So Tuesday afternoon was the parents' meeting with the teacher leading the expedition. It was allegedly mandatory (though they didn't take attendance). Mrs. Grumpy had
I got there early, and, out of habit (amazing how we default in a classroom), took my traditional college/medical school seat (3rd row from the front, 2nd seat in). Other parents came in. A cardiologist I know, whose daughter is in the same class, came in and sat next to me.
As Mr. Allegro was trying to get the SmartBoard to work (this involves tapping it, swearing, hitting it harder, swearing, tapping it lightly, swearing, wash, rinse, repeat) Mrs. Mysomom came in. She carefully looked over several seats before selecting one that met her standards, and started to set her purse down. Then she stopped, whipped out latex gloves, put them on, pulled out a pack of bleach wipes and began scrubbing down the desk and chair (which weren't visibly filthy) before tossing the gloves and wipes in the trash and Purelling her hands.
After a few minutes the presentation began. Mr. Allegro showed us a brief video about the camp (which looked like a lot of fun, BTW), went over some rules and other points, and finally opened up the floor for questions. Boy, that was a stupid idea.
Mom 1: "It says here that no electronics are allowed. What about phones?"
Mr. Allegro: "No phones. They distract the kids from the lessons. We also don't want the boys and girls texting each other after lights out."
Mom 1: "But then how am I supposed to know where you guys are, and that you arrived safely?"
Mr. Allegro: "Either Mrs. Hendrickson or I will send a group text to all of you when we get there."
Mom 1: "Yeah, but what if something happens to both of you, like you're killed in a bus crash on the way, and the kids need help?"
Mr. Allegro: "Well, the driver also has a phone, and the bus has GPS and a radio connection to its company."
Mom 1: "It's very important that I be aware of where Sherman is at all times, 24/7. I'm his mother, you know."
Mr. Allegro: "He'll be with us, and you'll be notified if there are any problems."
Mom 2: "Wait a minute. You're not driving the bus?"
Mr. Allegro: "No, the bus is chartered from Pinto Transportation, who supply the driver."
Mom 2: (getting out paper and writing notes) "Who is the driver? What are his home and cell phone numbers?"
Mr. Allegro: "I don't know. They..."
Mom 2: "You don't know? Do you know anything about him? Does he have a police record? Is he in good health?"
Mr. Allegro: "Well, I have to assume..."
Mom 2: "You mean he might not be? THIS IS THE PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR MY DAUGHTER'S LIFE AND YOU DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT HIM? I'd like to see his medical records before the trip. Have them sent to my home fax. Get his name so I can Google him, too."
At this point a parent wandered in late and asked a few questions that had already been answered during the initial presentation, visibly annoying everyone
Mom 3: "What about the bus? Is it new? Old? Have a history of accidents?"
Mr. Allegro: "The company supplies the bus, and I don't know which one we'll..."
Mom 3: "So for all we know it was recently in a major accident and has shitty brakes. That's SO reassuring. Can we review its maintenance records in advance?"
Mr. Allegro: "Uh, you'll have to call Pinto Lines."
School janitor walks in, is surprised to see people in the room, apologizes, leaves.
Mom 4: "What is the closest hospital and emergency room to the camp?"
Mr. Allegro: "Uh..." (grabs a notebook) "West State Regional Hospital."
Mom 4: "Is it a Level I Trauma center?"
Mr. Allegro: "It has an emergency room. What does 'Level I Trauma' mean? I'm just the music teacher!"
Mom 5: "Do you know if it has board-certified physicians? Michael is always falling off roofs."
Mr. Allegro: "The kids aren't going to be on the roof. They're not allowed there."
Mom 5: "That won't stop Michael. Where there's a roof to fall off of, he'll find a way."
Mom 6: "It says here the kids aren't allowed to bring firearms, tobacco, alcohol, or illegal drugs?"
Mr. Allegro: "Correct. Those will be provided there."
Me and the cardiologist crack up, the others glare at us. Mr. Allegro regrets having tried to joke.
Mom 7: "Why can't they have their phones on the bus at least? It's a 4 hour drive"
Mr. Allegro: "Because we don't want them brought at all. The bus has TV screens, like on planes, and we're taking movies to watch."
Another parent comes in late, asks the same questions that had already been answered during the initial presentation and for the first late parent, further annoying everyone.
Mom 3: "What are the movies rated?"
Mr. Allegro: "G and PG. I think we have 'Wreck-It Ralph,' 'Frozen,' 'Monsters University,' and "Despicable Me 2.' "
Mom 3: "Doesn't 'Wreck-It Ralph' promote violence? I think I read that in Crazyfuck Parent Today."
Mom 2: "No, it doesn't. Besides, from the way your daughter treats mine I'm pretty sure she's used to violence."
School janitor walks in again, is still surprised to see people in the room, apologizes, leaves.
Mom 7: "I don't want Cindy to see 'Frozen' again. She'll come home singing that stupid song that makes me want to slit my wrists."
Mr. Allegro: "You're certainly welcome to send any DVD's of G and PG movies you want, and I can let the kids vote on it."
Mom 4: "These kids are only 12. They're not old enough to make decisions like that."
The cardiologist takes 2 chocolate bars out of her purse, offers me one. A lady behind us says "you're doctors and you eat that shit? Remind me to never come to you." We both ignore her.
Mom 8: "Susan gets headaches a lot, so I want to send her with a bottle of Tylenol. Is that okay?"
Mr. Allegro: "Sure, just fill out the medication form that was in your packet. There's a full-time nurse at camp, too."
The cardiologist whispers to me "Rachel takes Adderall. I thought about writing on the form that the teacher should give it rectally to see what they'd do, but Rachel would never speak to my again." We both snicker, other parents glare.
Mom 5: "How do we know it's really Tylenol, and your daughter isn't selling something?"
Mom 8: "Really, Beth? You should pay better attention to your own son's issues."
Yet another parent comes in late, asks the same questions that had already been answered during the initial presentation and 1st & 2nd late parents, further annoying everyone.
Mom 9: "Is the camp nut-free?"
Mr. Allegro: "Yes. Please don't send snacks with your kids, they'll be provided for them."
Mom 3: "Is your son allergic to nuts?"
Mom 9: "Not that I know of, but I keep them out of the house anyway in case he becomes allergic."
Janitor walks in again, is still surprised to see people in the room, apologizes, leaves. Cardiologist whispers "Is he one of your dementia patients?" Lady in front of us turns around and goes "Shhhh!"
Mom 10: "What about gluten free?"
Mr. Allegro: "No, but we can make arrangements. Does your daughter have Celiac disease?"
Mom: 10: "No, she tested negative, but I still won't let her have gluten. I read that it's being put into foods as part of the government's secret eugenics program."
The cardiologist grabs and squeezes my forearm so hard that she draws blood, I kick her under the table. Lady next to us thinks we're playing footsy and looks disapprovingly. I briefly consider pretending the twins are Kosher just to liven up the party.
Mom 11: "Will you guys be in tents?"
Mr. Allegro: "No, it's a dormitory with 2 wings, girls on one side, boys on the other. The adults will be in the hallway between them."
Mom 1: "Does it have fire sprinklers?"
Mr. Allegro: "Uh, I think so..."
Mom 1: "Are the safety inspection certificates online, where I can see them?"
(School janitor walks in again, is still surprised to see people in the room, apologizes, starts to leave. Cardiologist grabs my arm, drags me out after the janitor).
Janitor: "Can I help you?"
Dr. Cardio: "No, we just needed to get out of there."
Dr. Grumpy: "I think you broke my arm."
Dr. Cardio. "I don't care. I couldn't take it anymore. And you couldn't, either."
Dr. Grumpy: "No shit."
Janitor: "Moms today get crazy at these meetings. They'll be there all damn night."