Options for Knowledge Deadline – My Trip to the Post Office
Yes, I caved. On a day when nobody should have been outside doing unneccasary errands, I ventured out to try to get my application for gifted/classical testing postmarked. As a reminer, Dec 19 in Chicago (last day to mail the testing application and lottery entries for magnet schools) was in the aftermath of a big snowstorm that caused every school in the area except CPS to shut down. I guess the city figures that for the cash they’re spending to salt the city, people should be expected to reach their destinations. Snow was piled high and parking was risky (easy to get in a space, but getting out was questionable.)
After hemming and hawing, I decided that I couldn’t NOT be a part of the process again. In my often mundane life that feels a bit like the movie Groundhogs Day during the long dreary winter, I realized I needed something to look forward to in March – the excitement of opening that envelope to see some new information. Not that I even want to switch schools, I just need to be a part of the fun.
I also figured that it was safer to have some options available “just in case.” Not wanting to envision any terrible scenario, I decided that I’d imagine the Worst Case being that our current school principal wins the lottery in January, decides to retire and travel the world, CPS assigns some doofus as an interim principal (yes, I think they can do that) and I feel the need to flee. Or Arne Duncan’s replacement’s first order of business is disbanning the gifted program at our school and we’re back on the street searching for options (really, we’d likely just switch to our neighborhood school, but that doesn’t feed my drama very well.) I also justified my decision by using the “knowledge is power” argument. I figure the more I know about how my son’s intellect is progressing, the better I can help him as he continues in school. I am also just curious about how test scores can vary year to year. Yes, even at the risk of seeing that his scores last year were a fluke.
I didn’t have it in me to track down to Hawthorne, probably because I am not 100% certain I’d actually want to send my son there. Too far to drive and I think I would miss the neighborhoody feel that I really like. In the back of my mind, I believe that if you apply to Hawthorne every year, are willing to switch any year, and continue to “make yourselves known” to the admin, you can get in. Not for me right now.
So….in my usual fashion, I left the house cutting it fairly close to school pickup. I stopped at Post Office #1, climbed a mountain of snow to reach the front door only to find the usual long, slow-moving line. I had no reading material with me so facing the line was torture, plus I’d parked in a Burger King parking lot across the street and was too nervous about leaving the car. I figured I needed to wait in line to make sure my letter was post-marked.
On to Post Office #2. Same situation (but at least parking was better, although risky due to snow piles.) The whole world was out mailing Xmas cards and gifts. I got in line. I then noticed that each FREAKIN’ transaction with a customer seemed to take 10 minutes and that is no lie. Honestly, I could write a whole blog complaining about the post office. HOW, I ask, HOW can humans move so slowly? This had to be the worst day of the year to be waiting in line. Time was ticking towards school pick-up time and my stress level was rising. I knew it shouldn’t matter since I didn’t care THAT much about getting my application in. But since I was in the race, I couldn’t help but care about reaching the finish line.
More clock-ticking, more glaring at the slow workers, more angst. Finally, I had no choice but the following: I asked the man in front of me if he would mind getting my letter postmarked when he reached the front of the line (he looked like he was in for the long haul.) I instructed him that if they could not postmark it, to just put it in the mailbox.
So, as it stands… I have no idea if that letter got postmarked by Dec 19 or not. I guess I’ll find out if we get a test date next month.
And if not, then I just hope our principal doesn’t buy any lottery tickets.