#281 In which our hero relates the events of The Great Daycare Debacle (part 5)
But, before we confronted the director, we needed a back-up plan. The Scientist and I were trying our best to be fair, and were willing to hear this guy out… but we both expected the conversation to end the same way: with us yanking the girls out of that daycare on the spot. And if that was going to happen, we needed somewhere else to put them.
We revisited the list of acceptable daycare centers in the area. On was still out because they wouldn’t transport Lily to Kindergarten. We went round and round, but kept coming back to the one center that I liked so much, but was too expensive.
The Scientist got creative with our finances, and it began to appear like we could swing it, just. Or maybe we’d be slowly sinking into debt. Either way, we had gone the cheap route once, and it had bit us on the ass. We weren’t going to do that to the girls again. You get what you pay for, after all, and we were willing to pay what it took, even if it meant maintaining more debt than we wanted for longer than we wanted.
We called the “good” center first thing in the morning and scheduled a meeting. We dropped the girls off at the “bad” center, then headed right over to the other place.
We told this new director our tale of woe, and she was horrified. She reassured us that the children always come first, and that they’d never transport in a private car, and they had an established curriculum, etc., etc. I had already been there once, so I had heard all this before. We talked money and how soon the girls could start (immediately, was the answer, thankfully) and so on. We told the director of this new place that we still needed to talk to the director of the old place first. She was very understanding. We took a bunch of paperwork with us, and drove over to the “bad” center.
The director of this center is a very cheerful guy. A very “no problem!” sort of guy. While this is generally a good attribute, it wasn’t winning him any points when he told us that the illegal turn and subsequent citation was “no big deal.”
We sat down and asked him to tell us what happened. He repeated the story pretty much as it had been told to me the day before from the teacher. She made an illegal turn, got pulled over, was so upset that she couldn’t drive back to the center.
So I asked, “She was cited for an illegal turn on red? That was the ONLY citation?” And he assured me that yes, that was the only citation.
Then I told him that Lily had told us that the teacher’s license was expired.
He danced around this for a moment before confirming that, well, yes, as it turns out, her license was expired. We told him that we were pretty horrified that he didn’t know that one of the teachers in his employ was transporting kids with an expired driver’s license. I mean, isn’t that his job to keep track of things like that? He told us that it wasn’t expired when he put her on the center’s insurance.
He tried to glad-hand us some more, reassuring us that he really was taking the situation seriously, but that in actuality it was no big deal. Frankly, I had heard enough already, and decided to end it right then and there.
ME: So, when you told me that Miss A--- was only cited for an illegal turn on red, that wasn’t the truth.
DIRECTOR: Well, at the time, I didn’t know her license had expired.
ME: But when I asked you the question ten minutes ago, you DID know.
DIRECTOR: Well, um, yes, I guess I did.
ME: Okay, we’re done here.
We pulled out the kids on the spot and took them over to the new center.
The director of the new place was very accommodating, and let the girls spend the rest of the day there, getting used to the place. We took a little time with the director, making sure she knew Lily’s schedule of when she had to get to school, and when she had to be picked up.
I was a little concerned that no other kids in the center were going to Lily’s Kindergarten, meaning that she was the only one to be transported to this particular school. This was the issue at the last place. But the director assured us that it wouldn’t be a problem. And I wasn’t really all that worried; this place had it’s act together.
We picked up the girls at the end of the day, and they had had a fantastic time. They actually didn’t want to leave. Very encouraging.
The Scientist dropped Lily off at school in the morning, after briefing her on how she was going to get back to the center at the end of the school day. Things were going seamlessly.
Then, at 3pm, the school called my wife. No-one from the new center had shown to pick up Lily.
I was furious. Bad enough to think that my little 5-year-old daughter was standing at the bus stop waiting, waiting, waiting for a bus that never came; but we had just told the director at the new center about all the bullshit we went through in the past couple months. She was SO horrified and SO sympathetic and now this?!
As my wife was rushing out of work to pick up Lily, I called the center.
ME: Let me speak to the center director.
FLUNKY: I’m sorry, she’s out right now. This is the assistant director, can I help you?
ME: Yes, you'll do. This is Lily’s father—
FLUNKY: Oh yes! We’re just waiting for Lily to get back.
ME: Well, you’re going to be waiting a long damn time because the school just called to say that your bus never showed up!
She was, of course, very apologetic and blah, blah, blah. I drove over there after work to talk to the director, who was equally apologetic. She is a bit of an over-talking and rushed over my words in her haste to reassure me that this would never happen again and I finally had to say, let me finish! to say my peace.
She told me that it was just a scheduling problem, that they thought they could make a stop at another school before picking Lily up but it took longer than they thought and it was fixed now and would never be a problem again.
Then, the next day, it happened again.
While I am quick to anger, my wife is much less so. But after having to leave work early two days in a row she was in a rage to put mine to shame.
This time, the bus actually got there, but just after the school’s cut-off time. The school, which is really strict about these things, told the bus driver, basically, sorry Charlie, and wouldn’t release Lily. And honestly, I’d glad of it. I like it that her school has a no compromises policy on stuff like this.
So, we had another discussion with the center director. We told her that if she couldn't get her act together enough to pick up our kid on time, that we were gone. She told us that she had a new plan, that they were actually going to get another bus from a nearby center and that she, the center director, was personally going to drive Lily to and from school.
I’m pleased to report that this new center has been successfully transporting my kid for months now. No emergency calls from the school. No problems.
And both girls love it at this place. They are learning things, and we get daily report cards on their progress.
It took some doing, but it would appear that we finally got it right.