God, how I hate those words. Someone in our neighborhood has a license plate frame on their bright yellow SUV that says, “(Owner’s name) short bus”. How cute. I want to vandalize this vehicle everytime I see it. I know it’s only a joke, but I don’t find it funny. Sorry, but that’s the way I feel. My only consolation is Gracie’s bus is full-sized, despite only a handful of special needs kids riding this bus. Maybe the school wishes to avoid the stigma of riding the short bus?
Speaking of busing and the school system, we’ve had our share of frustrations regarding these issues. Because Gracie and her sister, Gabby, must go to different schools, there are additional logistical problems requiring us to address. Add the fact that Kristine went back to work full-time this year, and the transient nature of Florida’s population (especially with an USAF base nearby), the busing situation gets further complicated.
We started the school year out with a workable plan to get both of our children on their buses. Sounds simple enough, right? Not really. For obvious reasons, Gracie’s pick-up and drop-off points are at the end of our driveway. Gabby’s bus stop is three blocks away. Fortunately, Gracie’s bus arrived first, which allowed me to take Gabby to her bus stop after Gracie was picked up.
All was good until Gracie’s bus route had to be changed due to two kids no longer needing service en route to our house. This change impacted Gracie’s schedule by 20-25 minutes, requiring me to load the girls into my car, drive Gabby to her bus stop, return to our house after Gabby is picked up, unload Gracie from my car, and then put Gracie on her bus. But hey, I’m flexible. No problem, right? Wrong.
Yesterday I found out that Gracie’s bus has been waiting at our house for less than 5 minutes to drop Gracie off. Why the wait? Because our aftercare provider, Christine, cannot be in 2 places at the same time during the drop-offs. Christine has to meet her daughter, Sam, and Gabby at their bus stop, then hurry over to our house (3 blocks away) to get Gracie off of her bus. This goes on for a while until the school system gets wind of it, then we’re summarily informed we need to come up with a solution. Now. Ummm… kind of hard to think under pressure. Does Kristine (Gracie’s mother) quit her job over 5 minutes? No, that’s stupid. Oh good, the school has a suggestion. The school asks if Gabby and Sam can walk to our house from their bus stop. Seriously?! These are little girls! Do these people watch the news?! Then I thought maybe Gracie’s bus can drop her off at Gabby’s bus stop. Oh, nope, forgot the school system has a ‘rule’ against different pick-up and drop-off locations. Hmmm… what to do, what to do?
Eureka! Kristine and a co-worker of mine hit upon the same idea. Gabby and Sam can walk to our house with another little girl, Abby, and her mother. They live across the street from us. Meanwhile, Christine can be at our house waiting on Gracie. We’ll see how that goes next week. Of course, I fully expect us to have to make another adjustment before 2012 is over.
One last bit of frustration over the busing situation. What is it with people not parking in their driveway? Nevermind two-car garages (which is usually chock-full of junk), adequate space in their driveways to park their vehicles, and HOA covenants prohibiting street parking, they still have to park in the street for whatever reason. This very morning while getting a picture of Gracie and the bus, I look up the street and see trouble brewing. Cars parked on both sides of the street! No surprise, though, as this is almost a daily occurrence. So I walk over there in preparation to photograph the situation, thinking the bus will manuever through the cars. Nope. The bus driver can’t get through, and starts blowing his horn. I start walking up to the house where one of the blockading car’s owner lives. I see someone duck behind their blinds. Jeez. Oh, here comes the man of the house, walking his dog. I say nothing as he quickly walks by, not wanting to escalate an already tense moment. Maybe things will change after today, but I doubt it. One of these days I’ll be compelled to talk with these neighbors, and am concerned it may not go well.
Finally, on an unrelated subject, I want to tell all of you about a fellow blogger, Peter Kurtz. Peter recently was inspired to start his own blog, http://peterkurtz.wordpress.com/. Peter was referred to my blog by a mutual friend of ours, Ben. Although I have never met Peter, he seems like a swell guy. Anybody who writes about American history, whether it’s historical fiction or not, is swell in my book (no pun intended). I look forward to reading his book “Bluejackets in the Blubber Room”. Please take a moment to look at Peter’s blog, and follow it if you like what you see. Thanks.