This morning I had a meeting at Livvy’s school with the Local Authority, a particular construction company and the deputy head of the school.
I have many meetings with numerous people with regards to school, but I don’t normally bore you, my dear readers with details of these meetings as although it is a part of living with XP it’s also rather dull and I also don’t want my blog to become a place of conflict and anger (and many meetings involve both these feelings!)
However, I couldn’t not document this particular meeting for two reasons. The first reason is if people sat around the table today are true to their word Livvy’s school life will improve greatly before spring arrives. The second reason is there were some comedy gold moments in that meeting that must be shared. Although no one was laughing during the meeting, the gaggle of middle aged men at the school gate as I drove away from the meeting, (clearly having a debrief about the overprotective and crazy mother that had somehow blagged her way into their big boys meeting) were not laughing!
So to cut a very long and complicated story short the meeting was to discuss a ‘porch’ that is to be built on the outside of Livvy’s classroom so that when the external door is opened no UV can enter the classroom. Currently when the door opens Livvy leaves the classroom to stand in the corridor where it is safe although very disruptive to her learning and mental well being. It would be simple to say keep the door locked but unfortunately it is a fire exit and no matter how many signs go up saying ‘door must be closed’, ‘do not enter’, ‘UV free environment’, there is always someone that goes against all this and opens it, more often than not adults not the children!
And so, the ‘mother of all meetings’ begins….. I’d just like to say at this point that talk with the ‘powers that be’ of building the said porch were first aired almost 18 months ago, I feel this is one key piece of information needed to understand our frustrations.
With introductions out of the way the meeting started with me apologising for my husbands absence and to compensate for his absence he’d made notes on all relevant points in the agenda. I handed out a new agenda with Phil’s points clearly marked in red ink, I said ‘it might be easier for you to read rather than me reading it out’ with that the room fell silent as they all began to read. For confidentiality reasons I shall not refer to the people present at the meeting by their actual names as I wouldn’t want to discredit any of them and of course the legal stuff I feel I should highlight – the views in this post are my own and are not at all a reflection of Staff members thoughts at Livvy’s school. For reasons that I feel I don’t need to explain I shall call one particular person that tried to chair the meeting Mr. Patronising, but I’ll go with Mr. P to keep things simple.
There were so many parts during the meeting that I almost felt the need to look around the room to see if it was some sort of hoax, were we being filmed for some new comedy prank show? Like the part where they said the build would take 8 weeks to complete, then little old me, with no prior knowledge of construction, managed to get that time scale down to 3 weeks??? How is that even possible??? When the 8 week target was suggested I almost spat my tea out, ‘8 weeks? I’m no expert but I’m sure you can build a house in 8 weeks’ Mr. P didn’t take too kindly to my comment and suggested that there is much more policy involved and something else which I didn’t quite catch as I was still trying to pick my jaw up off the floor. Approximately 4 minutes of debating later we had got the build down to three weeks – unbelievable I know, I felt at this point maybe I should take up a new vocation as chief negotiator, I clearly had skills I never knew I had!
Another comedy gold moment was when they claimed that they would work longer hours to get the work done within the shorter time frame, ‘we can be on site from 6am it will just cost more’ I questioned the legal start time for building work commencing in a residential area asking the question ‘is it 7.30 or 8am that building work can start’ they all looked at each other with a look as if to say I should know this but why don’t I. My question didn’t get answered and Mr. P swiftly moved on to the next point on the agenda!
A friend and I often refer to our lives as a comedy sketch, we will be out with the children or sometimes just the two of us and something will happen that is so unbelievable or just so funny we can’t catch our breath from laughing. We always look at each other and say that’s going in our comedy! Today’s meeting would not only be in our comedy it would have had its own 1 hour special without a doubt!
Then came the game of top trumps, business cards got handed out for future correspondence should anyone require to do so. I had come armed with a stack of Phil’s knowing if he had been there he would be handing them out like candy to a toddler. I said ‘whilst we are handing out cards if you don’t mind I’ll pass on my husbands, again in case anyone would like to discuss any of his points made in the agenda’ I didn’t ask if they wanted one I just slid one across the table to each of the men like a card dealer in a Vegas casino. I sat back and watched them study his name and all the letters behind it. (I’m not big headed or one for bragging but sometimes when someone is ever so patronising and looking down his nose at the over protective mother in the room it’s nice to see the reaction when they realise who they have been in a meeting with for the past hour) I definitely won that game of top trumps (albeit through my husband’s card) as they counted up the letters after his name like a child getting superman in the top trumps game, knowing they had no card that could beat it and realised they were defeated by Phil’s true credentials with regards to the world of construction, something which they had tried for the past hour to convince me they were at the top of their game in. Check mate!!!!
There were many more moments that to us would go down in our family history as legendary moments. I won’t bore you with too many anymore apart from the closing of the meeting which without a doubt will get retold at every family gathering over the festive period until my visiting family can take no more tales from the mother of all meetings.
As everyone stood up to leave Mr. P passed comment on the article in the paper asking if it had been my daughter, ‘a night garden…?’
I showed no emotion as I said yes it was my daughter and that we had built a night garden at home for her. I then tilted my head in a reflective, thoughtful pose (or at least that’s the look I was going for) as I said ‘yes we’ve built a night garden that is a lot more intricate than the porch, involves a lot more services and it came in at a lower cost and within a shorter time frame than the planned porch’
Livvy’s teacher gave an involuntary laugh and said ‘it’s amazing what can be achieved if you put your mind to it’ and opened the door for them to leave. He said nothing.
In my head I was clicking my fingers and doing that flicking thing teenagers do with their hands when joyous at something! In realty, I remained seated at the meeting table straight faced, no matter what got said during the meeting I got the last word and it was a cracker that stunned Mr. P to silence.