After disembarking the female member of our crew, the Meissner men proceeded to drop zone bravo otherwise known as the North side of the playground at Lewis & Clark Elementary School. I maneuvered expertly into the choicest location in front of the basketball courts. This really isn't saying much as there wasn't another car in sight. Today is a jazz band day for Brianna so she gets dropped off about 45 minutes early. This poses a bit of a problem with Brian since there isn't enough time to go back home and crash for a few minutes, and there is too much time to go to the elementary school and wait.
Brian's life revolves around recess. In his opinion, it's the only reason to go to school. Elementary scholars get 4, that's right, count them, 4 opportunities to wreak havoc on the school yard. They get the morning and afternoon versions, the after lunch version, and those precious minutes before school starts. It is these precious minutes that Brian is most concerned with. He insists on being one of the first kids on the playground every single day. An hour before the van leaves in the morning he's yelling at Deanna and Brianna to get a move on.
Getting any information from Brian is about as easy as pulling teeth. During our lengthy interrogation sessions, I've been able to narrow his haste to get to school down to two reasons. Number one, the first people in line at the door get first pick of the prime selection of basketballs, footballs, soccer balls, or whatever other implements of destruction they choose to equip themselves. The kids line up at the door and then someone opens it and distributes the coveted athletic equipment. The second, and I think most important, reason is that the first group of young alpha-males get to participate in the planning and strategizing sessions where teams are picked, battle plans are laid, and the various contests of skill are organized that will take place throughout the remainder of the day. Brian really enjoys these planning sessions. The worst thing that could happen to him is that he winds up on a team he doesn't like, or has to play some kind of game he doesn't want to.
We have timed Brian to see how long he can sit still before fidgeting or getting up. He has never exceeded 5 seconds. This morning was no exception. We were parked for all of about 2.3 seconds before the seat belt is off and he's moving around adjusting things (no idea what those things are) checking his backpack and any other manner of items to make sure he's ready when the van door slides open. I have to hand it to him. He has become a master of time management. Perhaps too much so.
I know for a fact my beautiful wife leaves the car running to keep things warm in the cold season. For that matter, I think she keeps it running during the hot months also to keep the A/C going. Normally, I would too if it's only a few minutes wait. But today we need to sit there about a half an hour so I shut it off. We're men, we're tough, we can handle the cold. Don't talk to me about how cheap gas is now. That is beside the point. I am determined not to waste a drop more than I have to. This poses another problem for Brian. (I'm starting to get the idea he likes it better when Mom drives.) He doesn't mind the cold so much. The windows weren't even fogging up. What he minds is that by turning off the vehicle, I've also turned off the dashboard clock. He knows he does not get to leave one second before 8:16AM.
I lean my head back thinking I could catch just a little bit more sleep but I should have known better. 1.5 seconds after I've closed my eyes, Brian asks, "Dad, what time is it?" I said, "It's NOT time to go." Another 3.1 seconds goes by. "Dad, what time is it now?" Now I get grumpy, "Brian, if you ask me one more time, you're not getting out until the bell rings." That did the trick. He stopped talking, but he didn't stop moving. This whole time he's shuffling and moving and arranging who knows what. My weary brain finally managed to tune his noise out and I think I actually drifted off until I heard a very loud CLUNK somewhere in the back. I didn't even ask what that was because I didn't particularly want to know. It got him to stop moving for about half a second though.
"Dad?" says Brian again. OK, I thought, let's check the clock. 8:16, right on the button. Brian gives a muffled, "YES!" and places himself in the door just like a thoroughbred pressing the gate at the Kentucky Derby, or you could also say it was like someone about to free-fall out of an airplane at a couple thousand feet. We have an electric door so you can push a button to slide it open. As soon as there was enough room for his body he was out of the gate and hit the ground running. Unlike Brianna, who at least looked at me when she said goodbye, Brian yelled his goodbye and sent his air-kiss when he was about halfway across the playground. I'm looking at him closely wondering to myself if he's thought about how slippery it is. Even on the grass the snow is packed down and frozen. I needn't have worried, however, somehow he made it across the grounds, skidded neatly around the corner and took his place at the ball-bestowing door.
"Atta boy!" I said out loud, turning the car on and pointing South towards Johnson's Wrecking and my used new car door.
I really thought I'd be able to finish this discourse but alas, it just got to be too long again. So I'm afraid I'll have to keep you in suspense a little while longer. Rest assured, the most exciting part of this adventure is yet to come.