Now is the summer of our discontent


When I first moved here with Eldest in 2004, he was 4. We rented an apartment for a couple of years, and Eldest started going to the local public school. We bought a house near the end of his Kindergarten; the house is in the neighborhood associated with another elementary school, but is still geographically closer to the school Eldest was already attending, and it is on our way to work. Technically, we had to request that Eldest be formally transferred to the school he was already in, because once we moved, he was no longer automatically allowed to go there.

Years later, when Middle Boy was about to start Kindergarten, we requested transfer to place him in the same elementary school that Eldest had attended. With a 7-year age difference, Eldest was already in middle school, but him having attended our target elementary school was enough of a justification to grant Middle Boy transfer without a glitch, and we knew in May where he’d be going in the fall.

Now Smurf is supposed to start Kindergarten in the fall. We requested transfer for Smurf to place him in the same school as Middle Boy, a rising 4th grader. The rationale for transfer is stronger than before — we have another kid who is currently enrolled. Yet, the transfer was denied in May and Smurf was placed on a waiting list. I will know on August 26th (note: 5 freakin’ days before the school starts) if we will have to deal with the ridiculous situation of having two elementary-school children in two different elementary schools. And don’t even get me started on the fact that the afterschool program requires all paperwork to be processed more than 2 weeks before school starts; at their recommendation, I now have Smurf enrolled in afterschool programs at both schools, and as soon as I know where he’ll end up enrolling, I am supposed to drop one spot.

I have spent the whole summer trying to get someone to help with this issue. I have sent numerous emails and have spoken with several people on the phone, but no dice. Apparently, they did not grant transfer to that school to any Kindergartners, and there are half a dozen (last I checked) who, like us, already have a sibling attending. Why? Because they have projected just enough kids for 3 classes and they don’t want to start a 4th classrooms unless they have to; either another 10 kids or so request transfer into the school and a new classroom opens up, or enough kids move out of the neighborhood to let mine and some of the other waitlisted kids in there.

This issue has been causing me anguish for months.


DH had been coughing for over a month. At some point, he went to a doctor, got a chest X-ray and some antibiotics. After our formerly great insurance kicked in, he still has to pay over a $140 for that one visit + X-rays. We used to have no copay at all when I first started. Then it was some co-insurance. Now it’s copay plus deductibles. That’s what happens when you have state government that doesn’t give half a $hit for the state university.

I have been jokingly (or not so jokingly) saying I want to move to Australia.  How’s Perth? It seems to be really far from everything, which may be what I need right now.


  1. Ugh. The ProdigalKids attend two different schools for a bunch of reasons, and the logistics SUCK. Good luck with that mess. In my experience, the more you call to remind the school you exist, the more likely a spot will appear. It is super-unfair, but there it is.

    When I worked for National Lab, the insurance got more expensive and covered less every year. People who say that government employees (at any level) have cushy jobs with great benefits are channeling the 70’s, since that hasn’t been true for a while.

  2. Ugh, 3 kids in 3 schools sounds like a logistical nightmare, I hope you get into school.

  3. Sounds like a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Some days are like that. Even in Australia.

  4. I studied abroad in Perth for a semester and loved it! It was very far away from everything; Singapore and Sydney are the nearest urban centers and they’re both a 4-hr flight away. I was there in 2009 for my third year of university, studying oceanography and marine ecology. Although I was taking undergraduate courses, my classes at UWA reminded me of grad school, where the students are focused on their major (they don’t have breadth requirements), the classes are relatively small, and the students and professors have a relatively low-key, casual relationship. The classes were more technical than what I was used to in the U.S., which especially in undergrad I think try to cultivate your ability to read, reason, and critically analyze across an array of subjects.

    Good luck with the kid-to-school ratio, and thanks for your thoughtful posts about women in research/academia! I’m a hydrology research assistant at an R1 university. Social media around “A good little girl” introduced me to your blog!

  5. Well, I live in Perth. I like it – it is a long way from every where and it is appallingly hot for about three months of the year but nice for the other nine. There are a lot of flies in spring. No snow, maybe one or two patchy frosts per year. There are five universities for 2 million people. There are a lot of immigrants – the population increased by 500,000 people in the last 10 years.

    Link to a buzzfeed that actually indicates why Westside is the best side.

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