School Bus Vs. Private Transportation

My best friend and I have joked about this for years. Amy thinks that school busses are the best thing ever and even a necessity in life. I hate school busses and am thrilled that my school district doesn’t offer them. Amy would never live anywhere that didn’t offer bus service.

Amy and I both lived in Burlington and were preparing to move around the same time right as the children were hitting school age. I moved to Fort Thomas. That was a no brainer for me since I was from the area and wanted my kids to attend Fort Thomas schools. Amy, being from Louisville and having a husband who works in Norwood, was a little more flexible… sort of. She was looking by school district with Fort Thomas Schools and Indian Hill Schools being her top picks. Of course we wanted to live close to each other but I could tell that something was holding her back from pulling the trigger on Fort Thomas.

She kept mentioning that we didn’t have school busses. I couldn’t imagine this was a real concern since everyone lives within a mile of their elementary school and four or five miles of the high school. She talked about not wanting to have to get dressed in the mornings (I take my kids in my pajamas quite often). She kept going on and on about the convenience of busses. But then it finally came out… she was worried about parking because frankly, she sucks at it. Apparently, Amy can’t parallel park, back out of a parking spot or get out of a tight spot. I constantly ask how she passed her driver’s test. LOL

I offered to teach her to do these things because I couldn’t imagine putting my kids on a bus so I didn’t want her to either. You are probably wondering why I am so anti bus. Where to begin…

I attended a Catholic grade school and had to take a public school bus. We lived pretty far out so I walked a half mile to the bus stop and grabbed the first bus. It dropped off us off at a public middle school where we waited to catch another bus to our school. Going home was the same in reverse. I remember the high school and middle school kids on the bus and at the public school being mean to us. They would tease us about our uniforms, religion and anything else they could think of. My friend K always looked a little sad so they played on that. They would sing “Cry Baby, Cry Baby, Cry Baby Cry” to her every day. And guess what; she would cry. They would approach our table pretending to be nice and then suddenly do something mean like knock our stuff on the ground. I remember one older boy being extremely creepy. He would tell me he was my uncle (he wasn’t) and just say really inappropriate stuff. I remember being a little scared. My older brother usually kept the creeps away but he must not have been around.  The monitors could have cared less what was going on.

I took bus 57 to school. My driver’s name was Linda and I’m pretty sure we didn’t have a monitor. How do I remember this all these years later? I remember because Linda was terrifying! She was so mean. You could literally be five feet from the door and she would leave you. She would scream at everyone as soon as you walked up the steps to the bus.  The screaming would get worse if we didn’t move to the isle way fast enough, as there were never any seats left for us so we just stood.  My older cousin Jessica took the bus with us. She apparently wasn’t walking fast enough for Linda one day so she pulled Jess up the steps by her shirt and actually ripped it. I’m not even sure what happened next. I was horrified.

I remember also learning about the birds and the bees and every cuss word in the book on that bus. Kids ranged from kindergarten to 12th graders. The bullying on the school bus obviously hasn’t stopped.  We have all heard the story about the bus monitor who was bullied to tears by students.

Some of my friends and I decided to start walking to and from school any time we could to avoid the mean kids and the crazy bus driver. It was 3.1 miles but it was worth it to avoid that terror.

My children have been on a bus for field trips. I have to say I’m not impressed with the way most drivers control the large vehicle and how fast they speed. Now it seems that we read about a bus crash or a bus driver who put the kids in danger at least once a month. In fact, there was a wreck involving a school bus in Cincinnati on Wed., Aug. 22. There was another crash in Campbell County just the week before. You can find a whole list of stories regarding bus crashes on WCPO’s website.  A quick Google search will also show a lot of results for bus drivers who drive drunk and bullying on the bus.  And of course there is the issue with other drivers ignoring the fact that there is a school bus on the road. This story states that there were 1,627 school bus-related crashes in Kentucky last year, resulting in 506 injuries and five deaths. Most of these happened because of inpatient drivers.

I’m sure now you can understand why I am just fine with having to drive my kids to school every day, letting them walk when needed, taking a ride from a high school kid who we know, parallel parking, backing out of spaces and even maneuvering tight spots (I love you Amy). I wish that Amy would have given up the convenience of a school bus and moved to Fort Thomas but I’ll just tease her about it until she finally wakes up and lets me teach her to park. J

Are you a fan of the school bus or private transportation?

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Taking a Break from the Worry

As parents I think we forget to take time for ourselves. My family has been a lot over the last six months (See Catching Up).There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t worry that the LCH is going to reactivate in my son Joey. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t worry how both kids are adjusting to our “new normal,” how Joey’s recovery is going or the endless amount of medical bills that have come along with this disease. In addition to that, I worry about the normal things like the mortgage, my job, laundry, cleaning the kitchen, carpools, my friends’ kids (especially one particular one right now – See Pray For Clay), if the kids are eating healthy enough, etc. It seems to be an endless amount of worry.

My worry was so intense two weeks ago that I literally had a migraine for six days. I would wake up and go to bed with it.  Nothing seemed to help. I tried pain relievers, lots of sleep, prescription medicine, acupuncture, massage and chiropractor. Everything would help or dull it briefly but nothing took it away entirely. I know it was a result of grinding and clinching my teeth, which was a direct result of worry.

I try to do little things for myself like get a pedicure every three to four weeks, hang out with friends or have a glass or three of wine. But I never do much more than that. Honestly, I’m very anal and like to have everything in my life planned. Yes, I’m one of those… a PLANNER. It even drives me crazy. I take months and months to plan vacations. I will review hotels for weeks before making a decision. My planning addiction is what makes me volunteer for everything – Girl Scout Leader, Soccer PA, Fundraisers, etc… I am in control if I’m the one planning it. If I plan it, I know what to expect. Yeah, I have issues.

Last Saturday I woke up with a dull headache but had to do a live interview for my employer. So I dragged myself out of bed, got ready and headed to the studio. I had plans to meet my friends Amy and Christine for a pedicure after. On our way to the salon, Christine mentioned there was going to be a meteor shower that night and how she would love to see it. She also mentioned that she had never been to Red River Gorge. Next thing I know, we are heading home from our pedis to pack our bags, grab our puppies and head to the Gorge. I maybe spent 10 minutes packing. I didn’t even take a flashlight.

We loaded the car and were on our way. Once we got to the area, we started making calls and found a cabin. We went on a hike that evening and the next morning. We spent the evening watching the Meteor Shower and seeing at least two dozen stars shoot across the sky. It was amazing. We also enjoyed a soak in the hot tub and just relaxing on the deck of our cabin while our puppies played. Although my children and everything else was in the back of my head, it was so incredibly relaxing.

I felt completely reenergized after that 30-hour trip. My migraine was finally gone and I even felt like a better mom. This little trip reminded me how important it is for parents to take time for themselves. We need to get away from the stress, take a break from the kids and recharge. I am going to try to make a point to do something for myself every couple months. It might not be an overnight trip every time but it will be more than a pedicure. What have you done lately to recharge?

“The List”

My son’s elementary school has a tradition that I really won’t miss next year as he enters middle school. Each year they set aside one day in the summer where they post class lists. “The list” says who their teacher is and who is in their class. Children and parents rush to the school, run down the steps to the gym and crowd around the back wall elbowing their way through so they can see “the list.”

Parents, including me, take pictures of “the list” so they can remember who is in their child’s class and talk to all of the other parents about it later. Many of the kids don’t even ask who their teacher is; they just want to know who is and isn’t in class with them. The kids even check to see where other kids ended up.

“The list” was posted on Monday at 6 p.m. There were easily 150 people in the gym by 6:03. Later that evening, I headed to the dog park. A fifth grade girl was at the park. I mentioned that I noticed she was going to be in class with Joey this year. She nodded in agreement and then said “but I was so sad that C (we aren’t going to use her full name) and Joey aren’t going to be together.” It took me a minute to figure out what she was saying. And then it hit me… last year’s drama. Joey and C apparently were boyfriend and girlfriend but they eventually broke up. C continued to have a crush on him. Joey definitely liked her as a friend but wasn’t sure about that girlfriend stuff. He hadn’t seen C since the last day of school. And here a classmate, not even C, sees me after seeing “the list” and her concern is that C and Joey aren’t in class together. Huh? Am I that out of touch that I just don’t get why this was the concern?

So back to “the list”… Within an hour of it being posted, I received several texts, emails and Facebook messages telling me that our kids are or are not in class together. I’ve received messages saying “can you believe X in class with my son. This is going to be a horrible year.” And “How did J and G end up together again? Everyone knows they are drama together.” And “thank goodness B and K are together.” By the way, I am completely making these letters up, and exaggerating the comments. .. a little. I’m also guilty of messaging people.

I have to tell you when my daughter was at this school, “the list” day was very important to me. In fact, I would stress for a few days prior to it being posted. I didn’t want her to be in class with the “mean girls” (you know the ones… they are the girls who call themselves popular but really they are just mean and everyone is afraid of them).  She is also very sensitive so I would hope and pray for the teacher of my choice. I know Andi would worry as well. She has always had a good group of friends but mean girls are mean!

It’s different now though. I don’t give much thought to Joey’s “list” going up. Yes, I’d like him to have a friend or two in his class but I don’t worry about who else is in or not in the class. Although I have a preference, I don’t  worry about who his teacher is going to be. He is attending one of the best schools in the state so it seems like it would be hard to get a bad teacher. He is definitely curious about who is in his class and will miss a few who aren’t but he is much more relaxed about it than his sister ever was.

It also hit him last night, as he met the new principal, that he is a FIFTH GRADER, the top of the school, the ones who set the example, the ones who… wait for it… GET TO PUT THE FLAG UP OUTSIDE EACH MORNING! This is going to be an exciting year no matter what “the list” says.