Through a combination of circumstances, G missed both her time slot to take the SAT last June and her appointment to get her senior yearbook photo done in August. It turned out that the last day to do both of those things was on October 1, when she also happened to have a seven-hour tech rehearsal for her show. So here's a recap of our Saturday:
6 am - Up to shower and dress in the pre-dawn gloom.
7 am - G collects her stuff (because I've learned at least a few things in my almost 45 years on this planet, I sharpened a clutch of no. 2 pencils, printed out her admission ticket and made her find her photo ID before going to bed the previous night), and we head out.
7:15 am - We go through a drive-thru and I order a croissant sandwich with egg and cheese. It comes on an English muffin with ham. "This is the worst breakfast I've ever had," G says crossly as she picks at the bread. I just hope it's not an omen for how the rest of the day is going to go.
7:30 am - We get to the high-school campus where the SAT is being held. We've both been there multiple times before, going all the way back to when G was a Junior Girl Scout and they used to hold big council-wide events there, but neither of us has any idea where the actual test is being administered, and there's no signage to point the way. Eventually a stream of tired, tense-looking teenagers starts heading past us toward the library, and G says "I guess I'll follow them" and gets out of the car.
8-11:30 am - I kill time at the beach while waiting for her to be done.
11:45 am - Back to the school to wait there...and wait...and wait...and wait in the 80+ degree heat, until I finally get out of the car and find a shady spot to sit and read.
12:45 pm - G finally finishes the test and emerges from the library, looking like she's fought in a war.
1 pm - I drop her and her bag off at the theater for the two hours of rehearsal she's able to attend. Then I drive by the photo studio, which Google Maps says is only 10 minutes away from the theater, to make sure I can find it later. This turns out to be a very good decision, because it's buried in the depths of an industrial park and I miss it on the first couple of passes.
3 pm - Back to the theater to collect G, now in makeup and yearbook-approved black dress.
3:15 pm - We arrive at the studio for her 3:20 appointment and find the tiny, boiling hot waiting room jam-packed with other teenagers in formalwear and their parents.
3:15-4:30 pm - Everyone is told that there are only three photographers on duty and it may be up to a two-hour wait depending on which package you've selected. Parents start flipping their shit and loudly demanding to see a manager, which stresses me out even more than the idea of two hours in this place. The receptionist is a woman in her 50s who seems sweet, but works at a snail's pace and isn't terribly bright, and I'm worried that someone is going to vault over the desk and throttle her. G and I sit side by side on uncomfortable chairs and text snarky things to each other about the angry parents, including an extra-huffy lady who is dressed identically to her daughter in tank top, skinny jeans and high heels, and who has an IMPORTANT EVENT to attend later on so it BETTER NOT TAKE TWO HOURS OKAY.
4:35 pm - We're finally called back for G's turn. The photographer takes six shots and shows them to her on the camera's screen, and she chooses one. It takes 10 minutes and is the easiest part of the entire day.
4:45 pm - We leave, get takeout from Panera for dinner, go home and collapse.
Coda: On the way home, I started to say "Next year we'll plan this better," and then I realized that next year G will be in college and won't need to take the SAT or get yearbook photos done. I guess it's going to take some time to get used to the idea of this new world.