city, the I.T. Baby


First day of school, and the rocky trip that got us there

M first day of schoolToday was my oldest’s first day of school (a montessori pre-K.) Considering she’s only 1,212 days old sort of feels like it’s too soon, although I guess going to K on a day you’re 1212 days old does have a certain education ring “K-12”.

To get to this point we faced the Metro lotto in Nashville, chose two schools we liked, and were then told to wait, then wait some more, and oh yeah everyone else knew where they were going in January but you got to get informed in May or something close to the school start date.

We won a spot and were waitlisted for both our primary choice and the secondary one. We were told we were position 3 on the primary and 2 on the secondary online. The next day we were position 50something on the primary and 2 on the secondary. Several attempts to find out what the hell was going on failed.

We ended up with a spot in the secondary choice, which was ok because it’s more convenient and the early portion of the school is evidently pretty great, just later aged kid’s classes tend to perform substantially worse on paper.

With acceptance to our second I was tasked by Kim to drop in in late June, verify that things were correct, and drop off vaccination/immunization paperwork and proof of income. I checked the school’s hours and went over and it was closed.

I contacted the Metro help desk who verified that it was supposed to have someone there and they promised they’d get in touch with that person and call me back. That was the last I heard from the Metro help desk.

I dropped by the school two more times that day to verify nobody was there. The place was abandoned. I called multiple times, voicemail box always full.

The next week I dropped in and met with the school secretary who made passing mention of an event that I was not sure was what caused the place to be abandoned or was going to cause it to. I gave her all the paperwork I think we required and asked to verify that she was in and that things were good.

But that couldn’t be done. Her name was nowhere to be found. I was told this was not abnormal. I fill out more paperwork that we’ve already done online just in case they need it.

First of July I went back to verify. Records are still not there, they’re going to email someone and then call me later. July 6th I come back just to verify as nobody’s answering the phone, I have not received a call or email. I meet the principal of the school who checks the roles, and then writes a note for the person I’ve been dealing with after confirming that nope, my daughter is not listed.

I am told there’s a new system rolling out and that the old one is painfully slow so they may not have entered the info into it and that the new one will be up and operational soon. I am told I’ll get a call or email that things are good by Friday, June 8. That doesn’t happen.

I call the school on the 14th, talk to someone I’ve never talked to before who leaves them a message to call. At 11am with no call I go to the school to talk in person. There’re construction workers everywhere but nobody lets me in, nobody’s in the office that I can see. I call and reach the secretary later that day who says my daughter is still not in the system but she’s going to email the higher ups to get a thumbs up or down.

Something that I was under the impression was happening many many times before that date.

At this point with about two and a half weeks left before school and having to inform daycare in writing what the last day was, I contacted Will Pinkston, a current candidate for reelection on a different district’s school board, but figured he was local and could help.

Within two hours I was contacted by people who verified that she was enrolled, everything was fine. I forget where they pointed blame at but blame was pointed at some position. On the 14th of July I received a call that she was good from two people.

Last night she was up all night. I was woken up at midnight, put her to bed, woken up at 1:30, did the same and put the gate up and told her to yell if she needed me (gate keeps her from climbing up the stairs). Saw she was awake one more time.

This morning she was beat. I came down and heard the whirr of a dying toy vacuum cleaner that had been left on for most of the night. Infinite sadness ensued and I had to leave her with Kim while I dropped baby off or there was no chance we were going to get to school anywhere near dropoff point.

But we got there with 10 minutes to spare and a parking lot completely filled, side streets completely filled, and still managed to get in and to the right room with five minutes to spare.

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.