It's been a long week. No, in fact, it's been a loooooong week.
When you work from home and you have five kids, albeit only four at home term time, you need to schedule your time down to the last minute to fit everything in. You need to write to do lists all over your house so you don't forget that school meeting, that kid's party, that dental appointment, that presentation... You know there's something to hand in by the date specified somewhere... somewhere in one of those letters in one of those piles on the coffee table, or was it the dining table... or did someone stick it on the fridge door? I swear there are weeks when I am hanging on by the tips of my fingernails and as I reach the end of my forties, I find that if I don't have my phone appointment system remind me everything not only when I waken in the morning but again ten minutes before an event, then I am doomed. And the kids - they need to all pull together or we're never going to achieve half of what is on that to do list...
So when First Bus Glasgow (grrrr, spit) gave us less than a month's warning before removing the bus (No 4) that Charlotte (and Marcel before her) has used every day since starting high school to go to and from school, I was fuming. This week marked the start of my new life with no bus. I now have to get all the kids up earlier - just what you need coming into winter. The latest we can be outside is fully 25 minutes earlier than it was last week so lunches, clothes and bags now need to be prepared the night before - but of course, there is now less, not more, time for that as we have to go to bed earlier now, to get up earlier. This is no big deal but it is a change to the routine of the last nine years (plus). And I really felt like changing a routine that has worked well for years. In the afternoon I pick up the wee ones at three and now have more than 35 minutes wait on Charlotte coming out. That's just enough time to drive them home and turn back and go back to school. That works on days Thomas is working from home but not if no one is home. On those days we all have to sit in the car and listen to the kids niggle each other. They are too tired straight after school to take out their homework books. They are too fidgety to sit and wait so if it is dry they can run round in circles, I guess but if it is raining we are caged for half an hour. Then we finally get home about 3.55... one hour and ten minutes to do a trip that used to take me thirty minutes. That's forty lost minutes every afternoon.
I'm sure after a few weeks it will be our new norm and when I have a lot of work on, I'll no doubt be found behind the wheel, in the high school layby on my laptop. But I ask you? Wasn't my life complicated enough without screwing up all my schedules? It's just so tiring.
Ironically, Charlotte herself is the only one not affected - she now gets up five minutes later than before and gets home half an hour earlier. She no longer needs to battle the elements on the way to the bus stop, because there is no bus stop. She's probably been quietly petitioning First Bus for years to drop their service!
I am considering running a minibus twice daily given how many groups of soaking kids I've passed on the 45 minute (plus) walk of the old bus route. It'd probably pay off.