Lesson Time Roulette

Every year, I ask my piano parents to get back to me with their preferred lesson times by mid-August so that I can make up the schedule.  It comes together like a charm.  I print copies and mail them out.  Then I can start counting, "One Mississippi, two Mississippi," and by the time I reach five, the phone is ringing.  This is where the fun starts!

"George wants to play badminton, and his practice is at the same time as his lesson.  Can we switch?"  One week later: "George didn't make the badminton team but now wants to be on the stage crew, which is the same time as his new lesson time.  Can we switch back?"

"Kayla has soccer on Tuesdays."  "No, wait, on Wednesdays."  "No, wait, on Tuesdays, but the games are Wednesday in the afternoon, so we can still have a lesson in the evening.  Can you fit us in then?"

"Jeffrey is really no good in the evenings.  Can he come in the afternoon?"  "Amy is a wreck right after school; can she come in the evening?"  "James has to have a snack before working, so if we stop at Chik-Fil-A on the way, we should be able to be at your house by 4:45, and I don't want to waste any time, so can we start then?"

To be fair, most of these parents are innocent; the tyranny of organized sports is mostly to blame.  But sometimes the excuses can be pretty draining.  So far, this year my favorite has been, "I have a full-time job, so I'm really busy."  John Cleese says the appropriate response here is to "wait for a suitable pause, and then applaud enthusiastically."  I confess I was too incredulous to even do that.  A full-time JOB?!  You mean, you don't just sit around all day?  Why that's . . . exactly the same responsibility held by every other contributing member of society!

One of the smartest things I ever did was to stop printing and mailing my schedule.  Now I just e-mail it out.  So when someone calls with a change, I take a calming breath and wait for the wheel to stop turning, thinking frantically, "No whammies . . . "