OK, so I hate my carpool situation, but I don't know what to do about it. Hubs and I keep going around and around the question and can't come up with a good way to deal with it, so I thought of asking the Internets!
Quick background info: Dumpling's school is a private Jewish School, so we have no buses. Parents bring their kids to school and arrange carpools whenever possible. Because most families around here have 3 or 4 kids, some families are their own carpool as soon as all the kids are in Kindergarden (pre-K has shorter hours).
When Dumpling started, we made some calls and looked for someone to do carpool with us. The people in our neighborhood mostly have older kids along with their pre-K kids, so they already had established carpools. There was one other new family who live very close by and have a child in the other pre-K class.
Since we go to work every day, we originally offered to do all morning dropoffs and in exchange, the mother would bring Dumpling home in the afternoon. Right away, it was uneven because she signed her daughter up for activities after school 2 afternoons, so we were getting 3 rides back and had to do our own pick up 2 days a week. Then when winter rolled around, we started picking Dumpling up on our own on Friday afternoons because we head straight to the country, so she brings her home 2 days and we bring her to school 5 days.
In addition to the uneven-ness of the number of rides, the mornings have been difficult because the girls don't particularly like each other. We've had issues with High School Musical and other types of oneupmanship that have made Dumpling really unhappy. It got to the point where in January after the break, we tried to politely get out of the carpool. But seing as she as a good thing going (not needing to drive in the morning) she promised to have her daughter be nicer and even agreed, though relunctantly, to do one morning a week.
This morning, there is a crap load of snow anywhere and the drive is going to be a pain, so I call her promptly at 7 to tell her we are going to be leaving 15 min early. I can tell right away she is pissed. She probably wasn't even up yet. But it's going to take extra time to get there, so we are going to be early and that's that. She then mentions, in passing, that her daughter has a bday party after school TOMORROW so she can't bring Dumpling home, 1 of the two days that she does...... ARGHH! We count on that ride. Hubs is taking his car to the shop tomorrow because Tuesday is the one day when we don't have to do carpool at all (she does morning and afternoon).
I am mad because she knew the party was coming at least a week, probably 2 weeks ago, why couldn't she give me warning? Also, it's sort of unwritten policy that if you don't need to pick up your own kid, you don't cancel the carpool, you still go to get the other kid (like when Dumpling stayed home from school last week, I still went to her house and drove her kid to school).
Clearly, we don't want to do carpool with this family anymore. But how do we politely end it without being "those people who canceled that carpool"? It's a small school, if we want to set up a new carpool next year with other families (which would be possible because once she's in kindergarden, there are more families to pick from) we don't want to be marked as the people who couldn't get along. Also, since there are only 2 classes per grade, this kid will end up in Dumpling's class at least 3 times until she graduates...... On the one end, I don't see the point of continuing, we get no benefit out of this carpool. On the other hand, I think of the long run and wonder if we shouldn't just suck it up for the next 3.5 months and call it a learning experience.