carpoolIf “commute time” is such a large factor in our reported happiness, then carpools should be an absolute no-brainer.

However, this year some of my kids’ activities have gone till 11 at night! Arguably the most stressful thing in our lives has become getting them to and from everything: soccer, acting, guitar, fiddle, voice lessons, school, and play-dates.

Some of these activities occur at the same time in opposite directions from our home – one for each kid. Some of them require pickup and drop off at the same moment for the same kid – but 20 miles apart. And of course, the coaches and teachers all think that their thing is the most important thing, which pulls the kids in all different mental contortions. I assume my family isn’t alone in this dilemma.

Our answer? Carpools!

My wife, bless her, keeps the carpool spreadsheet. I can’t see straight for at least an hour after viewing it. I’ve often thought that reading it would be a very effective torture technique to induce confusion in the reader. If you saw it, it might just bring you to tears. There are 3 families involved in school drop-off and pickup across 2 campuses that are connected through a LYFT like service for kids called ZŪM.

There are 4 families in my daughter’s soccer carpool. You’d think they all lived close by; but you’d be wrong. There are 2 families in my son’s soccer carpool, and a variety of families in my son’s ad hoc theater carpool. Thankfully their voice and guitar teachers come to the house and fiddle is only once a week, though it is far away.

It seems like at least one leg of one of the carpools breaks nine out of ten days and throws the whole driving circus into complete disarray. These carpools are so complex and break so often that they are probably more headache to maintain than just driving the kids would be – assuming it were even possible to bi-locate and commute instantly across 20 miles of space. I’m still waiting for Elon Musk to develop a safe and affordable Star-Trek style “transporter.”

We have only ever had one carpool that works every time. When we can’t do a day, they seem happy to fill in. When they can’t do a day, we seem happy to fill in. We may all be fooling each other, but we have each convinced the other of our happiness with the inevitable changes.

Nonetheless, it is so nice to come home from work, not expecting to have to drive anyone anywhere and then actually not have to drive anyone anywhere. I just love it when reality lives up to expectation.

Every time it happens, I am So. Very. Appreciative. And happy!

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