The Washington Buses Roll – Again

Washington TripIn the school district where we live, it’s that time of year.  No, not Halloween stuff.  The Washington buses roll again.  This year 13.0 will be on board the buses this year, as her sister was two years ago.

As was the case two years ago, there’s a fine line to walk between parenting and letting my girl enjoy her three days away with the school.

From a safety perspective – the school has done just about all they can to assure parents (and kids) that the trip will be fun, educational and everyone will come home.  But I think every parent has that little trepidation, right down to the rain in the forecast tomorrow as the buses pull out of the school parking lot just after 530 in the morning.

This rite of passage starts tonight with luggage drop off.  Once that’s done, we’ll get up bright and early tomorrow morning and head to the school.  13.0 will have breakfast, lunch and snacks at the ready – and I’ll watched the Washington buses roll again.  In the end, it’s a great experience for all of us (even 15.5).

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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 Washington Trip

Washington DCIt’s a big week here for 13.5.  She and her friends are getting ready for the Washington trip at school.  It’s a three-day excursion with lot’s of rules for safety, a packed schedule to wear out the kids  – and I’ll admit it, a week’s worth of strategizing for the single dad.

The first phase of strategy for the Washington trip occurs now, a full 72-hours before I drop 13.5 off at 5:30AM at the school.  This is where I want her to feel in control about what she takes, but at the same time make sure she’s ready for rain, cool to cold weather and a lot of walking.  In the grand scheme of things this is not a huge deal.  She’s a trooper and will be with her friends so she’ll get through.

The next strategy is about planning.  13.5 is a little challenged in this area.  Perhaps using me as a role model isn’t great, but she should be ready for all possibilities so this will include a trip to the pharmacy before the Washington trip rolls out of the school parking lot.

Finally, there is the strategy I’ll have to employ to contain myself and let her have this adventure.  Yeah, we go through this in the summer with camp, but that feels different.  Maybe it’s because her sister isn’t with her – I’m not really sure.  She’ll have her phone and I am sure (because I’ll tell her) she’ll text a few times a day.  But still, I have to let her experience the Washington trip her way.

So, Tuesday night she and I will drop the bags at the school.  Wednesday morning bright and early we’ll head out – I know she’ll have a great time.  And I’ll look forward to hearing all about it on Friday night.

Until then, a lot of strategy will be applied to the Washington trip.

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