Twelve Hours and Ten Minutes Late

Yesterday was the first kindergarten orientation meeting for a school Archer may or may not attend in a neighborhood we may or may not be moving to.

I called the school on Wednesday, inquiring re: their open enrollment policy, only to find out it was my lucky day!

"Funny you should call today. Tomorrow at 8.30 is our kindergarten orientation! There you will find all the information you need!"

"Perfect! Tomorrow? 8.30? I will absolutely be there!"

I hung up with the school administrator feeling pretty stoked on my timing.

"I think this school is meant to be!" I told Hal. "The informative parent's meeting is tomorrow! TOMORROW!!!!"

And so? I scribbled "8.30 mtg - school" on the calendar and spent the rest of the day positively absolutely sure that THIS school was the right school in the perfect neighborhood for us. That our new life was waiting for us just around the bend. That I? Was the most responsible meeting-attending parent in my whole entire house.

That evening, I poured myself a to-go cup full of coffee, slapped Hal high-five and hopped in my car. It was 8.20 and the school was (probably?) about ten-minutes away, so away I drove.

Ten minutes later, I was still in the car.

"I'm going to be late," I quietly thought.

But only by ten minutes, which is kind of the same thing as being five minutes late with a watch that's five-minutes slow, so no biggie.

Purse over shoulder, coffee cup in hand, I set out into the night toward the school, crossing paths at once with a nice looking woman scurrying frantically toward one of the school's lit entrances.

"Hi! Are you here for the orientation?" I shouted, rushing after her.

"I am," she said.

"So am I! Great! We can walk in late together."

"No, no. I wasn't here late," the woman snapped "I was here


"I'm just wandering around because I can't find the entrance.
Everything's locked."

"Let's try the other side," said I. "Hi. I'm

But she was in NO mood to make friends with me. She was on a mission! To get to the orientation! Which, I totally understood! I was too!

The only difference? I was pretty sure, watching the woman bang on locked doors, that there was no orientation meeting. Because somehow, some way, no matter how many times I write things down or make lists or plans or scribble reminders on my hand - I always find a way to show up at the wrong place at the wrong time,
inappropriately dressed, disasterville.

"Perhaps we got the day wrong?" I finally suggested, after our first loop around the school campus.

"No. You don't understand. I do NOT get days wrong. I have had this meeting in my calendar for MONTHS! I even called yesterday to confirm!"

"Oh, okay. Well? Maybe you're right but it doesn't look like
anyone's he--"

"There must be someone here. There's an orientation going on right now! I was told on the phone -- "

"Maybe we're too late and they locked us out?"

"No! I was not late! I was here on time! Early, actually. I was here early and YOU were the one who was late."

"True but only by a few minutes. It wasn't like I

The always-early-woman-who-never-gets-dates-wrong started yanking on the gate, shaking the giant lock, howling for the janitor.

And so? I went along with her.

"Somebody let us in!" she yelled.

"We. Be. In." I followed.

A Janitor finally peeked out of a lit doorway, squinting at us in the lamplight.

"Uh... Can I help you, ladies?"

"Yes, sir. We're here for the Kindergarten orientation! Can you please let us in?"

The Janitor gave us a smile. "You mean the one that happened this morning?"

"This morning? What do you mean, THIS MORNING!????!!!?????!!?!??!?!E?!?"

"We had a kindergarten orientation this morning at 8:30 am. So. I think. You're ... uh... a little late."

And so? I laughed.

I laughed because, classic Bec does it again!

Because I should have known better - should have sent Hal. Hal who would have asked on the phone "AM or PM?" instead of just assuming. Because I may be an absent-minded flake, but at least I'm a consistent one. Because there are something like six more kindergarten orientation meetings for this school ALONE before September.

But most of all, I laughed because it was funny. Because I fucked up and showed up twelve hours and ten minutes late to my first orientation meeting and ha ha ha - I'm not perfect. Not even close. I make mistakes and ha ha ha - such is life. What a mess, ha.

And when I turned to acknowledge my always-early, never-wrong-about-these-things, way-more-together-than-me, not-so-friendly new friend? I was pleasantly surprised to see that she was laughing, too.



angelynn | 12:15 AM

This was fantastic. I love the laughter. We recently went to an orientation and the open lottery to see if our son could get into a local charter school for kindergarten. About 50 names into the waiting list I decided to leave. Funny how it turns out. I hope you have better luck with your school. When we were kids we just went to the local school right? It's so much tougher now. Good luck and thanks for reminding me that it's OK to not be perfect.

Chantelle {fat mum slim} | 1:16 AM

Great post Bec.

And I think you and this woman, you'll be firm friends through the years.. because you already know that you're both no-so-perfect... and that's the way it should be. x

Mammy P | 2:30 AM

Hahahhaha... Phew! I'm glad she was laughing in the end, I was worried it was going to end with an injury caused by a combination of the steam coming out her ears and whirling handbag!

Lauren Knight | 4:44 AM

I love your outlook on life. And how ridiculous has this school thing gotten?! We live on the East Coast and the competitive nature of getting our 2 1/2-year-old into PRE-PRESCHOOL (!) was such a turnoff. Who knew? Thanks for this post. I love your stories.

Hi, I'm Natalie. | 5:12 AM

Schools have kindergarden orientations?? At 8:30 AM??? (Thank goodness I still have a few years to prepare myself for 8:30am orientations. Gah.)

Anonymous | 5:47 AM

Dude, I so knew what was up when you wrote this:
"That evening, I poured myself a to-go cup full of coffee..."
My view on this (even though you didn't ask) is if a school scheduled an orientation meeting at 8:30 PM in my neck of the woods I would wonder if they'd all lost their damn minds! Funny, how completely opposite our take was on the 8:30. At least you stayed true to yourself:-)

Mrs. Q. | 5:55 AM

Oh, I would have cried. But that's because I'm a type-A and freaky about being on time and not left out and blurgh. I kept reading the post hoping you were twelve hours early! At least you had company and could laugh at your folly. And you are lucky to have another chance. If we missed my son's upcoming single orientation meeting, that would have been it. Ugh.

LiciaLee | 7:03 AM

That made me smile this morning. Probably cuz I teach second grade, and I was wondering what school has orientations at 8:30 at night.. was she sure? :). Hope that next time works out for you. Kindergarten will not be the huge ordeal you think it is. GL finding one.

MommyLisa | 7:10 AM

I am so glad she laughed! ;)

Mama Cas | 9:51 AM

I showed up 24 hours late for my son's pre-k class trip and 2 hours late for his best friend's birthday party. It happens to EVERYone....even the super-organized-never-gets-it-wrong moms. And if they claim that they "never get it wrong"? They're lying liars.

Kat | 10:29 AM


Hi. I've been lurking on your blog for a while. I'm so proud of you for being able to laugh at yourself instead of bursting into tears or throwing a fit.

I am so happy that I don't have kids yet. Because I would have cried. And that is not the type of reaction I want to have. :)

Marcela | 10:38 AM

This is SO something I would do! I love it! What a great story, your words!

guarros | 10:56 AM

I'm fairly certain this will happen to me - when it's time for kindergarten orientation... even knowing this story / in 3 years it will be all but a distant memory until I start to feel the day ja vu come on.

Shoshanah | 12:39 PM

At least you know you weren't the only one who missed out on the A.M. or P.M. detail

samantha | 12:57 PM

Did it make you feel better knowing uptight crazy lady did it too?

I'm SO glad you were both able to laugh :-)

Rebecca | 2:05 PM

Na, Na-Na Boo-Boo, I made it to the first kindergarten orientation of my daughters new school on time and ready to go and didn't mess up the am/pm stuff.

But usually, I'm always wrong....really wrong...Like so wrong that the powers that be typically feel so sorry for me and my poor misguided child that they go ahead and let me in......decades late.

jessica | 2:35 PM

i totally assumed a.m. as did other posters but wouldn't it be great if these things were at night so that we didn't have to take off of work??

Tiffany | 2:35 PM

LOL, I have done the same thing except it was for a flight to Chicago. Thank goodness it was not a full flight and we could get on without penalty.


Desiree | 8:38 PM

Ha, oh snap. At least you weren't the only one!

Totally sounds like something I'd do!


WHICH reminds me. School wait lists. Dang. I am not one for planning ahead (already missed the daycare boat) and I can't seem to wrap my head around babies who haven't even been CONCEIVED yet on wait lists. She is almost one. I need to get my act in gear. Thanks for the reminder. And the perspective. I am so glad that your "not-so-friendly new friend" had a chuckle too. I was thinking she might cry. Laughing is much better.

Ray | 9:48 PM

Hehehe. That's funny. When you wrote 8:30 I was wondering, "Is it AM or PM?" But it's not all your fault. The woman on the phone should have explained better. At least there's six more orientations and next time, you'll know to ask. Also: I have no doubt Archer will be accepted. =D

Anonymous | 11:00 PM

Yeah, school isn't gonna have a meeting at 8:30 PM.

stephanie | 7:03 AM

I love you, I love you, I love you. This was the best story. This is future, because Jasper and I already have a knack for arriving to most things (like story time, omg) pretty late. Ayiyi.

Jenny | 9:15 AM

Blessedly our school district sent us paperwork about Kindergarten orientation/registration. And it had the date and time (and if it was am or pm) written right on it. Now where did I put that paperwork.....

SuZ | 1:56 PM

Yup, this is something I would do. Glad to know I'm not the only one!

WarsawMommy | 4:23 AM

Hee. SO something I would do. Not that I have already done something very similar, last year, whilst arranging to see my son's play school. Not at all. Ahem.

Fairly Odd Mother | 5:40 AM

Ha, we'll if you lived out here, you'd be all set---our school orientation for K was at night.

lisette | 6:20 AM

daaamn girl, haha. i did the same thing, only reverse. when i called to find out what time my induction was the nurse told me 10. so i double and triple checked my bag. got my boyfriend and mother ready and the next day at 10 am showed up at the hospital ready and nervous. then the nurses told me, "umm you're going to be induced 10 TONIGHT." DUH. it was a very big face-palm moment.

SoMo | 10:50 AM

Okay, LOL!! I was really confused why they would hold an orientation at night. I thought hey it is CA. they do things differently than us down here in the South. Glad you have another chance and glad that you can find the humor in it. Good luck with the move and school.

adrienne breaux | 11:15 AM

Hah! It's happened to all of us at one time or another.


Rita Arens | 1:00 PM

Somehow without even reading the headline, I was thinking, oh, crap, I bet it's a.m. Because schools hate parents who work. (I am a cynic.)

So sorry you missed it. ARGH! But I'm so impressed that you laughed and got her to laugh.

Sara Maria | 5:38 PM

I was going through my old books and looked through my Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul books because I was so happy when you said you had written in there back then. I LOVED those books--have 1,2, and 3! You are so talented, I love reading your stuff. :) You brighten my days!!

And Then I Was a Mom | 5:41 PM

And THIS is what happens when you shower. See? I have always told myself that showering is indulgent and it turns out I was ABSOLUTELY RIGHT.

Also, I totally would have assumed 8:30 p.m. How else are a lot of parents supposed to be able to attend? Geez.

Anonymous | 9:40 AM

Schools hate parents who work? Really? Or, could it be that "schools" are actually "people" who -- "work"!!

I think it's nice when schools can alternate things like orientation, so some parents have an a.m. option and some have a p.m. option. Of course those night meetings are staffed by people who work fulltime during the day as well!

Elizabeth @claritychaos | 7:58 PM

I'm so glad she was laughing! I was so sure it would end with her crabby but I love that she laughed. I love that she laughed.

(p.s. how the hell can I subscribe to your blog? I swear I can't find the button and I just have to remember on my own to pop back over here every now and then, and I always forget because you're not in my reader. Help a sister out?)

Chelsea | 8:24 AM

this is hilarious.