We are card carrying members of the Big White Van club. A few years ago we bought the VanBeast, a giant steel 15 passenger Ford van that drives like a tank and carries all our people and all our stuff. We bought it from a Montessori school, and it doesn’t have carpet. It has a school bus floor so, y’all. I can HOSE OUT THE VAN.
The Montessori school didn’t paint the van before giving it to us, so our VanBeast says “Clubhouse” in blue letters on the side and “School Bus” across the back. That’s kind of fitting, since we homeschool. Repainting the VanBeast is low (very low) on our spending priority list, so even a few years later it still says School Bus.
We’re hard to miss. We never lose our car in the parking lot. I don’t drive downtown because I can’t park in any of the garages, and getting a valet is awesome. Just awesome. /sarcasm font
We also irritate the HOA. They’ve sent demand letters that we remove our “commercial vehicle” from the premises. We responded with a copy of our registration showing it’s a private vehicle and photos of ALL the other actual commercial vehicles in the neighborhood. If the Safelite Auto Glass van and the DJ trailer are OK, then our van is too.
It goes back and forth every once in a while. Our HOA will go for months without saying a peep to anyone and about twice a year have a flurry of activity citing people for white curtains and couches in their garage. Then they go back to ignoring people parking on the lawn.
But they really hate our van.
Recently, someone in the neighborhood reported us to the Department of Family Protective Services for running an unlicensed daycare.
It’s pretty obvious someone that doesn’t know us well. Day cares are organized. Day care workers dress professionally and don’t stagger around until their coffee kicks in. Day cares don’t play the fun games like “Tackle the Laundry Mountain” or “Finish Your Math Before Your Father Gets Home OR ELSE.”
At the end of the day, day care providers send kids home and collect money. This is pretty much the opposite of my life, where I pay lots of money to bookstores to keep the kids at home. All. The. Time.
It was someone who knows our address, but not our correct name. I immediately replied to the official form letter by phone explaining that we have 10 kids and told the caseworker that all future correspondence should be in writing.
I don’t think it was a neighbor- we’ve been her 6 years and know all the neighbors. The weird guy who kept filming the kids playing moved a year ago and it’s been smooth sailing since then.
Hmmm. WHO could it be that reported us?
Today, DFPS she showed up on my doorstep. I mentioned I left her a voice mail; she told me she’d been gone for a while and hadn’t checked it. For two weeks!
I told her we had 10 kids. I gave her their names and birth dates (fill out form, sign.) I declined to let her “inspect the premises” (fill out form, initial, and sign.) I asked if she wanted to see our registration and title, showing we bought the van from a preschool but it’s registered as a personal vehicle. She said no but went next door to talk to the neighbors. I’m sure she had a form for them, too.
Should I mention that last week we had a birthday and a certain birthday boy got Nerf swords? And it rained today, so the kids had to play inside? Guess what they played, loudly, the entire time I stood on the porch talking to this woman.
She probably realizes we don’t have a day care, but instead that we are running a Lord of the Flies Training Camp now. Hopefully she’s not in charge of licensing those, so we won’t have to see her again.