Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Top o' the mornin'

This is the second week of our new morning routine – waiting for the bus with the kids, waving goodbye to them through the windows, driving through leafy suburbia to the train station, and taking a commuter train and then the subway to work. I really like it. I like not having the hassle of bucking the kids into the car, driving them to two different schools, trying to find parking, etc. And I really like not having to then drive another 30-40 minutes through rush hour traffic to get to work. Even though my commute doesn't really save any time over driving, the mental health benefits are huge. I don't have to be constantly alert for lights turning yellow, other drivers doing something stupid, or a sudden burst of annoying music or blah-blah on the radio. I can now sit on an extremely quiet train, sip coffee and read or listen to my iPod. The time passes quickly... it's almost soothing. This morning it was kind of chilly (low 40s) so I can see where waiting for the train with no protection from the elements, might get old in a hurry, but for now I'm enjoying it. Being anal about time, I'm also happy to know I'll arrive at my destination at exactly the same time every day (barring major mechanical breakdown). The vagaries of traffic don't enter into it, and there's nothing I can do about it in any case.

Though I seldom get a seat, I even like the subway ride because it's nice to have other people around as opposed to being in one's little tin can on wheels. I have fun speculating about what their stories, what they do for a living, where they're going, etc. So far people have behaved themselves and left one another alone; perhaps people don't act inappropriately on subways in Boston as some seem to do in Chicago (though secretly I would relish the chance to call someone on it as Mimi does). And when I score on of the lushly upholstered seats on one of the newer trains, WOO HOO! I even like the escalators because I can walk as the stairs are moving and kid myself I'm getting some exercise.

So the commuting stress is much reduced. The only other stress at this point is figuring out the kids' schedules. I've already gotten a call from the after-school folks wondering where one of the kids was. I filled out one form for them and another for each kid's teacher and of course I couldn't remember any of it until I'd made a chart in Microsoft Word for myself. You see, kindergarten goes only until 12:45 for September, when it goes until 2:45 twice a week, and the Becky can go to after-school at 12:45 and then take the 2:45 bus home with Sarah, or they can both stay until later, depending on which day Sarah has piano lessons, except everyone in the school gets out at 12:45 on Wednesdays, which was not one of the days I was getting out of work early, so I had to adjust that and then take another look at the train schedule and figure out which day I needed to drive in, because I'm allowed to park at work no more than eight days a month now that I have a monthly train pass, etc., etc. Then there are forms up the wazoo -- school registration and medical forms, after-school signup, music lessons, Hebrew School, joining the PTA (yikes!), possibly soccer at eight-frigging-thirty on Saturday mornings... whoo. In light of all this, Rosh Hashanah took us even more completely by surprise than usual, but I still managed to throw together a dinner for the relatives and go to our new synagogue, which is really nice. In fact another family who are members and live in our town called to invite us to break-the-fast after Yom Kippur though we'd never even heard of them. Ben especially has noticed this small-town welcomin' feelin' since from folks since we moved here, which is ironic because I was afraid this place would be too WASP-y for him. Silly me.

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