Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I've been doing much more handwritten journaling than blog entries recently...I'm not sure why. It has been a bit difficult for me to come up with stuff to write about - I don't even have deer seen on my new bus route to mention.

Yesterday afternoon I drove another cross country meet for Son1's team. Actually this was another joint one where both the high school and middle school teams went to the same place. That makes for a fairly full bus but behavior has been much better this year. It's really been a pleasure driving them - especially the high school. The high school runs a 5K for each race. Son1 ran well - his time was 22:45 - not his best time but most definitely not his worst time. Except for this meet, he's improved his times in all the meets he's run in. 3 meets ago he ran the distance in 23 minutes flat. Last Saturday he ran the distance in 21:20 - so far that's been his absolute fastest. I know he was somewhat disappointed with his time last night but under the circumstances of heavy humid air followed by a thunderstorm he did well. Unfortunately one of the middle school students - who he's had issues with in the past - made fun of his time. That makes it difficult for him. I struggle with knowing what to do to help him deal with it - if I need to step in myself to say something or what. This student is younger than him and likely - even though he is on the middle school cross country team - could not keep up with Son1 in a 5K race. This student is also pretty much a bully and very few people seem to stand up to him.

On a different note, 2 more students have been transferred off my school bus to a special needs bus. This morning I took a conduct report into the office to speak with the principal about it - the response was "why isn't this student on a special needs bus?" I think it will be better for this particular student - less people to cause him to get agitated. However I do struggle with feeling like a failure at the moment - in the past I've generally always gained control of the students on the bus without having them transferred off.

I'd better close for now - need to go start dinner I guess.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Morning Route

One week ago today I had a disciplinary issue on my bus - phoned the parents of the students involved, did the write-up, walked the students into the office...I never received my copy of the report. I wasn't overly concerned about that until I had another very similar issue with one of the same students as was involved last week - the other student involved was a sibling from the family last week. I had discussed her daughter with her while I was on the phone about her son. At that point it was disclosed that there are some learning issues with the daughter. So long story short - after this morning's incident she will no longer be riding my bus. She's young and unable to sit still. Therefore the decision has been made to put her on a bus where she can be strapped in. That's a relief to me.

The other mother on the other hand is "out for my head" - she's accusing me of screaming at the kids, not being fair...She says I should allow the kids to move around. I haven't talked to her today about this - she actually phoned my boss. Thankfully she also told him that she's told her son to fight back if he's getting picked on - he pointed out that that's unacceptable behavior and he will face consequences if he chooses to fight back rather than letting me handle it. The initial plan was to put a seatbelt in for him - that would have made it easier to keep him in his seat. However mom has now changed her mind and says that's not an option. So ultimately I'm going to end up with a camera on my bus - to keep tabs on "everything" that goes on. Personally I really don't care for that decision but it's not mine to make. Oftentimes a camera does work to protect the driver. However to me it's a frustration because I feel like I am not doing my job adequately if one is required. (Of course I was told that the driver that had this route last year also had issues with it - it's not just me, it's the passengers.)

I will say that I do definitely raise my voice - probably fairly often. However I call the children by name and it's simply to get their attention - it's the only way to do so when one has a bus load of 60 or so children (more in the afternoons I think). I am not one to "cuss out" my passengers - and as much as possible I try to be fair and respectful. I will likely get the camera sometime next week.

Something I want to check into is what a "provocative victim" is and what the characteristics of one are.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Flexibility Required

Well today in general has been a day to "drop back 10 & punt". After work this afternoon I came home and planned on blanching what's left of the corn that I didn't finish over the weekend, then going out and spending some time mowing the lawn. However after I had fueled the lawn mower it was leaking fuel from a hose. I was advised not to run it due to the fact it might catch fire. So...change of plans involved getting the corn cut off the cob, updating my blog and doing stuff inside. There is plenty of weeding to do outside but I had hoped to catch a couple of friends online.

It looks like I'm not going to be able to give up some of my days driving the kindergarten shuttle - my boss is having trouble finding someone to do it the days I want off. I either have to give up the entire thing or keep the entire thing. I'm more than a little disappointed about that as I was looking forward to being able to do a better job at keeping things up around here and staying in touch with people. The other issue is that I'm still having such a challenging time with my regular route though it is beginning to calm down slightly. And I still really don't want to end up on blood pressure stuff again. I know that's been down the past few days but today was a bit frustrating on the bus and I could feel it.

On a different note - I got to use an electric knife to finish cutting the corn kernels off the cob - wow! That made it so much easier - I was done with that in about 15 minutes instead of a couple of hours! I think I will have to look into getting one of those for myself.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Today I honestly have to say "Thank God it's Friday" - and I'm not driving the bus tomorrow for the cross country meet. The boys are exhausted and managed to get into a fight this morning before we all left on the bus. I hope their days improve rapidly.

I ended up having to walk two of my students into the office this morning as one had apparently "karate hit" the other one in the stomach. When I asked him why his response was that the other boy had been picking on him. So I filled out paperwork on both boys and left it to the school to deal with. However I did have to call both parents and speak to them. The one (of the boy who had been hit) was not surprised to hear what had happened - said she had been having issues with him. She had been hoping they would be better this year but don't appear to be. The other mother told me that she had told her son to defend himself if he was being picked on. I can totally see her point of view - and in the past I've also told Son1 the same thing. However I also reminded her that if her son hits people there will be consequences that will have to be faced - and that he really needs to say something to me. She pointed out that if he stood up while the bus was moving to come to me he would get in trouble for that. I said that that was true but he could raise his hand and verbally get my attention - and then come to me when the bus was safely stopped. At that point, she said she would have a talk with him and tell him that - and then would probably go into the school to talk to the principal. So...again I see how much of a challenge this route actually is. And while making a seating chart will help some of my issues it certainly won't solve them all. Finishing that up will be high on the priority list for next week.

On a different note I have 6 dozen ears of corn sitting in my kitchen waiting for me to put them up. I have no real idea what to do with it - have tried freezing it in the past and haven't felt like it turned out really well. I remember eating home canned corn at Grandma's but have no idea how she did it. So this should be interesting. I also want to get some tomatoes and put them up as well - I've done a few out of my garden but would like to do more.

My doctor's appointment went o.k. last night I guess. He's not too concerned about the blood pressures being up - seems to think it's due to headaches from allergies. I guess that's good - at least I don't have to go on blood pressure meds at this point in time. Dropping part of the kindergarten shuttle should help a lot as well as it will actually give me some semi-productive time at home. I'd better get done for now though - have to leave shortly for the kindergarten run and should try to change laundry loads first.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Power Outage = 2 Hour Delay

We are on a 2 hour delay this morning due to an area power outage. It's apparently fairly large as it is affecting two different school districts. If I had got the call earlier I would have gone back to sleep for awhile this morning. Instead I'm trying to get some stuff done - laundry folded, kitchen tidied, etc. Son1 has watched a Star Trek episode this morning - now he's working on the kitchen for me. He still has some homework to finish also. I really want to get some work done in the craft room - tidying it up and getting re-organized again. That likely won't happen today though as Tuesdays are generally my busiest days - and the day I usually try to recover from being up too late Sunday night. I guess though that I'd better get a move on on some of this stuff.

Monday, September 10, 2007

It's Not Broken

It's not broken according to the x-rays I had taken this morning. The diagnosis is a severe bruise - which is absolutely not visible at this point in time. The treatment is ibuprofen, keeping it wrapped and rest. Dr's "exact" words were "try not to use it". I wanted to laugh but didn't - it's impossible to not use it as a school bus driver. Thankfully I didn't have to miss driving my afternoon route and I was able to get the grocery shopping done after school.

It's been a good day overall - though definitely not one in which I accomplished massive amounts of stuff. I made a few phone calls, went to the doctor for x-rays and did grocery shopping after school. Now I've got to get boys to bed and get ready for my day tomorrow. Hopefully this week will be a slightly slower week - no extra driving scheduled. That's a good thing. I do still have paperwork to do for my bus route though some of which must be finished tonight.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Another Long Update

I think I really need to be taking a nap. However I'm waiting for Son1 to get home from church - I went to early service, cried through most of it, waited around afterwards to talk to a couple of people then came on home. What initially triggered the tears was one of the songs we sung during worship - "We all need". I left Son2 at home sleeping this morning - he'd been gone most of the day yesterday and was a stubborn mess last night. On the one hand I really struggle with feeling like a terrible mom - I know he needs to be in church, I want him in church but some mornings I simply can't handle the argument - especially when we are both exhausted. I got up this morning feeling like I'd been hit by a truck - have probably had too many late nights, too many long days and it's time I "crashed" for a bit.

The week ended up out pretty good overall. I learned that it's impossible to make coffee without putting water in the coffee maker! Truthfully I knew that already but that's how Friday morning started - Son2 had to come ask me "mom - did you put water in the machine?" Needless to say I didn't have coffee before I drove the bus that morning. Thankfully later in the day I was able to make coffee fine so I didn't cause the machine to break. It's almost as bad as the day I ate "raw" oatmeal and drank 1 1/2 cups of cold coffee before realizing the microwave didn't work - I don't function overly well first thing in the morning. I spent Friday morning between routes with a girlfriend I hadn't seen for almost a month - we'd been meeting pretty regularly on Friday mornings. She had the coffee already brewed when I got there - it was so good to be able to visit over breakfast, see her children and generally catch up on each other's lives. We are going to try to get back to meeting regularly at least a couple mornings a month. I don't feel I can handle more than every other week as I'm on the go so much anyway.

Friday evening I made spagetti, chicken and gravy for dinner - Son1 needed to have a high carb meal as he had a meet Saturday. This was an invitational meet with maybe 10 other schools - there were 7 races held that day - between the middle schools and high schools varsity and junior varsity teams. Boys and girls race separately with the top 7 of each team racing in the varsity races and any remaining members racing in the junior varsity races. I enjoyed watching the races as I knew kids in all of them - mostly from our school system of course but a few from another school. For the second year in a row, our middle school boys took first place as a team - that's exciting. Son1 ran his race very well again - he PR'd by 12 seconds off his time from last week coming in at 23 min. flat for the 5K race that the high school students ran. I drove the bus again this week - it went well though I did "yell" at one of the middle school boys for "hitting" another boy with his warm-up suit. ( I called him by name and told him not to do it again when he looked like he was going to) On the way back we only had both coaches and several high school team members on the bus. The rest had all gone home with parents.

While Son1 and I were at the cross country meet, Son2 had gone to a TaeKwonDo tournament - he wasn't able to participate as a competitor as the budget did not allow that. However he did get to help the judges out several times - recording scores, making sure people stayed in their rings, etc. He came home pretty excited and also exhausted. He is looking forward to being allowed to compete near the end of October.

Last night Son1 and I went to have dinner with B and his son. Son2 was expected to go along but being as he was tired and grumpy I left him home to be grumpy alone. Overall Son1 and I had an enjoyable time in spite of the fact it was too wet most of the evening for 4 wheeler rides. We had dinner, visited and watched the movie "Wild Hogs". It was interesting to watch though there was language in it.

Tonight I have an A run scheduled - going to MI to pick someone up and bring them back. It's funny - I can go for a couple of weeks with nothing then get 2 calls to do runs the same evening. Needless to say I can only do one of these - and the MI one was scheduled first. Thankfully I've not got any cross country meets to drive this week. I don't think any are scheduled until this coming Saturday. Unfortunately Son1 won't get to run in that as he's got a schedule conflict with Gospel Choir.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

This week has been a less busy week so far - no weekday meets, not a lot of extra running...Probably the thing that has helped the most is that I no longer have to sit at the elementary school for 30 min. after I finish my kindergarten shuttle - the special needs student I've been taking is having his school day extended so I no longer will be transporting him. He never caused me any problems - my issue with it was the fact that I had to sit and wait for that time period. Today I actually took a short nap after I got home before my afternoon route. That was nice. I'm still weary tonight though. My afternoon bus route was interesting though thankfully fairly calm. I had 3 middle school students (8th grade boys) sitting in the front half of the bus - none have turned in their signed rule sheets yet and that was the consequence I had set up. I rather expect I will have them tomorrow afternoon as none were particularly pleased that I made good on my warning that they would be sitting up front if I didn't have them back. At least today I didn't have the issue of one child threatening to punch another one.

Tomorrow is likely to be a longer day - regular route, cleaning house, kindergarten shuttle, pm route followed by an extra afternoon shuttle - taking football and volleyball kids to the next town over. Friday I don't have much planned I don't think. Saturday is Son1's next cross country meet - we likely won't get home until 2:00 pm or so. Sunday evening I have a run to MI scheduled - that will be another late night as I probably won't get home until 11:00 pm. Monday I'm scheduled to do another late afternoon shuttle run and Tuesday I think I have a cross country meet to drive. Ok...on that note I'm going to close for now. It's time I got off the computer.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Busy Week - Long

O.K. - I can hardly believe it's been nearly a week since I posted anything. I must admit the last week has been absolutely crazy busy - with several very long days in it. I honestly don't even really know where to start.

I guess I will start with Son1's cross country meet yesterday. I got to drive the bus - a benefit because I got to get paid to go watch him run. Having said that, it also meant that we had a very early day as the coach wanted to leave the high school at 7:00 am. That meant we needed to leave our house by 6:30 am to be there on time to load and be ready to leave. The drive down to Marion went well - it was a beautiful morning - slightly foggy, cool with promise of a sunny day to follow - excellent running weather. The varsity teams (girls and boys) ran first then it was time for junior varsity - we had no girls running and Son1 was the only boy from our school running. However there were over 150 runners in the junior varsity boys' race so there was plenty of competition. I felt like many of those runners should have competed in the varsity race as they were that fast. However I guess only the top 7 runners got to compete there. Anyway Son1 ran a very good race - he beat his time from the first meet by 3 min. 34 seconds or so. I knew he was going to beat his time - the first meet was on a day when the heat index was over 100' - it was incredibly muggy and the course was one of the harder ones they would run on. None of our runners did exceptionally well that first meet. We hung around for the award ceremony as two of our girls had placed in the varsity race - one of the freshman placed in the top 10 runners! We got home about 3:00 pm so it was a long day on the bus.

Last night we went to a friend's place for dinner and a swim. What a blast! It's been years since I've swum in a lake and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The water was not too cold and mucky so it was fun. And I enjoyed goofing off with the boys. I did have the unexpected opportunity to drag Son1 to the pier when his calves cramped so severely he couldn't do anything - there was no wading in - one jumped into water over one's head. After a couple of bananas and a sports drink the cramps eased and he was able to enjoy most of the rest of the evening. That involved 4-wheeler rides and BB guns as well as dinner.

Thursday and Friday were long days for me. This year I've picked up a mid-day kindergarten shuttle - I'm finding it exhausting when combined with my regular (new) route. I was on the go pretty much from 7:15 am when I leave for my morning route until 6 or 7:00 pm in the evening. I'm not driving bus the entire time - much of the extra time was running errands and cleaning the one house I clean for someone else. (That's a bit funny considering I have such a challenging time with my own!) Additionally my students were very wound up Friday afternoon as we were expecting a 3 day weekend - that made the bus route challenging. I honestly don't remember much about the first part of the week - except that I was running most days then also.

Oh yes...Son2 tested for his next belt in TaeKwonDoe Thursday evening. I had an appointment after my bus route in one direction while he had class in the opposite direction. I had arranged for him to ride a bus that would drop him off at the school (early) so he would make class. I then went to my appointment then went to class arriving in time to watch him test. Son1 also arrived - on a shuttle bus from the high school - in time to see him. I got some pictures of him testing though unfortunately I didn't actually get his "board break".

OK...this is probably long enough and I still have an email I need to send yet tonight. Thankfully Son1 is still watching a movie so he's not hovering wanting his turn.