Next Step – Driving

We’re about to reach a milestone of sorts in our house.  17.0 is about to hit the roads as a solo driver.  I’ve purchased a second car, next step is driving for the older one.  Much as I did when I got them mobile phones six years ago – she’ll have to sign a contract of responsibility.

Here’s what I have so far – wondering if anyone has any additional thoughts:

Agreement for Using My Father’s Second Car

The following outlines terms and conditions Teen Driver freely agrees to, understands and acknowledges for use of the second car belonging to my father, Car Owner.  These terms as presented and agreed to should be seen as a contract between Leah and Ethan for use of the car.  Penalties are outlined herein.

Section 1 – Basic Rules

  1. The car belongs to my father, Car Owner, and my driving of it is a privilege I have earned. _____
  2. The car will be kept generally clean and in good running order at all times. _______
  3. The car will be parked either at the top of the driveway with Car Owner’s car having access to get off the drive way first or in a proper overnight parking spot. _______
  4. No more than four additional passengers are permitted in the car. _______
  5. There can be no additional drivers of the car without the express (and situationally) granted permission of Car Owner. _______
  6. House curfew will be strictly enforced. Failure to keep to house curfew will result in forfeiture of use of the car for a period of time to be determined by Car Owner. _______
  7. Teen Driver will follow and obey all traffic laws. _______
  8. Any incident related to the car or its operation will be disclosed immediately. _______

Section 2 – Car Related Costs

  1. Under terms of this agreement Teen Driver will pay monthly insurance costs of $ XX.XX _______
  2. Teen Driver is solely responsible for keeping gas in the car. _______
  3. Teen Driver is responsible for all maintenance costs of the car including but not limited to oil changes, tire rotation, tire replacement and general maintenance. _______
  4. Teen Driver is responsible for any traffic fines relating to tickets or violations. _______
  5. Should any fines or violations result in points on her license Teen Driver will pay any additional insurance costs on a monthly or annual basis. _______

Section 3 – Expected Driver Behavior

  1. Teen Driver and all passengers will wear seat belts at all times when in the car. _______

  2. Teen Driver will not use her cell phone at any time while driving. _______

  3. A ticket for texting while driving will result in loss of driving privileges for a time period solely at the discretion of Car Owner. _______

  4. Driving while intoxicated or under the influence will result in loss of driving privileges. _______

There’s not stopping the next step, driving. But at least she’ll know she has skin in the game.

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The Uber Parent

uberIf you work in, or have gone out in a city (or even some suburban areas) you probably know the concept of Uber – on demand rides.  The concept is pretty simple, you download an app, load in your credit card information – and when you need a ride you click a few buttons and your ride shows up ready to go.  We now live in the age of the Uber Parent though – and this could very well be my next app.

As an only parent, I don’t have a lock on this market certainly.  Any parent or set of parents with one or more teen-aged child who doesn’t drive knows the feeling.  Starting on Friday afternoon – there’s a text from a child and you’re in your car off to the races taking someone (or a small group) someplace.

The great thing about Uber is passengers get to rate the drivers and drivers get to rate the passengers – the higher your rating (both as a driver and passenger) the better the service.  This video featuring an old friend from my CBS News days will help explain how it works:

I do threaten to rate my kids to prioritize their rides, and I really wish now and then they could coordinate a bit so it’s not the sense of just driving in circles.  But in this über world of specified properties to extreme degrees – the Uber Parent app may soon be needed.

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Single Point of Failure

Single Point of FailureIt’s been two-weeks since I updated here, which is not unprecedented but is unusual.  As is usually the case life kind of takes up time and things get pushed to the back burner.  One of those “life” moments was a three-week process I was involved in at work, where the term single point of failure was used often.

In the use-case of work, the single point of failure was something to be avoided.  This is where one breakdown somewhere in a daisy chain of events could cause the whole project to come to a halt – and in this case impact paying customers.  The single point of failure must be avoided.

Across the last couple of weeks, that paradigm persists.  We had 13.5’s Washington Trip to get through.  While that was not a huge impact, it did require making sure she was packed, had some healthy snacks to add to the assortment of Oreos and candy that made the trip with her class.

Then 11.0 talked me into signing her up for a second travel softball team.  So now we are deep into a pair of concurrent softball seasons.  The schedules start next week and the practices are already underway.  This gets mixed in with school, Hebrew school and all of her friends.

Add to that I had a week in Santa Monica for work where I managed to come down with a cold.  That cold has slowed me down since getting home Friday night.

Then there was the two-plus weeks my sitter didn’t have a car which really did not give me the peace of mind I try to maintain when I am not home.

All those items above are not earth-shaking.  Cars break, I’ve been sick before, travel isn’t new, the girls do spend time away from home and work has pressures.  But all together, with one parent, there is a single point of failure.

11.0 had back-to-back practices yesterday.  About four hours of softball.  During that time I saw a mix of parents and siblings coming in and out of the ball field – switching up and getting things done.  With only one parent, there is a single path for accomplishment.  So, I was checking in with 13.5 via text (the preferred communication medium) to see if she need a ride somewhere and that she ate.

So, at work I learned the importance of avoiding the single point of failure.  At home I realized a sitter without a car is a single point of failure.  And the reality is, I can be my own single point of failure too.

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The Road To Recovery

Two days after ACL surgery and I can say the biggest accomplishment is getting into the shower.  Doesn’t sound like much I know but its a start.  I have to say the biggest hurdle was getting my mind to say its OK to put my leg down and take the small step over the ledge into the shower stall.

There’s a mix of pain and throbbing in my leg where the surgery was.  None of it is consistent, and I am really trying to keep off the Percocet.  Usually I can wait out some pain, or ice it down to ease the pain.

People I know who have done other procedures (heart, shoulder, back) say there is a feeling that your skin is ripping apart.  I don’t have that feeling.

I do have the feeling that the anesthesia is still in me.  I can easily fall asleep minutes after waking up.  And it took me more than a day to re-hydrate post-op.  I just could not get enough to drink.  It was the first time I’ve ever felt that dehydrated.  In the recovery room, my throat was so dry I almost choked on a Fig Newton.

But now I am trying to prove to myself more than anything that I can do things.  I set out in the car this morning to “take care of a few things” largely to be able to tell myself I can go and get into the car and do things if I needed to.  I really did not expect any issues, but still I just didn’t know.

So, while I’ve led this independent life for the last 20+ years, I actually have to accept some help as I apply mind over matter.  The good news is there are people around who can help me out too.

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About Family

This Sunday of Memorial Day weekend as some are heading to the beach, others are getting ready for a BBQ and others are out playing softball and picnicking in the park-my crew and I will make a trek into central Jersey to spend time with family.

Given the condition of my knee, and the dull ache it would be very easy for me to say thanks for the invite but we just can’t make it.

But one of the commitments I made to Risa and a promise I made to myself is that I would make sure my kids have a sense of family.  Even if the display of that sense of family is not always reciprocated, we march on.

It’s easy to wrap deeply into the busy hustle and bustle of life and commitments.  Those tugs on schedules are very real and are immediate and often don’t allow a lot of flexibility.

I can see in a two parent household where sometimes these things are a little easier to manage with a divide and conquer approach-the whole clan doesn’t have to go to every event, right? But for us, we are a package deal for these types of events.

So the dull ache in the knee, MiFi on the dashboard, and through city and out the tunnel we will go.  I am sure time with the cousins will be fun and the girls will enjoy themselves.

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To Passover Or Not?

With the Jewish celebration of Passover closing in-like any other milestone moment, it’s a chance to evaluate and see where I’m at and with the forced metaphor of “passing over or not” its an effective means to sort things out.

So to pass over or not:

  1. Moving:  For now I think this is one I am going to passover on.  While in the long run, cutting my commute time down from four hours+ a day would be a good move, the time is not right.
  2. Figuring out relationships: This is a tough one.  Not going to passover on it though.  Going to keep trying I suppose and figure one day I may get it right.
  3. Getting the girls to do chores: No passover on this one, but clearly a direct tie into allowances is not a motivating factor.  Their compliance is sporadic at best.  Need to work this out better.
  4. Getting 9.0 to brush her hair daily: Not a passover here.  Aside from the realistic reasons, she looks better with her hair brushed.
  5. Figuring out life: For my own sanity going to passover on this one.  Nearly 45 years into it, I still am no closer to sorting it out.
  6. Understanding how the LIRR works: Commuters have been at this far longer than I.  Have to passover on this one.
  7. Upgrading my car: Although I’d really like to, I park it at a train station 80% of the time.  Think I need to passover.
  8. Sorting out and planning 11.5’s Bat Mitzvah: Don’t get to passover on this one.  Have to figure out how to make it work and how to make it work well.  A lot of moving parts to bring together on this one.
  9. Slowing down just a little: Although I’d like to not passover on this one, it’s a passover.  Not sure how to manage and slow down at the same time.
  10. Finally finish my next book: Going to get really serious about this.  It’s about 75% done as of now.  Looking to finish before the summer-be on the lookout.  Not a passover item.

And there it is, for no real reason and based on nothing more than this moment in time. What are your “passovers or not?”  Even if you only think about it-it’s a moment in time to take stock and look at the micros that make up the macros.

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