Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Rite of Passage

About 2 miles from our home lies a 3.5 mile loop around the pricey prestigious Albuquerque Academy. I was walking the loop with my friend Jodi (also a new transplant) when she mentioned that her neighbors camped out overnight for summer camp placement.  I remember thinking that those parents must be crazy and concerned that there weren't many summer camps in New Mexico.

Of course, we've been inundated with summer camp options for Ella. The Zoo, JCC, Children's Museum, a local gym, another local prep school and the YMCA all have great options {and I am sure there are others}.  Yet, when I was at a birthday party last week & the host Mom was raving about the Academy program & how they pay someone to camp out for them, I was intrigued. So, there I was at 11 pm on Friday night figuring out what classes Ella might want and various back up plans in case my first choices were closed by the time I got to register.

Saturday morning, I woke up at 4:45 & drove to the school. The parking lots were completely full, so I squeezed my oh so sleek minivan into a spot between a stop sign & police car & prayed I didn't find a boot when I got back to the car. I had no idea where I was going so I just tried to follow people I saw walking. I dressed in layers, carried a camping chair & brought Nick's ipad to pass the time. 

5 a.m.
All tents {and there were a lot} were empty & the line was moving fast. I learned that clothespins with numbers were distributed about 11 p.m. I joined the end of the line & happily discovered we were being let into the building early. The line stopped when I was in the natatorium {which was about 70 degrees warmer than the outside}.

6 a.m.
I find a bathroom and take off my long underwear.

6:30 a.m.
I take my camping chair & extra sweatshirt back to the car. Notice that the line now completely fills the Natatorium, back hallway & extends outside.  It's very cold. Grab coffee & return to the sauna pool area.

7 a.m.

I notice that a group of men have a poker table {with chips} set up in the opposite corner to me.

7:15 a.m.
Feeling very tired. Very happy with the phone calls, emails, texts I'm getting to distract me.

7:30 a.m.

I overhear a women with a number about 100 ahead of me saying that she woke up at 3 to join the line.  Very happy I elected to sleep longer.

7:45 a.m.
I sympathize with the woman next to me talking about how expensive this place is. Change the subject quickly when I realize she's talking about the school year tuition, not the MUCH smaller summer camp fees.

8 a.m.
Changing of the guards.  All the tired, grumpy men are being replaced by fresh looking moms.  Two women near me paid two college girls $25 an hour to spend the night in line.

8:30 a.m.
Lady beside me waves to one of her daughter's teachers {from the Academy}.  Really? They make teachers jump through these hoops?

9 a.m.
Registration opens! Their website (no online registration) says that they process 300 registrations an hour. I should be out of here by 10 at the latest!

Line has not moved.  The math whizzes/engineers beside me say that they calculated the school is bringing in over 2 million dollars in fees today alone.

Chatter concludes that the Academy doesn't streamline registration because this crazy system creates a sense of urgency & desire for their programs.  Wishing I was signing Ella up for marketing class rather than jump rope 101.

Line starts moving!

First closed out section - diving lessons. {well, high school chemistry for credit closed before public registration started, but we weren't interested in that class}

I enter the gymnasium. My brain is fried, but I go table to table collecting an index card for each period of the day. When the cards are gone, there are no more spots in that section.  I get all my first choices with the exception of the first session of swim lessons (but all kids got into lessons later in the day).  

Ella will be taking preview to third grade math, jump roping, creative writing, graphic design, afternoon sports camp (different sport each week) and then I'll bring the twins over & all three will have 30 minutes a day of swim lessons for 6 weeks. I'm hoping to bring three little fishies to Indiana with me at the end of summer. I feel this incredible sense of satisfaction even though I probably could have joined the line at 9 am & had the same luck {with the exception of swim lessons}.

11 a.m.

Leave the building completely drained. The line has moved inside. Six weeks of summer planned. Ella is super excited about the jump roping class, but disappointed that she didn't have room for any art programs, but the Y has a weeklong art camp in July that we will sign her up for.

Now, off to figure out how to cram calories into Ella this summer so that she can keep up with this schedule.

No comments: