Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Dishwasher Update -- OMG

Called Herb today (by the way, when I searched Google for Herb's Refrigeration, my blog was the second link to come up). He said Danby told him the part he needs is on back order. It has now been 10 weeks since I ordered the dishwasher. I decided -- I know, what was I waiting for here -- that it was finally time to complain to Danby about this. I don't know why I waited so long, I was just so behind on everything this summer, and so lacking in my normal energy and chutzpa, that I just felt hopeless about it. But not now, so watch out, you appliance-vending m-f'ers of the world.

I wrote Danby a polite email explaining the situation and saying that at this point, I felt they should replace my dishwasher and not make me drive all the way to Herb's to retrieve the broken one. I immediately got a "I'm on vacation" email back from someone at Danby, so I wasn't feeling too encouraged. I grabbed Nutmeg and headed out to get bloodwork done (another oddysey of waiting and phone calls, but I won't bore you with it) and go to the park.

I just came back to find a message on the machine from Danby. They will exchange the dishwasher. NO WAY. It was this easy? I called them back just minutes before their East Coast office closed, and the nice lady there said she would call Herb and have him send in the serial number sticker from the back of the dishwasher so they could send me a new one.

Oh, Godspeed, Herb. Please, please be on the ball about this.


In my new "getting stuff done" personality, I also went online last night and learned a bunch about the scary Chicago Public School system. Here's what I learned:

1) Although we are considering buying a home in the general area where we live now, we should probably try NOT to buy in our exact current school district. Parents commenting online called it "a bad school" and one parent said their kid was placed in a Spanish-speaking classroom because of his last name. The kid did not speak any Spanish, and the mother was unsuccessful in ever getting him transferred out of the class. Finally she just had to put him in private school.

2) There are a couple of other public grade schools in our general area that are considered "up and coming" and might be acceptable. I'll probably try to go to parent coffee sessions for both of them before we buy a home to see if I would be ok with sending the Nut there if necessary.

3) One of the schools considered the best of the CPS system is not too far away, but properties within the district have increased in value because the school has gotten so good.

4) Even if Nutmeg passes the standardized district "gifted" test, that does NOT guarantee that she will get into the gifted program at the school of our choice. I had been kind of mentally counting on getting her into a highly acclaimed gifted program at a school in our general area, since she is is less than 2 and a half and routinely uses words like "actually" and likes to inform strangers which airline she most recently flew. But, now I find out that the gifted programs are just like any other magnet school in the city. Once you qualify to go to one, your name goes into a hat with all the other kids who want to go to the one (or ones) you pick. Students are chosen with racial and gender diversity in mind, and while being a girl works in her favor, being one of the whitest people on planet earth does not. Although it might not hurt as much as I fear, because only 9 percent of the students in CPS are white. So for most programs, if they really are trying to create diversity, you'd think the smallest racial group in the pool would have the best chance. BUT, this is a school in one of the whitest neighborhoods, so... who knows? She could end up getting accepted to a gifted program, but on the other side of the city, or she could not get into any of our chosen magnet schools and have to go to her neighborhood school. See No. 2.

5) A local parent recently advised me to enroll Nutmeg in one of the "tuition-based preschool programs" run by a good local gradeschool, because apparently once you go to the preschool, you're guaranteed to get into the gradeschool. (I verified that this is how it works at ONE school I'm looking at, but I'm not sure if it's true across the board.)

But I don't think we're going to be able to adopt that strategy. It appears that the TBPS programs are all-day, 5-day-a-week programs, and are priced accordingly. They're obviously geared at full-time working parents, which is great for them and they're affordably priced when compared to other full-time daycare options (I think). However, next fall when Nutmeg would be starting preschool, I'll have an infant at home. Even if I wanted my 3-year-old to be in school 5 days a week, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (!), I wouldn't be able to pay the $200/week tuition because I wouldn't be ready to go back to work yet.

6) The CPS gifted programs are really just accelerated programs, where kids are working 1-2 years ahead of their grade level. Nothing special geared at the challenges gifted children face, nor any of the opportunities to exercise your creativity and thinking skills that I myself enjoyed in a once-a-week gifted program back in Wisconsin. That's disappointing.

7) I may never sleep again until both our kids are safely enrolled in college. With full scholarships, because we'll have spent all our money on preschool, private school tuition, or public school "voluntary" fundraisers.


Kori said...

The Chicago school situation is a mess, isn't it? I know that I'm supposed to be thinking about how we're going to attack our daughter's elementary school opportunities ahead of the game, but the whole thing makes me feel frightened and hopeless. Kindergarten might be the right time for a move to the suburbs, sadly.

As for the gifted program in Wisconsin, it's now an accelerated program. That's right---no more leaving class for one day and hanging out with cool friends that no one at your lousy regular school knows. You have to go to class with all the other gifted kids every day, probably reinforcing each other's type A personalities. It's crummy, if you ask me, but the KUSD was very proud of the change, calling it an improvement. Sure, the academics are probably more rigorous, but for me, the social aspect of gifted was so much more important.

Good luck with the dishwasher---you deserve it!

Notta Wallflower said...

Well, as bad as that sounds, it still is probably better than the public schooling Nut would get if you guys had stayed in SF. Even though I don't know about the Chicago Public Schools, be careful about what a few parents say about it, especially if they're ranting. I don't know how long you plan to be a stay-at-home mom, but as long as you are, then it might be good to check out which schools accept "applications" (they call them "variants" in our district) and what the terms are. Even in that neighborhood you mentioned, where housing prices are higher, Nut could still go there if you provide transport and they had room, even if you don't live in the attendance area. I know many parents who do that, even though it's a bit more of a pain with transportation. I have more on my mind, but I can't find it since I just got home from my first day back to work. :-P

Bert said...

I agree with Notta. Little Nut-head is likely better off than she would be out here in the San Francisco school district. I should know just how F-ed up it is because I worked in it.

Besides that, Nutmeg is definitely better off than most kids because she has you and Epu as parents, looking out for her best interest at every turn. I, literally, stand and applaud you.

P.S. You go with your bad dishwashing self!